Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In review

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In isn’t quite as economical as its Toyota Prius rival, but it's cheaper and a less common sight on the road

£28,395 - £30,195
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

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

Cons

  • Dull to drive
  • Interior materials feel cheap
  • Electric range is less than 40 miles

So, you’re looking for an environmentally friendly car, but you make the occasional long trip and don’t fancy having to pull into the motorway services every couple of hundred miles or so to recharge a pure electric car. A plug-in hybrid, which combines the best of both worlds, could be right up your street. These cars combine a small petrol engine with an electric motor. They can run in electric mode or with the petrol engine and electric motor operating in tandem – the range on electric power alone isn’t as good as that of a dedicated electric car but, as the name suggests, you can plug it in to charge the batteries. Or you can simply let the petrol engine and brake regeneration keep the batteries topped up.

We wouldn’t blame you if you’ve put the Toyota Prius Plug-In at the top of your shortlist, because of the relatively large numbers of them on our roads. But there’s another strong contender: the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In. It has a much larger battery capacity than the standard Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, plus a 1.6-litre petrol engine to dispel any range anxiety associated with the all-electric model.

If you stick to driving in town, it’s capable of some amazing economy figures, officially at least. Keep that battery juiced up and the official figures say the combination of battery life and petrol power can return up to 257mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 26g/km.

 

The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid features a 60bhp electric motor (instead of the 43bhp unit fitted in the Ioniq Hybrid), along with the same 104bhp 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine. That extra power gives performance a helping hand – you’ll get to 62mph from rest in around 10.5 seconds (compared to 10.8 seconds). 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, which creates a relaxing driving experience that’s especially well suited to congested city streets and urban roads. Want to show off your green credentials? Switch the Ioniq to ‘EV’ mode, which stops the petrol engine from cutting in, and you’ll be running on electric power for up to 39 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. Unfortunately, things aren’t quite as well judged when you’re coming to a halt. Making use of the regenerative braking and the standard disc brakes can be a jerky affair because of the different resistance between the two.

 

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 gearchanges and comfort is generally good, even if some harsh bumps can jar.

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 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 slightly higher price than its conventional hybrid stablemate, the extra 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.