Home » This Cheap Hyundai EV With 220 Miles Of Range Would Be Perfect For America

This Cheap Hyundai EV With 220 Miles Of Range Would Be Perfect For America

Hyundai Inster Ts Copy
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Every so often, American car buyers gaze wistfully at overseas offerings as an interesting vehicle goes on sale there, and it doesn’t just happen with rare performance cars and tiny off-roaders. This is the all-electric Hyundai Inster, and while it’s already slated for sale in most global markets, it really ought to come to America as a Venue replacement thanks to solid range, good DC fast charging numbers, and an aggressive expected starting price.

Hyundai already sells a subcompact crossover in America, and it flies somewhat under the radar. The Venue is affordable, starting at $21,275 including freight, but it’s approaching its fifth model year on the market, and given Hyundai’s relatively short model cycles, that likely means it’s due for replacement soon. While it’s likely that an eventual successor will stay the combustion-powered course, the Inster EV would make an absolutely dandy entry point to Hyundai’s electric range in North America, should the brand decide to sell it here.

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On first glance, the Inster is properly tiny, measuring 8.5 inches shorter and six inches narrower than the already small Venue. However, despite its diminutive footprint, the Inster actually features more rear six-tenths of an inch more rear legroom than the Venue and identical front legroom. Cargo space with the seats up clocks in at a modest 8.4 cu.-ft., but sliding rear seats can expand that to 12.4 cu.-ft. at the expense of rear legroom, a compromise that seems fine for a city car.

Hyundai Inster profile

While a standard range model with a 42 kWh battery pack will be the entry point to the Inster range in much of the world, the battery pack I’m more interested in is the upgraded 49 kWh long range unit. Not only does Hyundai claim it’s good for up to 220 miles of range on the admittedly optimistic WLTP cycle, it drops the reported zero-to-62 mph time down from 11.7 seconds to 10.6 seconds, and boosts horsepower from 95 to 113. Not head-turning numbers, but certainly good enough numbers for everyday use. Speaking of good enough numbers, both battery packs can DC fast charge at 120 kW, a solid figure for an entry-level EV.

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Zooming back out for a second, it’s definitely obvious that the Hyundai Inster is really just an electric version of the Korea-only Casper crossover, but it’s a funky looking thing with enough touches to distinguish itself. The new four-spoke wheels are nifty, the new LED headlights create an interesting signature, the pixel-like taillights tie this EV in with the rest of Hyundai’s electric range, and the simplification of the front end works well with the relatively utilitarian styling.

Hyundai Inster interior

However, don’t let the cheerfully basic exterior fool you, because the cabin of the Hyundai Inster offers really everything an entry-level car buyer could want on its options list. We’re talking dual 10.25-inch screens, 64-color ambient lighting, automatic climate control, USB-C charging ports, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, the lot. Add in vehicle-to-load capability, and we have what seems like a grown-up EV in a city-sized package. Excellent.

Hyundai Inster rear

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Now, keep in mind that the Hyundai Inster hasn’t been announced for America. It’ll be sold in Korea, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region, and should do so for reasonable coin. Based on prior announcements, pricing in Europe is expected to start at less than €25,000 including VAT, and thanks to assembly in South Korea, it shouldn’t be hit with the same tariffs a China-assembled EV would be subject to. Would a Hyundai EV less expensive than the Kona Electric do well in North America? I reckon it would, as the drivers with the warmest reception of EVs are often young and lowering the bar of affordability is always welcome. So, pretty please, Hyundai? Can we have the Inster?

(Photo credits: Hyundai)

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Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
6 days ago

Oh look, square wheels!
How do they keep them synchronized like that? Can it go around corners?
So many questions left unanswered.
I’m kind of undecided about the front. Am I digging the Frida Kahlo / very surprised catfish styling? I think not. Round headlights I kike. Lots of fake grills and a unibrow, Is that a thing now? Does that thing have a name? Something shorter than “you know that catfish with a unibrow-looking car styling thing that you see everywhere now?” so that one could complain about it and still have enough breath left over for a few choice adjectives to convey how unappealing it is.

SCOTT GREEN
SCOTT GREEN
10 days ago

I like this in concept. It’s a good size with good specs.

…not a fan of the styling, though.

Ppnw
Ppnw
13 days ago

I like the look of this thing and I think it would make for an amazing urban runabout.

But no, it would not be perfect for America. How many Venues do you see around? I’m in a dense west coast city where you’d imagine that kind of car has the best chance to succeed. I see maybe one a month, despite the super low price you mention.

10+ seconds to 60, 220 miles WLTP (that means 150 real miles or fewer) and smaller than the Venue? Dead on arrival.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
13 days ago

It looks like a cute robot puppy. We will never get it.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
13 days ago

I disagree… this would NOT be perfect for America. I predict it wouldn’t sell well due to the small size and short range.

America already has the ‘perfect vehicle’ for most daily use cases… and that’s the Tesla Model Y.

And I say that based on actual sales.

https://cleantechnica.com/2024/01/29/tesla-model-ys-huge-growth-in-us-sales-visualized-charts/

And if your daily use case involves hauling and some towing, then the Rivian R1T or the R1S would be the vehicle to get. But most people don’t need to tow daily.

And for light duty towing, the Model Y can handle that too.

KC Murphy
KC Murphy
13 days ago

Am I the only one who sees a baby FJ Cruiser?

Rod Edwards
Rod Edwards
13 days ago

The range and power make in DOA in NA. People may do 80% of their driving in the city, within the Insters capabilities, but if it can’t flex to do the 10%, it won’t even be considered. That’s the nature of the beast that is the North American market — long distances, cold climate

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
14 days ago

the demographic of people who need a car in that price range and have the means to charge an ev has to be very small. i’m glad we are seeing some lower priced EVs but a prius or corolla hybrid is a better car for the same amount of money and very fuel efficient.

Jens Torben
Jens Torben
14 days ago

It drives pretty well for such a small car. At least roadtripping in Europe is no issue with it since it is pretty comfortable for such a small car. I just hate the fact, that they renamed it to Inster.

changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
14 days ago

Me and my family have had great experience with Hyundais, so check. I don’t want a stupid large car but would like an EV Check – Looks Great – Check. Ah, they’ve changed the name from Casper to something cringe as all get out goddamn it Hyundai. Still waiting on the Peugeot e2008 or eCorsa or its gonna be a Mini when I eventually get one at this stage

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
14 days ago

WOW…this car looks TERRIBLE…especially those wheels; they’re HORRIBLE. I thought it was the new PT Bruiser/HHR! EV’s are trash anyway so of course they have to look like it…makes sense

Clark B
Clark B
14 days ago

This article made me think…what are the younger people buying these days? Do their purchasing decisions trend electric? I’m 31 (not exactly young any more), but I don’t personally know a single EV owner. All of my friends are buying used ICE cars, and keeping them until they become too costly to maintain. Usually CUVs, or full size if they’re having kids. I think a low cost of entry EV could help. Everyone I know that’s my age or younger is genuinely concerned about the environment, and would love to own an EV “one day.” But between charging concerns for renters and prices/concerns about used EVs, they aren’t driving them yet.

Last edited 14 days ago by Clark B
Jim Stock
Jim Stock
14 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

My kid in her mid 20s and her friends that I know are not buying or buying used cars or e-bikes. Most are making due with the cars their parents got them in highschool or college. Full time jobs with good pay and benefits are not easy to get and studio apartments around here start at over $1000 month.

Clark B
Clark B
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

I saw a lot of that up through my mid 20s as well. As well as people getting the next hand-me-down car in the family. I’d say only half my friends actually chose the car they drive.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
14 days ago

Me reading the headline: Woah a cheap ev with estimated 220 miles of EPA range? Sounds awesome

Me reading the article: WLTP…sad trombone

After applying the normal WLTP to EPA conversion, the range number will start with a 1 and thus no one will buy it here. Cold weather highway performance will probably drop it further to around 150 miles making it totally DOA.

So with that in mind I think we can say Hyundai is rightfully in no rush to bring it here.

Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer
14 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

For a city car shouldn’t 150 miles be more than enough? Also its top speed is 90 mph. It’s a city commuter not a long distance cruiser.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
14 days ago
Reply to  Albert Ferrer

What is this “city car” you speak of? In all seriousness, that’s just not a workable concept in the US. No one is interested in that because people want a car that does everything they might want, including driving long distances once in a while.

Clark B
Clark B
14 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Yep, unless you live in a densely populated area where everything is relatively close, city EVs don’t meet enough peoples needs. I live in a smallish city, only around 600k residents. But it’s all very spread out. Visiting my parents across town or going to some of my doctors appointments can easily be a round trip of 40-50 miles on the highway. Can a city EV do that? Absolutely. But sometimes one has to make a couple trips like that in a day, if it’s really hot or really cold (we get both here) you’ll be using extra electrons just to stay comfortable. Again, you could do all of that with a city EV, but I understand people not wanting to cut things even remotely close, range-wise.

And that doesn’t even cover occasional trips out of town. It’s not unusual to drive 150 miles to see a concert or a relative or something, and to drive back home the same day.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
14 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

Agreed 100%. The whole point of having a car is being able to easily do the things you’ve mentioned.

JumboG
JumboG
14 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

Yet I see all kinds of people driving side by sides and golf carts in my city. A electric car that could compete on price with these I think could be a good seller. Not as a primary vehicle, but as a second (or third) vehicle for a family.

Clark B
Clark B
14 days ago
Reply to  JumboG

Interesting, that’s definitely not the case where I live. I’ve seen people use golf carts to get around neighborhoods or side by sides to visit neighbors just up the road, but not as actual transportation out on main roads. If you made an inexpensive enough city EV, you might be able to sell a decent amount of them, but price is key. People won’t pay full-size car money for something small and limited to in town driving.

changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
14 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Having owned a Nissan Micra and a Kia Picanto and done loads of 1000km plus road trips in them, so called city cars are fine for long trips. Plus unlike here in Aus, basically all your cities are really close to each other. At least according to my old truck mechanic teacher who was from Pittsburgh and was making the comparison to us Aussies. It will work for many people I’d bet

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
14 days ago

I would like an Inster if the team who designed the front half could please update the rear doors into the same design language.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
14 days ago

I’d buy one of these if they could get it to like $22k.

Light Fetish
Light Fetish
14 days ago

The Inster will be available in 3 trim levels. “Stories”, “Reels” and “gram”

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
14 days ago
Reply to  Light Fetish

It can also pivot to video on a moments notice!

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
14 days ago

Would a Hyundai EV less expensive than the Kona Electric do well in North America?

Probably. One much smaller than the Kona? Probably not unless it’s also a lot cheaper. I don’t think cost is the biggest hurdle for the Kona Electric, the Kona is an increasingly popular segment whereas something smaller like the Venue usually gets overrode by other models in the same showroom on price – the Venue may be the cheapest Hyundai by MSRP, but the Elantra is close in price and has bigger incentives on it that make it basically a wash.

They’d be better served making more Kona Electrics rather than adding another model. I’m not sure if they’re still limiting to supply to certain states like they did the old one, but there’s only one in 250 miles of me. Compare that with over 70 Ioniq 5s available at dealers in just 25 mi of me.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
14 days ago

With that much inventory, there must be some deals to be had on the Ioniq 5?

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
14 days ago

There’s 4 dealers that fall in that 25 mi radius, so it’s spread across a few, although the bulk of them are between two stores in the same dealer group with one of them being a major volume retailer. They’re mostly just advertising Hyundai’s $7500 incentive, though they don’t really advertise big discounts per se on the site. Relative to their other inventory though, it’s probably about right for the area, just the closest electric Kona isn’t even in the same state.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
14 days ago

The next size up would be great for the US. We buy cars for the “just in case” scenario. Look at all the pickups people buy “just in case” they need to haul an appliance once in the truck’s life. This would sell dozens for those of us who do place logic somewhere in the car purchasing process.

Anoos
Anoos
14 days ago

Considering the tiny beds, it seems like truck manufacturers are done even pretending that the truck will ever do a truck thing.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
14 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

To be fair, if you look elsewhere in the world most trucks are midsized with smaller beds. They use trailers if they need more capacity.

I do wish we did like Australia here and offered midsize trucks equipped with utility beds (or trays, as they call them in the upside-down) directly from the Manufacturer. It really maximizes the usage of a small bed.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
14 days ago

Heard a rumour that people can tow things using regular cars.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
14 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I would love that. However, a U-Haul auto transport weighs 2300lbs. The long wheelbase w126 in my garage clocks in around 3900lbs. If someone would sell me a wagon that tows 6000-6500lbs, I’d gladly buy it.

My project car hobby limits my tow vehicle options.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
14 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Grandpa towed his 28′ Airstream with his LTD Brougham Sedan.

And when I was in the Netherlands, I saw people towing trailers with Golfs and the like.

Of course those trailers were somewhat smaller than the Blue Moon Lucy and Ricky towed with their Monterey convertible….

Dolsh
Dolsh
14 days ago

Queue the “too small” and “not enough range” crowd that would never be a buyer for a small city car anyway.

V10omous
V10omous
14 days ago
Reply to  Dolsh

So, 99.99% of car buyers in the US then?

Dolsh
Dolsh
13 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

That’s what that crowd thinks, but not even close.

V10omous
V10omous
13 days ago
Reply to  Dolsh

How many small city cars were sold last year?

Eddie Wuncler
Eddie Wuncler
14 days ago

I’d been looking into the Venue as a replacement for my bosses PT cruiser. The venue is 157″, a full foot smaller than the PT. That this car is even smaller shows why it’s not coming to the US, which is a shame, because some of us have to live in cities

EXL500
EXL500
14 days ago
Reply to  Eddie Wuncler

I don’t care where I live, I love small cars (hence Fit). I’m sure there are dozens of us.

Anoos
Anoos
14 days ago

It may be ideal for how people use their vehicles, but not ideal for the way Americans shop for vehicles.

It’s also an electric ‘city car’ where our city dwellers barely have parking and charging access is extremely limited. I get the impression that many people who suffer through car ownership in cities keep it mainly to get away from the city on weekends, or to transport items too large to drag onto public transit. This may not be awesome at either of those uses.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
14 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

And/or they are wealthy and wouldn’t be looking at a Hyundai in the first place.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
14 days ago

“The new four-spoke wheels are nifty.”

Yeah, they’ll be real popular with the Iron Cross crowd, say in, Illinois.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
14 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Illinois Nazis…

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
14 days ago

“six-tenths of an inch” Tell me you’re Canadian without saying you’re Canadian.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
14 days ago

Struggling in a messed up metric-imperial hybrid world. Next he’ll trip up the Europeans with splitting a centimetre into 8ths.

Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer
14 days ago

It is slightly larger than the Casper (about 200mm wheelbase and length). It is perfect for us. Better than a Spring and cuter than ëC3.

It would completely fail in America. It is not powerful or large enough.

Last edited 14 days ago by Albert Ferrer
Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
14 days ago

Seems to be quite a few of these elsewhere in the world.

But here is another $60k EV for the US market. It goes 0-60 in 4 seconds though!

Will Leavitt
Will Leavitt
14 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

In an ICE vehicle, the range is determined by the size of the fuel tank, and the power by the size of the engine.
In a BEV, the range and power are determined by the size of the battery.
If you have enough battery for 320 mile range, the 4 second 0-60 comes for free. And all that battery costs $60K.

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