words & photos by: Jimmy Mak
A little while back we did a review for the Ioniq EV as well as the Hybrid, and we were impressed with the range and price point of the Ioniq. This PHEV (Plug-in electric vehicle) bridged the gap between the two and offered a no-compromise solution.
The PHEV is new for 2018 and allows the Ioniq to achieve up to 47km of our electric range before the engine kicks in. While 47km isn’t much, it’s not made to be a Volt or Clarity competitor but more so the Prius Prime’s primary target. During our time with the Ioniq, our battery range was closer to 30km even with the climate control turned off. So the PlugShare application was often used in search of more juice.
From the outside, the PHEV looks similar to the rest of the Ioniq models the only thing that’s different is the arrangement of dual fuel caps on the driver side. The front fender is for charging while the rear is the fuel tank. An egg-shaped design is used to cut through the wind with ease allowing for better range and reduce overall consumption, certainly it’s not as stylish as the new Prius Prime but it also doesn’t stick out in a parking lot full of cars.
There are little details around the outside that spices up this rather bland exterior, starting with dual led projector headlights that help illuminate the road and led taillights for greater visibility. Below that are LED daytime running lights with functional scoops that direct air over the front wheels for better aero dynamics.
Inside the Ioniq, it’s similar to what other Hyundai has to offer. Easy to navigate dash with decent materials, below the mid-section plastics do get scratchy, but there are soft plastics on the armrests for better comfort.
Simple well laid out the infotainment system with a 7″ and touchscreen with an easy to use an 8″ in the tester is available with the Limited model which also adds leather. Included in the infotainment system are both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so there’s no fuss about which operating system is better. Climate controls are simple with easy to use buttons and knobs there’s no need to go through a screen to adjust the temps. To help with range, the Ioniq’s climate control can be set for driver’s only deactivating other vents in the cabin thus using less energy.
Seats on the Ioniq are soft and flat and are designed primarily for comfort. Since this is the limited trim, the seats have the upgraded leather option front and back. Also, the rear outboard seats are heated just like the front. Just limit the use as it will decrease the electric range significantly when used.
Behind the seats is a generous cargo area thanks to the hatchback design, with batteries and a fuel tank, make the floor a bit higher than the standard hybrid model, but it’s still sufficient to hold whatever else your life needs. The included cover does hide your precious cargo away from prying eyes.
Powering the Ioniq is a 1.6L gasoline engine with 104hp and 109lb-ft of torque and 164hp and 195lb-ft from the electric motor. Unlike many hybrids out there the Ioniq uses a dual clutch 6-speed setup rather than CVT to give the vehicle a few shift points that can be felt especially when using the paddles via sports mode. Thurst is adequate, the electric motor gives the Ioniq a good amount of torque out of the gate however it does fall short once you reach highway speeds.
This Ioniq should be thought as the hybrid vehicle with a plug-in option with limited range. Unlike the Volt or Clarity, it’s primary energy source is gasoline with the electrics as a backup. Sure it can run on pure electric alone, however, applying a bit more throttle. The Ioniq will automatically switch to hybrid power to give the vehicle the acceleration it needs. On the road the Ioniq is quiet, very quiet thanks to the streamlined body there’s very little wind noise even on the highway. That being said, there is a bit of road noise thanks to the eco-friendly tires.
Overall the Ioniq PHEV is an excellent vehicle all around, there are a few cheaper materials within the cabin, but it’s there to keep cost down. Priced from $32,000 or when equipped at $36,500, it’s in a very competitive area where most full-on EVs can’t beat. Best yet it has a combined range of over 1000km it’s the perfect fuel-sipping road trip vehicle with zero range anxiety. Roughly $5120 more than the traditional hybrid model but do keep in mind the $2500 government incentive in BC makes this PHEV a bargain.
Big thanks to Hyundai Canada for the experience.