Hyundai Kona Electric Surprises In One Lap

Better than it has any right to be!

The Hyundai Kona Electric is a somewhat humble subcompact crossover. It is meant to be a means of clean and reliable transportation in an attractive package and that’s what it is. What it is not meant to be is a lethal track weapon. Its main use case is hauling groceries home, not hauling butt through chicanes and down straightaways.

That doesn’t mean, however, it can’t handle itself with aplomb when push comes to shoving it past an apex at speed. As you can see in this fresh video from the One Lap YouTube channel (above), it’s surprisingly graceful under pressure. And fun!

In the clip, Kyle Conner of Out Of Spec Motoring and InsideEVs YouTube channel fame flings the family car around a single lap of the 2-mile course at the Carolina Center For Automotive Research. While not pushing it to its absolute limits, he does keep the keep his right foot planted far enough to reveal the prowess of its handling dynamics, acceleration, and braking.

The lap begins in sport mode with electronic stability control turned off so, when the accelerator meets the mat, there is some smokey wheel spin. Slowing for turn one reveals the eagerness of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to intervene.

Before long, the Kona is sliding through turns and Conner delightedly reports that it has a tendency to oversteer when pushed around the bends. Especially upon liftoff off of the power-pedal. This is a bit surprising as understeer – what happens when the front tires are first to lose grip –  seems to be far more common in modern front-wheel-drive vehicles.

So, how did the Kona Electric’s 2:00.86 lap time compare to other electrics that have done the orbit? The closest result so far is the Chevy Bolt EV, which was almost a second slower at 2:01. It was also significantly faster than the MINI Cooper Se, which turned in a 2:06.08.

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