Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV

Sanjay · Feb 19, 2022 10:00 AM

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 01

Malaysia’s electric vehicle (EV) arena is still far from being the most populous, but at least with each passing year there’s a longer list of choices. One of them – introduced last year – is the Hyundai Kona Electric range.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 02

With us this past week was the mid-range Kona Electric e-Plus, and this is our short Pros and Cons list of the sole Korean EV option in Malaysia.

Pro #1: Good value proposition

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 01

With tax-free prices starting from RM 149,888, the Kona Electric line-up unseats the Nissan Leaf (RM 168k) as Malaysia’s cheapest EV. And though this RM 169k Kona Electric e-Plus (as tested) is a sliver pricier than the Nissan, we think it’s money well spent.

Also read: Budget 2022: Zero tax for BEVs, zero road tax too, with RM 2.5k income tax rebates

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 02

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 03

For one, the Kona is simply a more modern product. The interior already looks miles better than the drab black cabin of the Leaf (which still has a CD player!) and perceived quality is also higher, thanks to use of aesthetically-pleasing materials and colour combinations.

Also read: 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric launched – Cheapest EV in Malaysia, from RM 149k

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 04

8-inch screen could look better, but at least there's good smartphone connectivity

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 05

Qi wireless charging is present, and check out the cool gear selector buttons

Then you get to its list of features: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is present, there’s a crisp full-digital instrument cluster, and buyers also get a complete suite of ADAS – things the Leaf misses out on.

Also read: Review: 2nd-gen Nissan Leaf – Perfect introduction to EVs

Pro #2: Very efficient and refined powertrain

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 06

Engine cover looks like a V6's, but the only V here is Voltage

Interestingly the Kona e-Plus has the same battery capacity as the Leaf (39.2 kWh), but advances in technology and refinement sees the Korean competitor garnering better range than the Nissan.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 07

In our hands, the Kona Electric managed 223.4 km, from a 90% charge down to 20%. This means that it is possible for the Kona to hit its theoratical range of 305 km on a single, full charge.

The Leaf still has a gap to catch up here, as it returned only 176.1 km from 100% charge down to 20%.

Also read: Confused by EV terms? Here's everything you need to know

Pro #3: Conventional connectivity, quicker charging

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 08

Another EV-specific benefit the Kona Electric offers is in its charging, as it offers 11 kW AC charging at the minimum, which means a 0%-100% charge time only takes 4.5 hours.

The Leaf's 6.6 kW AC charging results in a 7-hour charge time for the same-sized battery.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 09

In terms of DC fast charging capabilities, the Kona Electric supports a maximum charge rate of more than 50 kW, which means 10% - 80% charging in just 47 minutes. Contrary to that is the Leaf, with its maximum DC fast charge rate of 50 kW, charging up to the same percentage takes an hour or so.

Also read: Rich man’s EVs are tax free, but common man’s hybrids are not – here’s why

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 10

Meanwhile, conventionally-available charging ports on the Kona – CCS Combo 2 – means that you don't need to buy additional adapters to charge it at different stations nationwide.

Con #1: Too cramped, stiff ride

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 11

As good as it is there’s a few gripes about the Kona Electric, and space is right up there as a pain point.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 12

Shaun is 175 cm tall, and there's really not enough space

The rear quarter is a little cramped (an average-sized adult can only have about 1 tennis ball of leg- and headroom), and on long trips those sitting at the back might feel a little claustrophobic.

Also read: 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric almost sold out in Malaysia, next batch to come soon

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 13

The Kona’s small cargo space isn’t winning it any more points for being a family-centric SUV. VDA-rated boot space is 332 litres (1,114 litres with the rear seats down), and this is thoroughly eclipsed by the Leaf which has 435 litres of boot space.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 14

The ride is also relatively stiff. Take it along rough roads and almost every jolt judder transfer to the cabin, almost a little too harshly. Even on highways, bumping on road connectors sends vibrations to the cabin that detracts from the overall 'EV experience'. However, it more controlled over larger undulations (better than regular variants), but it's still a little too stiff as a whole.

Con #2: Cabin is noisier than expected

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 15

The ‘blissful silence’ of EV driving is a merit that’s surprisingly hard to find in the Kona Electric, which was surprising to say the least.

Also read: Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 16

At city speeds yes it’s still impressively quiet, but take things up a notch and it's a noisier experience than the regular Kona. Perhaps this can be pinned to the tyre choice: the Kona Electric uses Nexen Nfera SU1, while the regular ones roll on Continental UC6s.

2022 Hyundai Kona Cabin Noise Test
Variant Kona N-Line Kona Electric
Idle, A/C on 43 dB 44 dB
60 km/h 58 dB 59 dB
90 km/h 61 dB 64 dB
110 km/h 66 dB 68 dB

Con #3: Button-operated gear-shift needs getting used to

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 17

Cool looks aside, a button operated gear shifter isn't quite the easiest thing to use. Yes, it frees up space and it gives the interior a more modern touch, but using it in during parking isn't the easiest thing.

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 18

A certain level of guesswork is needed, and each time you want to change gears (say you're parallel parking) you'll have to look at which button you're pressing, preventing you from intuitively changing gears like you would with a conventional gear lever.

Conclusion: A well-rounded EV choice

Pros and Cons: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric, possibly Malaysia's best value-for-money EV 19

When all’s said and done the Hyundai Kona Electric is certainly a compelling entry point into EV ownership in Malaysia – if you take the base model, it’s the cheapest way in, and in this mid-range guise it offers a lot of car for the money.

Also read: Review: Hyundai Kona Electric e-Plus – Is it time to get an EV?

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

Comments

Hassle-free purchasing, get your next car fast!

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric e-Lite

Upgrade

Add your car

Not trading-in?   Sell your car

Latest Cars