Review: Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

Review: Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
Review: Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in hybrid Ioniq is cheap to run but not the best all-rounder in the class

We drove an Ioniq Plug-in in May on Germany’s smooth roads. Now we’ve tried the third variant of Hyundai’s new hatch on Britain’s not-so-smooth thoroughfares, Our cart-tracks are always a stern test for the suspension of heavily-batteried cars. How does the Ioniq cope?

Hyundai is hoping that the plug-in’s additional performance and lack of range anxiety compared to the all-electric Ioniq will flag it up among Toyota Prius buyers. 247mpg fuel economy and 26g/km CO2 emissions are being claimed, allowing it to park for less in some places and to hum through central London with no congestion charge.

Basically it has the regular Ioniq Hybrid powertrain, ie a 104bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, but it also has a front-wing-mounted Type II charging socket. That means its larger 8.9kW battery can be charged from a 16-amp driveway wallbox in a little over two hours, and its more powerful 60bhp electric motor can assist the petrol engine for longer periods.

The peak outputs are identical to the ordinary Hybrid’s at 139bhp and 195lb ft, but despite carrying an extra 125kg, the plug-in is 0.2sec quicker on the 0-62mph dash at 10.6sec. Better yet, for haters of the Prius Plug-in’s whiny CVT gearbox, the Ioniq’s power reaches its front wheels via a paddle-shifter six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Premium SE

 

Price: £29,295 (£26,795 with government grant)
Engine:1.6-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle petrol; plus 60bhp electric motor
Power: 139bhp
Torque: 195lb/ft
Gearbox: Six-speed twin-clutch automatic;
Kerbweight: 1495kg;
0-62mph: 10.6sec;
Top speed: 111mph;
Economy: 257mpg;
CO2/tax band: 26g/km/9%

As with any plug-in hybrid, electrified relaxation is the aim rather than electrifying performance. The Ioniq answers its market’s desires by offering relaxed, quiet progress. With a full charge in its batteries, the car runs in EV mode, the petrol engine only joining in when the throttle is mashed. It seems to come in a bit too early really but even so it’s not difficult to top the trip computer’s 99.9mpg maximum display. Hyundai says you can get 39 miles in this mode, but during our town testing it was nearer to 30.

Put it in HEV mode and the electric motor figures things out for itself, taking car of pulling away from rest until over 10mph is reached, at which point the petrol engine smoothly kicks in. The process is gentle as long as you are, but the engine contribution can get jolty and harsh if you become more demanding.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

The dual-clutch gearbox does provide ‘steps’ in the acceleration, giving it a more conventional feel than the Prius. In normal traffic flow you’ll get city mpg figures in the mid-50s.

Select Sport mode (signalled by red instrumentation lighting and the appearance of a rev counter with a digital speed readout) and the electric motor’s input makes things feel quicker than they are. Once you’re on the move, progress is quite stately. That ‘eco-car’ feel isn’t dispelled by soft suspension that’s still quite jiggly over bumps.

Road noise is quite high on the motorway, but adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist de-stress the drive and (on our outside-lane run) bring averages in excess of 80mpg. Maximising range and economy is the fun part of cars like these. The regenerative system harvests energy at every opportunity, adding a bar of extra charge after coasting down a hill for just 20 seconds.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Passengers are well catered for, space-wise. A fifth, central passenger will find it a squeeze but knee room is plentiful. Our range-topping Premium SE car had leather on its seats, steering wheel and gearlever, and soft-touch plastics atop the dash. A 7.0in HD touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility is standard Ioniq plug-in fare.

Overall we reckon this Ioniq Plug-in is the best of the three-car range. Toyota might be a little worried by it, but our first impressions indicate that the Prius plug-in will drag in more customers seeking cost-effective mileage maximisation.

Another option is Volkswagen’s Golf GTE, which is the class leader albeit at £30,635. The Golf doesn’t have the Hyundai’s long standard spec list – but nor does it have its shortcomings.

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

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