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Three-in-one Hyundai Ioniq eye-opener on road to electrified motoring

Futuristic and affordable Hyundai Ioniq is world’s first car to offer three electrified powertrains - hybrid, plug-in and pure electric. Picture: Hyundai

Futuristic and affordable Hyundai Ioniq is world's first car to offer three electrified powertrains - hybrid, plug-in and pure electric. Picture: Hyundai

Hyundai

Hyundai is charging ahead with its futuristic Ioniq, the first car to feature three electrified powertrains. Motoring editor Andy Russell drives the hybrid.

Hyundai Ioniq's rear visibility isn't great with that split screen. Picture: HyundaiHyundai Ioniq's rear visibility isn't great with that split screen. Picture: Hyundai

Hybrids and electric cars are here to stay in the quest for cleaner, greener motoring.

Hyundai has all bases covered with its new Ioniq family hatchback – the world’s first car with three electrified powertrains. Launched as petrol-electric hybrid and pure electric, a plug-in hybrid arrives this year.

Looks and image

Hyundai Ioniq fascia is clear and logical. Picture: HyundaiHyundai Ioniq fascia is clear and logical. Picture: Hyundai

If the Ioniq is the future of motoring, it has the styling and construction to match with its futuristic fastback body.

It’s wedge-shaped and slippery, for good aerodynamics to cut through the air, while lightweight materials, including an aluminium bonnet and tailgate, means it’s 60kg lighter than the similarly-sized i30 hatchback even with the heavy high-voltage drive battery pack under the back seats.

Under the bonnet

Useful gauge helps you to drive Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid in an eco-friendly manner. Picture: HyundaiUseful gauge helps you to drive Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid in an eco-friendly manner. Picture: Hyundai

The hybrid will be the big seller – there’s no selectable electric vehicle mode but it runs short distances in slow traffic on battery power. Combine the 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric mode and long journeys are a breeze with the two power sources working together efficiently and seamlessly for decent performance and cruising.

The battery recharges under braking, slowing down and from the engine. Think ahead, lift off the throttle early and you coast a long way, while recharging, and I saw 70mpg in mixed driving while a fast motorway run returned 50mpg.

Full marks for the responsive six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, rather than a continuously-variable transmission (CVT), which can be used manually via the lever. The Ioniq feels livelier in sport mode when the instruments change from dial speedo to big red-lit rev counter and digital speedo.

Information displays are clear in Hyundai Ioniq. Picture: HyundaiInformation displays are clear in Hyundai Ioniq. Picture: Hyundai

How it drives

The ride is firm, partly down to high tyre pressures to cut road friction, so there’s some road noise and it’s sensitive to poor surfaces but you get used to it.

You won’t choose an Ioniq for its entertainment value but, with little body roll, it feels flat and stable through bends which helps maintain momentum and, ultimately, saves fuel.

Legroom in the back of the Hyundai Ioniq is good but headroom is tight. Picture: HyundaiLegroom in the back of the Hyundai Ioniq is good but headroom is tight. Picture: Hyundai

Space and comfort

Available only as a hatchback, the Ioniq is big enough to carry five people, although the back is best suited to two adults or three children, with good legroom but headroom is limited by that sloping roofline.

The boot is a useful 443 litres but, with the battery pack under the rear seat, is shallow. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat but step up from the boot floor.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid boot is a reasonable size but shallow. Picture: HyundaiHyundai Ioniq Hybrid boot is a reasonable size but shallow. Picture: Hyundai

At the wheel

The smart fascia is refreshingly clear, with all the information you need, including battery charge and eco driving gauge at a glance, while simple controls and straightforward buttons and rotary knobs for heating and ventilation put everything at your fingtertips. Shame it has a foot-operated parking brake rather than a modern, hi-tech electronic switch which would be more in keeping.

The view out of the front and sides is fine but the steeply-sloping back screen hinders the rear visibility. The screen is split by a bar and the upright bottom section collects road grime and there’s no rear wiper but, fortunately, all models get a reversing camera, sensors and big door mirrors.

The materials have a quality feel at contact points and plentiful storage space adds to the family-friendly feel.

Equipment and value

If hybrids are going to win over drivers, they have got to be sensibly priced and, starting at £19,995 with strong finance offers too, the Ioniq is.

Hyundais are known for lots of standard goodies with SE Hybrid getting cruise control, DAB with Bluetooth, autonomous braking and lane-keep assist. Premium, at £21,795, adds keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats and steering wheel, brighter bi-xenon headlights, satellite navigation, upgraded audio system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and wireless phone charging.

Premium SE gains four heated leather seats, also ventilated in front, powered driver’s seat, blindspot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and front parking sensors.

Final say

The Hyundai Ioniq is a real eye-opener, three different electrified options in one car, with a model to suit all needs and the widest possible appeal. And, at those prices, you can’t ignore it.

TECH AND SPEC

Price: Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDI Hybrid Premium SE £23,595 (range from £19,995). Electric range from £24,495 after £4,500 plug-in grant

Powertrain: 1,580cc, 105PS, four-cylinder petrol engine mated to 43PS electric motor, giving total 141PS output, mated to six-speed automatic gearbox

Performance: 0-62mph 10.8 seconds; top speed 115mph

MPG: Urban 83.1; extra urban 78.5; combined 83.1

CO2 emissions: 79g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 15%

Insurance group: (out of 50)

Warranty: Five years, unlimited mileage and eight years/125,000 miles on high-voltage battery

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,470mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,820mm; H 1,450mm

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