Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review
With its dynamic, streamlined design, the Hyundai Ioniq is available with three electrified powertrains. There is hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric, so it would seem the Korean car maker has every planet-friendly base covered.
- Well-designed inside and out
- No range anxiety as Ioniq can cover 174 miles on a full charge
- Quick charging of up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes (on a fast charger)
- Like all EVs it is quite pricey
- Limited rear head room due to its sporty design
- Range is good, but rivals such as the Kia e-Niro offer more
Hyundai proved it was taking alternative fuel seriously with the launch of its stylish Ioniq. There was no diesel or straightforward petrol models, but instead customers could select from a petrol-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully blown electric vehicle.
All three models look modern and very upmarket with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. There are full connectivity options along with all the latest safety technology.
The Ioniq is a vitally important car for Hyundai and is the beginning of a new era in motor car manufacturing. The Korean company has announced it will launch 15 alternative fuel models by 2020.
On the Road
The Hyundai Ioniq EV model offers pure e-mobility through a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery for an estimated maximum range of 174 miles with power consumption as low as 11.5kWh/100km. Lots of over-complicated figures, but in real terms it means the Ionic Electric can easily cope with a day-to-day commute and still have enough range for a family trip out.
One of the highlights when driving any electric car is the immediate power at your disposal and the Ioniq EV is another great example of this. There is an instantly available maximum torque of 295Nm with a maximum output of 120PS. And although the EV version is the least powerful in the Ioniq line-up, it boasts the fastest sprint time completing the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 9.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 103mph.
When driving around town, the Ioniq is agile and easy to manoeuvre as you weave through the crowds. Then out on the faster open roads, it feels balanced and composed with ample kick-down for short bursts of acceleration. It does feel slightly laboured when it comes to accelerating between 50 and 60mph, but can be driven on motorways at the national speed limit where it cruises along in near silence.
The Ioniq Electric is available in two trim levels called Premium and Premium SE. We opted for the range-topper and it immediately laid to rest any fears that EV-driving is boring. The low centre of gravity and confident road holding means the car can be driven enthusiastically, and that sharp acceleration from a standing start will leave far sportier-looking models high and dry at the lights.
The steering feels quite light which is perfect around town or when squeezing into tight parking spaces, but it does feel a little less reassuring when pushed along fast-moving lanes with lots of sharp twists and turns.
Comfort levels are good for all occupants with a nicely balanced ride which if anything is a little on the firm side. The plug-in hybrid and EV models are heavier than the standard petrol hybrid Ioniq and that is quite noticeable if you drive the cars back-to-back. The lighter variant feels more flexible especially through tight cornering.
On the Ioniq Electric, there are different drive modes called Sport, Normal and Eco which enhance the driving characteristics or increase efficiency accordingly.
Sport mode livens things up with sharper responses but in reality, most owners will remain in Normal mode for the majority of the time and that’s exactly where the Ioniq Electric feels most comfortable. And it’s worth keeping in mind that Sport mode will drain the power quicker.
Hyundai has come a long way when it comes to developing cars that are easy on the eye and generously equipped with no hidden extra charges. Our Ioniq EV was instantly distinguishable as an all-electric car when viewed from the front where a clean, sleek surface replaces the grille – after all there is no engine to cool. The ultra-modern styling also includes LED front lights and rear combination lamps with a distinctive pattern.
The interior is elegant, clutter-free and well laid-out with a generous level of on-board technology and creature comforts to explore. Our range-topping model featured the likes of heated and ventilated seats with power adjustment, heated rear seats, leather upholstery, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation system, and wireless phone charger. With no traditional gear selector there is just a smart looking set-up with Park, Neutral, Drive and Reverse buttons.
The Ioniq Electric sits on 16-inch wheel which perfectly suit the car. It feels poised and grounded with virtually no body roll into bends.
Being an EV means almost silent motoring which has its pros and cons. Yes, it’s beautifully quiet when pulling away which is almost calming, but then outside sounds such as road surface and wind noise become more noticeable at higher speeds than they would in a traditional model. There is a virtual engine sound so pedestrians are aware of the car for safety reasons.
In the car
Getting comfortable behind the wheel of the Ioniq Electric is a quick and simple process with power adjustable seats and plenty of steering wheel adjustment too. The cockpit is very driver focused with all controls, dials and readouts perfectly positioned for ease of use. The Premium SE models feature chrome-styled gear knobs, pedals, footrest and door scuff plates to give the car a more modern appearance.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel has paddles each side which are used to control the levels of regenerative braking – there are four settings that adjust how much energy is recouped.
A rather smart touch are the copper-coloured accents which are a gentle reminder that electricity is flowing through the Ioniq.
The nerve centre of the Ioniq is accessed via the eight-inch touchscreen where smartphone connectivity, along with Bluetooth and live navigation services are discovered. The premium Infinity sound system is another hint at this car’s quality.
There are plenty of soft touch surfaces and as with all EV models, the instrumentation offers information regarding power supplies, charging levels and, most importantly, range.
The all-round visibility is good and the Premium SE version comes with front and rear parking sensors, along with a rear camera and guidance system.
Just like most five-door family hatchbacks, there is plenty of space up front in the Ioniq and the leg room in the back is quite generous too. However, try to sit a couple of six footers in the back and there will be complaints about the limited head room which is due to the sloping roof design of the car.
And as is the case with most EVs the boot capacity is compromised by the rear-mounted batteries. The Ioniq petrol hybrid has a boot limit that ranges from 443-1,505 litres; the plug-in hybrid is 341 to 1,401 litres and our EV model’s capacity was 350 litres with the seats upright or 1,410 litres with the 60:40 split-folding seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of handy storage options scattered throughout the car, including a glovebox, door bins, a centre console for a tablet-sized device, a wireless charging tray, a storage box beneath the front armrest, sunglasses holder and also a luggage net to prevent items in the boot from rolling around.
The high cost of any electric vehicle is always a major talking point although there are plenty of attractive PCP offers around that help keep the payments at a more respectable figure. Our test car was priced at £32,045 although the Government’s EV grant of £3,500 meant it dropped to £28,545 – which is still a hefty price-tag for a family hatchback. But the savings can be clawed back thanks to the car’s low running costs. With an official range of 174 miles, the car can easily cover the daily commute for a few days between charges. Realistically, the range is likely to be lower especially in the colder months and the maximum limit can only be achieved if the car is driven with a lot of respect and the regenerative braking is maximised.
As far as running costs go, charging the Ioniq Electric lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80 per cent takes about 33 minutes using a fast charger. POD Point is Hyundai’s preferred charging partner for customer domestic charge point installations and it has over 1,500 public charging points across the UK, as well as points across the Hyundai UK dealer network and Hyundai Motor UK facilities. Owners can charge their Ioniq Electric from zero to 100 per cent in just 4.5 hours at home. Alternatively, a standard domestic charge will take up to 12 hours.
With zero CO2 emissions, there would be no Vehicle Excise Duty costs to pay.
Insurance ratings for the Ioniq Electric are group 16 for the Premium model and group 17 for the Premium SE version.
Over the years Hyundai has scooped a number of awards for its reliability and despite the technical advancements of an EV, there is no reason to think the Ioniq will have any issues.
The materials feel robust, as does the switchgear and the car certainly feels like it will survive the test of time.
There is the added peace of mind that Hyundai offers a very attractive five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty for the vehicle and an eight-year, 125,000-mile warranty for the high-voltage battery.
The Hyundai Ioniq secured a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating. Features on the EV version include autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, electronic stability control, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, plus front, front side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags.
The Premium SE model, as tested, also added a blind spot detection system and rear cross traffic alert.