Hyundai Ioniq Electric motor, drive & performance

Competent handling and effortless power delivery make the Hyundai Ioniq Electric fun to drive

A powerful motor driving the front wheels means respectable Ioniq Electric performance figures, especially from low speeds. At higher speeds wind and road noise spoil the hush, but the handling is tidy and well controlled.

Hyundai Ioniq electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration

The Hyundai Ioniq is available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, as well as the all-electric model we’re reviewing here. In the hybrids, smaller electric motors play only a supporting role, but in this car there’s a punchy 119bhp synchronous motor with a reduction gear driving the front axle. The electricity is stored in a large lithium-ion polymer battery located underneath the rear seats and boot.

There’s 295Nm of torque available from the motor, too, and in characteristic electric car fashion it’s delivered from the moment you prod the accelerator. While the Ioniq Electric’s 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds isn’t as quick as that of some more expensive rivals, it still feels very responsive to the accelerator. Switching to Sport mode makes a marginal difference, shaving three-tenths of a second off the 0-62mph time, but you probably won’t need to switch modes very often. Top speed is 103mph, yet it’s unlikely many owners will wish to explore the outer limits of performance as range will suffer greatly.

One Ioniq foible we’re not so keen on is the inconsistently weighted brake pedal. It’s not always easy to know how hard to push. On the upside, the car has a regenerative braking system to harness energy that would otherwise be wasted while slowing down. It practice it means you don’t often have to use the brake pedal, as simply lifting off the throttle slows you down considerably.

Handling

Around town, the Ioniq rides a little more stiffly than we’d like. However, it’s not uncomfortable, and the spring and damper rates do mean there’s less body roll in corners than might otherwise be the case.

There steering feels a little remote and doesn’t offer much feedback on what the front wheels are doing. We also noticed the steering doesn’t always self-centre in a consistent fashion – returning to the straight-ahead position more positively at some times than at others.

That said, we found the Ioniq enjoyable to drive even out of town. There, the eagerness of the motor to accelerate out of corners can be fun, even though it’s not an enthusiasts’ car. It rides quietly, too, although wind and tyre noise become more intrusive as the speed goes up, to the extent that you’ll need to turn up the radio.