5 Electric Cars Used to Harness Korean Efficiency

Belonging to the same group, manufacturers Kia and Hyundai have discreetly entered the French electric car market. At the time, the first models became accessible.

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First of the Korean electric cars introduced in France: the Kia Soul EV SUV. It was in 2014. The manufacturer was then particularly discreet about electromobility. In fact, it wasn’t any publicity or pressure from the brand’s sales consultants, but very positive initial feedback from early adopters.

This current was powerful enough that electrically-savvy journalists were interested in this model. It was a bit as if the manufacturer had let its engineers have fun with one simple instruction: design an electric vehicle the way you would like to have one.

We then discovered a car that was already very successful, particularly well equipped and original, but also very efficient for its size. Two years later, Hyundai hit the market with its Ioniq electric sedan, which also convinced its users.

In retrospect, Korean car batteries were found to withstand years and tens of thousands of kilometers very well, maintaining good capacity for a long time.

Kia Soul EV: less than 15,000 euros

With its 27 kWh battery, the Soul EV was credited with a range of 212 km NEDC, then around 250 km adopting the 30 kWh package in March 2017. In the field it will be better to rely on just 140 km on mixed cycle today , except for eco-driving enthusiasts. The top of the range Ultimate features heated leather seats for the 4 main seats, as well as a Harman Kardon audio system coupled with rings of light around the speakers at the front.

Kia Soul EV

The vehicle’s behavior is generally very healthy and the machine knows how to swallow winding roads on dry ground. On the other hand, avoid putting it with bad tires that would cause surprising behavior when the road is slippery. Like the impression of accelerating when the machine no longer finds grip and regeneration is suddenly released.

This model is now under 15,000 euros. Before the current price increase observed in the used electric vehicle market, it was possible to find one below 12,000 euros. The must: Soul EV Ultimate 30 kWh with panoramic glass roof. But it’s more expensive. Please note: fast loading to the CHAdeMO standard, which is likely to decrease in the next few years.

Hyundai Ioniq: less than 15,000 euros

Appearing on the trendy French market in 2016, the Hyundai Ioniq sedan inaugurated the series of models that are available in hybrids, rechargeable hybrids and 100% electric. The latter is immediately identified in front by its full grille. The first users also very much appreciated the equipment and exceptional efficiency of this model, which, however, will not be easy to find second-hand today.

Already due to a relatively low number of copies sold new in France. Then, as SUVs are more popular, second-hand prices for this sedan have sometimes dropped quite a bit, flirting with 10,000 euros. Enough to find buyers quickly with skyrocketing fuel prices.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Electric drivers using the eco-driving card have achieved exceptionally low fuel consumption with the electric Ioniq on a single charge. Even with the first 28 kWh battery, some users still exceed 250 km in summer and approach 200 km in winter. Just in case, count a good fifty kilometers less. Watch the set of paddles on the steering wheel to quickly modify the regeneration power and get the lowest consumption.

For 2020, the electric Hyundai Ioniq has undergone significant changes, including an increased power capacity to 38.3 kWh. Hence the possibility of reaching 300 km of autonomy, and even more in the best conditions. Also, with the new endowment, a more readable and usable 10.2-inch touchscreen.

It’s mainly the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist that concentrate the negative reviews. Might as well do without it, because it’s not very useful.

Kia e-Soul: from 25,000 euros

In 2019, the Kia e-Soul arrives in France to replace the Soul EV. If the overall shape of the body is maintained, the new electric SUV brings significant improvements. And this is particularly the case with the battery. Two possibilities are offered for the WLTP ranges in the combined cycle of 277 or 452 km: 39 or 64 kWh, powered respectively by a 100 or 150 kW engine.

With the best setup, it’s now possible to travel farther and take the highway in a less stressful way. Sobriety remains relevant as long as you practice eco-driving. Driving at 110 km/h at full cost with headwind can cause fuel consumption to rise to 20 kWh/100 km. With the lightest foot, it is possible to feel comfortable on these roads not exceeding 15 kWh/100 km.

The new machine adopted CSS fast charging and paddles on the steering wheel to play with regenerative energy. It then becomes possible to stop without touching the brake pedal, simply pressing the left lever until it stops.

Kia e-Soul

The interior darkened with the omnipresence of black. Voice recognition has taken a real leap forward. What is valuable to indicate a distant destination. The GPS will know how to take you to Esté Brieulque, for example. It’s up to you to understand that it’s Saint-Brieuc! Driving aids have improved a lot and serious effort has been made in terms of traction on slippery roads.

Currently, it will be difficult to find a 64 kWh unit for less than 30,000 euros other than the basic finish. Despite being patient and quick to pick up the phone…

Hyundai Kona electric: from 20,000 euros

With the Kona, it was clear that Hyundai wanted to move forward with its Kia brand by offering the close and original rival Niro. We found the pack/motor couplings (39 kWh/100 kW and 64 kWh/150 kW) already seen on e-Soul.

But its more dynamic body and different tires for models made in Europe give this electric car a WLTP combined cycle range of up to 484 km. Again, carefree users manage to achieve this estimate. They are also extremely pleased with this car whose main weakness is once again on the steering aids side.

Hyundai Kona

As with contemporary Kia models, the Lane Keeping Aid can be dangerous or, at the very least, worrying. It is absolutely necessary to turn it off when driving on narrow country roads. Otherwise, it will tend to send it to the vehicle ahead when it turns right to make crossing easier.

Also, as with e-Soul and e-Niro, all settings (power regeneration, driving mode, lane keeping, etc.) are lost each time the car is used. Before walking, you should therefore start by playing them. Imagine having to adjust the driver’s seat every time you use it: just plain unpleasant in the long run!

For comfort, the atmosphere on board, the ergonomics of the controls, etc. : The electric Hyundai Kona is really a very captivating model. Please note that the machine was restyled in early 2021 and was subject to a major recall due to the risk of battery fire. After several months, some owners are still waiting for this intervention.

Kia e-Niro: from 25,000 euros

A cousin of the electric Hyundai Kona, the Kia e-Niro has a slightly more generous footprint: 4,375 x 1,805 m, against 4,205 x 1,800 m. For a similar height (1.57m for the Kona vs 1.56m for the e-Niro), Kia’s electric SUV has a longer wheelbase by 10cm (2.7m versus 2.6m).

All this means that if you prefer space on board, like families and taxi drivers or VTC for example, it is the e-Niro that will undoubtedly interest you the most. The trunk, for example, can swallow between 451 and 1,405 liters of luggage, depending on whether or not you sacrificed the rear seat. For comparison, the numbers drop to 332 and 1,114 liters in the Hyundai Kona.

Kia and Niro

The choice of battery/motor groups is identical: 39 kWh/100 kW and 64 kWh/150 kW. It’s hard to tell the 2 Korean fashion cousins ​​apart other than the style and space on board.

Unlike Hyundai, Kia chose not to install a heat pump for France. What many readers criticize. However, during our comparative test in January 2019, in winter temperatures, we did not find significant differences in consumption.

The price could be the final argument that will direct you preferentially to the electric Kona available occasionally from 20,000 euros. Which will be very difficult for the rarely seen e-Niro below 25,000 euros. With the new model arriving in a few months, it is possible to consider a price drop for this electric SUV.

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