Hyundai Kona Electric vs. Chevrolet Bolt EV: Which Is the Best Affordable Long-Range EV? | EdmundsNov 12, 2021
DAN EDMUNDS: Prevailing wisdom suggests that an
electricvehicle needs 200+ miles of
rangeanxiety and to be useful for more than commuting. But so far, there has only been one
affordableexample. The Chevrolet Bolt EV brings 238 miles of range to the table. But now there's a new Hyundai Kona Electric with 258 miles of range. KURT NIEBUHR: Which of these vehicles is better? Are these finally the
electricvehicles everyone has been waiting for? Before you answer that, be sure to subscribe to our channel and visit Edmunds.com to help you find your next vehicle, electric or otherwise.
DAN EDMUNDS: When I first proposed this test in the office, everyone said, why are you putting a Bolt against a crossover SUV? Well, the electric Kona isn't really an SUV. I mean, it's only front wheel drive. There is no version with all-wheel drive. KURT NIEBUHR: And the Chevy is kind of a tall hatchback anyway, and it's also front-wheel drive. I mean, these things are pretty close on paper, when you look at the specs. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh yeah, the wheelbase is identical. And the Kona is only half an inch
longer. And both have 150-kilowatt electric motors. Chevy says theirs is good for 200 horsepower.
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hyundai kona electric vs chevrolet bolt ev which is the best affordable long range ev edmunds...
Hyundai's number is 201 horsepower. But I'll give it to them, because their electric motor makes more torque. KURT NIEBUHR: These things don't look the same at all. DAN EDMUNDS: No, no, the Kona Electric is lower and wider than the Bolt, sort of an SUV, right? KURT NIEBUHR: People in the office ask, why didn't you include the Leaf? Why didn't you include the Model 3? DAN EDMUNDS: Well, the Bolt has 238 miles of range. And the Kona Electric has 258 miles of range. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, the Leaf's 150 is too short. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. As for the Model 3, the $35,000 version with 220 miles of range isn't going to make it.
I mean, we can't compare these two vehicles to something that doesn't exist. KURT NIEBUHR: No, that's just vaporware. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes, really. KURT NIEBUHR: So what are we looking at? DAN EDMUNDS: Well, for now, a lot of plastic. But up here is the electric motor that drives the front wheels. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, I can see it up there. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. We back up and there's this big stretch of aluminum, the width of the car, really
long. This is the battery pack. 65 kilowatt hours of storage, that's like gallons for a tank of gas. And that's what gives this car 258 miles of range.
KURT NIEBUHR: It's so flat. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes, the smoothness of this battery pack and the plastic in front of it contribute to a 14% reduction in drag compared to a regular Kona. KURT NIEBUHR: That's a lot. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, it's nothing. And we come back here, and we see a very good multi-link suspension,
whichgives this car a very good ride and handling. And it also leaves room for the battery to be as large as possible. KURT NIEBUHR: I'd imagine the Chevrolet looks exactly the same underneath. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, maybe. KURT NIEBUHR: So we're under the Chevy and there's a lot of black plastic under it as well.
DAN EDMUNDS: Absolutely, but trust me, there's an electric motor up there that drives the front wheel, just like the Kona. We go back and see that this is the battery. But it looks different. It is narrower. It's not that long. But it's almost as big, at 60 kilowatt hours, 238 miles of range. So it has to be taller,
whichcould be why the Bolt has the roofline it does. KURT NIEBUHR: It's not very smooth here either. DAN EDMUNDS: No, it's not. It doesn't look like they paid as much attention to smoothing out the airflow under here. We step back and see something different here as well.
KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, this suspension is nothing like the suspension that the Hyundai has. DAN EDMUNDS: No, this is a basic twist beam rear axle, which is actually pretty cheap and inexpensive. It was popular in compact cars. But it's not the most sophisticated suspension for ride and handling. It will be interesting to see how the two compare when we start driving them back to back. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: They may not be the same at all. KURT NIEBUHR: I can't wait to find out. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. So they both have a lot of space if you fold the seats down.
But they have a long range, so you can go somewhere with the family. So you could have four people on this. Where are you going to put the luggage? Will it fit? KURT NIEBUHR: I don't like how that kind of rides on the plastic trim back there. DAN EDMUNDS: It's a little tight. What about the third? KURT NIEBUHR: The third, we're going to have to put it-- DAN EDMUNDS: There's no option there. KURT NIEBUHR: It's pretty easy, but it will close. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, quite easily actually. No problem. KURT NIEBUHR: But we can lower the floor.
DAN EDMUNDS: Oh yeah, that's right. And it's a pretty dramatic change. Oh look at that. You can bear these things. Easy. KURT NIEBUHR: Here we go. In the Kona... DAN EDMUNDS: Well, you can see the tread is longer here. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes, there is more space. DAN EDMUNDS: Wider too. KURT NIEBUHR: You can probably fit that in. DAN EDMUNDS: I think so. KURT NIEBUHR: And it closed. DAN EDMUNDS: No problem. You can also lower the floor as well. KURT NIEBUHR: Oh yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: It's not that deep. But it could do the job. Yes, this holds up.
There out of line of sight. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: If you don't want to throw out the basement, this one has a little more space. But if you do, there really isn't that much of a difference. Wow, who was driving this thing. KURT NIEBUHR: I was. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, I have to get it back. You are well? KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, I'm fine. DAN EDMUNDS: How so? KURT NIEBUHR: Okay, you can go back a little further. In fact, I'm happy to come back here. I have enough space for my legs. I have enough room for my feet.
I even have a heated seat. Let's see the Hyundai. DAN EDMUNDS: Very good. Oh, I'm going to have to bring this one back in a big way. KURT NIEBUHR: This isn't so bad back here. Oh, what are you doing? DAN EDMUNDS: I have to bring it back. KURT NIEBUHR: Oh, I hate you. Oh my God. IT'S OKAY. DAN EDMUNDS: However, that is a seat of power. The other was not. KURT NIEBUHR: There's a lot less legroom back here than in the Bolt. DAN EDMUNDS: Do you think so? KURT NIEBUHR: My feet are starting to get numb.
Could you anticipate this? I can't get out. Now comes the fun part. DAN EDMUNDS: We're leaving town, we're in the mountains, and we're going up to Crystal Lake. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and because we have a lot of range, we don't have to worry about range and we're not going to talk about ranch. DAN EDMUNDS: Right, we can think about the normal things that people think about, driving, handling, steering, braking, what fun it is to drive these things. KURT NIEBUHR: Let's find out. DAN EDMUNDS: Let's take the Bolt. Wow, these roads are pretty awesome. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes, they really are.
DAN EDMUNDS: What's not amazing is this seat. It feels like you are sitting on a seat frame. It is very narrow. I'm sitting on it, instead of on it. KURT NIEBUHR: I think I'm overlapping on the side of the seat. And I'm with you. My upper back, my shoulders are not happy with the seat. DAN EDMUNDS: The driving position is good, but the seat itself feels too small. The interior feels a bit cheap. It just doesn't have really attractive materials. I wish they would put a little more money into the seats and interior paneling. KURT NIEBUHR: What really stands out to me, and it's literally in my eyes, is how bright and light the interior is.
Because there are a lot of shiny or light plastics, that we are now in the shade, and it's great. But as soon as we come back across the sun, like reflections flicker on the windshield. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, the angle of the windshield is perfectly wrong, because it reflects all the detail from the top of the dash back into my eyes. It's like he needed sunglasses just for that. But that is an option. I suggest you get the darker one they sell. KURT NIEBUHR: You would have to. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes, absolutely. You know what's really great about this car, the driving position is great.
I mean, the telescoping steering wheel is right where I need it. I feel like I can see very well, apart from the glare. And regenerating this thing, using the motor's magnetism to slow the car down, is really easy. You just move the shifter and it goes into L. And now when you take your foot off the gas, you're slowing down and you're not touching the brake pedal. And it's a lot of fun. It's not fun, it's fun. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: I have to take a little rest for this tight hairpin, but... yeah, the tires do make a little bit of noise.
KURT NIEBUHR: We may be having fun, but the tires don't sound like they're having fun. DAN EDMUNDS: Low rolling resistance. But that doesn't mean little fun. Because this thing actually changes direction very well. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: And I have very good control of the entry speed of the car because of the lift throttle regeneration. It's really nice. Yes, these seats, however, are... Listen to that. What was he saying? Okay, I guess it's your turn to drive, right? KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. I am absolutely with you in the seating position. I can feel comfortable in this car very quickly.
I like the range that the wheel moves towards you. The seat is very adjustable. DAN EDMUNDS: It's just not nice to sit. KURT NIEBUHR: It's not a comfortable seat. DAN EDMUNDS: No. KURT NIEBUHR: This might be the worst seat I think I've ever sat in that's for sale today. Now I can get the most out of this car's torque. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh. KURT NIEBUHR: All electric vehicles make torque from zero miles per hour. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, it's not just that. This thing has 200 horsepower. I mean, we can't forget that. KURT NIEBUHR: No, and it's actually fun to drive.
It is not sloppy. DAN EDMUNDS: That's a tight hairpin. And that's a skinny tire. KURT NIEBUHR: That's a skinny tire. But I have to tell you that I'm not using the brake pedal, I'm just using the accelerator pedal regeneration, because it's very intuitive. Back up a bit to slow down, turn to speed up. DAN EDMUNDS: And you know, the body isn't rolling much. I mean it's rolling a bit, but any car would on this road. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: But that's probably because the battery is under the floor, so the center of gravity of this thing is really low.
KURT NIEBUHR: I will say that I feel like I'm sitting more on top of the car than in the car, which creates more of a sense of speed. I feel like I shouldn't be driving the car that fast, even though the car feels good. DAN EDMUNDS: Lime is really low. The seating position is a bit high, because you have the battery under your butt. It just needs some sticky tires I think. KURT NIEBUHR: This is too much fun for an electric vehicle. So what's your take on the Bolt? DAN EDMUNDS: Well, I like driving it. I mean, the steering, the handling.
It has a lot of power, the regenerated braking is really fun, even on a challenging road like this. I just don't like the interior, the seats, the way the dash is assembled. I'm not a fan of that. But to drive it, it's great. KURT NIEBUHR: I completely agree with you. And you should not buy the light-colored interior. DAN EDMUNDS: Exactly. Oh man, right away, I love this seat. It looks good, it's wide and it's comfortable. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, we're definitely not on the Bolt anymore. DAN EDMUNDS: Exactly, and we're a little further apart. This cabin is wide and roomy too.
And look at the materials. This thing looks good. KURT NIEBUHR: I feel more surrounded. I feel like I'm sitting in the car. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. KURT NIEBUHR: Whereas, in the beam, I felt like I was a little bit higher up, kind of perched. DAN EDMUNDS: And the controls are very well laid out. There's the touchscreen, there's the air conditioning, there's the gear stick, and these are the controls for the heated and ventilated seats. KURT NIEBUHR: I have a vent... I'm going to use mine. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes, right? KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: This also has a sunroof.
The Bolt didn't have one of those. KURT NIEBUHR: No. DAN EDMUNDS: And the Bolt is first. It's top of the line offering. This is the latest, which is also the
bestoffering of the line. It is more definitive. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. Another thing that is glaringly obvious is the distinct lack of glare. Now, this is still a light-colored interior, but I won't be blinded by the shiny plastic parts. DAN EDMUNDS: Right, right, I agree. And as a driver, I appreciate it. The other thing I'm noticing is going into that last corner and some of these others, the regenerative braking just isn't as powerful as it is on the Bolt.
KURT NIEBUHR: That was a squirrel. DAN EDMUNDS: Squirrel. I have three configurations. I can adjust it with a paddle here. But I set it to max and wish I had one more step. You know, this car really feels more substantial. It's wider and feels like it has a wider footprint on the trail. It's a little more composed. The tires don't feel like they're working that hard. It's not squealing as much. It's very nicebalanced. I mean, the Bolt wasn't unbalanced, it wasn't bad. But this feels better. And even there, in that really tight corner, a little hint of squeal, but nothing like what the Bolt generated.
KURT NIEBUHR: The
boltwas a bit loud. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, the transitions feel great. The multi-link rear suspension on the torsion beam, I think we're feeling a bit of a benefit here. KURT NIEBUHR: I would say so far I feel less movement. DAN EDMUNDS: Almost like this road is a smoother road than when I was on the
bolt. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, wow. KURT NIEBUHR: That was much better. Without arguing that, the electric Kona drives better. DAN EDMUNDS: I wish I could get a little more lift throttle regen out of these corners. It's just not quite there.
The steering on this car feels pretty good. When I drove it in the city, I thought, it's a little light, it doesn't feel as clear in the center as the Bolt. And that's true. But when we get to these corners, it loads a little better than on the street. I still think the Bolt's steering feel is a bit better, but this is better than it was in the city. KURT NIEBUHR: So when am I going to be able to drive? DAN EDMUNDS: Right now. If you listen closely, there's that... KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, I think it gets stronger when you start to move.
DAN EDMUNDS: Listen to it, it's amazing. KURT NIEBUHR: You're right, the car immediately feels more solid. Not that the Bolt feels flimsy in the least. It's just that I like the way this car feels. I agree with you on the tact of the address. It's a bit light, but I like how it feels in the corner. And I also like the fact that it has wider tires. Is very remarkable. There's not the tire squeal that the Bolt had. DAN EDMUNDS: It has the power. Is it just a matter of not having as much power? KURT NIEBUHR: No.
DAN EDMUNDS: That's not all. KURT NIEBUHR: The power feels more robust. And the Bolt doesn't seem to lack power. DAN EDMUNDS: No. KURT NIEBUHR: But the Kona puts that power at your disposal. DAN EDMUNDS: It's about the same power, 201 vs. 200. Let's just say it's the same. But it makes more torque, about 30 pound-feet more than the Bolt. So I think that's what you feel when you leave these corners. KURT NIEBUHR: I second what you said about the interior of this car. I feel like I'm sitting in a more regular car. Because the Kona Electric is also a regular Kona, it's the same car.
And the Bolt was built just to be an EV. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. Which would normally make the Bolt a better EV, because it's specifically designed. But this does not seem like they have made any sacrifices to make an electric car version. Just look at the way the battery is mounted underneath, as we saw yesterday. It's so well integrated into the chassis. KURT NIEBUHR: You're right about the regeneration. I wish he was a little more aggressive. We have it maxed out. We both seem to prefer the way Bolt handles it. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, that was fun. KURT NIEBUHR: That was really fun.
DAN EDMUNDS: I mean, why wouldn't it? These are compact hatchbacks with 200 horsepower. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and we said we wouldn't talk about range. We're not going to talk about range yet. Because we both have more than half a charge left. DAN EDMUNDS: And we're at 5,000 feet. It's downhill most of the way home. Things are only going to get better. So, let's go. KURT NIEBUHR: Come on. DAN EDMUNDS: So which of these two electric vehicles is the correct one? First, we have to talk about prices. We still don't know exactly how much the Kona Electric costs. But sources say the price of the base model will be closer to that of the base Bolt.
And we know for sure that the Kona will be better equipped. But here is another point to consider. Chevrolet is about to cross the threshold of phasing out eligibility for the federal tax credit. The Bolt's $7,500 tax credit will be cut in half to $3,750 early next year. Then reduce again to $1,875 six months after that. In a little over a year, it will be reduced to zero. Hyundai, on the other hand, is just getting started with electric vehicle sales. The electric Kona will qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit for years to come. There is a lot to like about these cars.
Both are more fun to drive than you might expect. They are practically hot hatchbacks. And you can go places and be spontaneous, because each one offers enough range to make them useful for more than just traveling. We like the Bolt for its superior regenerative braking and more generous rear legroom. But the clear winner here is the Hyundai Kona Electric thanks to its more sophisticated ride and handling, nicer interior, and longer list of standard and optional features. The extra 20 miles of range it offers is simply a bonus. For more videos like this, be sure to click Subscribe and visit Edmunds for all your car buying needs.
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