Having cracked the impossible by establishing itself as a genuine alternative to the mainstream, Hyundai’s next challenge is to prove that it has what it takes to tackle electrification. The result is the IONIQ, a mid-sized hatchback with a unique selling point; you get to choose between petrol-electric hybrid, petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, or pure electric derivatives.
This is the pure electric version, which gets a 38.3 kWh (net) battery pack which is capable of 0-80% rapid charge in 57 minutes. Hyundai has picked the European specification for rapid charging, which means that you get a CCS socket. Drive is provided by a 134 bhp electric motor which powers the front wheels. Thanks to a healthy 291 lb ft of torque, 0-62 mph is dispatched in under 10 seconds in Sport mode.
Encouragingly Hyundai has aimed to produce an electric car that you will want to drive; high strength steel (53% of body), aluminium bonnet, tailgate and suspension, and a low centre of gravity all help to make the case. However to fit the batteries in, the Hybrid’s independent rear suspension is ditched in favour of a less sophisticated torsion beam set up. So is it fun?
The first surprise is that despite the rear suspension, the electric IONIQ is more engaging to drive than the Hybrid. The second surprise is that it isn’t just more fun, it is actually fun! Body control is good, there is a useful amount of grip and the balance is neutral. Aided by the instant torque, a Sport setting and a 4 stage regenerative braking system controlled by paddles behind the wheel, it makes a fun companion when the road gets interesting.
The electric IONIQ has a good, if not class-leading range, is keenly priced, good to drive, has uncontroversial looks and the reassurance of Hyundai’s 5 year warranty (8 year battery). You do lose some boot space, but with 350 litres remaining it’s a practical family hatch which delivers driver engagement and zero local emissions. Well done Hyundai.
Estimated real world range: 170 – 194 miles
Official range: 194 miles
Official electricity consumption: 138 Wh/km
Battery pack: 38.3 kWh (useable) Lithium-ion Polymer (8 year / 125,000 mile warranty)
Recharge time: 7 kW (including home charger) 6 hours 5 mins; Rapid 50 kW CCS 0-80% 57 mins
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.