I’m reviewing this all electric Hyundai Ioniq in the same week that Elon Musk and Tesla have announced their latest vehicle. It was also a few weeks ago that the UK (and French) Government pledged to ban the sale of diesel cars by 2040 meanwhile Volvo have announced that from 2020 all new cars will be built electric only.
So, the automotive times they are definitely changing and as new models are released, the battery life and travel ranges are increasing (174 miles here), prices are becoming more comparable with ‘regular’ cars (the Ioniq is £24,495 with the Govt grant) so it IS only a matter of time before electric cars become the norm, rather than the exception.
But is now a good time to buy an electric car? Well the simple answer is Yes (and no).
Ok, so I don’t have a proper charging point at my house, but if I bought an electric car I would have one and with a Government grant it would cost me about £150-200. Now that’s ok for me because I have a parking space and garage where I can install it, but what about if I lived in a block of flats or in a row of terraced houses? I’d need a very long extension lead and risk garrotting wheelchair owners as they passed innocently by. So adoption is not quite for everyone (yet).
Of course there is an ever growing network of charging points across the country. I drove to Norwich (don’t get me started on the current pedestrianisation) and entered the Forum car park. There are about 8 charging points in there, unfortunately when I visited they were all already being used by the green equivalents of German holidaymakers around the pool. The next car park I went to (Chapelfield) DID have 2 free charging points, however the company who installed them is no longer in existence and the chap from the office had to come and set it up for me. Which was a bit of a hassle. The charging is free and the Ioniq can be charged from empty to full in about 3-4 hours with the fast connector, but I could have potentially ran out of tome / power and patience had luck been against me.
The key to having an electric car is organisation and the car does have a pretty impressive 174 mile range which for someone with a relative short commute should be far enough to plan ahead. There is also a very clever regenerative braking system allows extra energy to be fed back to the battery, but using your windscreen wipers, lights, radio, air-conditioning etc will all reduce that figure in a real world environment so it’s something that is always in the back of your mind.
So what is it like to drive?
It doesn’t power away from the blocks like some of the other electric models (0-60 is 10.2 seconds) and the way you brake in the Ioniq is somewhat different too. Take your foot off the accelerator and you’ll feel the regenerative braking work and in many circumstances this means the brake pedal is often redundant. It’s slightly unusual at first, a bit like being on the dodgems, but becomes almost second nature after a while.
Additionally the silence in any electric car can be a bit weird, you can find yourself turning the ignition on and off to check what’s happening, but if I’m totally honest over the course of my week loan I started to fall for the Ioniq’s modern ways and unlike the other electric cars and hybrids I’d driven in the past it didn’t feel sluggish and heavy. It drives well and takes corners at speed without serious body roll and more importantly on all 4 wheels.
Visually the car looks, er if I’m totally honest, odd. There is no front grill (it’s not needed), instead there is a large Hyundai ‘H’ in the middle of a grey plastic cover. People look and stare at it, they point… What is it? Is it from Space? It is sort of beautiful in an ugly kind of way, but I did grow to like its subtle weirdness and individuality.
There is lots of space inside and 3 adults in the back is cosy, but doable. It has an upmarket feel, the interior is solid and classy, perhaps not to the standard of the BMW i3, but that is a much more expensive car for a different market completely.
It has gadgets and gizmos galore inside including compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, allowing you to use Google Maps etc for navigation though your connected phone, not to mention music and calls etc synced up in perfect harmony. I didn’t try the Apple version, but Android Auto is really cool and very easy to set up. It also has LED lights adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera on the standard Ioniq Upgrade to the premium and you’ll also get lovely heated seats and a memory seat. I put my phone in the arm chair glove box and it magically charged up too!
Something also well worth noting is that the Ioniq was awarded Safest small family car by Autoexpress and has the highest five-star Euro NCAP rating possible and this is definitely a car you feel safe inside.
Overall the Ioniq is an electric car that combines impressive cutting edge technology with a really decent drive, high specs and surprising affordability. If you’re considering an electric vehicle and don’t want to park it sideways on the street, have a drive for yourself. Just don’t forget to unplug it before you set off.
Model: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium
Price: £24,495 (including Govt. grant)
Engine: Electric motor, lithium-ion batteries
Transmission: Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
0-62mpg: 10.2 seconds
Top speed: 103mph
Range: 174 miles
For more info visit www.hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/ioniq