£27,845 - £29,645 Price range
If you’re after a comfy small family car with cheap running costs and decent levels of equipment then it’s worth checking out the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid – it’s a good alternative to the odd-looking Toyota Prius, and can drive for up to 39 miles on electric power alone.
From behind the wheel you’d have no idea you’re in a high-tech hybrid – the dashboard looks and functions just like in a normal car, and there are enough posh-feeling soft-touch plastics to give the Ioniq’s cabin a slightly premium feel. The modern theme continues with the infotainment system – all models get an eight-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring systems, so you can mirror your favourite satellite navigation and media-streaming apps on the Ioniq’s screen.
The low-tech side of the Ioniq is decent too. Whichever version you pick you’ll find it easy to get comfy in the front – the steering wheel has a wide range of adjustment so you’ll have no trouble finding your perfect driving position.
Things are slightly less accommodating in the back, but leg room and kneeroom are still decent so long as your passengers aren’t over six-feet tall. The 443-litre boot’s big too, and easily has enough space for a few big suitcases, but there’s a bit of a load lip to heave them over when loading and unloading.
The Ioniq’s real party piece isn’t its practicality – it’s the fuel economy you can eke from its combination of a 104hp 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor. The main difference between the Ioniq Plug-in and the separately reviewed Hybrid version is that you can plug the PHEV in to charge it up in about two hours from a 16-amp wallbox, which means you’ll be able to drive for pennies on electric power alone if you have a short commute.
Don’t expect to get anywhere near the official claimed 247mpg fuel economy figure – you’re more likely to get about 70mpg in normal driving using the petrol engine and electric motors together. What you will get, however, is exemption from the London Congestion Charge, thanks to low CO2 emissions of just 26g/km.
Wherever you drive, the Ioniq’s pretty comfortable, and it’s quieter when you accelerate hard than the Prius Plug-in with its noisy gearbox. It’s safe too, and earned five stars in Euro NCAP’s 2016 crash tests.
So the Ioniq’s safe, efficient and reasonably practical – it’s well worth checking out if you have the ability to charge it after every drive.
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