Game on for hybrids

Game on for hybrids

Car Tested: Hyundai Ioniq
Hybrid Premium SE
Price as tested £24,470
92 g/km CO2
With thanks to Westover Hyundai,
Wilton Road, Salisbury. 01722 440583

By Dominic Parkes

Hyundai’s incredible rise from a bit player to a serious contender in such a short space of time has to be applauded – as is its current plan to have 22 ‘green’ cars in the range by 2020. Okay, Toyota were the leaders proudly displaying their sustainable and eco credentials long ago with the revolutionary Prius, but now that Hyundai have produced the Ioniq Hybrid the game is on. The Ioniq Hybrid is based on the Niro from sister company Kia and, not wishing to bore the reader with technical waffle, is broadly the same but with three radical engine options:  Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric.

We will stick with the Hybrid as that is the model I was driving. The electric motor works together with a 1.6 litre petrol engine when you pull away or come to a standstill and therefore aids fuel consumption and lowers emissions in city driving, while providing a burst of power if required. It’s a great idea. However in practice I found the engine a little too keen to cut in when trickling through city traffic. I really had to concentrate on almost nursing the car as if I would with a car that was sipping its last dregs of fuel to keep the Ioniq on electric. Driving down a hill was very enjoyable as I could use the regenerative braking system to top up the electric battery and therefore feel that I was saving the planet in my own little way.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hybrids or full electric vehicles are the future and technology is really making them a viable proposition. I cannot remember a recent time when I stepped out of the car after a drive on UK roads and felt the buzz of a really enjoyable journey so I feel it really is time to reassess the relationship with the motor vehicle and commuting.

Thinking about it I would probably have to time-travel back to a summer twenty years ago when I was looking after an MGB GT for a friend who was out of the country and he couldn’t possibly have seen me driving his fragile yellow sportscar like Mr Toad around the lanes in Wiltshire to feel that glow of driving a ‘real’ mechanical car that rewarded spirited driving. The minimal traffic and a car that felt alive and required real driver input was the polar-opposite of what driving a vehicle in 2018 seems to be.

I suppose we have to move on and a car that enables a journey that leaves you relatively stress-free and with a minimal carbon footprint in face of driving the frantic and congested routes in 2018 is undoubtedly good. The Ioniq Hybrid produces 138 bhp and is quite zippy to 60mph and gave me almost 50mpg in the short time I had it, which is pretty good considering it is a spacious five- seater with a big boot.

The Premium SE model has a good amount of goodies for the price including heated and ventilated seats, parking sensors and camera plus sat nav with an eight-inch touchscreen. The cabin is well laid out and everything falls nicely to hand. Similar to other Hybrids, some of the plastics are a bit scratchy and thin but the Ioniq’s dash is more conventional than the Prius which may score points if futuristic is not your thing.

The ride is quite firm and well suited to A roads and long distances.  Body-roll is evident in sweeping corners but nothing to worry about. Remember, this is not a car to set your heart beating faster, but it does score on being comfortable, efficient and, with its six-speed DCT automatic gearbox, a relaxing and sensible proposition.

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