Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid review
"The Hyundai Ioniq is likely to tempt many buyers who might otherwise choose a Toyota Prius"
- Conventional styling
- Decent practicality
- Low running costs
- Some cheap plastics inside
- Engine sounds strained at high revs
- Not as cheap to run as electric and plug-in versions
The Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to be offered in three different powertrain configurations. There's this Ioniq Hybrid, the Ioniq Plug-In and the Ioniq Electric, which is purely electrically powered.
The Ioniq is a neatly styled, if slightly generic looking, five-seat hatchback that is similar in design to the Toyota Prius. A main sales rival for the Ioniq in hybrid form. The Ioniq features Hyundai’s large grille and a swooping, almost coupe-like roofline that improves aerodynamics and therefore fuel economy. A facelift in the second half of 2019 brought very subtle exterior and interior design changes and technology from the Hyundai Kona that allows 'one-pedal driving'. This included new LED lights at the front and rear, along with a new grille and alloy wheel designs.
Other plug-in or hybrid family cars, such as the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Niro Hybrid and Hyundai Kona Hybrid also compete with the Ioniq, but the entry-level non-plug-in version (called simply the Ioniq Hybrid) is cheap enough that can be seen as an alternative to wide range of petrol and diesel family cars.
The hybrid Ioniq is powered by a 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine, making 104bhp and paired with a 43bhp electric motor and 1.56kWh battery capacity. The latter is only there to assist the petrol engine, though: unlike the plug-in version, the basic Ioniq Hybrid isn't capable of travelling on pure electric power for any great distance. It’ll do 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 115mph. Fuel economy is comparable to its rivals with a combined figure of 62.8mpg (WLTP). CO2 emissions of 84-85g/km mean it isn’t exempt from the London Congestion Charge. Road tax costs £140 a year.
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Standard equipment is also pretty good on all models: alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and DAB radio are standard from the entry-level model up, along with a 10.25-inch infotainment display. Premium versions benefit from sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology, while the Premium SE has leather seats, an electric memory driver’s seat and front and rear parking sensors.
The interior of the Ioniq is conventionally laid out – there’s little to remind you of the sophisticated technology under the metal. It’s solid and well designed, however there are some cheap finishes in certain places. Although it’s not exactly an inspiring place to sit, it's at least easy to use. Despite its technology, the Ioniq Hybrid is still a car that anyone will be able to jump in and drive straight away.
It’ll comfortably accommodate a small family, too. The Ioniq provides space to spare for front and rear-seat occupants alike, as well as an impressive boot with more capacity than that of the Toyota Prius. It can extend further by folding the rear seats down, too.
All the positive attributes of good fuel efficiency and low emissions that made the Toyota Prius such a success apply equally to the Ioniq, which has the further advantage of comfortably undercutting the Japanese car’s price. It’s covered by the same five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty as other Hyundais, which have acquired a positive reputation for reliability, so the Ioniq should be easy to live with.
It’s a safe one, too. Every model is loaded with up-to-date technology including automatic emergency braking (which can slow the car to a halt if it detects an obstacle in its path), as well as lane-keeping assistance. Higher-spec models also have adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic detection to help with reversing out of parking spaces or driveways onto busy roads. These systems helped the Ioniq score the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests.
As a first hybrid offering from Hyundai, the Ioniq is quite impressive. It's not the most imaginatively designed car, but it forms a very well-rounded package and represents a real threat to the market dominance of the Toyota Prius.
See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric