First UK Drive: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

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Electric cars are becoming an increasingly common sight on UK roads, and will continue to do so as people move away from conventional petrol and diesel cars. AOL Cars tested the Hyundai Ioniq Electric to see if it's good enough to compete against rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf and Nissan Leaf.


What is it?

The Ioniq comes in three separate guises: a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and the fully electric version.

It has five seats, plenty of equipment and an impressive (claimed) 174-mile range, meaning that range anxiety should not be too much of an issue.

The Ioniq also qualifies for the full £4,500 government plug-in car grant, meaning the entry-level model costs from a reasonable £24,995.

What's under the bonnet?

The Ioniq Electric uses an electric motor coupled with a 28kWh battery. It produces 118bhp and 295Nm of torque, making it capable of a 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 103mph. Compared to its closest rival, those are impressive numbers - the Nissan Leaf takes 11.3 seconds in the same dash and only has a top speed of 89mph.

As it's fully electric, it does not produce any CO2, meaning that you don't have to worry about paying any road tax. Hyundai says its Ioniq Electric is capable of 174 miles on a single charge, and while the Renault Zoe offers a greater range, the Hyundai should have enough in the 'tank' for most drivers – considering the average UK journey is just 8.9 miles.

As for charge times, using a standard three-point plug will take up to 12 hours for a full charge. A dedicated wall box will take 4.5 hours, while a public rapid charger will take just 30 minutes to charge the Ioniq to 80 per cent.

What's it like to drive?

The Ioniq really doesn't drive that differently to a regular car, apart from the noticeable absence of the sound of an internal combustion engine, replaced instead by the quiet whine of an electric motor.

The Ioniq is not a car that is particularly fun to drive, as the steering can be quite vague and it lacks pace. However, the ride is quite impressive as it can easily deal with rough surfaces well. Also, you feel just as comfortable driving the Ioniq around town as you do on the motorway, although long-distance journeys may require more planning if you don't want to run out of charge.

First UK Drive: Hyundai Ioniq

First UK Drive: Hyundai Ioniq

How does it look?

The Ioniq's looks split opinion, although we personally quite like it. The design is distinctive - but not too fussy – unlike other electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, which just looks a bit dull. We also like that there is little to differentiate the electric Ioniq from the plug-in and hybrid versions.

What's it like inside?

The interior is probably the Ioniq's stand-out feature. While it is not particularly luxurious, it is well-equipped and very well put together.

In Premium SE specification, our test car impressed us. The leather trim and use of soft plastics on the dash make the cabin feel premium. Yes, it may lack some of the luxury of its German rivals, but it is unlikely to disappoint.

What's the spec like?

The Ioniq makes a strong case for itself as an affordable and well-equipped electric car. Prices start at £24,995 – inclusive of the £4,500 plug-in car grant – for the entry-level Premium model. Standard equipment is excellent and includes satellite navigation, heated front seats, smartphone connectivity through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth, as well as a DAB radio.

Our test vehicle was a top-of-the-range Premium SE model. On top of the standard model, it comes with leather-trimmed seat facings, ventilated front seats, rear cross traffic alerts and alloy pedals.

Verdict

There's little to dislike about the Ioniq. It drives far better than rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, while also having an impressive interior and excellent levels of standard kit. It is also quite good value, thanks to the plug-in car grant, as well as being far cheaper to run than conventional petrol and diesel cars. If you are in the market for an affordable, practical and family friendly electric vehicle, you can't go too far wrong with the Ioniq.

The knowledge

Model as tested: Ioniq Electric Premium SE
Power: 118bhp
Torque: 295Nm
Max Speed: 103mph
0-60mph: 9.7 seconds
Range: 174 miles
Charge time: 12 hours with regular household socket
Emissions: 0g/km
Price: £26,680