The Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in received the worst rating among the three IONIQ versions offered (conventional hybrid received four stars, while all-electric three-and-a-half star) by Autocar, netting just 3 of 5 stars.

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in

The all-electric version, reviewed eight months ago, did not impress in terms of excitement, but it was deemed a solid value proposition.

The plug-in hybrid version comes last, but maybe still too early (despite already having been delayed almost a year over intial estimates), as the powertrain doesn't seem to be polished enough.

Autocar: Hyundai’s take on the plug-in hybrid hatchback is a touch worthy and lacks polish to drive, but should deliver on everyday fuel efficiency

According to the review, Hyundai targets the IONIQ for those who are looking to purchase more affordable, practical and fuel efficient plug-in cars, with perhaps not the best performances or dynamics.

The all-electric range rather will not exceed 30 miles, while Autocar averaged 85.6 mpg over the drive. Electric motor power is enough for city driving at speeds of up to 50 mph, but needs the help of the gas engine to achieve hard acceleration thereafter (it can continue to drive all-electrically to much higher speeds if one desires/coddles it enough), which leads the outfit to state that the Ioniq PHEV "is ostensibly the same as the lesser hybrid, but for a much larger and more powerful lithium ion drive battery."  

"The car is happy to cruise on electric power at motorway speed, but you need to rouse the combustion engine for meaningful acceleration here. It’s also a frustration that Hyundai doesn’t make it easier to drive up to the limits of electric power and keep the piston engine off via a haptic accelerator pedal or similar, even in EV mode.

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in

Select Sport mode and an attempt is made to go beyond the kind of driving involvement you get from a typical economy car, but it’s a ham-fisted one. The car’s steering becomes leaden and cumbersome, the gearbox struggles to deliver peak performance with decent responsiveness, the wooden ride becomes crashy and the car’s increasingly precarious grip only announces itself in clearer terms.

But stick to HEV Hybrid mode once your electric range is depleted and the car's easier to drive and feels more coherent. There's very little connected feel from the steering and the usual artificial feel to the brake pedal which makes executing smooth stops trickier than it needs to be, but, so long as you're interested most in how little you're putting in the petrol tank, none of that need necessarily offend too much."

Quick specs for IONIQ Plug-in:

  • 8.9 kWh battery up to over 50 kilometres (31 miles) in all-electric mode (estimated: around 25 miles/40km)
  • 45 kW (61 PS) electric motor and 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder Kappa engine
  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.6 seconds
  • Top speed of 180 km/h (111 mph)
source: Autocar

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