Hyundai Ioniq EV

Is the hy­brid the plain sis­ter of the range – or is it some­one else? Damien O’car­roll in­ves­ti­gates.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

The hy­brid ver­sion of Hyundai’s new Ioniq was al­ways go­ing to be some­thing of the plain sis­ter in the line-up, with the pure EV be­ing the sexy head­line grab­ber. So it is some­what ironic that it is ac­tu­ally the bet­ter look­ing of the two, drop­ping the EV’S big plas­tic in favour of a nec­es­sary tra­di­tional grille to cool the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine. As such, the Ioniq hy­brid is sleek and hand­some, and dis­tinctly a Hyundai. Hyundai have gone out of their way to make the Ioniq look as con­ven­tional as pos­si­ble, which will ap­peal to a lot of peo­ple who are tired of the “fu­tur­is­tic” hy­brid/ev look that is preva­lent these days. Although, on the other hand, it also runs the risk of per­haps be­ing slightly too con­ven­tional for peo­ple who want some­thing that looks like a hy­brid. Although from cer­tain an­gles it still re­tains a tra­di­tional Prius-y look – you re­ally can’t avoid that aero­dy­namic hy­brid Kamm tail shape... In­side the Ioniq is a modern and func­tional in­te­rior that looks very much like a nor­mal car, as is the idea. It is even more con­ven­tional look­ing than the EV, but with equally high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and build qual­ity. There is plenty of in­for­ma­tion avail­able on the var­i­ous screens, along with ex­cel­lent Ap­ple Carplay in­te­gra­tion and the er­gonomics are all very well thought out and sen­si­ble. While the seats are slightly on the firm side, they are still com­fort­able and sup­port­ive. How­ever the in­te­rior is all very grey, with very lit­tle colour or ex­cite­ment, while the split rear win­dow re­stricts vis­i­bil­ity and the lack of a rear wiper is sim­ply un­for­giv­able. On the road, the hy­brid drive train is par­tic­u­larly fru­gal, with a sur­pris­ing amount of throt­tle travel on elec­tric power alone. It is also im­pres­sively quiet and smooth, with both wind and road noise also be­ing well damped. The six-speed dual clutch trans­mis­sion is im­pres­sive and gives the Ioniq a more “real car” feel than hy­brids with con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sions. While the en­tire pow­er­train is im­pres­sively smooth, it can be quite slug­gish off the mark, mean­ing the Ioniq isn’t that hot away from in­ter­sec­tions. De­spite the fact that it is won­der­fully com­fort­able, with a nicely com­posed and re­fined ride, the Ioniq boasts a sur­pris­ingly ag­ile chas­sis and nicely re­spon­sive steer­ing. Through a cor­ner the Ioniq boasts a sur­pris­ingly high amount of grip and re­mains nicely poised and con­fi­dent through­out, which is a sur­prise be­cause no one re­ally ex­pects a hy­brid to be a great han­dler. And the Ioniq’s pow­er­train cer­tainly sub­scribes to that the­ory. Well it is im­pres­sively fru­gal, as well as smooth and quiet around town the Ioniq’s pow­er­train can’t do jus­tice to the chas­sis’ sur­pris­ingly im­pres­sive open road abil­i­ties. Mak­ing a com­plaint like that is ac­tu­ally en­tirely miss­ing the point of a car like the Ioniq – it is made for around town mo­tor­ing and it does that ex­cep­tion­ally well. Com­fort­able smooth quiet and ex­traor­di­nar­ily well-equipped the Ioniq hy­brid rep­re­sents re­mark­able value for money and makes the car that came that in­spired it (rather ob­vi­ously, the Toy­ota Prius) looks al­most ridicu­lously ex­pen­sive in com­par­i­son.

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