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?...

Hyundai Ioniq long-term review
  • 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

11 May 2017 – Hyundai Ioniq first report

I’ve been settling into Ioniq ‘ownership’ and have been especially impressed with some aspects of the car’s interior.

The infotainment system deserves praise, for example, and when so many modern units have difficult-to-control touchscreens it’s good that the Ioniq has handy physical shortcut buttons underneath the screen that are much easier to use. It’s the first car I’ve had with Apple CarPlay, too, and it works really well now that I’ve got to grips with it. I use it every time I’m in the car and it’s really useful.

But it’s not all good news. The hands-free system doesn’t work well on calls. Anyone who phones me in the car can hear him or herself talking back through the car speakers before I’ve heard them, which is rather off-putting.

So if the infotainment system is generally impressive it’s a shame it doesn’t sit in a jazzier interior - the Ioniq’s is pretty grey and drab. There are some small blue flashes here and there but it’s generally rather flat and dull. Its biggest rival, the Toyota Prius, doesn’t have the best interior either, but at least it feels different to most other cars on the road. The Ioniq doesn’t stand out in that respect, which seems a shame for a hybrid.

Our car is a well-specced trim level so it comes with adaptive cruise control, and that’s been a great benefit. I cover a lot of motorway miles so I use it all the time. It’s very intuitive to use, whereas lots of other systems can be very confusing. The engine doesn’t feel quite as settled at a cruise as a Prius’s, though; the power delivery doesn’t always feel smooth.

Hyundai Ioniq long-term review

As you can see from its True MPG rating, the real-world fuel economy figure is some way short of its claimed figure, but my biggest bugbear with driving the car remains the lack of configuration available for the different drive modes. As I mentioned in my first report, I still wish you could individually select different drive modes for the gearbox and steering respectively.

Space wise it’s been great. Considering it’s not your usual load-lugging SUV or estate, it’s been perfect for dragging around loads of my photography gear. The boot is square and deep with no intrusions, and it’s great you can just tap the load cover to move it back (even if it is very slow to retract). The boot is much more use than the one in the Prius. Rear seat space is very impressive as well, especially for a compact car, and there’s loads of leg room up front.

I’ve just trickled over the 10k mark, so I’ve booked the Ioniq in for its first service and will report back.