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Hyundai Ioniq

HWM (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - by Kenny Yeo

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.

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