Hyundai’s Ioniq lineup includes three cars: a green Ioniq Hybrid that achieves up to 58 mpg, a greener Ioniq Plug-In that gets up to 27 miles solely on electric power and a greenest Ioniq Electric that brings a range of up to 124 miles (and up to 136 mpg of e-range).
This trio of models has been designed in an average/compact length but crafted with more interior space than the Toyota Prius, the Kia Niro and the Ford C-Max with electric power. The Ioniq has been engineered to have high fuel economy and be fun to drive, with a sport mode that adds more motoring character and paddle shifters; plus, it’s competitively priced in its segment.
The 2017 Ioniq Hybrid starts at $22,200 with a 690-mile driving range; it comes in Blue, SEL, and Limited trims, and Hyundai says it’s the most fuel-efficient hybrid in the U.S.
The 2018 Ioniq Plug-in will be available in the fall; as such, pricing, packages and exact fuel economy have not been released. The Electric model is on sale in California only with a base price of $29,500. The Ioniq Electric is eligible for up to $7,500 in Federal tax credits (and a $2,500 California Clean Vehicle Rebate).
Hyundai’s first dedicated “green” vehicle seats five. All Ioniqs sport four doors and an aerodynamic profile. Design cues include a bold front end with cat’s-eye lighting, a low, coupe-like roof line and the slightly up-swung back end of a hatch.
The battery-powered version has a unique grille and interior, with buttons and a controller on the dash display, rather than a gear-shifter. The battery pack is positioned under the rear seat, which makes for less rear-seat headroom and cargo volume, although Hyundai claims the Ioniq Electric model has more passenger and cargo volume than the Chevy Bolt EV or the Nissan Leaf.
We were able to sample each model; they all feel and drive like quiet and well-mannered compact sedans with attractive interior materials and trims. We enjoyed the drive of the hybrid and plug-in models and liked the sport mode that changes the shift points and makes shifts quicker. The electric motor is extremely powerful, well-mannered, and quiet. The EV boasts very good amounts of instant torque for passing and smooth acceleration thanks to its single-speed transfer case — the power is never interrupted by shifting.
The Hybrid Ioniq is powered by a 1.6-liter engine that produces 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque joined with a 32-kilowatt electric engine that makes 43 horsepower/125 pound-feet; power is stored in a 1.56 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack for a total of 139 horsepower/195 pound-feet combined. Shifting comes from a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Plug-In Hybrid is set up with the same gasoline engine and transmission, but adds a larger 8.9-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a more powerful 44.5-kilowatt (60-horsepower) electric motor; it can be charged in 2.25 hours and has an electric range of about 27 miles.
The Electric 88-kilowatt e-motor gets 188 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque and carries the largest lithium-ion battery pack at 28.0 kilowatt-hours. It takes four hours to charge on a standard level-2 EV charger; it also has standard DC fast-charging capability that allows it to get an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.
Hyundai has announced an experimental EV leasing program as well as an “Ioniq Unlimited” leasing program that includes all maintenance and reimbursement for charging costs for 36 months and up to 50,000 miles. All Ioniq models feature a lifetime warranty on the lithium-ion battery packs in addition to Hyundai’s 10-year powertrain warranty.