Hyundai is about to launch in Australia, four new hybrid electrified models to join their existing range of petrol and diesel vehicles in direct competition with the Toyota Prius and Hybrid Camry.
Three of these will wear the Ioniq badge, taking the form of petrol-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and a fully electric vehicle riding on a single platform and aerodynamic silhouette.
We should see the first of these on the road about the middle of the year.
Some of these new vehicles are expected to replace conventional cars such as its i30 hatch, and will no doubt challenge the hybrid dominance of Toyota’s Prius and Camry Hybrid duo.
Although prices have not been released Hyundai hinted that its cheapest Ioniq will sit somewhere between the Corolla Hybrid and Prius, putting it somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 on the road.
The first Ioniq combines a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and small battery. Hyundai says the petrol motor produces 77kW and 147Nm, while the electric motor chips in 32kW and 170Nm, resulting in combined peaks of 104kW and 265Nm. More importantly, Hyundai claims fuel use for the model is an impressive 3.2L/100km, around 0.2L/100km less than the Prius.
For buyers, it is a Hyundai and in today’s car market where the Koreans offer larger warranties more features and cheaper servicing and parts, that could be a big plus.
As I said the Korean cars have been leaders in fitted features and this range will be no less. The Ioniq Hybrid Premium features a decent level of equipment as standard, including Hyundai’s full SmartSense suite with autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control and lane keeping assistance systems. Front and rear parking sensors join a reversing camera hooked up to an 8-inch touchscreen display fitted with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and sat nav functions along with an eight-speaker stereo.
Other big features include a sunroof, smart keys, digital dashboard display, and heated and ventilated seats with leather trim (perhaps not so eco-friendly when you think about where leather comes from).
Unlike some other ‘GREEN’ cars, the Ioniq features a sensible and comfortable cabin with little to separate it from regular models in the Hyundai range. It’s a well-equipped space with a decent amount of front and rear cabin room augmented by a useful hatch with 456 litres of cargo space.
The range is riding on 17-inch wheels, and feels comfortable and composed over bumps, helped by a relatively light 1375kg kerb weight and sophisticated multi-link suspension.
It creeps around silently in electric-only mode at low speed, the Ioniq feels reasonably sprite when more power is applied, assisted by low-end torque from its electric motor. Discerning drivers will appreciate Hyundai’s decision to equip the hatch with a dual-clutch automatic transmission and shift paddles as opposed to a more common CVT transmission, giving customers more control over the drive.
For the most part, it drives like a regular car, genuinely smooth, quiet and gutsy unless you work the engine hard. We found average fuel consumption was 4.2L/100km, and even though short of Hyundai’s claim not bad.
All in all, good first impressions and a significant push into the green market should have some effect.
2018 Hyundai Ioniq specifications
On sale: Mid-year
Price: To be confirmed
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid
Power: 104kW (Combined)
Torque: 265Nm (Combined)
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
Advertised Fuel use: 3.2L/100km
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