Hyundai Ioniq Electric review
It wasn’t long ago that reviewers would describe an electric car with a range of 174 miles in positively glowing terms – and that was the case with the Hyundai Ioniq until the latest-generation Nissan Leaf was launched. Instead of lagging behind the Ioniq, the rejuvenated Leaf now comes with a quoted range of 212 miles. The new Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro do even better with 300-mile-plus official ranges, although the latest Volkswagen e-Golf is closer to the Ioniq with a 186-mile maximum and the BMW i3 does only 124 miles at most.
Yes, after years in the doldrums, battery technology is advancing rapidly enough to risk making even currently competitive electric vehicles such as the Hyundai Ioniq seem a little compromised, quite early on in their careers. While three years down the line this might result in depreciation issues for buyers of any electric car, it shouldn’t alter the fact that cars such as the Ioniq can easily handle the daily mileage demands of most drivers today.
Hyundai reckons the ‘real-world’ range from its 28kWh battery pack is 130 miles, and our experience backs that up, although cold weather will see that drop to more like 120 miles. That means with a little more planning the Ioniq can take care of occasional longer runs, too – and with a degree of enjoyment and driving pleasure that many drivers of ‘ordinary’ cars may find surprising.
If you’re not convinced, you may be better off with the Ioniq plug-in hybrid that shares showroom space with this all-electric version, or indeed a Toyota Prius. At least until the UK charge point network is more developed, and those range anxieties fade.
Talking of charging, the Ioniq Electric can be fully topped up from ‘empty’ over 12 hours using a basic three-pin plug cable. If you’re using a 7kW wallbox fast-charger, that time drops to just four-and-a-half hours. Both the three-pin and Type 2 fast-charge cable are supplied. A rapid charge from a 50kW unit at motorway services will give you 80% range in around 25 minutes, using the cable pre-attached to the charger.
There are two models available in the electric line-up: the Ioniq Premium and Ioniq Premium SE. They’re outwardly similar, with 16-inch alloy wheels, a grey-coloured, blanked-off radiator grille, two-tone back bumper, and rear spoiler with an integrated LED brake light.
Inside, the Premium SE gets luxury upgrades such as leather seat facings, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, and heated/ventilated seats for everyone except the rear middle passenger. The SE also gets blind spot and cross-traffic alerts, but otherwise the specs are pretty similar. Even the Premium trim gets autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance plus an eight-inch touchscreen nav and infotainment system supporting Apple and Android smartphones. It’s a good level of standard equipment, and we can’t see many people wanting to spend almost £2,000 more for the Premium SE version unless money is no object.
Both versions are equally comfortable to ride in, too. The cabin demonstrates impressive build, and tactile plastics are employed to give quite an upmarket feel. However, the design of the Ioniq’s interior is as safe and unexceptional as the exterior.
Once underway, the Ioniq is very similar in feel to its petrol and hybrid stablemates, which means it has a decent ride quality, especially out of urban areas. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as compliant over bumps at low town speeds, where the Ioniq Electric is likely to spend much of its time. It’s not harsh riding, however, and the bit of extra stiffness translates to reduced body roll in corners, which adds to the sense of tidy handling. The steering and brakes don’t give very good or consistent feedback, though, so it’s definitely not an enthusiastic driver’s car.
Yet with 119bhp available, and the instant pulling power of electric motor drive, the Ioniq feels pretty quick off the line, especially at town speeds. Its 0-62mph sprint time of 10.2 seconds isn’t as quick as some, but the Ioniq is certainly no slouch. Top speed is 103mph, if you want to flatten the battery as fast as possible.
All-in-all, the Ioniq presents a very credible alternative to petrol or diesel cars, and demands few compromises of its driver while offering all the benefits of a clean, cheap-to-run electric vehicle.
For a more detailed look at the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.