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Hyundai Ioniq Premium v Toy­ota Prius

HYUNDAI IONIQ En­gine 1580cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, hy­brid | Power 104kw @ 5700rpm Torque 265Nm @ 4000rpm | Econ­omy 3.9L/100km | Price $ 38,000 (es­ti­mate)

Hyundai is yet to re­lease pric­ing for its Ioniq Hy­brid, but ex­pect the range to start be­low the Prius’s $35K marker. This model is the Ioniq Premium (est $38K), which builds on an im­pres­sive equip­ment list to of­fer sat-nav, dual-zone cli­mate, rain-sens­ing wipers and sun­roof. An ac­tive safety suite is stan­dard too, bundling lane-keep as­sist, blind-spot de­tec­tion, ac­tive cruise con­trol and AEB. 15/20

Ioniq’s cabin boasts part-leather seats with elec­tric ad­just­ment, while the Prius makes do with man­ual cloth ver­sions. Cabin is con­ven­tion­ally de­signed and well con­nected, with an 8.0-inch touch­screen of­fer­ing dig­i­tal ra­dio and Ap­ple Carplay/an­droid, all items ab­sent in the Toy­ota. In­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is in­tu­itive and pro­vides use­ful info like au­di­ble speed cam­era warn­ings. 18/20

Of the two, it’s the Hyundai that of­fers the most re­ward­ing drive with de­cent steer­ing feel and stronger road-hold­ing thanks to its larger tyre con­tact patch. The big­ger 17s don’t dra­mat­i­cally com­pro­mise ride qual­ity and the Ioniq also feels lighter on its feet dur­ing hard cor­ner­ing. Both cars utilise a sus­pen­sion set-up com­pris­ing struts up front and a multi-link rear. 18/20

With a six-speed dual-clutch ver­sus the Toy­ota’s con­tin­u­ously vari­able auto, the Hyundai’s pow­er­train of­fers a far more driver­friendly ex­pe­ri­ence. It also has no­tice­ably more grunt in gear thanks to its higher com­bined torque out­put fig­ure. Nei­ther car is fast, but the Ioniq is the more driver-centric op­tion with less to get used to over a con­ven­tional com­bus­tion-only car. 18/20

Of­fi­cial word on the Ioniq’s war­ranty and ser­vic­ing costs are yet to be re­vealed but it should mir­ror what’s of­fered in the UK, which du­pli­cates the com­pany’s stan­dard five-year, un­lim­ited mileage deal. UK cus­tomers also get a 125,000-mile bat­tery guar­an­tee, a num­ber that should trans­late to a 200,000km equiv­a­lent Down Un­der and prove use­ful come re­sale time. 18/20

TOY­OTA PRIUS En­gine 1798cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, hy­brid | Power 90kw @ 5200rpm Torque 163Nm @ 3600rpm | Econ­omy 3.4L/100km | Price $ 34,990

The en­try-level Prius also has ac­tive cruise, AEB and lane-keep as­sist, though misses out on sat-nav, blind-spot de­tec­tion and rear-cross traf­fic alert. To add those you need to cough up $8K ex­tra for the Prius i-tech vari­ant. It also rolls on smaller 15-inch wheels (Ioniq has 17s) and can be po­lar­is­ing to look at next to the Hyundai’s more con­ven­tional styling. 13/20

The ex­te­rior love-or-hate theme con­tin­ues on the in­side with pearl white trims and off­set dash clus­ter that screams ‘I’m dif­fer­ent’. It nar­rowly wins the bag­gage bat­tle with a 457L boot ver­sus the Io­qni’s 443L, although the Hyundai gains points back by pro­vid­ing a flat­ter load area with folded seats. A 7.0-inch screen with smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity and cord­less charg­ing are stan­dard. 16/20

This is the best-han­dling Prius yet thanks to its new GA-C plat­form. Im­proved steer­ing, a lower cen­tre of grav­ity and greater struc­tural rigid­ity are all pos­i­tives, plus the tall-pro­file tyres en­sures the Toy­ota of­fers a marginally bet­ter ride over sur­face im­per­fec­tions. Its re­gen brak­ing sys­tem is more nat­u­ral to use than the Ioniq’s too. But it feels heav­ier, de­spite closely matched kerb weights. 17/20

Both have de­cent off-the-mark ac­cel­er­a­tion thanks to in­stant elec­tric torque, but the Prius is less ea­ger to en­list the help of petrol power at higher speeds, which likely boosts fuel econ­omy but dents drive­abil­ity. On pa­per the Toy­ota has the more im­pres­sive claimed fuel econ­omy, us­ing half a litre less fuel over 100km. Our re­cent long-term-test Prius av­er­aged 4.8L over four months 18/20

The Prius is cov­ered by a three-year war­ranty which, un­like the Hyundai, is lim­ited to 200,000km. Sched­uled ser­vic­ing of the Prius ranges from $193 to $379 per visit but those costs can be trimmed down to $140 ev­ery 10,000km with the Ser­vice Ad­van­tage plan for a to­tal of $840 over three years, as op­posed to $1557 with­out the op­tional of­fer. 15/20

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