After the gasoline and hybrid versions of the second generation of the Kauai arrived in Portugal in July, January 2024 will be the month chosen to see the launch of the Kauai Electric, the South Korean SUV that promises a range of more than 500 kilometers between recharges. Like its predecessor, it will be offered in the national market with two power levels, higher than the previous ones, which correspond to as many levels of autonomy.
This new Hyundai SUV grows considerably compared to its predecessor, gaining 15 cm in length and 6 cm in wheelbase, all to fulfill the manufacturer’s desire to guarantee more space in the cabin and in the trunk. At 4,355 m long, Kauai is increasingly positioned among the largest SUVs in the B segment. This option leads to a little heavier80 kg with the small battery (which increases its capacity from 39.2 to 48.4 kWh, plus 23.5%) and 13 kg with the large battery (which only increases from 64 to 65.4 kWh useful, plus a 2.2%), a weight that is mainly due to the general increase in the capacity of the accumulators compared to the previous generation.
The aesthetics of the new model are more refined and attractive. A line of LEDs delimits the entire width of the front, as well as the rear. We try to get in and out of the cabin and handling is always easy, both front and rear., without forcing a 1.75 m tall individual to have to do great gymnastics to avoid hitting his head. Once inside, the absence of a longitudinal tunnel facilitates accommodation and moving from side to side, along the rear seat, which seemed a little more spacious, not only for the legs (the longer wheelbase helps), but also for the shoulders (an extra 2.5 cm) and the head (plus 1 cm).
Curiously, It is the trunk that has grown the most, now offering 466 liters, a far cry from the previous 332.The value can reach 1,300 liters with the rear seat folded, and the new Kauai battery also offers a frunk in the front part with 27 liters, ideal for housing charging cables. In addition to more space in the cabin and trunk, Users will appreciate the 220 V socket in the console next to the rear seat, as well as the possibility of using the CCS charging socket to draw power (3.6 kW) from the pack of batteries through the V2L system (vehicle to load)both ideal for recharging electric bicycles, the coffee maker or children’s toys.
What is it like behind the wheel?
We drove the new Kauai Electric on a short mixed route, which included a highway and a semi-urban area. The new generation of the Kauai is beginning to be liked by the new interior, with the two screens (the instrument panel and the central one) appearing together, in a solution similar to the one released by the Ioniq 5 and which is both functional and pleasant to the eye. user. Eye See. The software seems similar and easy to use, appearing the new Kauai battery more comfortable than the previous one, which can be explained by the longer wheelbase.
By changing the front seat for the rear, it is clear where space has been gained, The flat bottom makes it easy to accommodate three adults, who now have more leg and head room available. Gain is equally important in the trunk, with the frunk ensuring a place to store the charging cable, which can get quite dirty overnight outdoors on a rainy day.
The new generation of the Kauai Electric is faster to accelerate (0-100 km/h in 8.8 seconds versus 9.9, with the small battery, so with the large one it reaches this level in 7.8 seconds, instead of 7.9), also winning in terms of top speedannouncing 162 km/h instead of 155 km/hwith the Standard battery, to evolve from From 167 to 172 km/h in the Long Range version.
More power and, above all, more autonomy
The Kauai with battery was already offered in the previous generation with two power levels. The most affordable version was equipped with a 136 HP motor associated with an accumulator with a useful capacity of 39.2 kWh, while the most powerful version offered 204 HP and a 64 kWh battery. In the new generation, both power and battery capacity have been revised upwards.with the version called Standard that combines a 156 HP motor and a 48.4 kWh battery, so that the Kauai Electric Long Range offers 218 HP and 65.4 kWh.
We have already seen that the new generation of the Hyundai model gains in speed and acceleration capacity, but it will be even more important for potential customers that it also presents improvements in terms of consumption and autonomy. According to the South Korean brand, The standard Kauai range claims the ability to travel 377 km between charging station visits, representing a gain of 72 km or 23.6%.because it has 23.4% more battery. The Long Range version, whose battery capacity increased by only 2.2%, gained 6.2% in distance, managing to travel an additional 30 km, that is, reaching a total between recharges of 514 km.
Both batteries are made from lithium-ion polymers, and the cells are produced at LG Chem’s Polish factory and then transported to the neighboring Czech Republic, where Hyundai has an assembly line producing several models of the compact range, from From the Tucson to the i30, through the Kauai combustion engines and, of course, the electric ones. Very robotic, this production line offers the advantage of being able to produce a wide range of models without having to change tools, given the versatility of the line and the robotsalso manufactured by Hyundai.
When will it arrive and for how much?
Although the 2nd generation Kauai are now available with gasoline and hybrid combustion engines, The two electric versions will not be delivered to the first Portuguese interested parties until January 2024.. Prices remain a secret and Hyundai in Portugal hopes to announce exact values closer to the launch date.
The current Kauai Electric, with 136 HP and a 39.2 kWh battery, is offered at prices starting at 38 thousand euros, so slightly higher price expected for the new Kauai with 156 HP and 48.4 kWh. The same goes for the Long Range version, which in the previous generation (204 HP and 64 kWh) was sold for 43,000 euros and which, according to the wishes of Hyundai Portugal, will surely raise the bar. However, the room for maneuver for increases is reduced, with Tesla’s price drop and the discounts and promotions of some competitors, so we will be attentive to the positioning that the brand reserves for the new Kauai in Portugal.