My first car was a fourteen-year-old, metallic green, Vauxhall Astra. It excites me that in fourteen years time my daughter will be old enough to get her first car and it could possibly be a fourteen-year-old Kona Electric! That excites me so much! That she will probably begin driving in a world of electric vehicles and may never experience filling her car up with fuel!
Back to the Kona EV… I have had sooooo many people ask me if the new Electric Kona is any good as a family car? We put it through our BabyDrive testing for a week, so let's find out how it fared!
There are a couple of things at play here, firstly, is an electric car a good family car? Secondly, is the physical size and shape of the Kona practical as a family car?
The Kona Electric being a fully electric car, I will admit I was nervous at first. I had so many anxieties about it. What if it just runs out of battery while we're driving? What if there is nowhere to charge the battery? What if I have to sit somewhere for hours while it charges and somehow entertain my crazy toddler? What if I don't know how to charge it? What if it adds huge stress to my already chock full week? What if I have to stop halfway through a journey to charge it?
I can tell you after having it for a week… I LOVE electric cars! I am sooooo excited by the fact it is electric! THAT is what made it a great BabyDrive rather than the design and physicality of the car. There are so many upsides for families that I can't wait to share them with you!
Firstly this means the end of the age-old debate of whether or not you take your child in when you pay for your fuel! Because you won't be! As I discovered this week, you charge the car while you are doing weekly tasks like the food shop or shopping centre and when you come out and get in your car it is charged up, you don't then have to make a separate stop for fuel on the way home. This signalled the end of the second stop for me!
Peace and quiet! From all sides!! Not only is it quiet for you, so you can sneak out to your mum's group dinners or early morning exercise classes without the start-up engine waking the rest of your sleeping family! Then there is the quiet in the car! No noisy engine and then my favourite of all, no noisy morons! No moronic exhaust sounds waking your sleeping baby by blasting past after you have just spent two hours rocking them to sleep!
The lack of pollution and saving on fuel is an enormous feel good factor! I LOVED the fact I could drive my daughter to sleep and sit for an hour while she napped, with the aircon running and not feel hopelessly guilty about destroying the environment!
So those and all these other reasons I think electric cars are fantastic family cars made it a winner for me!
Then you have to look at the practicality of the Kona EV to fit a family in and that is where the Kona EV falls short in my opinion. I could fit two child seats in the back, there was definitely not room for anyone to sit between them and legroom was tight, meaning we could only fit a 170cm passenger in front of a rear-facing child seat. If you need two child seats in the back I think you would do better to wait until your children are forward-facing so you have more interior space.
The interior is different from the 2017 Kona and some great storage has been added like the shelf underneath the central console which was fantastic for storing my handbag while driving, keeping it off the passenger seat and out of the footwell. The storage throughout the Kona is good, there are lots of storage compartments and a glasses case in the ceiling and large refillable water bottles fit in both the front and rear door bins.
The interior of the Kona EV is very nice, the central console divides up the front space like in a bigger SUV and the replacement of the gear lever with button controls makes it feel a bit roomier in the front. One thing I did notice with the buttons is you have to press the brakes while you change gear. You can not go from R to D, for example, without pressing the brake first.
One criticism I have is the controls do feel a bit plasticky, there is no escaping that if they had just a bit more depth to them the whole car would feel more solid.
I am a fan of the new screen layout with the buttons down the sides, hubby wasn't but I found them nice and clear to see and easy to reach while driving.
The media system is great, so easy to use and navigate and it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I loved the EV screen where I could see exactly where the battery level was at, where I could charge it locally and exactly what was using battery power so I could turn things off and on to use different amounts of power, like air-con for example.
One detail I liked was a button in the air-conditioning controls that allow you to have driver vents only. This is genius because let's face it, we all do a lot of driving just on our own, home from kindy drop-offs or to school pick-ups, commuting to work etc. Saves us using the battery to power air vents that aren't needed.
The front seats are heated and cooled and the steering wheel is heated too what lovely features!
The boot of the Kona EV is very small and like the 2017 Kona I reviewed, it will hold nine re-usable shopping bags when empty and my single stroller will only fit with the wheels removed with the parcel shelf in place. Otherwise, all sizes of strollers did fit in the boot but I had to remove the parcel shelf and leave that at home!
The Kona EV is fantastic to drive, it is so quick to respond and accelerate it is not like driving anymore, it is like using a very modern piece of technology that is super fast, with no delays. It has changed driving for me into an exciting technology fest!
The Kona EV is silent too! There is an angelic whale song sound you can select to help you know when the car is on and maneuvering which is actually quite pleasant and soothing.
I know the Kona EV has sparked a lot of negative electric vehicle discussions in the press, to anyone who says something negative about electric vehicles, I'd say wait until you drive one!
The Hyundai Kona scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017 and has six airbags as standard.