Test drive: Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Hyundai Kona EV

By Marc Bouchard | Saturday 20 April 2019 | BlogTips and guides

I will have to do my test drive all over again. No, I swear, I’m going to have to force myself to do it again. After all, a 100% electric car can not be properly rated in the middle of February, when the mercury reaches its peaks of coldness, and the latter is wearing winter tires. 

still agreed to a first test, and I put myself at the wheel of the Hyundai Kona EV, wearing Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter tires. A vehicle that I was eager to drive to see if it fulfills its promises, promises that were made months ago. 


Result number 1: autonomy 

The promise of the Hyundai Kona 100% electric is to be able to travel 415 kilometers in electric mode. Promise partially held, I must say, since the cold has seriously handicapped performance. 

So, when I got my hands on the wheel of the small vehicle that had 100% battery charge, I was only able to go 313 kilometers, according to the gauge in front of me. A total that quickly dropped to 303, then 293 before stabilizing, victim of cold weather and more intensive use of air conditioning and heating. 

A good point, however, is that throughout my test days, the display of the small Hyundai Kona electric has been an irreproachable loyalty. The miles flowed at the rate where I crossed them, which has a reassuring side. Some electric vehicles have the unfortunate tendency to delusional optimism. 


Result number 2: recharge 

No surprise, people who know me know that I do not yet have a charging station at home, having inherited an electrical system asking for a good review before installation. My charging sessions are based on the use of the public network, and on the traditional 120 volt outdoor socket. 

On the latter, the Kona needed several dozen hours to fully recharge, which is not surprising for a battery of 64 kWh. I still took advantage of the last day to leave the vehicle still, and so be able to bring it back safely with a good dose of electricity on board. 

Otherwise, I had to resign myself to sit in some restaurants, just to take advantage of fast charging stations that, in one hour and for $ 10, were able to provide me with an interesting capacity. Obviously, the restaurant itself was not a big sacrifice, even if the time was a little long. On the other hand, charging is fast, despite the cold weather, which many other EVs can not say. 


Result number 3: driving 

No surprise here either. The Hyundai Kona is a small vehicle that drives with ease and pleasure. Small is a good word, however, since my son, who is several inches above my head, has literally refused to slip into the backseat, disapproving the space left for his long legs. 

But hey, we expected it a bit, just like the reduced load space. Driving, ergonomics, multiple accessories and quality of finish, however, bring the electric Kona to a higher level. 

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 

Under the vehicle, Michelin X-Ice xi3 winter tires stuck the car to the road. The X-Ice Xi3 are classic tires, well known and very popular in Canada, whose qualities are recognized. Obviously, they are not part of the basic equipment of Kona Electric, which is generally equipped with low friction tires in summer. 

This is where the problem lies. Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires are excellent mid-range winter tires, offering superior grip on ice, good snow clearance, and good wet performance. They have however the defect to be slightly noisier than average, a small thing that one does not perceive in normal times and which is caused by the design of the slats which maximize the adherence. 

But with an electric car, the ride is silent. No acceleration noise or motor sounds to cover other functions. And if you do not put the radio in (or sing loudly as I do to the despair of my passengers), the rolling noise of the tires is more easily noticeable. 

Failure? No... at most a slight annoyance that we easily forget when the tire bites on the snow. Although driving the Hyundai Kona EV is not sporty either, its abrupt acceleration, like that of all electric vehicles, needs a good grip. With this in mind, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 sits in the right place. 

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About the Author

Marc Bouchard is passionate about cars... and many other things. He started out as a general journalist and has been working on cars for the past twenty years. We see him on TV, hear him on the radio and read about him everywhere. Often called upon as an expert analyst.

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