What's the used Hyundai Ioniq saloon like?
It might not look like much of a trailblazer, but this 2017-2022 Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to be offered on sale with three forms of electrification.
You could have had 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 did this cutting-edge technology translate to everyday driving? Well, all the different versions were easy to drive and to use. With its petrol engine and electric motor working together in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid, performance was pretty good; both are quicker than the contemporary 2016-2022 Toyota Prius and similar to many regular diesel hatchbacks, but slower than, say, the Mk7 version of the 2013-2020 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.
The Ioniq was updated in 2019, with minor cosmetic changes and improvements to the range. The plug-in hybrid Ioniq came with a 39-mile electric-only range, the fully electric car 194 miles. All models went off sale at the end of 2022.
What used Hyundai Ioniq saloon will I get for my budget?
You can pick up the hybrid now for around £10,000. This will buy a 2016 car with an average or below-average mileage and a full history, from an independent or franchised dealer. Expect to pay between £12,000 and £14,000 for a 2018 or 2019 model in SE form, or between £14,000 and £16,000 for a mid-range Premium Ioniq. Pay a little more for post-facelift 2019 and 2020 cars, from £16,000. Plug-in hybrids hover around the £12,000 mark, while fully electric ones start from £15,000.
How much does it cost to run a Hyundai Ioniq saloon?
On paper, the EV model should be the cheapest to run, even if it will probably be the most expensive to buy. If the plug-in hybrid variant fits in with your lifestyle – meaning that you use it for short journeys of less than 30 miles and have access to charging facilities – it should also prove cheap to run.
However, if it's registered after April 2017, it'll not benefit from free road tax, and you'll have to pay the flat rate, currently £170 per year. The hybrid model will also cost you a similar amount to tax every year, but you won’t get the advantage of extended electric-only driving. However, an MPG figure in the mid-to-high 60s should be easily achievable – that's good for a comfortable five-seat family car with a reasonably big boot.
Servicing and insurance
Hyundai has one of the longest standard warranties available; the Ioniq gets five years of cover over unlimited miles. Just as impressive is the battery warranty, which is eight years and 125,000 miles.
Servicing costs will be comparable to those of rivals, but certain work, such as re-gassing the air conditioning, can be costly because Hyundai uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant gas that's not widely available at third-party garages yet.
Which used Hyundai Ioniq saloon should I buy?
Make no mistake, we like the plug-in hybrid Ioniq. However, if home charging is a problem we’d recommend the regular hybrid version because it feels just as quick as a regular diesel hatchback, but you can still cruise around town on silent electric power alone, provided the battery has enough charge at the time. The standard six-speed automatic gearbox is pretty slick and the whole combination still offers low CO2 emissions and decent real-world fuel economy.
It’s a fraction less expensive to buy than a plug-in hybrid Ioniq, and it doesn’t require the same level of planning you would need to do with the EV version in order to make sure you have enough charge in it for future journeys.
We’d also suggest stepping up one trim level to mid-range Premium, because it adds heated front seats and steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, xenon headlights, an upgraded sound system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our favourite Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Hybrid Premium
What alternatives should I consider to a used Hyundai Ioniq saloon?
The Toyota Prius is probably the most well-known hybrid car of all, because it was the first mass-produced petrol-electric car on the market. It’s the most obvious alternative to the Ioniq. It comes as a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, like the Ioniq, and the latest version is very well equipped and good to drive. It’s refined, too, and both versions are economical. However, the Ioniq has the slight edge in equipment and it’s far nicer to drive.
The Ioniq is closely related to the Kia Niro, which also comes in three differing forms: pure electric car, plug-in hybrid and self-charging hybrid. It's a great car and comes with a more roomy interior than the Ioniq. The only fly is that it costs more car for car than the Hyundai.