From Burghausen to Bled with Hyundai’s Hybrid
From Burghausen to Bled with Hyundai’s Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq is now available in Europe in hybrid and electric format. At the helm of the hybrid version, Justus Visagie explores the beautiful surrounds from Germany to Slovenia.
The breathtaking beauty of Bled is multifaceted. There is a small island with a church built upon it, with the thousandyear-old Bled Castle standing guard on a clifftop above the lake.
After 300 km on a KTM 1290 Adventure S, an hour on a bus, three hours on two trains, and a R800 taxi ride, it was almost a spiritual experience to see the metallic-blue Ioniq gleaming in the feint light of the Hotel Jedermann in Munich.
The day’s journey was far from over, though; but at least we would be ensconced in quiet luxury for the final leg.there was close to 200 km left to go, from the centre of Munich to a town called Burghausen on the river Salzach.
From the Hotel Burgblick in Burghausen the plan was to travel to the hamlet of Maria Alm in Austria, cross the Alps, and then journey on to the alluring town of Bled in Slovenia – a 400 km road trip in the new Ioniq with its limited autonomous driving capability.
The Ioniq nameplate – a portmanteau of ion and unique – was introduced to European markets late last year and is now available in three flavours: electric, plug-in hybrid, and as a traditional Prius-type hybrid. Sadly, it is not yet available in South Africa, and might never make it to our shores.
I requested the electric version for the trip, but now – two hours after sunset and with around 200 km still to drive to Burghausen – I was glad we were in the hybrid model. If we had been in the EV version, we might have been forced to sleep in the car had it not been delivered to us fully charged, or had we been unable to top up the battery in time. Range anxiety is real …
Essentially, the Ioniq is Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Prius.that means it possesses none of the futuristic quirkiness of the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3. It has conventional Prius- like lines and, in terms of its appearance, can be described as the offspring of an Elantra and i30.
While reserved and elegant, its cavernous luggage compartment impressed me. It swallowed two large suitcases, motorcycle gear (from the trip on the KTM), cameras, a laptop bag, and a vanity case, all with ease.
The fast-back was loaded with features, including an 8-speaker Infinity sound system with first-rate clarity and a slick and userfriendly infotainment system.
We entered our destination into the satnav and left Munich, joining the autobahn in an easterly direction. The ride quality of the Ioniq was serene, but I was also curious how it would perform on the highway without speed restriction. I stomped on the accelerator, the transmission kicked down and … well, our speed increased. But no fireworks here, folks; not even an electric shove from the battery.
It is the most sedate of the three Ioniq derivatives, so using the combination of 1.6-litre direct injection four-cylinder engine and battery system output of 104 kw, and 265 Nm of torque (with class-leading thermal efficiency of 40%), we drove frugally, appreciating the efficiency of the car over its in-gear acceleration.
FROM BURG TO ALPINE PASTURE
An hour later we reached the Burghausen “Altstadt” (old town) in which we were to spend the night. Technically speaking, the Hotel Burgblick is in Austria, not Germany, as it is on the opposite side of the river. Still, from our cosy room, seated comfortably on the balcony, we could see the massive Burghausen castle across the river. The Burghausen’s claim to fame is that its castle, at one kilometre, is the longest in the world.
The plan was to travel to the hamlet of Maria Alm in Austria and then journey on to the alluring town of Bled in Slovenia – a 400 km road trip in the new Ioniq with its limited autonomous driving capability.
It takes about ten minutes to walk the length of it.
With the church bells chiming a melodic farewell, we left for the Alpine foothills the next morning.we spent the night in Maria Alm (pasture) and, seeing that we had gotten there early enough, took the time to admire the Wallfahrtskirche church with its 84-metre spire in the daylight.
WATCHING OVER YOU
From the pasture, the road winded higher and higher until we reached picturesque Obertauern, the highest point before starting the descent to the Slovenian border.the slopes were covered in thick snow, but luckily the road was merely wet, not frozen. With only 40 km to go to Bled, the road started to coil dramatically.then it happened: the corner we were negotiating suddenly tightened and before I could react, the Ioniq did; turning the steering wheel a few more degrees to the left. The car tracked the road perfectly and we exited the turn safely. I was driving slowly, so we probably would not have run off the road. But I could have damaged a wheel – a huge inconvenience in freezing temperatures on a quiet road – so the Ioniq was not taking any chances. The feeling of having a benign “robot” watch over me was undeniably exciting.
An hour later, we safely reached the Pension Mlino in Bled and admired the view from our room over magnificent Lake Bled, which lies just 20 meters away from the hotel.the breathtaking beauty of Bled is multifaceted.there is a small island with a church built upon it, with the thousandyear old Bled Castle standing guard on a clifftop above the lake. The Karawanks mountain range embrace it all. One must rent a canoe or traditional “pletna” and oarsman to get to the church. Or you could swim. In colder winters, the lake would freeze and the church could then be reached on foot. Sadly, the winters are not cold enough any longer.
Visiting Bled Castle, over 100 meters above the lake, it felt like we were floating a mile high.we ate kremšnita (cream cake) and lost ourselves in the view of distant snowy mountains.
The next day, we headed for Lake Bohinj in the Triglav Park of Slovenia. Its calm, cold, crystal clear water is surrounded by hills and a forest that diffuses the sunlight into a soft green glow. By now it was dark, and the moon, big and yellow, wafted low above the horizon. We drove the 25 km back to Bled to find the best vantage point before she rose too high. We ended up at the castle, and marvelled at how the moon gently bathed the town in honey coloured light …