In-depth reviews

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In review

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In offers excellent fuel economy and a refined powertrain, and thanks to an update in 2020, it's also more economical and cheaper than its Prius Plug-In rival

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£29,811 - £48,371
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Refined petrol engine
  • Very good economy
  • Room for five adults

Cons

  • Dull to drive
  • Interior materials feel cheap
  • Just over 30-mile electric range
Car typeElectric rangeMPGCO2
Plug-in hybrid32 miles257mpg26g/km

While Ioniq is now the name of Hyundai’s all-electric sub-brand that includes the internet-breaking Ioniq 5, and the forthcoming Ioniq 6 saloon and Ioniq 7 SUV. This however is the original Ioniq hatchback, which in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) form remains the strongest rival to the Prius Plug-In, as well as others like the Kia Niro PHEV and Kia XCeed PHEV. Especially following an update for the 2020 model year that lowered the list price and running costs of the plug-in hybrid Ioniq. 

The Hyundai Ioniq hatchback is also available in all-electric and full-hybrid form as well. The Ioniq Hybrid may be able to beat even the most efficient diesel cars when it comes to fuel economy, it still can’t match the Ioniq Plug-In’s claimed 257mpg if you remember to charge the battery. The full-hybrid Ioniq also also can’t match the plug-in variant’s zero-emissions driving range or it’s low CO2 emissions of just 26g/km. 

The powertrain responsible for those excellent figures is a combination of a 1.6-litre 104bhp petrol engine and a 60bhp electric motor, opposed to the 43bhp unit you’ll find in the Ioniq Hybrid. It will take you 10.6 seconds to get from 0-62mph in the Ioniq Plug-In. In comparison, the Ioniq Hybrid will do the same sprint in 10.8 seconds while the Prius Plug-in takes over 11 seconds to get to 62mph from rest.

You’ll have no complaints in town, with the Hyundai getting away quite smartly from the lights, although the Toyota Prius Plug-In is even more responsive. Drive gently and the electric motor will be the only thing powering the Ioniq. Put your foot down, though, and the petrol engine will cut in to assist. It’s a fairly refined thing that’s especially well suited to congested city streets and urban roads.

Switch the Ioniq to EV mode, which stops the petrol engine from cutting in, and you’ll be running on electric power for about 30 miles – useful if your journey starts or ends in a city. The Ioniq’s default mode is Hybrid, which smoothly alternates between electric and petrol power. As of the late 2019 update, the Plug-In now lets you control the strength of its regenerative braking effect using paddles on the back of the steering wheel.

The Ioniq has been engineered with economy in mind, with low-resistance tyres, a hybrid powertrain and light steering – all of which means the driving experience is a bit numb. However, the dual-clutch automatic gearbox allows for snappy gear changes and comfort is generally good.

Hyundai created the Ioniq with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in mind from the outset. That allowed the designers to make the most of the car’s interior – there’s room for five adults inside and the boot capacity matches that of the Ioniq Electric, with 341 litres of luggage space.

You shouldn’t have to worry about reliability, but even if things do go wrong, Hyundai provides a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty on the vehicle and an eight-year warranty on the battery. And if you should be unfortunate enough to have an accident, the Ioniq offers some of the best protection for occupants – it received a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, with impressive section scores.

You get plenty of equipment as standard on Hyundais, and the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is no exception, with an infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus LED headlights. There’s lots to keep tech-heads happy. then, but don’t examine the plastics too closely – some of them look and feel a bit low-rent.

Overall, despite a higher price than its Hybrid stablemate, the better fuel economy of the Plug-In gives it greater appeal. Not only that, but we reckon it's more well rounded overall than the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid it competes with.

For a more detailed look at the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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