Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: Which EV Wins?

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3 comparison image.

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: Which EV Wins?

Key Points

  • The Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3 are two popular EVs in the market.
  • The Hyundai Kona Electric is more affordable than the Tesla Model 3, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • The Hyundai Kona Electric is praised for its affordability, range, and practicality, while the Tesla Model 3 offers impressive range, acceleration, and advanced tech features.
  • Overall, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a strong contender for eco-friendly drivers due to its affordability and practicality.

With each passing day, it seems the selection of great electric vehicles on the market grows larger. As a result, picking the right EV from the list gets harder and harder with each passing moment. How can you make such a choice when everything seems to have its fair share of pros and cons? Let’s take a look at two particular EVs, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3, and determine which electric vehicle comes out ahead. Both vehicles have made their mark in the EV market, but which one is best overall?

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: Side By Side Comparison

AspectHyundai Kona ElectricTesla Model 3
Model Year20232023
TrimsSE, SEL, LimitedBase, Long Range, Performance
Range258 miles272 miles
Combined MPGe120 MPGe113 MPGe
NHTSA Safety RatingNot tested5/5 Stars
Horsepower201 HP271 HP
0-60 MPH6.4 seconds5.0 seconds
Tax Credit EligibilityYesYes
Side by side comparison of Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3.
Direct comparison of the Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3.

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: What’s the Difference?

While both are new and exciting EVs with attractive tax credit eligibility, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3 are far from the same. Their differences extend far beyond the difference in manufacturer, too. As a matter of fact, they differ in several key aspects.

These include differing trims, MSRPs, power, safety ratings, drivetrains, and beyond. Let’s break down the most important differences between the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3 below, paying extra attention to the vehicle that comes out on top in each respect.


The Hyundai Kona Electric offers various trims, with the base SE starting at around $33,550 and the top Limited trim going for approximately $41,550. The Tesla Model 3 offers different configurations, as well. The base model’s MSRP is much higher than the Hyundai Kona Electric’s at $40,240. Its top Performance trim stretches as high as $53,240. This puts the Tesla Model 3 at a much higher price point overall in comparison to the Hyundai Kona Electric. The Kona is more affordable.

Electric Range

The Hyundai Kona Electric’s base trim offers a range of 258 miles on a full charge. That’s a fine spec for most daily commutes, but not exactly something you could depend on for longer trips. The Tesla Model 3’s base trim isn’t much better, offering a range of just 272 miles on a full charge. None of the pricier Kona trims offer a better range. However, the Tesla Model 3’s Performance trim boosts its range to 358 miles per charge. This makes it our winner.


The Hyundai Kona Electric has a combined MPGe of 120. An efficiency of 120 MPGe is nothing to complain about, to be clear. With that being said, however, the Tesla Model 3 has slightly superior efficiency specs at pricier trims. The base Model 3 trim offers just 113 MPGe, but the Performance trim boosts this spec as high as 132 MPGe combined. All in all, both vehicles are super efficient. Let’s call this one a draw.

Safety Rating

Looking at the safety ratings for the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3, you’ll notice something interesting: The Kona hasn’t been rated as of this writing. The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, has the NHTSA’s top safety rating of five stars. It’s worth noting that the Hyundai Kona’s gas-powered model also received a five-star NHTSA safety rating. We could assume that the electric version would have the same safety rating, but we couldn’t say it for fact. For now, the Tesla Model 3 wins.


The Hyundai Kona Electric uses a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system with an electric motor delivering 201 horsepower. Comparatively, the Tesla Model 3 base model offers a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) drivetrain with a horsepower of 271. While it’s futile to debate the superiority of FWD or RWD when both are essentially the same on paper, there’s no debate that 271 horsepower triumphs over 201 horsepower. The Tesla comes out ahead once more.


Lastly, what kind of speed can you get out of a Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3? Let’s look at their respective 0-60 MPH speeds to find out. The Kona accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 6.4 seconds, which is quite impressive for an electric SUV. The Tesla Model 3 is faster, though. Its base trim offers a 0 to 60 mph speed of 5 seconds. Its performance model increases its speed to 3.1 seconds.

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The Hyundai Kona Electric tends to be the more affordable EV of the two, offering a lower starting price compared to the Tesla Model 3.
  • The Tesla Model 3 offers a longer driving range on a single charge, providing more flexibility for long-distance travel compared to the Hyundai Kona Electric.
  • Tesla has an extensive Supercharger network, giving Model 3 owners easier access to fast charging stations. Hyundai Kona Electric owners may have fewer fast-charging options by comparison.
  • The Tesla Model 3 is known for its impressive acceleration and handling, offering a sportier driving experience with faster 0-60 mph times over the Hyundai Kona Electric.
  • Depending on your location and the current regulations, you may be eligible for federal tax credits for both of these electric vehicles. It’s important to double-check that neither vehicle has reached its tax credit limit before buying.

The History of the Hyundai Kona Electric

2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai’s Kona Electric is a rising star in the EV market.

The Hyundai Kona Electric was first introduced in 2018 — one year after the Tesla Model 3’s launch. It’s a compact electric version of the gas-powered SUV of the same name. In the five years since its launch, the Kona Electric has played a key part in Hyundai’s commitment to electric mobility. Its 2023 model is the best version of the vehicle thus far.

Its name, if you hadn’t realized, comes from the western part of the Hawaiian islands. Hyundai loves naming its vehicles after locations, and the Kona is no different. The company says the beautiful place the car is named after serves as a reflection of the lifestyle of its customers. (It joins the Hyundai Creta, Santa Fe, Tucson, and Veracruz, among others.)

The Hyundai Kona Electric comes in a few different trims, each with its own battery range to cater to drivers’ diverse needs. It supports both Level 2 and fast DC charging, ensuring convenient charging at home or on the road. All in all, the model has received acclaim for its affordability, range, and practicality. But how does it ultimately stack up against the Tesla Model 3? 

How the Tesla Model 3 Compares

Cars That Start With T
Tesla’s name might be synonymous with EVs, but is it really the superior brand?

The Tesla Model 3 was introduced in 2017. It represents a significant milestone in both the history of electric cars and for Tesla. Of all the vehicles to its name, the Model 3 is Tesla’s greatest attempt at creating an affordable electric vehicle for the masses. For context, in the week following its announcement, the Model 3 saw more than 325,000 reservations made.

While its attempt was certainly noble — not to mention trailblazing — in the late 2010s, it’s not quite viewed in the same light today. Its price point is much higher than many other more affordable EVs on the market today. Plus, there’s the elephant in the room that is the company’s CEO, Elon Musk. His unpredictable nature consistently harms the Tesla brand more than it helps.

From production delays and shipping setbacks, Tesla faced trouble with the Model 3 from the get-go. Once production stabilized in 2018 and beyond, the Tesla Model 3 would go on to become one of the best-selling electric cars in the world. But can its impressive range, fast acceleration, and sleek aesthetic make-up for its higher price and more burdensome brand name?

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: Pros and Cons

Pros of Hyundai Kona ElectricCons of Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is more budget-friendly than some other electric SUVs. Charging Network: Its fast-charging stations’ availability is less extensive than Tesla’s.
It offers various trims and configurations to suit all preferences.While comfortable, the interior materials and overall build quality are not luxurious.
Its range is more than suitable for daily commuting.It falls short of the sporty acceleration and handling of some other EVs.
Hyundai typically provides a generous warranty package for its cars.Tax credits may vary by location or sales volume.
Pros of Tesla Model 3Cons of Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 boasts some of the longest electric ranges on the market.The Model 3 is more expensive than some other electric cars.
Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network allows for widespread rapid charging.The Model 3’s interior lacks many traditional physical controls.
The Model 3 offers quick acceleration and agile handling.Tesla parts and service can be pricey compared to non-premium brands.
It comes equipped with advanced tech features and luxurious interiors.Elon Musk’s leadership makes brand loyalty uncertain.

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Tesla Model 3: Which EV Is Best?

All things considered, the Hyundai Kona Electric could be the better choice for many buyers. It’s more affordable, offers a practical range for everyday use, and comes with various trims to suit different budgets. Best of all, its most expensive trim is still more than ten thousand dollars cheaper than the Tesla Model 3 Performance trim.

While it may not have Tesla’s flashy technology or iconic brand name, it provides good value for those looking to go electric without splurging. Plus, it doesn’t have the baggage of Tesla’s many controversies. While the Model 3 is impressive, especially in terms of range and performance, the Kona Electric’s affordability and practicality make it a strong contender for eco-friendly drivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Hyundai Kona Electric cost compared to a Tesla Model 3?

The starting price for the Hyundai Kona Electric varies depending on your region and availability but is generally around $33,550 for the base trim. The Tesla Model 3, by comparison, starts at $40,240. The Kona is much cheaper comparatively.

What is the driving range of the Hyundai Kona Electric compared to the Tesla Model 3?

The Kona Electric typically offers a range of approximately 258 miles on a single charge. The Tesla Model 3 offers 272 miles per charge. The more expensive trims for the Kona Electric do not increase the range, while the more expensive trims for the Model 3 increase the range to over 350 miles per charge.

Are the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3 eligible for federal tax credits?

Yes, depending on your location and income, you may qualify for federal electric vehicle tax credits when buying a Kona Electric or Model 3. Total tax credits may vary, but you can receive as much as $7,500 depending on availability and sales volume. There are only so many credits that get handed out each year.

How fast can the Hyundai Kona Electric and Tesla Model 3 accelerate from 0 to 60 mph?

The Kona Electric can go from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 6.4 seconds, which is decent for an electric SUV. The Tesla Model 3 is much faster, going from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds. More expensive trims for the Model 3 increase the 0 to 60 mph speed to 3.1 seconds flat.

How does the Tesla Model 3 compare to other electric cars in its class?

The Tesla Model 3 is known for its industry-leading range, performance, and cutting-edge technology, making it a top choice among electric cars. However, it can be pricier than some of its closest competitors in its class — especially at the Performance trim, which costs over $50,000.

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