Hyundai IONIQ


Hamish Ainsley

It is great to see Hyundai getting in on the action with this EV offering for western markets. The South Korean manufacturer is serious about this market, but is hedging its bets somewhat in that it is also pursuing a hydrogen fuel cell development strategy. It remains to be seen if this is sensible, and this is something we discuss in more detail in our EV vs FCV feature, here.

With EVs now central to their product strategy, Hyundai recently announced their intention to launch a long range electric car to compete directly with Tesla’s Model 3 (although probably not until around 2021), along with an electric version of their Kona SUV which is due much sooner in 2018 and touted to have a range of well over 200 miles.

Reviews from the various outlets of the Ioniq are overwhelmingly positive and it is easy to see why it is considered by many as a serious contender for Nissan’s Leaf - the car to beat as the incumbent in the affordable electric car category.

It’s a smart looking machine, with a similar design up front to the Tesla range in that there is no discernible grille, something that helps make the car as aerodynamic as possible, thus contributing to its driving range. This leads to styling that will probably split opinion, but expect to get used to it as more EVs hit the roads. Rear end styling is excellent and the tall hatchback form allows for a generous boot.

The car is available in three versions - pure electric, hybrid and plug in hybrid. In full electric trim, it comes with a 28kwh battery, giving a realistic driving range of around 140 miles (Hyundai claims 174 miles). Performance is good, if not earth-shattering, across the range and all versions of the Ioniq will compare favourably with mid-range equivalent hatchbacks with conventional engines. It’s an inescapable fact that once you add an electric motor, performance is easier to come by l - something that is illustrated by the fact that the pure electric Ioniq is quickest off the line. As we are concerned only with pure electric vehicles at TryEV, we will focus on the battery only version here, but it is worth bearing in mind that hybrid models exist depending on usage requirements.

Steering is light yet precise and responsive with a good, progressive increase in resistance as lock is added, making the car easy to position even at pace. Further assurance comes from a tight ride which controls body roll well whilst maintaining comfort levels. There is a sense of weight, however as the battery in the car’s belly tips the scales at around 300kg. Some of this weight is mitigated by strategic use of aluminium panelling, however, and on the plus side, the battery pack is low in the car, helping to keep body roll down and adding to the sense of grip.

The interior is very well appointed, if a little on the safe and uninspiring side. Materials feel of high quality and it compares favourably with equivalent cars in the category. Driving position is excellent, with a good range of adjustability, including the steering column. Even in standard SE trim, the car is equipped with a 5 inch colour touch screen for much of the infotainment controls, and in Premium trim, this is upgraded to 8 inches with satnav, which includes updates for the life of the car, along with smartphone mirroring. Standard equipment elsewhere is also generous, and includes 15 inch alloys, seven airbags, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, DAB digital radio, climate control and hill start assist. Other goodies coming with the Premium upgrade include keyless entry, xenon headlights and heated front seats. The next step up to Premium SE adds leather, electrically adjustable front seats, heated rear seats and front parking sensors, along with blind spot monitoring.

The car feels roomy up front with good head and legroom even for tall adults. In the rear, taller people will find plenty of legroom, but may be hampered by the sloping hatchback roof in terms of head room. The boot is generous, and rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 configuration to allow for decent load carrying capacity. The boot opening is a little restrictive, however, with quite a high sill making loading heavy or cumbersome items tricky. Fast charging capability is better than many other EVs currently available, including the Nissan Leaf - the Ioniq can accept up to 100kw compared to Nissan’s 50kw. This is a consideration for the future, however, as charging infrastructure at that level is only currently available via Tesla’s supercharger system which cannot be connected to the Hyundai. This is something that is likely to change in the very near term though, so it is worth factoring in to the decision making process if longer journeys are expected. Theoretically, at maximum charging capacity, the Ioniq should be capable of full charging in around 40 minutes, with 80% charge achieved in 15 minutes. With the best of the currently available infrastructure, expect 80% in 30 minutes. Charging at home from a specially installed wall connector, a full charge will be achieved in around 6 hours. Check out our guide to charging for more information.

The Ioniq benefits from Hyundai’s industry leading warranty package, meaning you get 5 years and unlimited mileage on everything except the battery. Battery warranty is limited to 125,000 miles but extends out to a whopping eight years.