Hyundai Ioniq Electric long-term test review: report 1

Can owning an electric car be a viable option even if you can't charge it at home? We're finding out, with the help of the recently facelifted Hyundai Ioniq Electric...

Hyundai Ioniq front

The car Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium SE Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor

Why it’s here To prove that electric motoring is now convenient enough to be an option for someone who can’t charge at home

Needs to Be practical and comfortable, have enough range for longer journeys, even in winter, and slash my running costs compared with a petrol or diesel car

Mileage 1078 List price £34,950 Target Price £33,406 Price as tested £35,605 Options fitted Metallic paint (£565) Test range 183 miles Official range 194 miles (WLTP)

20 November 2019 – welcome to the electric revolution

Until now, I’ve been a theoretical advocate for electric cars like my new Hyundai Ioniq Electric. You see, however much I might convince others to give electric motoring a try, extolling the benefits in terms of environmental credentials and running costs, I haven't run one myself for an extended period. Indeed, looking back over my list of past cars, it reads like a who’s who of diesel car superstars – the Audi Q5, BMW X2, Mazda CX-5 and the BMW 3 Series that I’ve just stepped out of all drank from the black pump. Now it's time for a change, then.

This Hyundai Ioniq Electric is fresh from a facelift, which, as well as upgrading the car’s interior with better quality materials and a larger infotainment screen, has also given it more range – 194 miles, to be precise – so that it covers more distance between charges than rivals that include the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe. If I think about that range in terms of my 11-mile daily commute, then, I could go for 17 days without needing to plug in.

But now for the rub – I can’t charge my new electric car at home. I live in a first-floor flat, and although an extension cord might technically reach through my window and down to the car, it would hardly be a) safe, b) fast or c) fair on Mrs. Henderson’s view out of her living room. So, during my time with the Ioniq Electric, I’ll be charging up elsewhere, and thankfully there are charging points available at the What Car? Office, plus public chargers close to where I live. And, if all else fails, I’ve got a three-pin plug, a fairly polite manner and a willingness to knock on a stranger’s door.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric infotainment screen

Not that I’ve had to resort to that so far, because, even factoring in some longer trips to see friends at the weekends, I’ve not yet come close to running out of range. Typically, I’ll leave the office on a Friday night with a full battery, giving me around 183 miles of range – a fair distance behind the Ioniq’s official range of 194 miles, but blame the recent cold spell for that – and I’ll return on Monday morning with around 100 miles still to go. And, knowing that topping up using the office charger will only cost me a few quid, I’ve been reaching my desk with palpable smugness.

I’m also feeling pretty smug about all the kit my car comes with. Saving £3500 on the cost of the car thanks to the government’s plug-in car grant meant I didn’t feel bad about opting for top-end Premium SE trim, which comes with everything I could want. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, heated seats in the front and rear (they’re ventilated in the front, too), a heated steering wheel, reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors all come as standard. In fact, it’s so well equipped that the only option I’ve gone for is metallic paint.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric side

The Ioniq’s 134bhp electric motor is already proving its worth on my commute. Since all of its available torque is deployed at once, I’ve been able to beat almost every other car away from the traffic lights. I’ve been impressed, too, with the Ioniq’s light and accurate steering, which means I can weave down tight urban streets and then hop into a parking space with the minimum of fuss. Less impressive so far has been the lane-keeping assistance, which seems to oscillate between the two outer lines of a lane, rather than keeping me centred between them.

Over the next few months, my mission with the Ioniq Electric is simple – I want to prove that owning an electric car, even if you can’t charge it at home, can still be a simple and viable option for those wanting to go green. If all goes well, I can see a string of electrified cars in my future. On the other hand, if a fairly polite chap with a cord in his hand comes knocking on your door asking for some electricity, please be kind.

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