An HEV is a conventional gas-electric hybrid electric vehicle as pioneered by the Toyota Prius; a BEV is a pure battery-electric vehicle as popularized by the Nissan Leaf; and a PHEV is a Plug-in HEV (think: Chevy Volt) that can be externally charged to provide an initial electric range of typically 20 to 50 kilometres.
As we expect from Hyundai, pricing is highly provocative. Due in showrooms imminently, the estimated price (there’s no official word yet) for the HEV’s four trims range from $24,000 to $33,000. The BEV’s three trims will run between $35,000 and $42,000 (less provincial incentives up to $14,000). Expect PHEV pricing closer to its launch in the third quarter. RATINGS
Looks: If Ioniq’s mandate was to not look weird (are you listening, Prius?), it succeeded: it looks like just another stylish but conventional compact hatchback (albeit a little heavy in the rear-three-quarters from some angles). But the mainstream shape belies exceptional aerodynamics: the claimed 0.24 co-efficient of drag equals the industry benchmarks, including Prius.
Interior: Hyundai sought a “purified high-tech” look inside, whatever that means. Each version has its own colour trim accents. At the wheel we found the view of the dashboard and beyond pleasingly normal, ditto the ergonomics. All versions have a hospitable back seat, with competitive legroom, though headroom is a little below par.
Performance: Engaging dynamics? The white-coated drive route demonstrated little more than the transparent effectiveness of the traction-control system. Our BEV was appropriately quiet, and after a 70-km drive through hilly terrain on snow tires (i.e. more rolling resistance), while making full use of all heating amenities, it showed a promising 107 km of range remaining. On a 140-km street drive the HEV proved mechanically refined, the slick six-speed DCT almost as seamless as a CVT but with the familiar normality of a stepped transmission. Indicated fuel consumption: 5.2 L/100 km. Ride comfort was fine on Okanagan-valley roads. As for handing, suffice to say that a quick twirl around a slushy auto slalom showed promise.
Technology: Even the base Blue trim HEV includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Bluetooth, 7-inch display audio, automatic climate control and rear-view camera.
Cargo: The Ioniq is a hatchback, with 40/60-split flat-folding seats. Trunk volumes are both near top-of-class among their respective rivals. THE VERDICT
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