The Hyundai Ioniq is the world’s first car offering three electrified powertrains with hybrid, plug-in and all-electric models completing the line-up. The five-door family car looks stylish, is packed with technology and drives exceptionally well.
The goodGood looks, packed with technology and choice of three electrified powertrains
Hyundai Ioniq – first drive (2017)
The electric revolution is well and truly underway and the latest manufacturer to throw its hat into the ring is Hyundai with a fabulous car that caters for any eco-minded motorist looking to do their bit for the planet without compromising on the driving stakes.
There is an ever-increasing demand for hybrids which are powered by either a diesel or petrol engine working in tandem with an electric motor, plug-in hybrids and total electric vehicles – and the Korean manufacturer is the first to offer all these three electrified powertrains in one single model called the Ioniq.
But whilst some ‘greener’ cars look, sound and worst of all, drive like overpowered milk floats the Ioniq is very ‘normal’ and that is the best compliment it’s possible to pay. It looks like an upmarket family hatchback with modern styling and all the on-board technology we expect these days, but on closer inspection the Ioniq is so much more.
Prices start from a very competitive £19,995 for the hybrid model which is available in SE, Premium and Premium SE trim levels and mates a 1.6-litre 141PS petrol engine to a 43PS electric motor. Another very big plus factor is the gearbox. Rather than opting for the somewhat unpopular CVT option, the Ioniq features a six-speed dual clutch transmission which is far more responsive, quieter and efficient.
The Ioniq Hybrid is available in seven colours and it’s very easy on the eye thanks to its upright stance, smart alloys, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED rear combination lamps, a split rear screen with spoiler, chrome trim and signature grille.
The interior is generously equipped and, depending on the trim level, you can expect to see the likes of an eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated seats, dual zone climate control, alloy pedals and wireless phone charging.
Driver aids are comprehensive too with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist just a few of the systems in operation.
The interior is exceptionally spacious with ample room for five adults (although the middle seat in the rear is slightly elevated) and the boot can accommodate a generous 443 litres of luggage which is increased to 1,505 with the rear seats dropped flat.
Unlike some hybrid models, the Ioniq’s instrumentation panel is not set out like mission control. It’s simple, clear and easy to understand with minimal power and energy read-outs to confuse users.
I tested out the Hybrid model in Premium SE trim priced at £23,995. This model has a 0-62mph sprint time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. According to official figures the combined economy is 70.6mpg with carbon emissions of 92g/km.
Unlike some rivals, the Ioniq is very lively and acceleration is swift and constant with smooth acceleration through the traditional automatic gearbox. I made a point of taking the car up a long winding hill and it coped admirably where some CVTs would be screaming and whining by the top.
On the open country lanes the stability and road-holding was assured, the steering precise and the cabin beautifully insulated against outside noise. To be honest there were very few clues that the car was a hybrid – once again this is meant as a complement to Hyundai.
The option to choose between Sport and Eco driving modes also adds to the fun. In Sport mode the lower gears are held longer and a combination of power from the engine and electric motor delivers maximised performance. By contrast, in Eco mode, the gears changes are selected to maximise economy.
Next up was the Ioniq EV in Premium SE trim priced at £26,860 (which includes the Government’s plug-in grant). This model can reach from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds, maxes out at 103mph and has a potential range of 174 miles.
This particular model is more instantly recognisable as something a little bit special thanks to its grille. Without the need to cool the motor, the grille is replaced by a smooth grey surface. Move inside and there is more information regarding charging, power levels, range and regeneration, but it is easy to comprehend. And the gears are selected by pressing drive, reverse, neutral or park – it’s that simple. Once again there are driving modes called Sport, Normal and Eco to enhance driving characteristics and efficiency.
The Ioniq Electric is a pure delight to drive with a constant supply of power on tap along with smooth and rapid acceleration. It’s fun playing with the regenerative braking to see how easy range limits can be extended. Deceleration helps to recharge the batteries and there are four levels of regeneration which are selected using the paddle shifts on the steering wheel.
The boot capacity is reduced slightly on the Ioniq Electric to 350 litres (1,410 litres with the rear seats dropped flat) to accommodate the batteries which are situated under the rear of the car.
Charging the vehicle to 80 per cent takes just 33 minutes via a rapid charger, or about four-and-a-half hours from a home charging point.
The final member of the Ioniq family – the plug-in hybrid version – is due out later this year, but if the first two models are an example of Hyundai’s drive towards a greener future then it will be greeted with much acclaim.