The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid’s great for pottering around town but it’s just not quite as frugal as the plug-in model and a diesel will be better for long journeys
The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. They work together to drive the front wheels through a standard-fit six-speed automatic gearbox.
Hyundai claims the Ioniq hybrid will return 74.3mpg but you can expect to see around 65mpg in normal driving conditions. Unfortunately, it can’t match the plug-in hybrid model’s claimed 39 miles electric-only range but it can still potter along at slow speeds for short distances using just the electric motor. As a result, it’s much more frugal around town than a conventional petrol or diesel car.
You’ll hear barely a whisper from the petrol engine around town but it chimes in with a rather annoying drone when you accelerate hard
When the petrol engine chimes in to lend a hand it does so smoothly and without any unpleasant jolts. With both motor and engine working together it feels brisk enough but the 1.6-litre petrol drones slightly if you accelerate hard.
Even with the engine and motor working together the Ioniq doesn’t have quite enough puff to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic. If you do lots of motorway miles you’ll want to consider a diesel instead.
Visibility is reasonably good in the Hyundai but the pillars between its front doors and the windscreen create some blindspots at junctions and its split rear windscreen can make parking slightly difficult. The Kia Niro is easier to see out of thanks to its raised driving position and boxy body.
Thankfully, all Ioniqs come with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to help avoid any scrapes in supermarket car parks and you even get a cross-traffic alert system that’ll warn you if a car’s about to pass behind you as you reverse out of a perpendicular parking bay.
Around town, the Hyundai’s light steering and pedals make it fairly easy to drive and it’s especially relaxing at slow speeds when the near-silent electric motor’s doing most of the work. It can’t quite iron out bumps as smoothly as the Prius but it wallows and leans a little less on fast country roads.
Head out onto a motorway and the Hyundai starts to feel a little out of its depth. Its 1.6-litre engine has to work hard to keep up with fast-moving traffic which means you’ll hear quite a lot of noise from under the bonnet as you drive along.
You’ll hear a touch more wind noise in the Ioniq than in the Prius but the roar from its tyres is less noticeable than in the Toyota.
All Ioniq hybrids come with adaptive cruise control to help make long journeys as relaxing as possible. This feature can adjust your car’s speed to maintain a safe distance to other cars in front before returning to a preset speed once the road’s clear.
Also standard is automatic emergency braking – it’ll stop the car as quickly as possible if it detects an imminent collision. This helped the Hyundai earn an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2016, making it one of the safest family cars on sale.
For even greater peace of mind, pick a top-spec Premium SE model. They come with an extra system that’ll warn you if there’s a vehicle in your blindspot before you change lanes on a motorway.