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2019 Hyundai Kona EV

Starting Price:  $37,495 | Price Yours

Above Average:  Range, SUV-like body, standard features, warranty, standard DC fast charging, infotainment setup

Below Average: Choppy ride, small back seat, some cheap interior plastics

Consensus: A long-range electric champion packaged as a stylish compact crossover loaded with features at a reasonable price.

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2019 Nissan Leaf

Starting Price:  $30,885 | Price Yours

Above Average:  Proven track record, roomy interior, large dealer network, price

Below Average: Middle of the pack range, futuristic styling

Consensus: A proven entity, the Leaf offers 150-mile range, a number of high-tech driver-assists and a well-established network of dealer-based charging stations.

The 2019 Hyundai Kona EV is new this year, based on the popular Kona subcompact crossover. As is typical for Hyundai cars, the Kona EV arrives with an attractive price, a long list of standard and available features and a fantastic standard warranty. Most impressive, however, is the Kona EV’s 258-mile range, which easily out-distances the Nissan Leaf, as well as the just about every other EV in this class. It is also one of the few cars in its price range to come standard with a DC fast charger. The Kona EV’s SUV-like styling helps it look cooler than most car-based electrics, although its rear seat legroom and cargo space remain on the small side. The Kona EV offers a full suite of standard driver assists including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and automatic high beams.

Now in its second generation, the 2019 Nissan Leaf is a long-time player in the electric car field. The Nissan offers a mid-pack range of about 150 miles on a charge, which should be enough to satisfy most daily commuters. Interior accommodations are about the same as in the Kona EV, although the Leaf does offer more cargo space and a more upscale vibe. However, when it comes to the infotainment systems, the Kona EV’s larger screen and better overall system wins. The Leaf is a very easy car to drive, with a smooth ride, quick steering and near silent interior. Nissan’s clever e-Pedal allows one pedal operation of the car, automatically decelerating when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator. It will even bring the car to a complete stop if the driver doesn’t intervene. Using a Level 2 charger (220-240V), it takes about 7.5 hours to charge the Leaf, while the Kona’s larger batter pack takes a bit longer at 9.5 hours. Using a DC fast charging station, an 80 percent charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes and 1 hour, respectively.

Hyundai Kona Advantages

The Kona offers superior range, a better warranty, a more powerful electric motor and better warranty coverage than the Nissan Leaf.  It also has more ground clearance and a better infotainment setup.

Nissan Leaf Advantages

The Leaf costs significantly less than the Kona EV, offers a longer established dealer infrastructure and a proven track record.  The Leaf has more cargo space than the Kona, more front seat headroom and more rear seat shoulder room. It also charges faster.

Similarities

Both cars can be equipped with a DC fast charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus advanced driver safety assists like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping.

Final Recommendation

Although it costs nearly $7,000 more than a base Nissan Leaf, the Kona EV’s impressive list of standard features combined with its even more impressive 258-mile range make it the most logical choice. Those who don’t suffer range anxiety, however, will probably enjoy pocketing some of that cash or using it to add features to the Leaf. Both cars qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit, as well as other local incentives that vary by state.

If you're ready to go electric, see what you'll pay at the dealership. Get a free price quote.

  2019 Hyundai Kona EV 2019 Nissan Leaf
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 150 kW AC synchronous 110 kW AC synchronous
Battery 64 kWh lithium ion 40 kWh lithium ion
Horsepower 201 hp  147 hp
Torque 290 lb-ft 236 lb-ft
EPA City/Highway Fuel Economy 132/108 MPGe 124/99 MPGe
EPA-estimated full-charge range 258 miles 150 miles
Specs    
Warranty 5-years/60,000 miles 3-years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating n/a n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 102.4 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 164.6 inches 176.4 inches
Width 70.9 inches 70.5 inches
Height 61.2 inches 61.4 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.6 inches 41.2 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.7 inches 37.3 inches
Legroom, Front 41.5 inches 42.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 33.4 inches 33.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.5 inches 54.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 54.5 inches 52.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 94.1 cu. ft. 92.4 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 19.2 cu. ft. 23.6 cu. ft.
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