What's the used HYUNDAI IONIQ Saloon like?
It might not look like much of a trailblazer, but the Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to be offered on sale with three forms of electrification. You can have it as a hybrid model that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor, a plug-in hybrid version with a bigger battery that you can charge externally or an electric vehicle (EV).
So how does this cutting-edge technology translate to everyday driving? Well, all the different versions are easy to drive and to use. With its petrol engine and electric motor working together in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid, performance is pretty good; both are quicker than a Toyota Prius and similar to many regular diesel hatchbacks, but slower than, say, a Volkswagen Golf GTE.
The standard six-speed dual-clutch gearbox in both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models can be hesitant off the line but, once you’re up and running, it changes swiftly and slickly through the gears. There’s also a manual override option on some models (using paddles) so you can hold onto a gear for better engine braking down steep hills.
The EV model is quicker off the line, utilising its electric motor’s instant low-down shove to sprint away from the lights in near-silence. Like most EVs, though, it starts to feel more pedestrian beyond 50mph, although for town driving, where it’s designed to be used, that’s no issue.
The Ioniq handles well, too, even if keen drivers aren’t going to come away from a drive doubled up with delight. It rides firmly but comfortably most of the time, and its refinement is good, with little wind or road noise to trouble the ears.
Inside, there’s plenty of space, with soft-touch plastics adding to an air of quality. The boot is of a reasonable size (although it's a little smaller in the EV model), but it’s slightly handicapped by a high loading lip.
Standard kit is competitive, with even entry-level cars being well equipped. Every model comes with some form of autonomous safety kit, with the entry-level SE getting automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and hill start assist. There’s also a standard back-up camera to help you out while parking.
Buying an Ioniq obviously requires choosing which version suits you best. The electric-only version is quite expensive, even used, and has a limited official range of 174 miles. The plug-in variant claims to be able to travel up to 30 miles on electric power alone – worth bearing in mind if that's enough to cover your daily commute. The regular hybrid still has low CO2 emissions and good fuel economy. It also has a better ride due to more sophisticated rear suspension compared with the plug-in hybrid and EV versions of the Ioniq.