Hyundai Kona EV – Too Tight a Squeeze

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post where I discussed the options available to Canadians that interested me with regards to electric vehicles – Electric Car Options, but I was focused primarily on range and price, and since then I’ve come to realize that my top choices might not work.

While the Hyundai Kona EV is a great vehicle with a strong range, good features, and a reasonable price, it was only when I finally saw it in person that I realized that it wouldn’t work for our family.

When Annie and I went to Florida with some of her family, we all packed into our Kia Forte and took turns driving. It was a great way to get down to Florida quickly, but it also meant that I was in the back seat of the car for several hours, and at a little over six feet tall, and another full size adult in the back seat, I was very uncomfortable. There wasn’t enough leg room, the hip space felt tight as I tried to shift into comfortable positions and the head room wasn’t great either.

So when we were able to look at the Hyundai Kona in person, I realized that some of the same issues I experienced in our car might translate over to this compact electric crossover, I had to be sure. I went on Car and Drive and got the specifications for both vehicles to compare some numbers.

The Kia Forte has 35.9 inches of second row leg room, 37.3 inches of second row head room, 54.9 inches of second row shoulder room and 53.1 inches of second row hip room. It seems like a pretty average car size, and surely the Kona was larger, right?

When I noticed that the Kona was over ten inches shorter in overall length than our Forte, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find good news.

The Hyundai Kona that I was so excited about would have less space in almost every area, seemingly designed for much smaller people. It has 37.8 inches of second row head room, 34.6 inches of second row leg room, 54.5 inches of second row shoulder room, and 52.2 inches of second row hip room.

Kia ForteHyundai KonaDifference
Head Room37.337.8+0.5
Leg Room35.934.6-1.3
Shoulder Room54.954.5-0.4
Hip Room53.152.2-0.9

Most of the time, this wouldn’t be an issue as it is just Annie, Luna and me in the vehicle, but we often end up with additional passengers in our vehicle helping cousins, nieces, and nephews out.

And while our future electric car might not have the same utility as a gasoline powered vehicle for taking family on long trips to cottage country or travelling relay race style passing the driving baton between drivers endlessly, the thought of having less space in the back seat is kind of a non-starter for us.

I should point out that the front seating in the Hyundai Kona also has less space than our current Kia Forte with a loss of half an inch to an inch in every direction per seat. I don’t know that this would create much of a difference in feel, but it seems odd to go from a car to a crossover and end up with less space.

So what do we do now?

Well, we are still not in any rush to buy a new vehicle. Our current one continues to run well and not need too many expensive repairs, and we are still paying it off, so our purchase of a new vehicle is hopefully not going to happen until 2022 at the earliest.

With that said, any other electric vehicle choices that currently exist all include trade-offs. The Hyundai Kona EV is still an impressive vehicle with many things going for it and an electric vehicle with comparable range but more space is going to cost more money.

Maybe by 2022, some of the new electric models of popular vehicle lines will be rolling out and we will have some more options in Canada and be able to come up with a new list of contenders, because if we had to buy today, we likely wouldn’t be able to find an electric vehicle that meets our needs.

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