Road Test: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

By / 2 weeks ago / Road Tests / No Comments

A larger battery is the tip of the iceberg in a host of updates to the Ioniq, finds Jonathan Musk.

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SECTOR C-segment   PRICE €33,300   RANGE 311km*   CO2 0g/km

With more than 60,000 sales across Europe since its market launch in 2016, the Ioniq has become an electric pioneer for Hyundai. Moving with the times, the latest updates keep the car in the running against rivals Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf. This includes a 30% larger battery, up from 28kWh to 38.3kWh, as well as a more powerful 136hp motor and plenty of connectivity upgrades as standard.

Other changes are subtler, such as a revised front nose with active aero grille, LED front and rear lights and, inside, a neat new dashboard design.

What hasn’t changed is the price, which can only mean more value for money for fleets.

First up, the battery. Increasing the capacity is all well and good, but there’s a risk it’ll upset the car’s balance, weight and performance; both in terms of charging times and vehicle speed.

Fortunately, Hyundai has managed to keep things in check, in part thanks to the car’s uprated motor. It doesn’t feel quite as sporty as the older lighter car, but the trio of driving modes, Normal, Sport and Economy (and Eco+ for extra range at the expense of climate control and top speed, offer dramatic driving dynamic differences. Sport mode increases throttle response and genuinely makes the car feel edgy and alive, while the Eco modes offer a few extra kilometres of range when needed, and Normal is as the name suggests.

Happily, the Ioniq offers a much more refined setup than the Nissan Leaf and is more efficient than the e-Golf.

Inside, the redesigned dashboard introduces a new 10.25-inch touchscreen that controls the sat nav and infotainment options, of which there are too many to list. In addition, Hyundai’s latest natural voice commands ensure navigation is literally as easy as saying where you want to go.

This is accentuated by Hyundai’s Blue Link technology, which uses an in-built 4G sim card, allowing certain functions to be remote controlled via an Android/Apple smartphone app, for example vehicle pre-heating or cooling, or checking the state of charge. The system’s live-status enables drivers to see charge point availability, traffic and even free parking spaces.

There are just three trim choices to choose from: Trend, Style and Premium. For €4,700 more, the latter adds leather trim with electrically adjustable heated and cooled front seats, and privacy glass. It also throws in blind spot detection, lane follow assist and rear cross traffic alerts to the standard AEB, eCall and driver attention alert, and keyless start.

Although the car’s sub-40kWh battery might at first seem paltry, what really impresses is the way the Ioniq is able to eke the most from its capacity to offer a range similar to larger and pricier EVs. And whatever the case, its near 300-plus km range should prove more than adequate.

That smaller battery also ensures less time (and money) charging, with a 7kW home or workplace charger easily filling it during the working day or overnight. 0-100% takes just over six hours, while rapid charging takes 57 minutes to charge from 0-80% at 50kW.

The Lowdown
Key Fleet Model: Ioniq Electric Premium
Strengths: Efficient range, fully loaded equipment
Weaknesses: A little dull to drive despite power increase

The Verdict
There’s much to laud here including efficient range and generous kit. Competitors are coming thick and fast but the Hyundai still stands up well to scrutiny.

FW Rating
4.5 / 5

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.