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Hyundai aims to become one of the world’s largest automakers. To do that, it recognizes that it needs to build up its portfolio of cars so that it can o er something to everybody. Its lineup is already pretty impressive. The Elantra is your typical sedan and the i30 is your small-size hatchback. For people with families, you have your Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs. If you have the need for speed, the turbocharged Velostar is the way to go. Missing from this list, however, is a hybrid. But that is no longer the case with the new Ioniq Hybrid, which also happens to be Hyundai’s very rst hybrid car.
First attempts are always tricky, but it is trickier still when you are entering a market that is already dominated by a strong player - in this case, the Toyota Prius. Compared to the Prius, the Ioniq looks more conventional. Although both cars have a fastback body style, the Prius has a more polarizing love it or hate it design, the Ioniq plays it safe which is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that more people are likely to nd it pleasant looking, the bad thing is it also looks a bit boring, especially when compared to the futuristic and edgy Prius. Personally, I think the Prius is more attractive and exciting to look at.
But then beauty is in the eye of the beholder, where the Ioniq gets a leg-up on the Prius is in its powertrain. The 1.6-liter Kappa petrol engine is said to be 40% thermal e cient, but more
importantly, it puts out more power than the 1.8-liter Prius powerplant - 105hp vs 98hp. The Ioniq’s electric motor adds another 34hp to provide a total power output of 139hp and 264nm of torque.
On paper, the two cars accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in about the same time - 10.8 seconds - but in the real world, the Ioniq feels punchier and quicker o the line, especially when you set it in “S” mode. It also helps that the Ioniq’s transmission is a fairly slick 6-speed dual-clutch system with manual select. The Prius, on the other hand, has to make do with a lazy continuously variable transmission.
Switching the Ioniq into “S” mode also changes the display of the instrument panel. In place of a coolblue speedometer, the panel turns into a sporty red rev counter, complete with a big digital read-out of your speed. It’s a pretty neat touch.
But perhaps most impressive about the Ioniq is how seamless and e ortless the petrol engine and electric motor work together. For someone like me who is a little hard of hearing and who spends most of his time in
The Ioniq is an excellent *rst attempt at a hybrid car by Hyundai.
typical gas-guzzling cars, it is hard to discern if the petrol engine has kicked in and if it has shut o . The only way drivers can tell for sure is to observe the energy ow graph on the instrument panel.
As for fuel economy, Hyundai quotes a combined fuel economy gure of around 25.6km/l. In my experience, after over 200km and 4 hours of driving, I managed a rather decent 19.7km/l. Bear in mind that according to the trip computer, my driving style was only 19% economical, 47% normal, and 34% aggressive. What can I say? I’m not a really patient driver.
The Ioniq drives well too. It’s no hot hatch, but the steering and handling are well judged for a hybrid family car. The suspension is fairly rm, but thanks to excellent damping, the ride is in the Goldilocks zone - neither too gloopy nor too harsh.
A delightful powertrain and comfortable ride aside, the Ioniq also has a couple of other high-tech tricks up its sleeves. If you have a smartphone that supports Qi wireless charging like the new Samsung S8, you would be happy to know that the Ioniq features a Qi wireless charging pad on the center console just above the gear selector. And further back the center console, just below the front center armrest, is a storage compartment handily designed to accommodate tablets. It ts the 9.7-inch iPad and smaller 7.9-inch iPad Mini easily.
That aside, the Ioniq also has other modern features like Blind Spot Detection and Lane Keeping Assist System. The former emits a series of audible beeps if it detects that there’s another vehicle in your blind spot, while the latter sounds an alert and nudges the steering wheel should the car detect that the car is making an unintentional lane change.
Overall, the Ioniq is an excellent rst attempt at a hybrid. At $118,888, it is significantly less pricey than the Prius but it still commands a rather considerable premium over other nonhybrid 1.6-liter cars. But if you do rack up lots of miles on your car, the Ioniq could prove to be more frugal in the long run.
Unlike the Prius, the Ioni# has a more conventional cabin that is easier to get used to.
There is a Qi wireless charging pad right above the gear selector.
The split tailgate looks cool, but slightly impedes rear visibility.