Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid (2016-present)

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to the Toyota Prius

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Good value, starting at under £22,000
Smooth and frugal hybrid system
Relaxing, comfortable ride

Weaknesses 

Interior materials feel cheap
Too slow for enthusiastic drivers
Less economical than a Toyota Prius

Long-gone are the days when hybrid cars were only bought by head-in-the-cloud dreamers who didn’t have to go to work in the mornings.

Now hybrids sell in their millions, as the benefits of combining an electric motor with a conventional engine have been proven.

By recovering energy that's normally lost during braking and converting it to electricity, hybrids can run on battery power at slow speeds and use their motors to assist with acceleration, reducing the power needed from the endinge and improving fuel consumption. As well as fuel savings there are big company car tax benefits too.

The most popular choice by some margin is the Toyota Prius, but Hyundai is quickly winning new buyers with the Ioniq. It might not be quite as economical as the Prius, but it is a hefty £2,500 cheaper.

It’s also a nicer to drive thanks to a smooth and conventional six-speed automatic gearbox, which doesn’t drone like the CVT gearbox in the Prius.

There's also an all-electric version called the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, which does away with a conventional engine entirely.

Tall passengers in the back will brush their heads against the low, sloping roof but the rest of the experience is comfortable, as the Ioniq’s suspension soaks up potholes well. Wind and engine noise is minimal. Like the Prius, it makes calm, steady progress, and is stable and steady in corners rather than agile and fun to drive.

The Ioniq is designed with fuel economy in mind, right down to its smooth shape and bodywork panels that flex to make it more aerodynamic. However, its 83.1mpg figure is lower than the 94.1mpg for the Prius.

In theory, the Ioniq can drive at 75mph on electric power alone, but not for very long. Its motor and small battery are used most effectively while accelerating - when engines use most fuel. The car’s software calculates the best power source to use: all-electric, only petrol or a combination of both.

July 2017 saw the introduction of a Plug-in version of the Ioniq, which includes a larger battery. You can plug the car in to charge it up, providing a theoretical range of 39 miles in pure electric mode, but you can expect closer to 30 miles in real-world driving.

The petrol engine often kicks in too, providing a boost of power for faster acceleration, so gentle use of the acceleator is needed to remain in full zero-emission mode. Even so, fuel economy is impressive if you mainly use it around towns and cities. Even if electric power runs out, you'll rarely dip below 80mpg.

On longer journeys, the plug-in car's fuel economy dips, as the petrol engine takes the strain. In these cases, around 40-50mpg is realistic, which is some way off the 60mpg you can expect from a Toyota Prius plug-in.

An economical diesel car is likely to be more cost effective on long-distance journeys however, whether a slightly smaller family hatchback such as the Peugeot 308 and Hyundai’s own i30, or a larger model like the VW Passat or Vauxhall Insignia.

The Ioniq’s 443-litre hatchback boot is big for a family hatchback and larger than the 343-litre space in the Prius. This reduces to 341 litres in the plug-in because of the extra space required for more batteries, but it's again much bigger than the equivalent Prius plug-in.

The recycled and eco materials used on and around the dashboard are only of average quality, with some surfaces feeling hard and cheap, but all cars come well-equipped with parking sensors, rear camera, alloy wheels and air conditioning. Mid-range Premium models (from £22,590 from new) include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for simple smartphone connectivity, as well as sat-nav with live traffic alerts.

Lexus CT200h hybrid feels better-made but is not as comfortable or spacious as the Hyundai. The VW Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid that’s more focused on performance, so it can travel further on electric power and its swift acceleration makes it more fun to drive. It;s not currently available from new, but you can search for used Volkswagen Golf GTEs.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 16:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
5 years / Unlimited miles
Boot size: 
443 litres (hybrid), 341 litres (plug-in)
Width: 
1820mm
Length: 
4470mm
Height: 
1450mm
Road tax: 
Band A (free)

Best Hyundai Ioniq for... 

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi
The standard model comes loaded with equipment. Costing less than £20,000, it should tempt customers into the hybrid sector.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium 1.6 GDi
The mid-range model has plenty of useful upgrades, such as sat-nav with live traffic information, heated front seats and a second USB port in the front.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE 1.6 GDi
At £23,595, this trim starts to get expensive. Plus, the leather seat facings and alloy pedals don't do much to add to the 'premium feel' of an otherwise cheap interior.

Hyundai Ioniq History 

  • October 2016 The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid goes in sale in Britain alongside an all-electric model.
  • July 2017 The Ioniq Plug-In goes on sale

Understanding Hyundai Ioniq car names 

  • Ioniq
  • Electric power
    Hybrid
  • Trim level
    SE
  • Engine
    1.6 GDi
  • Gearbox
    6 Speed Automatic DCT
  • Electric power
    All Ioniqs have some form of electric power. Hybrid indicates that the uses a small battery, that’s charged using braking energy, to boost the car’s power. Versions with an electric motor and no engine are badged Electric.
  • Trim level
    There are three trims in total (SE, Premium and Premium SE). Each trim level adds more equipment but commands a higher price.
  • Engine
    The engine size is given in litres (1.6). The unit used in the Ioniq is badged GDi, which stands for gasoline direct injection, indicating that it’s a petrol engine.
  • Gearbox
    The Ioniq hybrid is only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, labelled DCT (dual-clutch transmission). It has two clutches for faster and smoother changes.

Hyundai Ioniq Engines 

1.6 GDi & 32kW motor

Whatever Hyundai Ioniq hybrid version you buy, it will be powered in the same way - by combining battery power with an efficient petrol engine to boost fuel economy.

At low speeds, the electric motor drives the front wheels, whizzing the car up to 75mph in near silence at a gentle pace. As soon as the battery is drained or the driver requires extra power for faster acceleration, the 1.6-litre engine turns itself on, but the transition between the modes is almost unnoticeable from behind the wheel.

As you press the brake pedal to slow the car, energy is converted to electricity and used to top the batteries up.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

Top speed

1.6 GDi & 32kW motor

Petrol/electric motor

83mpg

141hp (engine & motor combined)

0 - 62mph: 10.8sec

115mph

Hyundai Ioniq Trims 

SE, Premium, and Premium SE

Hyundai offers an impressive amount of kit as standard on its entry-level SE models, with 15in alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and camera, a 5in dashboard touchscreen, Bluetooth wireless phone connection and DAB digital radio all standard. Dual-zone air conditioning is included too, so both front passengers can select a temperature for their half of the car.

You can choose either a beige interior with white piping on the seats and dashboard, or a black design with electric blue piping, which adds more variety to a relatively bland space.

All cars have automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control - which keeps the car at a set distance from the one in front - as standard. They also have lane keeping assist, which monitors the white lines on roads, and can steer the car back on track if it is drifting out of its lane.

For a little under £2,000 more, Ioniq Premium cars have a bigger, 8in dashboard touchscreen with sat-nav and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software, which replicates your smartphone’s screen on the dashboard. They also feature heated front seats, bright xenon headlights and wireless charging pads for compatible phones.

The Premium package is likely to offer the best combination of equipment and value for most people. It costs the best part of £2,000 to move up to Premium SE, which adds ventilated front seats, leather seat facings and an alert that warns you when another car is in your blind spot.

Watch out too for the optional 17in alloy wheels. They do make the car look more stylish and powerful but have a dramatic effect on the car’s official fuel economy, which plummets to 70.6mpg from 83.1mpg.

Hyundai Ioniq Reliability and warranty 

Hyundai's five-year/unlimited mileage warranty is one of the best in the business and the dependability of its vehicles has been one of the key selling points for many customers.

Ioniq owners have even more peace of mind too, with a longer 8-year/125,000-mile warranty on the car’s batteries.

Used Hyundai Ioniq 

Like The Toyota Prius, the Ioniq holds its value well, thanks to strong reliability and demand.

It’s worth noting that Hyundai’s warranty is transferrable between subsequent owners, so you’ll benefit from the battery part until the car is eight years’-old, or has covered 125,000 miles. That’s assuming that it has been serviced at the right time: fail to do this and the warranty is likely to be invalid.

1 year old2 years old3 years old

Best for performance Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

PriceN/AN/AN/A

Best for families Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium 1.6 GDi 

Price£14,694N/AN/A

Best for economy Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi

Price£13,798N/AN/A

 

 

Other Editions