Hyundai Ioniq



By Tim Saunders

Until I drove the Hyundai Ioniq my experience of hybrids was that they were dull, inefficient and slow.
My opinion has changed. During a week long test I drive the Ioniq to London and Chichester as well as pottering about locally. And not once do I break into a sweat fretting about where the nearest petrol station can be found.
For those unfamiliar with hybrids they couple a petrol engine to an electric motor. The electric motor kicks in at low speeds making them more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel vehicles. The electric motor is charged when the petrol engine is running.
A very light right foot and speeds typically of 30mph and under generally results in electric mode (EV) being engaged. However, there are occasions when EV mode fails to kick in and there is no rhyme nor reason why. One such occasion is in heavy traffic in the capital when we all slow down to a crawl yet we are still running on petrol. This really shouldn’t be the case and is frustrating. Even when reversing off the driveway it is the petrol engine that is called on most of the time. Yet when I shoot my video as you can see at EV mode is engaged while I reverse.
There is a push button start and the driver must remember to unlock the foot operated parking brake, which takes a little getting used to. 
Despite the Ioniq’s reliance on its petrol engine it is surprisingly economical. It can be driven at a good speed on the motorway without the worry that the fuel reserves are rapidly depleting. It will easily travel over 550 miles on a full tank of petrol. Two years ago I drove both the Nissan and Toyota equivalents and this was never the case for me then – the driver was lucky to achieve 300 miles on a full tank. And the Toyota Prius is fitted with a 45 litre fuel tank just like the Hyundai Ioniq. However, the Prius is a 1.8-litre petrol compared to the Hyundai’s 1.6-litre unit. At the traffic lights the Ioniq swiftly pulls away.
Glancing at reviews of this car I am surprised that I cannot find a single complimentary one. They all complain about lack of speed and a general lack lustre appeal of this vehicle. My experience is an utter contrast. I find the design interesting and it is a well constructed five door hatchback. It’s ideal family transport easily accommodating three car seats in the back. My only qualm is that the seat belt buckles in the rear fall too low into the seats making it really really difficult to insert or remove a seat belt when there are three children’s car seats and space is tight.
But there is luxury; even the rear occupants enjoy heated seats while the driver gets a heated steering wheel and even an air heated/cooled seat, as does their passenger.
The seats are comfortable and supportive and the driver enjoys a relaxed experience thanks to the automatic gearbox.
In terms of boot space there is enough room to transport little Henry’s folding pushchair and on our return from London we are able to make room for a couple of antique dining chairs, too.
Overall, the Ioniq is a welcome addition to the hybrid line up and it surpasses expectations, setting a new standard.

Hyundai Ioniq 1.6GDi SE Hybrid
Price: From £19,856

0-60mph: 10.9secs
Top speed: 115mph
Economy: 58mpg

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