2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2019 Hyundai Kona

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Chevrolet vs Hyundai

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2019 Hyundai Kona- Car Comparison


Tesla didn’t pull in almost a large portion of a million bookings for the Model 3 since electric vehicles are faltering. Quite the contrary: Instant torque, one-pedal driving, and minimal running costs mean EVs should appeal to even ardent fans of the internal combustion. Yet Tesla hasn’t closed a significant number of those sales, with many would-be buyers presumably unwilling or unable to spend more for the Model 3 as it is currently offered. With no sign of the promised version and Tesla’s federal tax credit winding down. Perhaps it’s time to consider other options.

Much like the Bolt EV, the Kona Electric uses a 201-hp motor to power its front wheels. Although Hyundai‘s unit makes an extra 24 pound-feet of torque, for a total of 290. Its battery pack is larger, at 64.0 kilowatt-hours, which gives the Kona an EPA range of 258 miles. Supplies of the Kona Electric are likely to be limited for the foreseeable future.

2nd Place: Chevrolet Bolt EV


The set of steak knives goes to the Chevy for multiple reasons, but none so important as—you guessed it—its inferior range. Despite the fact that EPA gauges for the Bolt EV and Kona Electric give the last just a 20-mile advantage, during our 600-mile drive. We reliably observed the Hyundai demonstrating an extra 50 miles in its electron tank. Which meant the Bolt took the blame for more frequent stopping and standing around waiting on charging. That we will now stop complaining about for the rest of this story.


Inside, the Bolt fares better than the Kona, with a two-tone cabin finish that aspires to more than just commodity-car status. The Kona offers the standard Hyundai treatment, which implies decent plastic and all. However, nothing extraordinary, put something aside for an ineffectively structured exhibit of shifter press catches. The buttons themselves look like they were repurposed from the Genesis side of the business, where they were probably used for something that should be controlled by buttons.


The two vehicles have nearly identical footprints, but the Bolt has a narrower track and a higher roof. It feels less planted in turns, with more body lean, although its steering is so dead that the first sign you’re losing grip is the stability-control light flashing in the dashboard.

The Bolt…

The Bolt does deliver a more plush ride than the Kona Electric, with a softer suspension tune that’s better at absorbing impacts. But overall comfort in the Chevy is limited by front seats that are too narrow; they also force such a high seating position that we can’t imagine any driver wanting to raise the manually adjustable seat (the Hyundai’s is powered) from its lowest position. Indeed, even our two vertically tested, sub-six-foot drivers felt like gorillas on bar stools in the driver’s seat of the Bolt.

The most disappointing thing about the Bolt is that even though it was developed as a dedicated EV that does not share its mechanicals with an internal-combustion vehicle, it still seems compromised compared with the Kona. Such is the pace of electric-vehicle development.

Highs: Roomy, comfortable ride.

Lows: Lesser range, tippy handling, tall hatchback styling not to everyone’s taste.

Verdict: Groundbreaking a few years ago; now merely competitive.

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1st Place: Hyundai Kona Electric

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2019 Hyundai Kona- Car Comparison


When it comes to cars with internal-combustion engines, the ones that win comparison tests tend to be those that put up the better numbers. The Kona Electric did just that. It was a bit quicker at the test track, nipping the Chevy by a tenth in both zero-to-60-mph accelerations and through the quarter-mile. On the skidpad, the Kona Electric pulled 0.83 g against the Bolt’s 0.80, despite the fact that we couldn’t hustle the Hyundai through our slalom very as quickly as we could the Chevy. The Kona was more efficient during our drive, too, returning 112 MPGe overall, while the Bolt managed only 101 MPGe.


But as any good salesman will tell you, numbers only keep the boss off your back—you still want to enjoy what you’re doing every day. In the Kona Electric, this comes from its adjustable regenerative braking. It allows the driver to cruise effortlessly on the freeway; with an adaptive cruise (unavailable on the Bolt) and lane-keeping assist activated and the regen turned down, the ultraquiet Kona floats along like a futurist mobility pod. Then when the road gets more interesting, go ahead and dial up the regen level for nearly one-pedal driving that’s a decent simulacrum of a Tesla.


Kona Electric…

The Kona Electric is not just better to drive but easier to live with. It is quieter than the Bolt. It has a lower lift-over stature to its back payload hold, which is additionally bigger than the Chevies. Though the Bolt’s back seat is more capacious, the Kona can still accommodate four adults in reasonable comfort. Hyundai’s infotainment system is su­peri­or to GM’s, with a more logical interface and better EV-specific information and controls. Likewise, credit Hyundai for including DC quick charging as standard on Kona Electrics.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2019 Hyundai Kona- Car Comparison

Speaking of which, limited supply from Korea, where Konas are built, means Hyundai has no plans to sell its EV on dealer lots in the non-CARB-compliant states, although the company has said that individuals will be able to place orders for the Kona Electric through their local Hyundai store. Good luck with that.

Highs: Fun to drive, excellent infotainment system, efficient.

Lows: Limited availability, ho-hum interior.

Verdict: The current best of the small group of real-world-viable electric cars.

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