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Hyundai Ioniq long-term review

Hyundai's first hybrid has plenty to offer, but how will it fare as a photographer's assistant on our fleet?

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Hyundai Ioniq
  • The car: Hyundai Ioniq HEV Premium SE
  • Run by: Will Williams, photographer
  • Why it's here: The Ioniq is three cars in one - it's available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and as a fully electric car. With sales of EVs and hybrids growing fast in the UK, its time to see what Hyundai's first effort is like to live with
  • Needs to: Accommodate all of my camera gear, be comfortable over long distances and offer impressive fuel economy hybrid drivers are looking for

30 March 2017 – the Hyundai Ioniq joins our fleet

The Ioniq is an intriguing proposition. It’s currently the only car that’s available with three different electric powertrains: you can buy a hybrid, plug-in hybrid (coming soon) or fully electric model. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more manufacturers did the same in the future.

As a photographer, I rack up a lot of miles, so I’ve chosen the hybrid model to join the What Car? fleet as it makes most sense of the choices available. There are three trims in the line-up, and we’ve opted to run the top of the range Premium SE model.

It costs Β£23,595 – and the only option we’ve added to it is the metallic Platinum Silver paint. That’s because Premium SE trim brings tons of kit: sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, climate, heated and cooled seats, upgraded Infinity stereo, heated rear seats and xenon headlights are the main highlights.

So, it’s an environmentally sound, top-spec hatchback. Sounds good to me, but my previous experiences have made me slightly anxious about the prospect. You see this isn’t my first hybrid. I’ve previously had a Lexus CT200h and then an IS300h. I’ll be honest, my time with them wasn’t particularly positive.

It’s not that I don’t like hybrids, but the driving I do doesn’t lend itself to hybrid tech. I spend a lot of time on fast A and B roads, so I have the petrol engine running most of the time. I don’t get anywhere near those claimed figures, so I’m intrigued to see how the Ioniq will manage with me.

I can already see that our True MPG testing recorded its real-world economy figure at 46.9mpg, which is much lower than the claimed 78.5mpg. But I’m still hopeful that my time with the car could prove that hybrid tech has made huge steps forward and that it should now be considered for the countryside commuter rather than just for city-dwelling cabbies.

The first signs are positive. Space is clearly one its strengths – which is lucky, because I’ll be carrying around all manner of cameras, tripods, step ladders, buckets, kitchen roll and other miscellaneous photography paraphernalia.

But my early driving impressions are a bit mixed. The gearbox isn’t brilliant, but it handles really well. However, the car only has two driving modes, eco and sport, and neither is perfect. So far I’ve mainly been driving it in sport because it makes it a lot pokier and adds some weight to the steering, which I prefer. However, it also puts the dual-clutch gearbox into sport mode as well, making it hang on to the gears a lot longer, which gets irritating. It’s annoying I can’t configure those settings individually as I would ideally like the steering in sport but the gearbox in eco.

Aside from that, it’s been plain sailing in these early days with the Ioniq, and I look forward to finding out whether hybrid life suits me any better now.

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Read more - our full Hyundai Ioniq review

Read more - the best (and worst) electric cars


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