Hyundai Ioniq: Tesla might have shown us the way, but Hyundai’s likely to get us there
Hyundai has pulled the covers off the Ioniq in Europe, a new green car that uniquely provides the choice of three power options: hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid.
The Ioniq is not only Hyundai’s first hybrid model, it’s also its first electric car, as well as being a gamble that one car style is going to appeal to those looking for an alternative to conventional combustion engines. This is as much a rival to Toyota’s popular Prius, as it is to Nissan’s Leaf.
Like Toyota and Nissan, Hyundai is pitching the Ioniq to everybody. The Ioniq certainly makes hybrid and electric cars more accessible, undercutting the price of the established Prius, offering more practicality and appeal than the Leaf, while sticking to what Hyundai is known for – lots of standard features and long warranties, both on the car and the battery.
This makes the Ioniq more important than you might first think. It’s an increase in the hybrid and electric options available, and while it might not take the headlines that Tesla does with its Silicon Valley posturing, it’s likely to appeal to a good number of everyday drivers as brands like Hyundai and Kia enjoy increasing acceptability in the UK.
Tesla may have done more to popularise electric cars than any other manufacturer, but it’s likely to be someone like Hyundai that puts an electric vehicle on an average drive, on an average street.
The first models to launch are the electric and hybrid versions, with plug-in hybrid to follow later in 2017.
Ioniq: Electric or Hybrid?
The Ionic Electric has a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery and a 120PS electric motor which offers 295Nm torque, a range of 174 miles (NEDC) and 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds, dropping to 9.9 seconds in sports mode. It consumes 11.5kWh/100km.
For many this will be a numbers game, and much as Tesla has impressed with sports car performance and anxiety-defeating range, you can’t get that for the £28,995 (which should drop to £24,494 after the government grant) that Hyundai is asking. That also makes the BMW i3 look a little pricy, although, arguably, you’re paying for design panache from BMW, where the Hyundai is more modest.
For the Ioniq Hybrid you’ll find a 1.6-litre 105PS petrol engine mated to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox, with a 44PS, 170Nm torque electric motor and 1.56kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. The hybrid will hit 62mph in 10.8 seconds, but the important figure is 83.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 79g/km, with power recouped through regenerative braking.
The Ioniq Hybrid is competitively priced too, starting at £19,995 for the SE trim. With that you get aircon, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane assistance, rear parking sensors and camera, Bluetooth, the 5-inch LCD touch display and plenty more. In that sense, this is a fully-loaded car even at that sub-£20k asking price. The Electric comes in Premium and Premium SE trim levels, so you get all that, plus things like wireless phone charging, heated seats, satnav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and more.
The Ioniq plug-in hybrid hasn’t been fully specified yet, but will boost the battery to 8.9kWh, letting you cruise for up to 30 miles on electric alone. Prices will be confirmed closer to launch in 2017.
Both the Ioniq Electric and Ioniq Hybrid will be available from 13 October 2016, providing a good dab of practicality and affordability in the eco sector.