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2023 Hyundai Kona Electric: Choosing the Right Trim

The 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric enjoys all the styling, features, and reliability of its gasoline counterpart but with zero tailpipe emissions. With a range of nearly 260 miles, the Kona can hold its own against competitors like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and even the more expensive Tesla Model 3.

Offered in three trims, the Kona Electric provides a range of features and prices that fit nicely into most consumer budgets. Unfortunately, recently signed federal legislation means the Hyundai Kona EV no longer qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit.

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SE (starting at $33,550)

The entry-level Kona Electric SE is pulled by its front wheels and powered by a 150-kW powertrain producing 201 horsepower.

Like its gasoline counterpart, the EV Kona places safety front and center. Standard driver aids for the SE include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and lane-following assist.

Additional safety systems include a driver attention monitor, another that reminds the driver to check the rear seat before leaving the vehicle, and a third that monitors and warns exiting passengers of danger from approaching vehicles.

Also standard is a rearview monitor, hill start assist, and a tire mobility kit instead of a traditional spare tire.

The SE comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance tires, heated side mirrors, a rear window wiper/washer, automatic on/off headlights, and a proximity key keyless entry system with push-button start.

The SE features a 2-tone black painted roof.

A look inside the Kona Electric SE reveals cloth upholstery covering an 8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support and a 60/40 flat-folding rear seat with a folding center armrest.

A tilt/telescoping steering wheel comes standard, as do heated front seats, single-zone automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and auto up/down power front windows.

The SE includes cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, illuminated vanity mirrors and sun visor extensions, and Hyundai’s Drive Mode Select with Comfort, Eco, and Sport modes.

The SE features an 8-inch color touchscreen display coupled with a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio audio system. SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto are all standard.

The system supports Siri, Google Now, and Hyundai’s Bluelink-connected car apps. With Bluelink, you can remotely operate the car’s climate controls, set a charging schedule, locate a lost or stolen vehicle, and call for roadside assistance, all from the convenience of your smartphone.

For charging, there are two USB ports up front (one a data/charge port) and one rear seat USB port.

With the $1,295 destination fee, the 2023 Hyundai Kona EV SE costs $34,845. On a 60-month loan with 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $626. See 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SE models for sale

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SE includes:

  • Wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay – This allows easy connection to a phone’s apps, music, or navigation without needing an open USB port and cable.
  • Driver aids – A complete roster of driver aids helps the driver avoid accidents, keep the car from drifting over lane markers, and even spot vehicles hiding in the blind spots.
  • 8-way power driver’s seat – It makes it easy to find a comfortable position and includes power lumbar for better lower back support.

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL (starting at $37,300)

The SEL builds off the SE’s standard equipment, adding more comfort and convenience features and nearly $4,000 to the bottom line.

The SEL includes a power sunroof, a battery warmer system, LED interior lighting, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen display featuring navigation and over-the-air map updates.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain but lose their wireless status.

Rounding out the SEL’s upgrades is a wireless charging pad, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Hyundai’s Digital Key, which allows your smartphone to act as a key for unlocking and starting the car.

With the $1,295 destination fee, the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL costs $38,595. On a 60-month loan with 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to approximately $694. See 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL models for sale

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL includes:

  • Power sunroof – Allows light in the cabin when it’s closed and lots of fresh air when it’s opened.
  • Navigation with OTA updates – The Kona SEL’s navigation system includes over-the-air map updates, so you’ll always be current.
  • Wireless charging pad – This feature eliminates the need for a compatible charging cable and USB port.

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited (starting at $41,550)

The top-of-the-line Limited costs a good deal more than the SE or SEL, but it does bring several high-end features not usually found in a subcompact EV.

Building off the SEL, the Limited gains LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The Limited’s interior touts leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

The standard forward collision avoidance system gains cyclist detection. At the same time, the cruise control moves to an adaptive system that can automatically slow or stop the vehicle as needed in stop-and-go traffic.

The Limited also features Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist I, which keeps the Kona EV centered in its lane, even when the highway is gently curved.

With the $1,295 destination fee, the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited costs $42,845. On a 60-month loan with 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to about $770. See 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited models for sale

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited includes:

  • Ventilated front seats – These cooling front seats help keep your backside cool and dry, an especially nice feature when wearing dress clothes on a sweltering summer day.
  • Adaptive cruise control – The Limited’s adaptive cruise control system maintains a set distance between the Kona EV and the car directly ahead, automatically slowing, speeding up, and even stopping the vehicle as necessary.
  • Harman Kardon audio – With so many choices for high-quality streaming music services, it only makes sense to have a high-quality audio system to play them.


What is the best 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric trim?

For the money, the base Kona Electic SE is more than sufficient. You can wirelessly stream navigation from your phone, which makes the SEL’s navigation a moot point.

That said, if you can afford the Limited trim, its upgraded safety, driver-assist systems, audio, and luxury features make it the best choice of the three.

How long does it take to charge a 2023 Hyundai Kona EV?

Using a Level 3 DC fast charging station, the 2023 Kona Electric can go from a 10% charge to an 80% charge in about 50 minutes. When using a Level 2 household charger connected to a 240-volt outlet, it will take a little over nine hours to fully charge the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric.

Which 2023 Hyundai Kona EV trim level offers the most safety?

In crash testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Kona high marks for safety.

As for the safest trim, that would the Kona Electric Limited. It has adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and a better forward collision avoidance system.

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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