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Ioniq launch will pay dividends

Created on 10/05/2017 @ 08:43
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

It’s beginning to look like Hyundai’s brave step into the electric and hybrid sector will pay dividends – judging by the awards being handed to the all-new Ioniq.

With Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius sales firmly in the target area Ioniq is the first car to offer hyrbrid, electric and plug-in hybrid alternatives.

And despite only being launched last October Ioniq is already proving popular with the experts with Fleet News naming it the greenest car and the best plug-in on the market for fleets.

Ioniq was also named best Small Hatch at the UK Car Of The Year Awards and excelled in the 2017 Carbuyer Magazine Awards scooping three awards as best hybrid, best road-tax exempt model and best car that’s cheap to insure sector.

So why is the Ioniq proving so popular? Quite simply it’s coming out on top of other recognised electric, hybrid and conventional petrol and diesel options because of its uniqueness and customer choice – offering three alternatives was a stroke of genius.

All three options are optimised for efficiency which along with stylish looks, full connectivity, safety measures, an eight-year battery warranty, and targeted pricing means it ticks all the customer boxes for both private and fleet buyers. Prices start at just £19,995.

On test was the hybrid version and it was soon easy to see why its popularity is growing thanks to fuel consumption figures of 83mpg and a range of 846 miles from a tank of petrol -  that’ enough to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats without stopping to top up. It’s also tax free, thanks to CO2 emission figures of 79g/km.

The hybrid range starts at £19,995 for the SE 1.6 GDi, which includes standard features such as 15” alloys, DAB with Bluetooth, cruise control and rear parking sensors with rear view camera. Safety features include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and individual Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

Hybrid Premium 1.6 GDi, from £21,795, provides additional equipment over the SE, including keyless entry with push button start, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, Bi-Xenon headlamps with LED rear combination lamps and a driver’s supervision instrument cluster with 7” LCD display. Integrated satellite navigation with TomTom Live services, an Infinity audio system with Android Auto / Apple CarPlay and Wireless phone charging also feature as standard.

From £23,595, Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE 1.6 GDi models benefit from enhanced comfort equipment such as leather seats with heated/ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats, heated leather steering wheel and a driver power seat with Integrated Memory System.

Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Parking Assist and optional 17” alloy wheels round off this range topping trim.

You still experience that uneasy feeling when a car pulls away in silence until the petrol engine kicks in with a combination of a 1.6-litre, four cylinder petrol engine, a 34KW electric motor and an 8.9kWh lithium-ion battery coming together to give 139bhp. That means 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds.

The change from electric to petrol is barely noticeable and while there’s no neck-breaking torque to concern the driver there’s enough to ensure you can pull out to overtake with the confidence that there’s still a bit in reserve.

There’s a sports mode button which when engaged means you sip a bit more petrol and see the speedometer change to a rev counter in glowing orange colours as a reminder that you’re not saving quite as much of the planet as you were previously. 

In fairness Ioniq is the not the best-looking car I’ve driven recently. It handles well enough though, but you do have to get used to a snatchy braking system and a little too much wind and road noise.

The cabin is a comfortable place to be and Hyundai has not gone mad on futuristic design so everything is where you would expect it to be and switches clearly marked and easy to find.

Rear seat passengers reported comfortable seating though the sloping roof proved a problem for a six-footer. Boot space is impressive with a large opening area and even under-floor storage space.

Hyundai has a winner on its hands with the Ioniq. With fleet buyers looking to keep costs to the minimum this is a real option while the private buyer can’t help but be impressed by the low running costs.


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