Ride the elec­tric bul­let

With the Toy­ota Prius and Honda In­sight no longer in the lo­cal hy­brid scene, new­comer Ioniq seems to have pretty large shoes to fill.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Review - By JAY WONG jay@thes­tar.com.my

BE­FORE it was re­alised,the petrolengine was al­ready work­ing to power the Hyundai Ioniq HEV Plus up to a cruis­ing speed of 110kph along the PLUS high­way - slip­ping past the senses and charg­ing up the lithium-ion bat­tery.

It’s q uiet and com­fort­able on the in­side as the car slices through the wind with its class-lead­ing low drag ef­fi­ciency of 0.24Cd.

Not to men­tion,Hyundai’s hy­brid that’s priced on-the-road with GST and in­sur­ance at RM113,000,also has a “peppy” throt­tle when in sport mode.

De­pend­ing on how heavy that right foot is,the Ioniq will­move with silent grace or with en­gine-scream­ing haste,but ei­ther way the trip com­puter dis­plays 1,000km of range af­ter hav­ing just filled up on a full­tank of petrol.

In­side,the cabin has an adeq uate amount of room to ac­com­mo­date a few tall­friends and their lanky legs,only the 488-litre boot seem to have a slight re­stric­tion on height.

But what an­noyed the most was that the Ioniq had no proper place to stow a haz­ard triangle any­where within the boot and was in­stead left to freely slip and slide about.

Vis­ually,the Ioniq doesn’t seem much to look at,only that it’s some­what wedge-like and is of­ten-times eq uated to be­ing a Toy­ota Prius trapped within a Honda In­sight.

Aside from its case of mis­taken iden­tity,it’s very much “K-Pop” un­der the sheet-met­al­with those fa­mil­iar to the brand find­ing it easy to ac­cli­ma­tise to the cabin’s fea­tures and fix­tures.

It’s fairly invit­ing in­side,with an an­i­mated in­stru­ment clus­ter,cool blue am­bi­ent light­ing and seats that look well-bol­stered.

Un­der the hood,this 1,47 7 kg (kerb)of South Korean pride and joy has mar­ried a six-speed du­al­clutch gear­box to a 1.6-litre (1,580cc)Atkin­son-cy­cle Gaso­line Di­rect In­jec­tion (GDI)en­gine to pro­vide 105hp at 5,7 00rpm and 147 Nm of torq ue at 4,000rpm.

Ad­di­tion­ally,there’s also a 43hp / 17 0Nm elec­tric mo­tor that takes care of the car’s in­er­tia and can go on­wards to a top speed of 40kph while feed­ing off a 1.56kWh lithium-ion poly­mer bat­tery with 42kW of out­put hid­den be­neath the rear ben ch.

Upon ‘uni­fy­ing’ both petroland elec­tric mo­tors,the es­ti­mated to­tal sys­tem out­put comes to 139hp and 264Nm,and gets sent to the 17 -inch front wheels with 225/45 se­ries tyres.

The in­te­rior is read­ily iden­ti­fi­able as be­long­ing to the Hyundai fam­ily and the seats are some­what com­fort­able as long as you don’t mind the slight lack of sup­ple­ness, but at least they are sup­port­ive.

The driver’s seat is the only one that gets 10-way power ad­justa­bil­ity along with a sporty steer­ing wheelthat’s not too girthy for more pe­tite fin­gers to wrap around.

On the high­way,the steer­ing wheel’s weight will­increase for a more sportier feel, and to make things a lit­tle more in ter­estin g, turn­ing on the smart cruise con trol­will­have most driv­ers in­stantly spoilt as the car au­to­mat­i­cally keeps a safe dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle in front.

Af­ter com­ing to a full­stop,the driver will­need to sig­nif­i­cantly raise their left knee in or­der to get to the foot-ac­ti­vated park­ing brake,some­thing to note for the ladies in skirts.

But,at least af­ter that it’s shut the door be­hind you,press that black but­ton on the door han­dle to se­cure the car and walk away.

Just re­peat the process in re­verse upon re­turn­ing,get in,push that big blue but­ton on the left of the steer­ing whee­land away we go.

The in­clu­sion of a wire­less char­gin g pad does wellto keep ap­pear­ances clean and un­clut­tered,while a mul­ti­func­tion­al­cen­tre stor­age con sole

(where the cen­tre arm rest is lo­cated)is able to fit a tablet,lap­top or some­thing more ana­logue like an A4-sized file.

In city traf­fic,the Ioniq is both re­spon­sive and zippy,but floor the throt­tle an d the en gin e willbe wail­ing and strain­ing to give what’s be­ing asked,but when mov­ing off from stand­still,the 1.6-litre GDI (Gaso­line Di­rect In­jec­tion)en­gine seems to have q uite a bit of “pep”.

When tran­si­tion­ing from elec­tric mode to petrol,it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to de­tect when that hap­pens with nary a jud­der of some sort it’s al­most seam­less,just like how its light­ning-q uick dual-clutch trans­mis­sion per­forms through­out the rev-ran ge.

Rear-seated passen gers willdef­i­nitely re­joice to the sup­ple ride it of­fers,as wellas the rear air-con­di­tion­ing vents and ac­com­mo­dat­ing rear leg room.

The front sus­pen­sion is com­mu­nica­tive and rel­a­tively firm - able to hold its trac­tion well,only the rear is the po­lar op­po­site.

It’s com­fort­ably pli­ant at the rear and able to soak up any of the road’s mis­giv­ings,but when at mid-cor­ner,it’ll­wad­dle over un­even sur­faces,give driv­ers the silent treat­ment and leave them ner­vously guess­ing about where the grip lev­els are.

At least the brakes seem to have a de­cent amount of bite to them

with a di­rect feel.

How­ever, switch­ing to sport mode won’t help im­prove the han­dling sit­u­a­tion, be­cause all that’s be­ing done is get­ting both petrol en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor to sup­ply their com­bined out­puts.

Mean­while, the in­stru­ment clus­ter changes from sim­ple speedome­ter to sporty red-ringed rev-counter with a dig­i­tal speed in­di­ca­tor in the cen­tre.

The Ioniq is some­thing that’s of typ­i­cal hy­brid cars, only it’s got a touch of sporti­ness that its rear-end can’t seem to han­dle very well but only to a cer­tain de­gree - be­yond that might mean head­ing into crash-test ter­ri­tory.

Aside from such mis-giv­ings, as long as the car is con­fined to le­gal speed lim­its, it’ll do just fine while bring­ing about some joy with its zippy na­ture, com­fort­able cabin and that in­sane amount of range on a full tank, which might just en­able new own­ers to av­er­age-up or down their fuel costs now that it’s on a weekly float.

In­stru­ment clus­ter that is highly vis­i­ble and eas­ily leg­i­ble.

Im­pres­sive com­bined out­put of 139hp and 264Nm.

A mod­ern, com­fort­able and in­tu­itive cabin for all.

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