FUELLED by increasingly strict emissions regulations and the current backlash against diesel engines sales of hybrid vehicles continue to rise.
Toyota led the way in this petrol-electric powered revolution, when it launched the Prius more than 20 years ago but other car makers have been jumping on the bandwagon more recently, as demand has grown at an accelerated rate.
Hyundai joined the fray a couple of years ago with its Ioniq hatchback. Notably the first motor in the world to be offered in regular hybrid, plug-in and fully electric variants it has all angles covered for the environmentally-aware driver and has the Prius firmly in its sights.
The standard hybrid is, unsurprisingly, the biggest seller and brings together a 32kW electric motor and a 1.6-litre petrol engine to deliver a total power output of 141ps.
Riding on the optional 17-inch alloys, available with range-topping Premium SE trim, that offers enough poke to get the Ioniq from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds, reduced to 10.8 if you settle for 15-inch rims, and on to a top speed of 115mph.
While not figures to set the pulse racing, they're are far from pedestrian either and the extra oomph from the electric motor actually makes acceleration feel quicker than the numbers suggest. The Ioniq is nimble and responsive for the most part and equally adept nipping into the gaps in urban traffic, sweeping along winding country lanes or overtaking on the motorway.
The suspension is firm enough to keep the body controlled and flat through corners but supple enough to remain comfortable and cope with all but the worst potholes, although tyre noise does become noticeable on rougher surfaces and at higher speeds.
The fact that the hybrid powertrain is mated to a six-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox, rather than the constantly variable transmissions many hybrids feature, also makes this feel much more like a traditional car to drive - progress is smooth and relaxed.
Economy and efficiency are, of course, key reasons for buying a hybrid and the Ioniq doesn't disappoint, with the intelligent system switching seamlessly between petrol, electric or combined power dependent on conditions and driver input.
Claimed average fuel economy of 70.6mpg is impressive and I managed figures in the high 50s during seven days of mixed real-world driving. In fact, the fuel gauge barely moved until I hit the motorway, where more of the load is naturally borne by the engine.
Opting for the smaller 15-inch alloys will, again, provide a significant boost in this department, with official fuel economy rising to 83.1mpg on average and carbon emissions dropping from 92g/km with the 17-inch wheels to just 79g/km.
Slippery aerodynamics are also part of Ioniq's fuel-saving package, with various smart design features and weight-saving measures complementing a low-slung, easy-on-the-eye coupe look characterised by sharp, clean lines and, on hybrid versions, contrasting blue or silver highlights depending upon colour.
Blue trim also features on the dashboard and upholstery in the cabin, which is well-appointed and impressively well-equipped.
The swooping roofline means rear headroom will be an issue for anyone over 6ft but otherwise four adults will travel comfortably, five at a push, with ample cubbies to store personal possessions.
Placing the hybrid battery under the back seats also means the Ioniq has a generous 550-litre boot, rising to 1,505 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded, which features a space-saver spare wheel beneath the floor, an increasingly rare thing these days.
A competitively priced package is topped off by some generous kit levels across three grades - SE, Premium and Premium SE.
The flagship version certainly lives up to its name with plush leather upholstery; heated and ventilated front seats, with power adjustment and memory function for the driver; eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; dual-zone climate control; rearview camera, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning and keyless entry and ignition.