Review: Hyundai Ioniq hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq looks like a normal car. And that's a good thing. It also looks set to dethrone the Toyota Prius as King of the Hybrids.
The Hyundai Ioniq has really taken off since hitting the market last year. A quick glance at the stats from our site finds that more than half (65%) of leasing enquiries for hybrid vehicles are for the Ioniq; four times more than for its closest rival – and relative – the Kia Niro.
With three models available, the Ioniq can be specified with a hybrid, all-electric, and very soon a plug-in drivetrain and, while all offer great value, the one we’re most interested in is the 1.6-litre GDi hybrid.
Thanks to its healthy residual values and subsequent keen pricing, this Ioniq has an ever-increasing presence in the low-emission leasing market. So, we spent a week with it to see if there’s anything else other than value that’s making it the go-to hybrid choice.
The Ioniq slots into Hyundai’s growing range perfectly.
Style-wise, this is a car that manages to look innovative and conservative at the same time. There’s little doubt that its silhouette takes inspiration from the Prius, but the overall shape is a much more toned down affair than the Japanese rival’s.
The Ioniq slots into Hyundai’s growing range perfectly, with the recognisable grille and angular headlights making it feel like just another car. This might not sound like a great compliment, but really it is; you’re hard-pushed to tell this car is a hybrid, and we like that.
Around the back things are different. The high-mounted tail lights and sloping rear end stand out next to other cars, in a similar way to the Prius. But even here, thanks to a more traditional design approach, it doesn’t share the Toyota’s divisive lines.
On the inside, Hyundai has made sure it feels like a quality product. The dashboard controls are reminiscent of those seen in German cars and, while it isn’t quite up there with Audi, it’s a world apart from what Hyundai was producing just a few years back.
On the inside, Hyundai has made sure it feels like a quality product.
Unlike some hybrids, the Ioniq makes use of proper dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which means even from the driver’s seat you’re not necessarily aware that anything but a conventional petrol or diesel engine is under the bonnet.
We like that too; hybrids might be the future, but there’s no need to make a song and dance about it. The 7in touchscreen does give you a plethora of economy-related readouts, but you could be sat in a petrol-propelled Hyundai i30 for the main part.
Hyundai has done a good job with the drivetrain, with the 1.6-litre engine cutting in and out seamlessly.
Our test car was the Premium SE that comes kitted out with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, satnav, heated AND cooled seats, dual-zone climate control, half-leather seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, a host of accessory sockets and even a wireless phone charger.
So it’s well-equipped, but what’s it like behind the wheel? Hyundai has done a good job with the electric-petrol combo here, with the 1.6-litre engine cutting in and out seamlessly.
Those looking for a fun-to-drive family car probably won’t be looking for a hybrid in the first place, but if they were this is certainly as good as it gets at the moment (apart from a McLaren P1, obviously, that’s probably more fun).
Having driven the Prius and Niro before Hyundai’s hybrid, this without a doubt the one that stands out. It has a more pleasant gearbox than the Prius and, while it’s essentially the same as a Niro under the skin, driving the Ioniq is a reminder that crossovers still aren’t as nice to drive as a smaller, lower hatchback.
Put it in Sport mode and acceleration improves noticeably.
It’s not what you’d call fast with a 0-62mph run of over 10 seconds, but thanks to the torque of the electric motors it feels faster than it really is. Put the gearbox in Sport mode and acceleration improves noticeably, and you also get the option of manual gear changes which is useful on motorways.
Hybrids use regenerative braking to charge those huge batteries, and in the Hyundai you’re reminded of this by a bar readout on the dash – the harder you brake, the more electricity you regenerate and the more bars will light up.
A downside to this increasingly common system is that on some hybrids, they slow the car at an unnatural rate. Another tick in the box for Hyundai here then, as the Ioniq doesn’t seem to suffer from this issue at all.
We’ve yet to test a hybrid that gets close to its official economy stats, but thus far the Ioniq came the closest.
We could talk about its roominess, interior and road abilties all day, but the whole point of hybrids is economy. We’ve yet to test one that gets even close to its official economy stats, but thus far the Ioniq is the closest.
We averaged around 65mpg, and even on the motorway with a healthy dose of fiddling around with Sport mode, it was impossible to get less than 59mpg. That beats the Prius’ 57mpg, and is a big improvement over the Niro’s 50.
It’s good to drive, it’s cheap to run and equipment and quality levels are up there with the best in class.
So, it’s reasonably priced, it’s good to drive, it’s cheap to run and equipment and quality levels are up there with the best in class. Is the hybrid Ioniq a good leasing prospect?
There’s no denying that it ticks a lot of boxes for personal and business lessees alike and, with the on-going debate surrounding diesel, we bet that the Ioniq’s share of the market can only continue to grow.
Model tested: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi hybrid Premium SE
|List price:||£23,995 otr|
|Official fuel economy:||72.4mpg (combined)|
|Engine:||1.6-litre petrol / 49bhp electric motor|
|Luggage capacity:||443 litres|
*Average lease prices:
Personal: £193 per month
Business: £161 per month
*Average lease rates calculated using ContractHireAndLeasing.com data and based on typical 6+35 10k p/a deals. Correct at time of writing.