Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi

Small Family Cars

1. Hyundai IONIQ

Model/Engine size:
Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi
Petrol/Electric Plug-in Hybrid
Fuel economy combined:
256.8 mpg* see text
Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi


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 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.

In plug-in hybrid form you get a 1.6 litre normally aspirated engine which uses direct injection and the Atkinson cycle to achieve record beating 40% thermal efficiency. Designed to work with a 43 bhp electric motor, the petrol unit is tuned for maximum efficiency with the motor picking up the slack. Unusually the gearbox is a 6 speed dual clutch system, rather than a CVT or e-CVT favoured by Toyota. Electrical power comes from a 8.9 kWh (gross) lithium ion battery. Hyundai provide an 8 year 125,000 mile warranty for the battery and 5 year unlimited mileage cover for the whole car.

Encouragingly Hyundai has aimed to produce a hybrid that you will want to drive; multi link rear suspension, high strength steel (53% of body), aluminium bonnet, tailgate and suspension, an energy dense space saving lithium-ion battery, DCT gearbox and a low centre of gravity all help to make the case. But does it translate to the road?

Yes and no. The IONIQ plug-in hybrid is more fun than a Prius and certainly doesn’t disgrace itself in the twisty stuff but it falls short of being genuinely entertaining. If you get a chance to try the pure electric version it quickly becomes apparent that it does a better job of meeting the original brief, but in terms of hybrid competitors the IONIQ is the most rewarding to drive.

Real world efficiency is where the IONIQ really hits the mark. Normally the real world electric range of plug-in hybrids is a fair way short of the official figure, but in the case of the IONIQ it is right on the money. Given that the powertrain is shared with the hybrid version it is no surprise that when the EV range runs out it is astoundingly efficient in hybrid mode too. We recorded 60 mpg on a 70 mph motorway run and an incredible 77 mpg at 55-60 mph on a round trip of 351 miles.

Although the IONIQ falls into our Small Family Car section it isn’t that much smaller than the Toyota Prius (check out Family Cars) and it is easy to see customers seriously comparing the two. If you don’t need the extra space the IONIQ is the pick of the two, offering more fun and better looks at a substantially lower price.

Read our full Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid review

Estimated real world range: 37 miles (electric)

Official range: 39 miles (electric) 660 miles (combined with petrol)

Official electricity consumption: 94 Wh/km

Battery pack: 8.9 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 8 year / 125,000 mile warranty

Recharge time: 240 v 6 hours; 3.6 kW charge 2 hours 15 mins


Fuel economy, extra urban:
70.6 mpg
Fuel economy, urban:
CO2 emissions:
Officially 26 g/km. Average UK grid electricity approx 36 g/km (39 mile range). Petrol estimated 70 mpg 94 g/km
First year £0, then £130 a year
1,495 Kg
BIK Company Car Tax (2018/19):
Insurance group:
104 bhp (petrol); 43 bhp (electric); (system) 139 bhp
Max speed:
110 mph
10.6 seconds
108 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm (petrol); 125 lb ft (electric); (system) 195 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm