Electric SUVs in India | Kona vs ZS vs Nexon EV

The burgeoning electric car market in India has recently witnessed the arrival of premium EVs like Hyundai Kona and MG eZS after humble early electric cars like e-Tigor, e20 and e-Verito. Tata Motors have also come up with Nexon EV based on proprietary powertrain technology Ziptronthat has been designed specifically for Indian driving conditions.

With three SUVs vying for the attention of early adopters in the space, we talk about their features and specifications, and how these EVs stack up against each other.

Design Aspects

Tata Nexon EV is a compact SUV and the only sub-4-meter car out of the three. While the main design features of ICE Nexon have been retained, some updates have been brought in for a fresh look and feel. Nexon EV gets new projector headlamps with DRLs and fog lamp assembly with cornering capabilities. The headlamp assembly is edgy compared to the Nexon. The front grill is quite contemporary, blue coloured pinnings at the grills look neat and convey the electric theme.

Nexon EV Image

Nexon EV is slightly wider than MG ZS EV and Kona. With the smallest of wheelbase out of the three, it gives an illusion of being a bigger car. The charging slot is located on top of the rear left tyre. We feel that LED headlamps still had room for improvement and TATA could have tried a different positioning of its charging slot.

MG ZS EV – The second car from the British manufacturer MG (owned by the Chinese SAIC group), puts up a show with eye-catching design details like the front grill, which might just be the best looking grill in the current market. The overall design of the vehicle makes it look perfect for the urban commute. Following up on the success of the ‘internet car’ Hector, ZS EV seems a perfect number two from MG who have taken the CKD (completely knocked down) route to assemble eZS in India.

MG ZS EV

The placement of the charging slot is in front, which is integrated very well with the grill. Gotta say that those rims look amazing too.

Hyundai Kona Electric is the best looking car of the three, in our opinion. It has a low stance, which makes it look a lot more premium than the other two. The headlamps are a LED unit, along with amazing looking DRL. Hyundai have finally decided to move on from their traditional hexagonal front grill design. Just like ZS EV, Kona also gets its charging slot in the front, which can be opened and closed with just a push.

Hyundai Kona EV

In the electric SUV segment, it looks like Hyundai Kona is the winner in terms of design. However, this doesn’t take away from the other two. Nexon EV looks a bit more like a civil crossover, and ZS EV looks like a family car, while Kona edges ahead in the appeal. 

Under the Hood – Performance Specifications

Here’s a quick summary of specifications of three electric SUVs:

Electric SUV parameters comparison
NEXON EV

Nexon EV features a 30.2 kW battery pack that is capable of extracting you a range of over 300 km, as claimed by the company on the basis of internal tests. In a real-world scenario, you can expect it to be less. The battery pack can be charged from 0 to 80% in an hour, using a fast charger while with the AC charger provided by the company, it would take up to 8 hours for a full charge.

Coming down to the motor characteristics, Nexon EV claims 129 PS of peak power, 245 Nm of torque, and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds. Although the top speed is not yet known, we estimate it to be somewhere in the range of 135 to 140 km/h, which will be electronically limited.

MG ZS EV

ZS EV carries a battery pack of 44.5 kWh, which is substantially large compared to Nexon and Kona. The range of the ZS can be expected to be somewhere in the 340 to 370 km region. Its fast charger is capable of charging the battery from 0 to 80% in 50 minutes, which is 10 minutes faster than Nexon EV.

The motor produces 143 PS of power and a massive torque of 353 Nm, which is op (overpowered). With these numbers it should not be a surprise that ZS is faster when it comes to 0 to 100 km/h, clocking a time of 8.5 seconds.

HYUNDAI KONA

Kona comes with a battery pack of 39.2 kWh, which is larger than Nexon EV but less than ZS EV. With the ARAI tested range of 451 km, Kona wins the range battle by a huge margin over its rivals. The battery pack can be charged using a DC fast charger, from 0 to 100%, in a mere 57 minutes. And with Type 2 AC charger, it takes slightly over 6 hours to fully charge.

The motor that powers this beauty of a car is a 136 PS, and 395 Nm beast. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds is pretty good but given the massive amounts of torque, could have been better. The electronically limited top speed of the Kona Electric is 155 km/h.

Hyundai Kona electric seems like the winner in the performance department as well, with MG ZS EV coming very close.

Feature Set Comparison

TATA Nexon EV

Interiors – Most of the interiors of Nexon EV are similar to its Nexon sibling, with a few changes in colouring. The seats are a very bright white colour, which looks good and enhances the appeal of the vehicle. Glossy finish given to parts of the dashboard stands out. Also, there is a dual-tone sunroof.

Nexon-EV-interior
Interiors of TATA Nexon

Infotainment – The infotainment system remains the same, however, now there are 35 apps to connect it with.

Safety – When it comes to safety, every Indian probably knows that Nexon is the benchmark. Continuing the trend, Nexon EV also gets features like dual airbags, ABS (Anti-lock braking system), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), as well as CSC (Cornering Stability Control). The car is in line with the latest crash regulations and gets a 5 star-rating in global NCAP adult occupancy, 3 star-rating in child occupancy.

MG ZS EV

Interiors – The interiors have decent build quality with enough space for small accessories as well as USB slots at different places. AC vents are not present at the rear, which comes as a bit of surprise. The ‘sky roof’ is large and opens almost to the rear end of the vehicle.

ZS sunroof
The Skyroof – MG ZS

Infotainment – MG ZS EV get a nod over its counterparts, with the offerings such as internet connectivity, and i-SmartEV 2.0 unit with voice-activated features, automatic sunroof, and with a host of other options.

Safety – Overall the build quality is pretty decent with a 5-star Euro-NCAP rating and 6 airbags justifying its price tag, which is going to be in excess of 20 lakh.

The driver can choose from 3 modes i.e. eco, normal, and sport. Though the top speed remains the same for all these modes, the power delivery becomes quite linear in the eco mode making it easy to move around in the city. A driver can control the level of regenerative braking, from level 1 to level 3. There are various other features like speed warning, tyre pressure gauge and steering adjustment. There is no sound from the vehicle, barring from a slight whirring from the motor and the tyres. However, you can always switch ON the artificial sound.

Hyundai Kona

Interiors – Kona is a beautifully laid out car with a large automatic sunroof. The front seats are extremely comfortable but the rear ones are not very spacious. The legroom feels on the shorter side that might be slightly uncomfortable for a tall person. Add to it, the stiff suspensions that have been deployed on it.

Kona gets a feature that is absent in the other two cars – Ventilation for both the front seats. The steering wheel height is adjustable. There are two paddles right under the steering wheel that control the level of regenerative braking.

Kona Top View
Top View – Hyundai Kona

Infotainment – Connectivity features come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, both making their way into the Kona. There is a provision for wireless mobile phone charging for compatible smartphones.

Safety – Kona comes with six airbags. And just like the ZS EV, Kona EV also scores well on the NCAP charts with a 5-star rating, making it one of the safest cars out there.

Kona comes with 4 riding modes, eco, eco+, sport and comfort. And yes, it does get virtual sound to notify that the vehicle is approaching. Also, for some motorheads, the sound is half the fun of driving.

Price Tag comparison

The price tag for the Tata NEXON EV would begin somewhere near the 15 lakh mark, MG could be priced around 20 to 23 lakh mark, and the Kona Electic is priced at a 23.72 lakh ex-showroom.

Right now at the price of nexon EV there is no direct competitor. We believe that TATA have played a masterstroke with Nexon EV, making it on the same platform as widely popular Nexon. It also makes you wonder about electric Altroz in the line.

Our Verdict

Considering all the features on offer from these vehicles, and the price to pay, it can be said that Hyundai Kona Electric is currently the best electric SUV available, with MG ZS EV being a slightly cheaper and a worthy option. If you feel that Kona price tag is too high, Tata Nexon EV has got your back. Tata Motors have done some serious amount of work and made Nexon EV into a gem of a car.

It is rather unfair to compare Nexon EV to the likes of ZS or Kona, simply because they are more premium vehicles with bigger battery packs, better features, better range on offer, and of course, all of these features mean that both ZS and Kona are significantly costlier. Between Kona and ZS EV, Kona wins the race for the best EV SUV at present. For all the features packed inside the ZS EV, it still lacks that extra bit of range. It would have been a much better buy if the range was up to 400 km, and at slightly aggressive pricing. Afterall Kona is a Hyundai, and it would take a lot to compete with.

Note – This article is authored by Milind Singh.

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