The electric SUVs are here. They are good-looking and aiming to start a trend.
Hyundai Kona and the MG ZS EV, are the first electric SUVs of the country. With its sporty design, the Kona looks stylish. The LED exterior lighting elements adds another level of sharp design to it. Distinctive lifestyle set itself apart for distinctive designs and the Kona exhibits youthful design elements. The MG ZS carries a subdued & significant design that holds a strong European influence. The London-eye headlamps are inspired by the famous British landmark. At the front, the MG logo flips open to reveal the charging port. It looks quite neat and feels a little futuristic.
The Kona is available in 5 gorgeous colors- Polar White, Typhoon Silver, Marina Blue, Phantom Black and Polar White with phantom black roof. The MG ZS EV comes in two variants. The top-notch of the lineup is called 'Exclusive” that comes in three color variants - Ferris white, Copenhagen blue, and Currant red. Another variant called the 'Excite' comes with just two color variants except for the blue one. This is the second car of this British brand in India and it has been able to meet tech, connectivity, and the design preference of its market.
The interiors of both these cars have been kept minimalistic for better convenience and signify that simple is the new smart. Be it the rotary mode selector on the ZS EV or the pushbuttons in the Kona. The use of leather and soft-touch materials inside both the EVs provides the sensation of leisure and richness. The quality of interiors feels vaguely better in the ZS EV.
The cabin feels more spacious helped by a huge panoramic sky roof that lets you gaze at the clear sky. The legroom is abundant as the floor is flat in both the EVs. The ZS EV gets 6-way adjustable seats which are electric in the exclusive variant while the Hyundai Kona gets a 10-way power driver seat. The ZS EV has an 8-inch voice command enabled infotainment screen while the Hyundai Kona gets a 7-inch touchscreen display with radio, USB, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and voice recognition.
Both the EVs come with hill-start assist control, tyre-pressure monitoring system, heated ORVM’s, ABS(Anti-lock braking system), ESC (Electronic stability control) and energy regenerative features, which is termed by KERS ( Kinetic energy regenerative system) in MG ZS and smart regeneration in the Hyundai Kona. The EV has followed assists to keep your car in the lane, smart cruise control that monitors the slowing speed of the vehicles ahead and applies the regenerative brakes automatically to be more energy efficient. The car is also equipped with the wireless charger and has four different driving modes
The ZS EV is also called the 'Internet car' and this is the space where it is quite advanced to its combatant. The car has 3 modes- Sports, Eco and Normal. There is one feature that is worth appreciation, labeled E-call where the E stands for an emergency. Well, the practicality of the feature in India stands null for now. The feature sends a message and location to a 24/7 pulse hub in case the airbags are deployed. The pulse hub calls the owner and the car for immediate assistance. The feature can save lives. Pulse hub is a network of beautifully designed and engineered hubs that connects the community, facilitates the best in digital infrastructure and tracks the environment. So basically it's just a big-screen smartphone that can be accessed by the public. It's the modern-day or smart-city tech. But, a few years down the line, could enter the Indian cities as well.
The MG ZS EV also gets a PM 2.5 filter. If the measurement is 200 AQI or 300 AQI outside, the level inside the car will be safe i.e less than 30 AQI, in just under 5 minutes. It also has rain-sensing wipers, etc. It also gets i-smart EV 2.0 connected car features like geo-fencing where you can set a boundary and receive a notification if the car leaves the safe perimeter preset by you. MG has also facilitated Wifi-connectivity in the car, where you can connect your infotainment screen to the web through your hotspot and it becomes like a personal mini tablet on the spot and the finest part is, it has over the air updates.
One can also check the weather forecast up to five days, get range alerts in case the vehicle can’t make it to the final destination and it will automatically send you the nearest location for a charging station.
The Kona is very refined and smooth to drive. The synchronous motor sends roundabout 134 PS and 143 PS of power; 395 Nm and 353 Nm of torque to the front wheels of the Hyundai Kona and the MG ZS EV respectively. Kona lacked behind in the 0-100 kmph speed test by 1.2 seconds. Pressing the throttle down will have you believe that the figures mean such power. It will just pin you to the seat! Electric torques are worth more since it all arrives the moment you put your foot on the throttle and a quick remedy for petrolheads lamenting the lack of thrill in the EVs.
Hyundai also offers a warranty on the battery for 3 or 8 years at unlimited kilometers or if it is under a run of 1,60,000 kms respectively while MG offers a warranty for a period of 5-years and unlimited kilometers driven.
According to the Korean brand, it claims a heroic range of 450 kms at an economic speed. Although, the range will deviate a little depending on the usability, driving conditions and average speed of the car. MG claims a range of 340 kms at the economic speed which again will fluctuate depending on the factors mentioned above.
Hyundai Kona provides a home charging unit that takes around 6 hours for a full charge. Besides, the owner can also go to the closest dealership for a quick charge and the company has also planned on installing such charging units on selected 1000 fuel stations that can charge 80% of the battery in close to an hour. The car also comes equipped with a 2.8 KW In-cable control box (ICCB) which can be plugged right into a normal wall socket but the only drawback is it will take a long 19-hour gap for the battery to get fully charged.
The ZS EV comes with an AC fast charger that is provided and installed by MG at the buyer's home or office and refills 80% of the battery within 6-8 hrs. It also comes with a 3-pin portable charger that can be easily inserted into a 15A socket at home or office but again, completes 80% of the refilling in 16-18 hrs. MG will be providing DC Super-fast chargers 24X7 and the company claims that these charging units will have the capability to complete an 80% charge in around 50 mins. The company also claims to provide AC fast chargers at the dealership along key routes in satellite cities and lastly, the 24X7 roadside assistance in case of emergency.
The Hyundai Kona is priced at Rs. 23.7 lakhs, ex-showroom, Mumbai. Yet to be launched, the 2 variants of the MG ZS EV would lie somewhat between 25-29 lakhs, ex-showroom. The bookings have been opened already and the sum amount for booking is Rs. 50,000. EVs are just in their initial stage in the Indian market and is trying to increase penetration in the market. The EV’s have a high initial investment but the fact cannot be discarded that these vehicles have very low-maintenance charges/running costs as compared to the fossil-fueled cars.
Safety and After Sales Service
Both EVs have been awarded a 5-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test. The Hyundai Kona gets 6 airbags, all-round disc brakes, traction control, hill assist, seatbelt pre-tensioners and speed limit warning. Moreover, Hyundai is offering a 3-year warranty on the car and a whopping 8-year warranty for the battery, which should satisfy everyone including those who are apprehensive about the life of the battery.
The MG ZV ES gets 6 airbags, ABS with EBD and ESP. The car feels structurally sound and stable at higher speeds. MG has set up service centres across major cities in India and most owners of the Hector seem to be pretty satisfied with the service they're getting. MG Motor also offers a 5-year warranty with the battery so that's one trouble out the door.
MG Motors is yet to expand and develop in India for now. Their network chain is not as strong as the that of Hyundai. The latter has over 1200 showrooms across 761 cities of India whereas MG dealerships, as of now are only limited to just 2 states and 5 cities in India. Hence, easy availability can act as a catalyst for reliability, trust and might dominate the internet car instead of the fact that it is loaded with technology, specs, and new features. The Hyundai Kona also offers supremacy over in terms of the economy since it has some extra range on a full charge.
Having said that, the MG ZS offers more cabin room, extra boot space, and better ride quality to the second-row passengers. Another perk that MG Motors has over Hyundai is its price-point and an extra alternative in its line-up. One can think about compromising with the high-end features and save somewhere around Rs. 3-4 lakhs. These are the new energy vehicles and an imminent shift away from fossils. Both cars are perfect for urban usage and especially if the dealership lies any close to you and offers good maintenance costs. The choice lies in your hands.