Although it's not the first hybrid model from Hyundai, the Ioniq is the company's first vehicle built up from the ground as an electrified car, with no petrol-only or diesel versions on the offer. Even today, it is one of the rare (if not the only) cars available in hybrid, plug-in and all-electric variants, without a pure internal-combustion version in the model range.
Designed as a Prius’s rival, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 liftback has a lot of great things to offer. It looks good and rides well, but its main strength is efficiency. No matter which version you choose, this model is among class leaders when it comes to fuel efficiency.
The First Generation of Hyundai Ioniq (2017-Present)
There is no doubt that Toyota Prius was the inspiration for Ioniq, but Korean engineers went beyond the Japanese legend in terms of powertrain options. Besides standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, this car also came as an all-electric vehicle.
The hybrid had a premiere in January 2016, and production immediately started the following month in Korea. A few months later, the rest of the world saw this liftback for the first time in Geneva. We saw a premiere of all three versions at the same time. The electric model was launched in July, while the PHEV version arrived in early 2017.
Design and Features of the Hyundai Ioniq
The Hyundai Ioniq was designed on purpose as an electrified vehicle, so it's no wonder that all three versions feature the same design, except for the grille, which looks different on each model. Other than the grille, you can notice a few more exclusive details on each version, but the overall look is the same.
While the styling appears very similar, there are few notable differences regarding mechanics. The biggest one is the rear suspension. While hybrid and plug-in hybrid models feature multi-link independent suspension, the all-electric model comes with a torsion beam instead.
- Length: 4,470 mm
- Width: 1,820 mm
- Height: 1,450 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,700 mm
- Curb Weight: 1,359–1,469 kg (Hybrid); 1,420–1,575 kg (Electric); 1,495–1,551 kg (Plug-In Hybrid)
- Front Legroom: 1,072 mm
- Rear Legroom: 907 mm
- Total Passenger Volume: 2,724 L
- Cargo Volume: 750 L
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq Australia came as a hybrid first. The initial model was launched for the 2017 model year, and not many things have changed since then. Even the new 2021 model uses the same setup based on Hyundai's familiar 1.6-litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle (known for excellent thermal efficiency) engine, which features a max output of 78kW and 148Nm of max torque. It comes paired with a 32-kW electric motor, as well as with a relatively small 1.56-kWh battery.
Due to different peaks, the combined output goes around 104kW and 264Nm. The power is sent to the front wheels via 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, an untypical transmission choice for a hybrid vehicle (most use CVT). That's enough power and torque for decent performance, especially in the lower rev range. More importantly, fuel economy is impressive. If you pick a version with smaller 15-inch steel wheels, you can achieve 4.1 L/100km.
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is available in two trim levels in Australia – Elite and Premium.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Key Features
- Engine: 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle, 78 kW
- Electric Petrol Motor: 32 kW
- Total Output: 104 kW
- Battery: 1.56 kWh lithium-ion
- Fuel Economy (combined): 4.1 L/km
- 0-100km/h: 10.8s
Hyundai Ionic Electric
The all-electric version was the second to come. Unlike the hybrid version (which is sold across the globe), this model is available only in certain parts of the world, including Australia. Also, this version received few updates during these five years of production.
The initial Hyundai Ioniq electric was equipped with a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery, which was good enough to provide up to 280 kilometres of range (NEDC- New European Driving Cycle). That version was equipped with a single electric motor, mounted at the front axle, with the max output of 89 kW and 295 Nm of max torque. That’s enough to provide 0-100km/h time in less than 10 seconds.
Significant changes came with the 2020 model year, including the electric motor and battery upgrades. The new electric motor features a max output of 100 kW, while the max torque remains the same. As a result, driving dynamics have been improved slightly.
More importantly, engineers installed a new battery pack, with an increased capacity of 38.3 kWh. As a result, the max range was increased to 310 kilometres, according to WLTP (World-harmonized Light-duty vehicles Test Procedure).
Hyundai Ioniq Electric is visually more unique than hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, as it features a closed grille instead of a conventional one. This "grille” is available in different colours (standard, black and grey).
The trim level organisation is the same as for the hybrid and includes two versions in Elite and Premium.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric Key Features
- Max Output: 89kW (2017-2019), 100kW (2020-present)
- Battery Capacity: 28kWh (2017-2019), 38.3kWh (2020-present)
- Max Range: 280km (2017-2019), 310km (2020-present)
- 0-100km/h: 9.9s (2017-2019), 9.2s (2020-present)
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid
Just like the hybrid, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is also based on a 1.6-litre petrol engine. However, the engine comes in combination with a more powerful electric motor, which is good for about 44.5kW. Once again, the peak of the two units is different, so the combined output is also 104kW. Still, a more powerful electric motor provides a slightly more low-end torque, so the acceleration is slightly better (10.6 seconds). Once again, the power is sent to the front wheels via 6-speed DCT, which operates in two modes – Eco and Sport.
This version of Ioniq comes with an 8.9-kWh battery, which provides up to 47 kilometres of the all-electric range. Just like the other two, it also comes in two variants – Elite and Premium.
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Key Features
- Petrol Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, 78kW
- Electric Motor: 44.5kW
- Combined Output: 104kW
- Battery Capacity: 8.9kWh
- All-Electric Range: 47km
- 0-100km/h: 10.6s
Is the Hyundai Ioniq Reliable?
Hyundai Ioniq reviews in Australia don’t say much about the model’s reliability. On the other hand, renowned websites in North America (J.D. Power) and the U.K. (CarBuyer) usually rank all three versions pretty high, saying that the overall reliability is mainly above average.
Since this is still a relatively young model on the market, it's hard to find common issues. We can hear complaints about electrics here and there, while the DCT gearbox from hybrid and plug-in hybrid models requires more frequent service than typical automatic transmission.
So far, there are no reports about any battery issues.
What Is the Range of the Hyundai Ioniq?
The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid offers a max range of 47 kilometres in the all-electric mode.
When it comes to all-electric Ioniq, models produced between 2017 and 2019 can make around 280 kilometres on a single charge (NEDC). On the other side, newer models feature larger battery and a max range of 310 kilometres, according to WLTP.
Keep in mind that real-life numbers are usually lower.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Starting next year, this nameplate won't be reserved for just one model. The company will use the Ioniq name for the whole family of electrified models in the future, and the first vehicle to come will be called Hyundai Ioniq 5.
This will be an all-electric crossover, and from what we know so far, it will be built on the company's new Electric-Global Modular Platform, which has an 800-volt operating capacity. We expect to see two variants in the offer, with single and dual electric motor setups. The latter should feature a max output of 240 kW.
The latest reports suggest this model will feature a 77.4-kWh battery and all kinds of charging options. From what we’ve heard, it will need just 18 minutes to get to 80% of the capacity with the fast charger. We expect to see this model next year.
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By Nebojsa Grmusa