By Patrick James on 2017-07-29 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid
ONCE it was the domain of Toyota with the world's first hybrid car which became a favourite with the eco friendly from Notting Hill to Sunset Boulevard.
Now, most auto manufacturers are producing hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles, popping up all over the place well ahead of the proposed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2040.
Like all innovations which initially come with an eye-watering price, prices have gradually reduced with hybrid technology now within the grasp of most owners.
It should be no surprise therefore that Korean manufacturers, in the case Hyundai, are getting in on the act with the all-new IONIQ.
The IONIQ line-up consists of the hybrid, the electric and the plug-in hybrid offering zero emission technology backed up with a peace of mind warranty of five years unlimited miles on the car and eight years or 125 miles on the lithium battery.
Hybrids nearly all look like mainstream cars these days as battery technology means they take up less space.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Hyundai is supplemented by the battery/electric motor combination to produce combined power of 141ps.
Drive carefully and you're on electric power only, step on it an the pair work in tandem. Claimed economy is around 70mpg, but will ultra-careful driving, you may get more.
Acceleration is swift through the smooth shifting six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and the 60mph can be reached in just over 11 seconds.
It really is an eye-catching looking motor with a coupe like silhouette and class-leading coefficient of drag to further enhance economy, but without compromising style.
Hyundai's signature hexagonal grille is flanked by wrapround projector headlamps and vertical C-shaped LED daytime running lights. Door mirrors are colour coded and the whole look is offset by the novel-looking two-tone 17 inch alloy wheels on this model.
As blue means eco-friendly green for many car manufacturers, blue badging and accents also gives clues to the nature of the car.
Inside there is plenty of electronics to remind you you are in a hybrid, but the fit and finish is now as good as any European or Japanese competitors, with nice soft touch finish to dash and doors, neatly laid out controls and firm comfortable seats. The dark colour scheme with the blue trim piping is complemented by alloy pedals and chrome finish to door handles.
The multi-function steering wheel and auto gearbox shifter are leather trimmed and the whole interior has an executive feel. This model is also packed with equipment. Not bad for a car costing just over £23,000.
High tech touches abound and the central touch screen controls functions like navigation, app connectivity, which include map updates and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and TomTom live services, plus a quality sound system and manoeuvering camera, as well as showing how the the battery/petrol engine combination is working together. Still fascinating to watch and it does make you think about how you are driving.
A TFT instrument cluster further displays all of the key driver information.
This is still a practical hatchback with four adults seated comfortably and room for a fifth. All round visit is generally good, although the rear view is compromised by the spoiler which splits the rear screen.
Boot space is decent, long and wide, but not very deep, while the split folding rear seats add extra practicality.
On the road the car handles well and rides comfortably, while road and engine noise are well insulated.
It feels stable on corners and the steering is direct with good driver feedback.
Packed with kit from the electric windows and doors through to the cameras, auto dimming mirror, wipers and headlamps, it is also comprehensively equipped with safety kit.
Available are an array of airbags, stability control autonomous emergency braking, lane assist, blind spot dectect, rear cross traffic alert, smart cruise control and hill hold.
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid Premium SE
Mechanical: 141ps, 1,580cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 70.6
Insurance Group: 11
C02 emissions: 93g/km
Bik rating: 17%
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles
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