Hyundai presents customers looking to be clean and efficient with a great choice.
The fact that the Hyundai Ioniq we were testing arrived on a truck tells you all you need to know about the problem with electric cars: range. Things are getting better – take Tesla as a shining example – but for 'everyday' electric vehicles you're still lucky to get a range capable of a medium-size trip.
The all-electric Ioniq has an on-paper range of 174 miles, which is pretty good considering a few years ago you'd be lucky to get 100. But, in reality, if you enjoy creature comforts like heating or air conditioning, then you'll be more in the area of 130 miles. Emissions are zero, of course.
We wanted to do a 275-mile trip to London, but decided against it. For one thing it would have probably meant two charging stops, adding an hour to the journey even with a rapid charger, which returns 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes.
That's if the sat nav would have told us where the chargers were along the route, but it decided that there weren't any, when clearly on a trip like that there were plenty. It's a shame, because the Ioniq is a car that you could easily do a long journey in - it's not a little city car.
And luckily there’s a solution – because there’s a hybrid for those that need to go further on a regular basis. It combines a 1.6 petrol engine with an electric motor, giving a range of up to 700 miles, claims Hyundai, as well as emissions as low as 79g/km and mpg of 78.5.
And, for those wanting a combination of the two, a plug-in hybrid is coming soon. Whichever one you go for, the Ioniq is a very smart car, it looks sleek and almost coupe-like on the outside and the inside sees a quality interior, with decent materials. Hyundai certainly isn't cheap and cheerful these days.
Base cars get electric windows, rear parking sensors, rear camera, cruise control, Bluetooth, digital radio, touch screen system and USB. Higher trims add things like wireless phone charging, heated steering wheel, front parking sensors, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and sat nav.
The interior is well-appointed and you get decent rear legroom and a good size boot. The drive on the all-electric is typical of these types of cars - instant acceleration, swift progress and an incredibly smooth sense of power from the motor.
Indeed the overriding experience is one of smoothness. You also get that swift acceleration with the hybrid, as it uses electric power to get off the mark. And everything else is as you'd expect - it handles neatly and rides comfortably.
If you spend a lot of time doing short trips then the all-electric is great. For others, Hyundai has you covered with the hybrid – and it’s giving the likes of the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf a serious run for their money.
1. Lively performance.
2. Excellent efficiency.
3. Top quality throughout.
We don't like:
1. Range is still an issue on the all-electric version.
2. Nothing else.
3. Nothing else.
Most fun: All versions are lively.
Most sensible: The all-electric costs very little to run.
Next: ratings and breakdown