Review: Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in

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

Can this hybrid really deliver such terrific fuel economy?

The Hyundai Ioniq, a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full electric car – it’s the only family hatchback that can offer all those options. Well, it can now, now that the shortage of batteries has finally released the plug-in hybrid on to the market.

And what it brings is a total absence of drama. If you’re looking for hot hatch performance or intent, then you’re looking in the wrong place. We’re looking for calm, common sense, a chance to bring some real benefits to the mainstream without any great overclaim.

Power comes courtesy of a 104bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, and a large 8.9kWh battery pack powering the 60bhp electric motor. All power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed twin-clutch auto box. If you’re just using the battery then you have about 30 miles of range, which is about on a par with the Toyota equivalent.

It’s fairly sprightly like this, but if you add a bit too much pedal it brings the petrol engine in even if you didn’t want it. That’s in EV mode, but shift up to Sport mode and now you’re asking too much of the whole car. The handling, steering, transmission – it all goes to pieces a bit. Nothing major but you’re clearly now outside the comfort zone of the Ioniq. Remember, we’re being sensible here.

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in

Price £26,000 (est)
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol with hybrid assist
Power: 139bhp
Torque: 195lb/ft
0-62mph: 10.6sec
Top speed: 111mph
Economy: 257mpg  combined
CO2/BIK band 26g/km/9%

So stick it in the mid setting of HEV Hybrid and you’ll get the most from the plug-in. It’s all a bit remote, with everything from steering to braking feeling as though there’s little actual connection, but if you’re after real economy you probably won’t mind too much.

Inside it’s the Ioniq, so much of it is familiar. There’s decent space for driver and passengers although the boot is a touch restricted by that large battery pack. However, you still have more than enough room for normal luggage and stuff.

The infotainment system is a step up from that in the normal Hybrid, so you can now look out charging stations nearby or on your route, and there’s a pretty close eye kept on power usage. The trip computer also joins in, trying to let you know when ascents and descents and other challenges are coming up, but most drivers would be able to second-guess most of the information anyway, simply by paying attention.

As yet, Hyundai hasn’t released prices for this vehicle, but if the rest of the Ioniq range is anything to go by, we should expect it to undercut the Toyota Prius plug-in by at least a couple of grand. That would mean it would be in the area of £26,000 for a family hatchback with plenty of rational appeal. It may not be a driver’s car but there are plenty out there who want a cheap car to run and don’t care how it handles on the edge.

But there’s one more figure we need to highlight. You know that the official fuel figure is always gibberish, yes? And in this case it’s 257mpg. But, here’s the thing, in our real world testing we achieved a very real 85.6mpg. Those are the sorts of numbers that will get buyers very interested indeed if Hyundai can price this right. One to watch.

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