2022 HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC TEST DRIVE
The Kona Electric advertises a 258 mile driving range and offers 3 levels of charging – the quickest of which takes less than an hour if you drain the battery all the way to zero – an unlikely scenario so in most cases it takes about 30 minutes to reach an 80% charge…just enough time to go shopping. And even then, fast charging at Electrify America stations is free for 3 years. I plug my Kona into a standard outlet in my garage and for me an overnight charge typically brings me back to 100%. The most notable change this year is the Tesla-inspired, smooth front end with slimmer headlights. I think Teslas are the ugliest cars ever produced so this is not a selling point to me but I kind of like the deletion of the SUV-like, gray body cladding. It’s now all body color and it classes the car up. Hyundai really loads up this Limited trim so you get all of the safety features, the best infotainment and high-end convenience features like a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, and 3 years of BlueLink telematics which includes a great app for connecting with and controlling your Kona. There’s even a height adjustable passenger seat. Available in SEL and Limited trims with a starting MSRP of $35,185 the Kona Electric does qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit but this model – like many others – are currently pretty scarce so pricing may vary. Much like we had to convince my grandmother back in the 80s that a microwave oven was something she would enjoy – and in short time very much did – driving an electric car is similar in that once you experience it there’s no looking back.
The best part of driving any EV is the immediate acceleration and the Mach-E has plenty of that though Ford reserves the really spirited stuff for the GT trim. The other aspect of this car that makes it unique is the degree to which 1 pedal driving is applied. That’s where you can brake the car by just lifting off the accelerator. And unlike my Kona which has steering wheel paddles to vary the amount of 1 pedal, here on the Mach-E it’s either on or off and it’s the most aggressive form of 1 pedal I’ve ever tested. Some people love it, others hate it and I’m somewhere in between…either way it takes some practice to do it right. And lastly, these tires are none too interested in sports car handling so in that regard the Mach-E feels a little heavy and sloppy for a car wearing the Mustang badge.
The First Edition came very well equipped with all of the goodies and draws plenty of attention in this Grabber Blue Metallic paint. It’s the very definition of a crossover; sporting a car-like appearance with SUV hatchback versatility. It seats 5 with cargo dimensions similar to that of a Ford Escape though unlike that small SUV the Mach-E doesn’t tow. But where the Escape would have its engine placed the Mach-E offers more carrying space via a divided luggage compartment that’s drainable meaning you could even pack it with ice for tailgating. The other big talking point is this enormous 15.5”, Tesla-like tablet housing the next generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. Beyond its notable size, it’s meant to work like your smartphone, programmed to learn your behaviors and making suggestions based upon your routine. It’s also updatable over-the-air.
There’s no denying it: the electric car revolution has just begun as more or more manufacturers make commitments to a carbon neutral future. And if you’re shopping for one you might want to pump the regen brakes for just a moment: here are 5 new EVs arriving in dealerships soon. Chevy Bolt EUV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD, Mercedes Benz EQS 580 4MATIC, & Audi RS e-tron GT. So which is the right one for you?
The ID.4 is ready for primetime and is the genesis of VW’s all-electric intentions. The ID sub-brand is VW’s name for a family of electric cars that, at least in here in the U.S., is expected to spawn 2 new models over the next 3 years. It’s built upon a dedicated electric vehicle platform that VW calls Modular Electric Drive which essentially gives them one basis for every EV going forward. It closely possesses the passenger volume of VW’s Tiguan just in a smaller wrapper benefitting from the highly efficient EV packaging. It feels wide inside with adult-friendly and nicely sculpted rear seats and a foot-activated hatch that opens to more standard cargo room than VW’s new Taos compact SUV. With an agreeable lift over height, split fold rear seats, an adjustable cargo floor that can be lowered for a little more space or left as is to stow the charge cable, the ID.4 presents itself as a versatile errand companion with which owners will quickly connect. The car I have is the ID.4 1st Edition and it’s priced at $45,190 including destination…but before you run down to your VW dealer you should know that it’s already sold out. However, you can still build and reserve the ID.4 Pro online which is priced at $4,000 less. And if it’s an all-wheel drive ID.4 you’re after, those are coming later this year with a $3,680 premium attached. You can lease an ID.4 for $379/month and all trims qualify for the $7,500 Federal tax credit. The ID.4 is an impressive effort by VW and has proven to be worth the wait.
Taking a drive out to nature should be a Zen-like experience. Now you can spec your Wrangler with a plug providing up to 25 miles of quiet 4X4 EV adventures. It’s kind of cool that the Wrangler would be the first Jeep offered in the states that can operate on electricity alone. The new 2021 4xe is exclusively available in the 4-door Unlimited bodystyle and comes in 3 trims with this Sahara being the entry-level model with a starting MSRP of $51,300 including destination but excluding the $7,500 federal income tax credit.
So here’s what I’ve gathered about the 4xe this week. When you’re on electric it’s really special but like all plug-ins, it’s appeal decreases once the 25 miles or so of electric is gone. After that it’s just another hybrid. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just my test car but the air conditioning has trouble keeping up when in EV mode, kind of like some mild hybrids when you’re waiting at a stoplight And as always, remember that in the cold winter months your EV range may drop by over 40%. But all told I really like the 4xe. It drives well, it brakes and transitions power sources without any hybrid shortcomings. It’s a worthy precursor to an anticipated fully-electric Wrangler that could arrive in 2022.