For over a decade Toyota’s Prius was the main player in the game when it came to hybrids, but with the phasing out of new petrol and diesel vehicles approaching at a more alarming rate than we like, I took to the roads in one of the number of new hybrids introduced in the past few years, the Hyundai Ioniq.
The Ioniq was designed from the ground up to fit within these looming guidelines, yes there are two petrol units available but they are mated to electric power in hybrid and plug-in forms. There’s also a fully electric model with a claimed range of 174 miles.
I tested the hybrid model which claims to return 78.5 mpg, not too dissimilar from smaller output diesel models that are available today. That’s not a bad thing either, the electric motor’s torque almost imitates the turbocharger of a diesel-powered car which makes switching over to this hybrid easier than you may think. And there’s none of this CVT nonsense like you get in the Prius either, the Hyundai uses a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic making it much more engaging to drive, and a lot less floppy. The gearbox even has a sport mode, turning the digital speed dial to a red rev counter and priming the engine for those quick bursts of acceleration, a really useful attribute for fast paced manoeuvres in town.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ioniq isn’t quick – all models take over 10 seconds to reach 60 mph, but there’s enough shove to hold itself in the fast lane, and even the hybrid model can do over 70 mph in electric power alone at a steady cruise, something I can testify to. Over the course of more than 500 miles, about 90% of which being motorway driving, I returned between 60-65 mpg, as is the same for other drivers who experience these promising figures in and around town. Prius drivers often see marginally higher figures, but with hybrids more than any other powertrain, your fuel consumption depends massively on how you drive the vehicle, the battery’s charge and use, and ambient conditions.
The hybrid model is available in three trims: SE, Premium and Premium SE. Our test model was top of the range Premium SE, not a bad place to be. Coming in at just £25,390, this excellently specced car makes it a very attractive proposition for private and company car buyers alike. Some of the most comforting features on my 250-mile journey to York included heated and cooled front rear seats (and heated rear seats), an electric driver’s seat, leather upholstery and automatic lights and wipers. Front and rear parking sensors and blind spot detection also round up the kit list. Even mid spec Premium gets the 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging capabilities, bi-xenon headlights and a heated steering wheel. Entry-level SE doesn’t skimp out either, with smart cruise control, lane keep assist, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth, although the 5-inch touchscreen does look a bit naff with the prominence of tech in our cars these days. We suggest avoiding SE and jumping to Premium for a fuller and more rounded experience.
As a whole though, the interior is a very pleasant place to be, the high quality materials used and simple layout makes it an easy place to be in control of your driving experience. I personally much prefer it to the plasticky feel that you get in the Prius, although it’s not quite on par with the likes of the Audi A3 e-tron.
With a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating and Hyundai’s exceptional warranty, I think the