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2024 Hyundai Kona Preferred vs 2024 Hyundai Kona EV

Across the last two weeks we were driving in and comparing the Hyundai Kona Preferred with the fully EV model. Which is essential two vehicles with the same trim, but designed for 2 different lifestyles.

We started with the Kona Preferred, a fully gas vehicle. Climbing in and taking it all in, we were surprised that this wasn’t the fully electric model. Little did we know that both would have a similar interior, and only a few functional differences in design.

Given its high tech aesthetic this is absolutely what you would expect the cabin of a fully electric vehicle to be. Starting with the extended dash that starts from behind the wheel and continues on across the centre console, in a continuous screen.

Both models also have a wireless charging mat and multiple c-charging slots. Although the mat is finicky and the charging is slow. I did like the side pocket in the centre bin for you to slide and conceal your phone in, on its profile.

However the closer we looked, the more the Preferred felt like a base model, despite its title; but with some high tech custom add ons. Like the plastic door handle that was dressed up against soft pale bleached leather. Standard climate control settings with customization between left and right passenger side. The cabin is not sound proof cabin, you can hear hear everything outside.

And the seat adjustment is manually operated and comes with no lumbar support. Although the firm seat is equipped with a decent scoop back. It hugs at either sides, but oddly has a raised mound at the centre of the seat, aligning with crack of your butt. Thus, giving you an awkward on seamed seating.

I did like how everything is situated at a comfortable hip height when seated upright. Although could use a more spacious arm rest and a larger sun roof.

We also liked the smaller grip of the steering wheel with three spokes for easy hand adjustments. At the centre of the wheel is a metal bar with 4 divot holes, they provide no function, but appear to be merely cosmetic. Instead, it would have been nice to see the brand and make, as no where in the cabin do you see Hyundai or their trademark “H” listed.

It is interesting that they decided to install the traditional gear shift in the 2024 Kona Preferred, given the build you expect a push button start (which it had) and a turn dial shifter.

In the Kona EV you do get this toggle as a wide paddle on the wheel. Thus freeing up room, and giving you additional cup holder space and rubber binning at the centre. And where functional buttons were located on either side of the gear shift in the Kona Preferred, the Kona EV had the same seat heating/cooling, wheel heating, emergency brakes, and camera toggling buttons on its own panel. This all surrounded the drive mode dial at the centre.

As for the way the 2024 Kona Preferred handles with petrol: it engages well, but doesn’t have much power. We found this a basic drive, despite the look and feel of a more modern and tech-focused model. And when it is actually in sport mode it feels like it is struggling, worse so on an incline.

We found that the 2024 Hyundai Kona EV handled more smoothly. A more relaxed drive with additional cameras on the dash for better visibility when you signal right or left. Plus one for a bird’s eye view. There was also the addition of an electric seat adjustment, with lumbar; but only for the driver.

The highlight is the EV’s battery life. Plenty of longevity in the charge as we were still at about 50% battery life after a regular week of commuting and driving. This was furthered by the self charging with every slow to a stop the Kona EV made. Although when it came time to charge at the pump it was much slower than its other Hyundai EV and hybrid counterparts.

In conclusion, the Kona was definitely designed to be a fully electric vehicle, with a hybrid and full gas model option offered after the fact.


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