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Should I buy a Kona, LEAF or Tesla Model 3?

We can’t quite believe we’re saying it, but FINALLY Australia drivers can choose from a range of great EVs. The only question is; which EV is best for you?

To help you find an answer, we’ve compared three of the best looking, best performing and all-round driver favourites for 2019; the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3.

While our team have driven (or own) the Kona and LEAF, we (along with every other EV enthusiast in Australia) are still waiting on our 10 minutes of fun with the Model 3.

Therefore, we can talk to personal experience for the first two EVs…but going by overseas reviews for the Tesla Model 3.

Hyundai Kona EV

Hyundai Kona Electric

The Hyundai Kona Electric is a high-end electric vehicle with an impressive range of 449km for a single charge and a top speed of 167km/h. This vehicle is priced at around $63,500-$70,000 depending which of the three models you choose from the Hyundai forecourt; Launch Edition, Elite, and Highlander.

How much space is in the Kona EV? The Kona Electric seats up to 5 people with a carry capacity of 334L with rear seats up and 1,116L with rear seats down. This vehicle has a massive carry capacity if it only regularly carries 2 people

and with a kind of squared-off shape, has significant storage space for parents with prams, for example. As is currently conventional wisdom with most electric vehicles, it is NOT suggested that you tow loads, as you’ll drain the battery pretty quick smart.

Kona’s safety rating The Kona Electric received a 5 star Rating of safety from ANCAP. Hyundai has also included smart sense technology that helps with lane keeping, blind spot collision warnings and driver attention warnings.

How long does it take to charge a Kona? You’ll get up to 80% at a DC fast charge station in about 45 minutes, which - let’s face it - is pretty impressive. A level 2 home EV charger will get it full in around 10 hours, and home wall charging takes about 2 and ½ days.

Remember though that you’re not charging the Kona in one big hit, rather using and topping it up bit by bit. So, if you’re new to EVs, don’t let the above figures for home charging put you off!

Overall, the Hyundai Kona EV is a brilliant car for pretty much most of us across the board, regardless of storage or range needs. It feels safe, the bespoke colour range is pretty snazzy and it’s a downright pleasure to drive.

If you’d like to know more about charging your Hyundai Kona EV, check out our charging guide.


Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF EV

One of the first EVs to hit the Aussie market and still a top selling car, a JDM second-hand Nissan LEAF is a great option if you’re looking for a reasonably priced electric vehicle. The brand new 2019 model goes for between $54,000-$55,000 drive away and has an extended range of 270km, seating up to 5 people.

However, it’s compact size - which makes it light and nifty - is probably more suited to singles, couples or retirees who don’t have to lug around loads of gear. Nissan claims the LEAF is “the world’s best selling electric vehicle” based on global sales from 2010 to 2019. And, our team are big fans, both as drivers and when comparing the LEAF to other affordable EVs on the market.

How safe is the Nissan LEAF? The Nissan LEAF was awarded 5 star safety rating from ANCAP, proving its claim of being an extremely safe vehicle.

How much storage is there in the LEAF? This EV has a great storage space, with a cargo capacity of 435L. This is pretty big for an electric vehicle and even bigger than the storage of many hatchbacks.

How long does it take the charge a Nissan LEAF? You can fully charge the LEAF from a wall socket in 24 hours. If you’d like to cut that time, a level 2 home charging unit cuts it to 7.5 hours. Again, like the Kona, the trick with the LEAF is to top up whenever parked, rather than running the battery engine down to zero and trying to charge up in one big hit.

Overall, the comparatively low price on the Nissan LEAF, combined with good storage and a reasonable range equals a very decent EV choice. Perfect for round town, work or school commutes, however longer road trips would need some planning.

Driving wise, the LEAF’s steering is responsive and sharp, and it’s great for popping in and out of heavy traffic. There’s a smooth drive with the good suspension and we’ve never met a LEAF owner who doesn’t love this little beauty.

If you’d like to know more about charging the Nissan LEAF, check out our handy guide.


Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has three models currently for sale (see below), all seating up to 5. One rear wheel drive model and two all-wheel drive models, the latter two fetching a higher price. For the three models the range varies drastically, as do top speeds.

The Model 3 has auto-driving functions split into two sections. The regular function provides automatic steering on highways and cruise control, and there is also a full self-driving (FSD) mode. It has been said that this is a great car for long road trips and driving takes minimal effort, and, as long as those at the wheel get plenty of caffeine into them, this feature is wonderful.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus - $70,634 drive away:

This model is the cheapest of the Tesla Model 3s, whilst still also presenting an impressive 460km range, with a top speed of 225km/h. As for interior, this model has 12-way, power adjustable heated front seats, tinted glass roof with UV and infrared protection, and auto-dimming, powered and heated side mirrors. The car has a central console with storage, 4 USB ports and docking room for 2 smartphones. The audio in the car has boasts Bluetooth connectivity with upgraded, immersive sound.

Tesla Model 3 Long Range - $93,662 drive away: For an upgrade in drive distance per charge, compared to the Standard Range Plus, this is your baby. This model has a range of 620km and a top speed of 233km/h. Interior wise, it has all the bells and whistles of the Standard Range Plus while also coming with LED fog lamps, an even more powerful sound system, and premium 1-year connectivity to satellite, in-car internet streaming, and frequent over-the-air cellular updates.

Tesla Model 3 Performance - $102,067 drive away:

The most exxy model of the Tesla Model 3 is specifically for those looking for a higher performing car with ALL the stuff. This car has a range of 520km and has a whopping top speed of 261km/h. It shares all upgrades with the Long Range model but also has 20 inch performance wheels, performance brakes, a carbon fibre spoiler, lowered suspension, and aluminium alloy pedals.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla Model 3?

Charge times for the Model 3 using one of the company’s super chargers is blisteringly fast, charging to 80% in 30 minutes. With an installed level 2 home EV charger, the most intensive charge will take about 13 hours. Wall charging takes about 1 hour per 8km of range, so an over night charge can often cover a day of small commutes using this method.

How much storage is there in a Tesla Model 3?

As it goes for many electric vehicles, the Model 3 has good storage space, having a total of 425L of cargo capacity, including the frunk (front trunk where the internal combustion engine would usually sit). This makes the Model 3 great for storing all the junk the average family travels around with, plus it fits 2 kids car seats in the back seat comfortably. It can hold up to 5 people with ease and, unlike many other electric vehicles, the Model 3 has a 910kg tow capacity, the weight being supported by a high strength steel tow bar.

How safe is the Tesla Model 3?

The Model 3 received a 5 star safety rating from ANCAP and combined with the storage space this car seems to be a great vehicle for families…or anyone really.

The Tesla Model 3 is the top end electric vehicle on the market and its very high price means large storage, a fantastic range, and a driving experience that many people seem to think is the best among current market electric vehicles. This car seems to be the most efficient and longest-range vehicle among the three we’ve looked at, but the price point remains an issue, putting out of reach of the average person. For now.

If you’d like to know more about charging a Tesla Model 3, check out our guide.


Our conclusions about the Kona, LEAF and Model 3.

Realistically, getting an EV in 2019 boils down to how much you can stretch your budget, if the body style suits your needs and how many people will be using it on a daily basis. If we had to boil it down to a single sentence each, they’d be:

Kona - great first EV for everyone, still on the pricey side though.

LEAF - better on the budget, perfect for short hops and a brilliant car for singles or retirees.

Model 3 - for early adopters who don't want to worry about range anxiety and are fine with it being a large-ish sedan and not an SUV or hatchback.

Got a favourite? We’d love to hear about it!


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