Hyundai has released its new Ioniq vehicle on a unique platform that no other automaker has offered yet: one that is available with no less than three different electric powertrain options.
Buyers have the option of choosing a traditional hybrid, utilizing both a gasoline engine and electric motor, a plug-in hybrid (Electric Plus) designed to run primarily on electricity with a gasoline engine backup, and a fully electrified model (Electric) that can travel up to a reported 200 kilometres on a single charge.
The former two vehicles are equipped with a 1.6-litre four cylinder and an electric motor varying between 32 kilowatts for the Hybrid and 45 kw for the plug-in, both mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The Electric, understandably, possesses the beefiest unit, rated at 88 kw and is managed by a single-speed transmission.
I had the opportunity to try out the Ioniq Electric and one of its biggest benefits, as with other EVs, is that after you select drive — by pressing on the “D” selector button located where a gear lever would normally be (still present on the other two versions) — pressing on the throttle delivers instant-on torque. It feels quicker than the 118 horsepower rating would suggest.
If maximum range is a goal, putting your foot down to the metal should be done sparingly. Aggressive acceleration, turning on the climate control and other electronics all use up precious juice and result in decreased efficiency and less mileage, as I found out when testing the car. Instead, try adopting a more eco-friendly driving style.
All three variants feature unique styling elements such a smooth aerodynamic body shape, front and rear lower splitters and partially clear trunk. The Electric gets a few extra elements to set it apart such as copper-coloured accenting and a grille-less, solid blacked out nose really giving the exterior a cutting edge look.
Unlike other Hyundais, the entire range of Ioniqs are built using recycled materials including a mixture of natural plastic, powdered wood and volcanic stone for the door panels, sugar cane components in the headliner and carpet, and soybean oil to give trim pieces a metallic appearance.