Hyundai Kona Electric audio review: Eight-speaker Krell system

The Hyundai Kona Electric is an impressive all-electric SUV that claims to run for up to 300 miles on a single charge. Available in three trims, the base model SE – that has a 180-mile range – starts from £30,150. We reviewed the Premium SE, which starts from £38,500 and found it to be amongst the best all-electric vehicles on the market; as a result, the SUV received TotallyEV’s coveted Best Buy award.

When it comes to audio, the Kona Electric is available in two configurations: a six-speaker setup in the SE, and an eight-speaker Krell Automotive system in the Premium and Premium SE trims. The latter system is on review.

Read our full review of the Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric audio setup

Through the vehicle’s 10.25″ infotainment system, one can adjust the car’s audio settings. A three-band equaliser makes it easy to tailor the sound to your liking, although a dedicated subwoofer EQ would have been appreciated, too. Here are our optimal settings:

  • Treble: +1
  • Mid: +0
  • Bass: -3
  • Balance & fader: Centre

Here, you’ll also find a variety of other comprehensively laid-out audio settings that correspond to the vehicle’s operation; such as a volume limiter upon start-up, specific smartphone levels (ringtone, messages and navigation) and even the ability to adjust the volume of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – both are supported, but one can also connect wirelessly over Bluetooth. Both the AAC and SBC codecs are supported.

Read next: Kia e-Niro review: The best all-electric SUV?

Hyundai Kona Electric audio performance

For a demo of the Hyundai Kona Electric’s audio system watch the review on our YouTube channel.

When it comes to the SUV’s audio configuration, there are seven drivers in total with the eighth acting as a subwoofer. There are five speakers at the front: a 100mm centre speaker, two 160mm woofers, and two 25mm tweeters. At back there are two 160mm woofers and a 200mm subwoofer located in the boot. Krell Automotive has also integrated an eight-channel amplifier that pushes the system’s total output to 400 Watts.

The inclusion of a physical subwoofer is a welcome addition, as it delivers that much-needed low-end rumble in songs that thrive on a competent 808 slam. For example, in Usher’s 2012 single, ‘Lemme See’ that has a consistent amount of bass throughout the song, the Kona Electric’s subwoofer does a marvellous job in keeping up with the pace of the track.

As for the mid-bass, it’s very prominent, where we’d suggest dialling it down a few notches to avoid it overpowering the rest of the frequencies. It’s certainly at the forefront of the system’s sound signature and can be felt throughout the cabin. However, it does lack a bit of control in this department, whereby the system fails to keep the mid-bass frequencies precise, and instead, sound a touch wobbly; namely at louder volumes.

The highs are impressive, with a near-perfect extension at the top end. Had the vehicle housed a few extra tweeters at the rear of the cabin, it would achieve a perfect score.

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On the downside, its mids are recessed and pushed back, adding anything to the ‘Mid’ EQ setting also taints the frequency, which makes it sound artificial. Take  Bob Sinclair’s song ‘World Hold On’, and you’ll find the artist’s voice feels subdued in comparison to the rest of the frequency range. Add a few notches to the EQ and the vocals start to lose accuracy.

Onto the soundstage, the eight driver setup lacks width and depth. Here, the music feels a little closed, with the speakers not providing a great sense of immersion throughout the cabin; namely at the back where there are only two speakers in total. It is, however, a bit better in its ability of separating instruments – the aid of the centre speakers at the front of the cabin definitely helps in this domain.

Hyundai Kona Electric audio review

Read next: Kia e-Niro audio review: An eight-speaker JBL audio system

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Hyundai Kona Electric’s audio system

On the whole, the Hyundai Kona Electric houses a competent eight-speaker Krell Automotive sound system, which will excite most consumers’ ears. It is, however, not perfect throughout the frequency range and will sound overly bassy (even after some EQ) to those who solely listen to podcasts or classical music. Overall, it’s passable, where it won’t be as jaw-dropping as the rest of the car.

What do you make of the Hyundai Kona Electric’s Krell Automotive system? Let us know in the comments or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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