The Kona Electric has more oomph than it really needs; quite a lot more. It picks off 60mph from rest in just 6.7sec, almost a second more quickly than its maker estimates. Whisking from 30-70mph in 5.8sec again puts it almost a second ahead, on real-world roll-on overtaking acceleration, of the BMW i3s Range Extender we tested earlier this year. In that latter discipline, it’s also only a tenth behind the latest Ford Fiesta ST.
The powertrain comes with Hyundai’s curious ‘Virtual Engine Sound System’, which broadcasts imitation engine noise at nearby cars and pedestrians at low speeds as a safety feature; it’s easy to turn off, though needs turning off every time you start the car. The car’s actual motor noise somehow seems a better match for your expectations of what an electric car ought to sound like than a Nissan Leaf or a Renault Zoe. It’s almost silent under light loads, but has more of the whistle-cum-whine of a giant-sized, radio-controlled toy when working really hard.
What will impress more experienced EV owners about this powertrain isn’t necessarily its potency, its responsiveness or its pleasingly cheeky 356V accent, however. That will be the heightened level of control the car gives you over its electric motor ‘regen’ behaviour – both through its steering wheel paddles and its brake pedal – and therefore how well you can adapt the car to suit the journey you’re on, or the style of progress you prefer.