2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 or 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric: Which one to buy?

Car shopping sometimes reveals things you hadn’t thought of when you first started researching what you wanted to buy. In certain cases, you’ll find one brand has two extremely compelling battery-electric vehicles in the lineup. That’s the case with the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric. These two are among the best BEVs on the market even though the latter is now in the latter half of its existence.

Which one should you buy? Let’s find out and see how they fit in your life so you can put the right vehicle in your driveway.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric exterior

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric are among the most distinctive BEVs on the market. With its retro-futuristic looks inspired by the Hyundai Pony Coupe of the 1970s, you’re not mistaking the Ioniq 5 for anything else on the road. Between its pixel LED lighting, sharp angles, and an upright greenhouse, this big hatchback looks like it came out of an old video game from the late 1980s and 1990s.

With the Kona Electric, Hyundai kept the family look but gave it a different twist, especially with this refresh. The front end is devoid of any patterns and the light clusters have softer curves to highlight its focus on efficiency. Together with its tidy exterior footprint, the Kona Electric looks like a proper urban dweller, a subcompact SUV that feels more like a slightly lifted hatchback, especially with its body-colored fender flares.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric interior

Things start to differentiate once you get inside each vehicle. The Ioniq 5 doubles down on practicality by giving endless options to reconfigure the cabin as needed. There’s a movable center console that’s big enough to fit a handbag, and the rear seats have generous reclining and sliding motions. You also have an underfloor storage area and lots of little cubbies for your mobile devices and other small items. However, you don’t have a flat floor if you slide the rear seats all the way forward because there’s a gap between the seat backs and the cargo area.

Five people fit comfortably in the Ioniq 5 thanks to the flat floor and generous interior volume, which provides great head- and legroom. There’s also a neat lounge mode for the driver’s seat that reclines it back so you can use it to nap or chill while charging or before you continue on that long drive.

Being the smaller vehicle, it’s no surprise that the Kona Electric isn’t as practical. Although you can fit four adults in a pinch, it’s best to keep the rear seats down on long drives because there’s not much legroom back there. At least the Kona also has clever storage solutions like the space underneath the center console. The second row also folds completely flat, giving you respectable amounts of usable cargo space.

In terms of fit and finish, the Ioniq 5 is the more upscale car, featuring materials that wouldn’t feel out of place in a vehicle wearing a premium badge. There’s also good sound insulation, adding to the serene cabin experience.

The Kona, on the other hand, has more hard plastic but that’s no surprise considering it’s the less expensive car. Padding and soft-touch surfaces are used strategically in places where your arms would fall and near frequently touched areas. However, more sound deadening could be added because there’s a lot of wind noise entering the Kona’s cabin. Hyundai makes extensive use of recycled and upcycled materials on the Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric but the former utilizes the higher amount because the only piece of leather in the cabin is the steering wheel.

Due to their batteries being mounted under the passenger compartment, both the Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric have raised floors. This results in an odd seating position that feels like you’re on top of the vehicle. Additionally, passengers in the rear of the Kona will find their knees bent at an odd angle. In the Ioniq 5, the driver’s seating position is a little awkward because of how the seats are mounted. The front part of the cushion also doesn’t raise independently; instead, the seat tilts backward to give you additional thigh support.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric tech features

Hyundai’s infotainment system is among the most intuitive regardless of which version you get. The newer iteration in the Ioniq 5 uses two 12.3-inch displays while the Kona has smaller 10.25-inch units. Both are quick, responsive, and don’t have many submenus, making it easy to get to what you need.

The Ioniq 5 uses a mix of physical and haptic feedback controls but they don’t detract from the overall ease of use even with more functions added to the main touch screen. It also has an available augmented reality head-up display that gives you directions with active graphics like arrows pointing to where you’re tuning next.

The Kona Electric has next to no learning curve because it sticks to traditional controls. As a result, it’s slightly easier to use and won’t intimidate consumers who aren’t tech-savvy. Both are available with an upgraded audio system that’s clear and easy to customize. The Harman Kardon unit in the Kona is slightly better than the Ioniq 5’s Bose system mainly because its volume increases are more consistent and it does a better job covering the cabin.

Hyundai’s Smart Sense driver assistance suite is available on the Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric but the former has a newer version. You notice it right away because it’s more accurate with its corrections when you start to drift and it reacts sooner the moment it sees another vehicle merging in front of you.

The Ioniq 5 also features automatic lane changing, which is shared with Genesis vehicles and the Kia EV6. As for the Kona Electric, it’s best to keep the distancing component on the middle setting because it brakes too late upon detecting slower traffic ahead.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric driving impressions

Since it doubles down on being practical and family-friendly, it’s not surprising that the Ioniq 5 possesses a supremely comfortable ride. It does a fantastic job isolating the passenger compartment from road imperfections without feeling like it’s floating from one cloud to another. Complementing it is great handling, accurate steering, and good body control, giving you confidence on winding roads or evasive maneuvers.

The Kona Electric isn’t far off but you’ll immediately notice it’s slightly stiffer and doesn’t have as much grip. That’s due to low-rolling-resistance tires that don’t provide much traction and are focused on being as efficient as possible. Its chassis is surprisingly capable just like its big brother but it quickly overwhelms its tires especially when driven enthusiastically. Despite all that, the Kona Electric still manages to be a great daily driver and its steering is among the better ones in the subcompact SUV segment.

The Ioniq 5 is available in two battery sizes. A 58-kWh pack is offered only in the SE grade with a single electric motor making 168 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This version is EPA-rated at 220 miles per charge. The 77.4-kWh pack, which is optional on the SE and standard on the SEL and Limited, gives you more power and range. Single-motor long-range variants are good for 303 miles per charge while horsepower increases to 225.

Opting for the dual-motor model gets you 320 hp and 446 lb-ft, and a driving range of 256 miles. To go with its smooth, easygoing character, the Ioniq 5’s power delivery is linear and seamless like a giant gentle wave. Don’t let it fool you though because it can still pin you hard into your seat if you mash the throttle, especially the dual-motor models. You’re also gaining speed at an alarming rate so make sure to keep an eye on how fast you’re going.

Despite it being the older vehicle, the Kona Electric still manages to stay competitive thanks to its standard 64-kWh battery pack. This allows it to travel 258 miles per charge, and its single electric motor puts out 201 hp and 291 lb-ft. Stomp on the accelerator and the little crossover accelerates with authority. You need to be careful when doing so from a standstill because you can end up doing a burnout or endlessly spinning the front wheels due to the tires’ lack of grip. Once it clamps on, though, you can easily get around slower traffic and get up steep inclines.

Both vehicles have four levels of regenerative braking including full one-pedal driving. The big difference is that the Kona Electric requires you to hold the left paddle to bring the car to a complete stop, something you don’t have to do in the Ioniq 5. Hyundai’s BEVs have excellent brake operation thanks to seamless transitions between regenerative and mechanical braking. As a result, it feels normal and won’t jolt you if you have to suddenly stop.

Charging is where the Ioniq 5 shows that it’s a class leader. Thanks to the E-GMP platform’s 800-volt architecture, it can charge from 10 to 80% in as little as 18 minutes, which is among the quickest. The Ioniq 5’s peak DC charging rate of 235 kW also helps, especially because it can sustain it for prolonged periods even as it gets close to 80%.

The Kona Electric peaks at 100 kW, allowing it to charge from 10 to 80% in 47 minutes. This shows the car’s age because it’s now on the slow end when it comes to charging, especially in the age where the average peak DC charging rate is between 120 to 150 kW.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric pricing

Pricing for the Ioniq 5 starts at $40,925 for the base SE trim with the 58-kWh battery pack. A range-topping Limited grade will set you back just over $52,000 in single-motor configuration or roughly $56,000 for the more powerful dual-motor variant.

The Hyundai Kona Electric is the value leader with the SEL trim priced from $35,295. A loaded Limited model is still quite affordable at just under $44,000 and gets features like ventilated front seats and a full suite of driver assistance features. Both the Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric are eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit plus local and state incentives.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric summary

You have two great choices with the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric. While it’s clear that the former is superior, that doesn’t always mean it’s the right car for your needs.

The Ioniq 5 is comfortable, practical, and versatile all while maintaining great road manners. Its little brother, on the other hand, is more user-friendly, less expensive, and can easily fit on tight roads and narrow city streets.

Regardless of which one you get; you’re getting two excellent BEVs that bring a lot to the table.

Get the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 if you want:

  • Comfortable ride
  • Maximum versatility
  • Super quick charging

Get the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric if you want:

  • Traditional infotainment system
  • City-friendly size
  • Lower sticker price
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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