6.3.2021Hyundai Ioniq Electric review
Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric is one of those EVs that few have heard of, but it’s a shame that that’s the case. The family hatchback is a very good car, competing with and beating its main rival – the more famous Nissan Leaf – in a number of areas. As the Leaf has developed, so has the Ioniq Electric, with this second version featuring a larger battery for an increase in that all important driving range.
Review by Chris Lilly
HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC: PERFORMANCE
Powered by a 100 kW electric motor, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric will complete the 0-62mph time in 9.9 seconds, though as usual with EVs, feels quicker than that time might suggest. Acceleration at lower speeds is quick rather than rapid but, particularly in Sport mode, there will be few instances where you will rue not having more power. The motor is more powerful than the pre-facelift model – if you can call a significant improvement in powertrain a facelift – up from the 88 kW found in the initial Ioniq Electric.
Normal mode is a reasonable all-round setting, but for the fun that can be had in an EV, you need to pick Sport mode for that faster throttle response. Eco mode is best ignored unless you are really stretched for driving range, as it rather inhibits performance, and the Ioniq Electric is an efficient car anyway.
Having driven both the first Ioniq in the UK and this facelift version at its launch in The Netherlands, there was little surprise to find out that the Ioniq Electric rode well, even on tough British surfaces. The handling is set up towards the comfortable end of the spectrum, so don’t climb into one expecting a sporty drive. Instead, the springs will hold the body roll in reasonable check when pushed along a twisty road, but it’s far more at ease in city driving and on the motorway.
It only gets crash over the harshest of pot-holes in town centres, instead taking much of what can be thrown in the way of its wheels in its stride. It’s no premium product, but it’s a very refined mass-market EV. That impression extends to the motorway too, where it cruises very well at pace, levelling out road imperfections nicely.
This version of the Ioniq Electric remains similar to the first version, though the grille has undergone a significant reworking. It’s the biggest change to what would otherwise be a minor facelift, with the smooth front end of the earlier Ioniq Electric replaced with a new ‘grille’ panel that incorporates a couple of active aero flaps. Other than that, a set of LED headlights is the only other key change to the design, which was hardly stale before this refresh.
The ‘fastback’ style body means that the Ioniq is a distinctive shape when compared to the likes of the Leaf, or other conventional hatchbacks for that matter. It has more in common with the Toyota Prius in terms of exterior and interior shape, with a longer boot than you will find in most hatchbacks, just as wide, but shallower when looking at boot floor to window. This means that packing the Ioniq Electric is more akin to a saloon than a hatchback – practical, but in a different way. The sloping roofline might help with aerodynamics, but it’s a little restrictive on tall adults sitting in the rear. Kids seats fit fine, and there’s decent leg room on offer.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Hyundai’s facelift extends to the interior, with the company’s latest infotainment system installed on the dashboard. Not only is it larger than before, with clearer graphics and a faster response, it also has newer features, and allows for connected car systems via Hyundai’s BlueLink. A set of actual buttons for key controls helps keep things sensible and easy to use on the move, and Hyundai’s gear select system is carried over – a trio of buttons rather than a stalk of stick.
These, and the drive mode select, are kept on the console where a transmission tunnel would be, and the driver also has a set of paddles behind the steering for controlling the strength of the brake energy recuperation – a handy feature. The switchgear feels solidly put together, with decent quality materials used throughout.
HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
All of the above changes are nice to have, and freshen up the Ioniq Electric nicely. It Is the larger capacity battery, however, that will be of interest to most buyers. Thanks to an energy capacity 36% larger than the previous pack, the Ioniq Electric’s range has increased to 193 miles on a charge. It keeps the Hyundai up with the competition, as most current EVs and a fleet of forthcoming family-focused mass-market models have official ranges around the 200-mile mark.
In real-world driving, the Ioniq Electric would comfortably cover 150 miles on a charge, without any real effort. That figure will increase to 170+ miles if sticking more to urban driving, which is a very good range considering the battery capacity.
Chief amongst the green features for the Ioniq Electric is the 38.3 kWh battery, allowing for the car’s longer range on a charge. That charging system allows for 7.2 kW on AC points through the Type 2 inlet, taking around six hours for a full charge. Charging on a 50 kW CCS point will take around an hour for a 0-80% charge.
One key feature for drivers is the aforementioned brake energy recuperation system, using paddles on the steering wheel. These allow for coasting at one end of the levels to strong regen on level 4. You can also hold the left paddle for smart regen, which will bring the Ioniq Electric to a complete stop. Also mentioned is the drive mode select, which ranges from Sport, through Normal, and Eco, to Eco+, and the now available BlueLink system to enable pre-conditioning, charging settings and checking on battery charge.
There are two trim levels to pick from for the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and both are well equipped for the money. Premium starts the range off with 16-inch alloys and widescreen 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system with BlueLink and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. It also comes with climate control, automatic wipers and lights, LED headlights, leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors and camera, keyless entry and start – and a wireless phone charger.
Move up to Premium SE and added safety kit is included, as are heated and ventilated front seats, electric driver’s seat, heated rear seats, leather seat trim and a sunroof.
HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC MODEL SUMMARY
Hyundai’s Ioniq Electric was far from a poor EV before it was fettled, and now it’s an even better one. The one downside is perhaps the lack of ultra-rapid charging, where rivals can charge faster on DC charge points. This will only come into consideration for those regularly covering more than 200 miles on a trip, and so the Ioniq Electric will suit a great many drivers. It certainly deserves more recognition from EV buyers.
Model tested: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium SE
Body-style: Family hatchback
Engine / CO2: 100 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Premium, Premium SE
On-road price: From £30,950
Warranty: Five years / Unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars