Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs. Hyundai Kona Electric: Which one to get?

Your choices for mainstream electric vehicles with over 200 miles of range per charge have grown significantly over the last few years. The Tesla Model 3 isn’t the only game in town anymore. You’ve got entries from Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Kia all vying for a space in your garage. Some entries have a longer range than the other with the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus representing two of the three that can travel over 250 miles per charge. Which one should you get though?

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs Hyundai Kona Electric exterior

The biggest difference between the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Kona Electric is that the former is an RWD compact sedan while the latter is an FWD subcompact crossover. Lower, sleeker and longer, the Model 3 is more aerodynamic and stylish. The car sports the same coupe-like appearance as most modern sedans, giving the Model 3 a bit more flair. In comparison, the Kona Electric is upright and has a liftgate instead of a conventional trunk. You also get an unconventional mug with the same two-tier look that’s proliferated across Hyundai’s utility vehicle lineup since the Kona arrived for the 2018 model year.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs Hyundai Kona Electric interior

Tesla’s super minimalist interior differs from Hyundai’s because of its lack of buttons. The Kona is a little more conventional, sporting a combination of buttons, knobs, and the main touchscreen. Both vehicles build quality land right in the mainstream territory; there’s a good mix of soft and hard materials but neither car pushes into premium territory. Four people will fit comfortably inside the Model 3’s cabin, making it a practical choice. The Kona Electric, on the other hand, has tighter rear seats, and the raised floor cuts into overall interior space.

The Model 3 and Kona Electric are about equal in terms of cargo-carrying capability. Despite the latter having a hatch instead of a conventional trunk, the Kona’s tidier dimensions limit its overall interior space even with the rear seats folded. You also don’t have a frunk like the Tesla, which evens things out between the two vehicles.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs Hyundai Kona Electric tech features

Both the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Kona Electric are available with the latest driver assistance features. However, Tesla takes the cake because it gets the Autopilot semi-autonomous driving assist technology as standard. If you want to upgrade the system with the summon, automatic lane change, and the Navigate on Autopilot capabilities, you’ll need to pay an extra $10,000.

The Hyundai Kona Electric comes with collision prevention tech standard but you need to go up to the range-topping Ultimate trim to get extras like pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. Unfortunately, the Kona Electric misses out on Highway Driving Assist, which is Hyundai’s semi-autonomous driving assistance feature that adds extra steering assist and lane centering.

SEE ALSO: Tesla apparently values “Full Self-Driving” at exactly $0

Hyundai redeems itself in the infotainment front because all versions of the Kona Electric feature a user-friendly interface. Physical buttons and knobs mean consumers will find the layout familiar, cutting the overall learning curve. Even with the larger 10.25-inch display found on the Ultimate trim, Hyundai’s infotainment system is one of the easiest to use thanks to its quick responses and simple controls.

Tesla lumps everything on the large 15-inch touchscreen, meaning you need to dig through multiple submenus to get to what you need. That creates a huge learning curve and you’ll need to take some time to get used to everything from your speedometer to car settings all located in one place.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs Hyundai Kona Electric driving impressions

Both the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Kona Electric are two of the better-driving mainstream electric vehicles. They offer great handling thanks to their low center of gravities and well-tuned suspension. The Tesla, however, is the sportier of the two thanks to its low-slung stance, wider tires, and more connected steering. Being a sedan, it’s closer to the ground than the Kona, allowing it to hug the road better and offer superior body control. You get quicker acceleration too. Thanks to the Model 3 being RWD in Standard Range Plus flavor, the front wheels don’t have to pull double duty.

The Kona Electric drives more like a tall hatchback, allowing you to dart around traffic and squeeze through tight spaces quickly. You get plenty of torque from the electric motor to help you move around easily. However, the Kona’s FWD configuration and eco-focused rubber mean the car can sometimes struggle to get traction, especially from a standstill where you’ll chirp the tires if you mash the throttle. At least the Kona rides well and adeptly absorbs road imperfections, keeping passengers nicely isolated.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus vs Hyundai Kona Electric pricing

At $37,990, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus starts at $575 less than the Hyundai Kona Electric before any incentives. Once you start adding options like a two-tone interior, 19-inch alloy wheels, extra-cost colors, and the upgraded Autopilot system with the summon function, self-navigating capability, and auto lane change, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus will run you $52,490.

The Hyundai Kona Electric adds more features as you go up the model grades. In its priciest version, which is the Ultimate grade, the Kona Electric will run you $46,775 or $5,715 less than a loaded Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. Unlike Tesla, Hyundai still has federal tax credits, meaning you can still qualify for the full $7,500 plus available local or state incentives.


Get the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus if you want:

  • Sporty driving dynamics
  • The latest semi-autonomous driving technologies
  • A stylish exterior
  • Quick acceleration

Get the Hyundai Kona Electric if you’re looking for:

  • A slightly higher driving position
  • City-friendly exterior footprint
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • A long warranty
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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