Home' Motoring Plus : June 15th 2016 Contents 10 —THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, June 15, 2016
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Move over Prius, here’s the Ioniq
Hyundai has been
pretty creative with
electricity in its trio of
Ioniq eco-cars, reports
Hyundai has gone a bit Buck Rodgers with Ioniq EV: a silver insert replaces the grille of the hybrid models.
Hybrid versions look more mainstream, with familiar Hyundai grille.
here are so many elderly,
Priuses on Kiwi roads as
taxis, it’s easy to forget
the impact of Toyota’s once-
revolutionary hybrid. But
Hyundai hasn’t forgotten.
When the Korean giant
decided to make its first mass-
market unique-platform hybrid
model (as opposed to a hybrid
version of an existing car) now
known as the Ioniq, it naturally
looked at the car that was the
trail-blazer in that segment.
The first thing Hyundai found
out after surveying Prius owners
was that while they were happy
with the fuel economy, they were
less than thrilled with the looks of
the car. The second thing was that
the Prius just wasn’t any fun to
Now, we already knew that.
But how do you go about making
a hybrid look better and be fun to
For a start, if you are serious
about being frugal, the overall
shape of the Prius is simply the
most aerodynamically efficient
way to go. So yes, the Hyundai
Ioniq does have a remarkably
similar profile to the Prius.
The aerodynamic advantages
of the ‘‘Kamm tail’’ were
discovered by German
aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm
in the 1930s. The basic design calls
for a body with smooth contours
that continues to a tail which is
then is abruptly cut off.
You can see it in racing cars
like the Ford GT40, the Ferrari 250
GT SWB ‘‘breadvan’’ and the
Shelby Daytona Coupe. It’s also
common on many high-
performance road cars.
But the Kamm tail exists in its
purest form on dedicated
mass-market hybrids. The
Prius, Honda Insight, Honda
CR-Z and Holden Volt all
share that same basic
aerodynamic shape. As does
the new Hyundai Ioniq.
While the Ioniq shares
the same Buck Rogers ‘50s
retro sci-fi shape of the other
hybrids, Hyundai took great
pains to ensure it didn’t go
too far and make the Ioniq a
flashy nightmare of fake
space-age high tech.
So hybrid profile aside,
Hyundai has gone all out to
make the Ioniq startlingly
normal, particularly on the
inside. This was another
learning from Prius
There are three different
versions of the Ioniq: hybrid,
plug-in hybrid and pure
electric Vehicle (EV). While
the hybrid models look the
most mainstream, the Ioniq EV is
a bit more distinctive, with a large
matte silver nose replacing the
necessary (but Hyundai
signature) grille, along with
number of more subtle external
But now comes the part that
really counts – how does it drive?
This is where Hyundai says it
has concentrated the most in
developing the Ioniq; to make it a
hybrid/EV that is actually
dynamically fun to drive.
Where the Prius has always
packed a continuously variable
transmission that has, over the
course of its life, ranged from
hateful (the early ones) to
tolerable (the latest incarnation),
Hyundai has seen fit to equip the
hybrid Ioniq with a six-speed dual
Not only does this make the
Ioniq feel more like a normal car,
its also ultimately more efficient –
Hyundai claims – than a CVT.
During our (admittedly brief)
drive of the Ioniq hybrid, the
strongest initial impression was
how slick and fast the
Both the hybrid and future
plug-in versions of the Ioniq pack
a 1.6 -litre four-cylinder petrol
engine hooked up to an electric
motor and a lithium-ion battery
pack. The petrol engine pumps
out 77kW of power and 147Nm of
torque by itself, but is nicely
assisted by the 32kW/167Nm
Official fuel economy figures
are yet to be published.
On the smooth surface of
Hyundai’s test ground, the Ioniq
proved to be comfortable and
quiet, with a nicely compliant
Fast lane changes showed it to
be impressively stable and
confident as well. How it fares on
our coarse local chip seal remains
to be seen, but initial impressions
are very good.
The all-electric Ioniq is a little
bit more space-age inside, but this
is due to the traditional gear-lever
being replaced with a pushbutton
set up. The rest is still remarkably
restrained and, well, normal. Our
test vehicle was also noticeably
more luxurious than the base
model hybrid we drove.
The Ioniq EV is less of a
surprise than the hybrid, as it
drives pretty much like most
other EVs on the market – a
smooth, creamy surge of electric
torque pushes you silently and
relentlessly forward when you
push the throttle to the floor.
Changes in direction are crisp
Hyundai is claiming a 200km
range from the EV, with the
lithium-ion battery pack taking
around four-and-a -half hours for a
full charge and just 25 minutes for
an 85 per cent fast charge.
Initial impressions suggest
that while the EV packs the power
and acceleration, the hybrid –
with its excellent transmission –
is the more dynamic experience to
This strongly suggests that the
plug-in hybrid will actually be the
most entertaining version of all.
With its clever combination of
hi-tech presented in a friendly,
unintimidating package, along
with the slick looks and good
driving dynamics, the Ioniq
promises to be something that
Kiwis could easily take to.
Hyundai New Zealand is rather
obviously aware of this, and is
very keen on getting the Ioniq
here in the next six months.
This will, like all things,
depends on price and availability.
But mainly price.
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