By Mike Torpey on 2019-09-14 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
VALUE and choice - a pair of qualities most car manufacturers aim to provide, but not all ultimately deliver.
They are also characteristics becoming increasingly essential as consumers embrace more low emission vehicles.
Korean brand Hyundai was quick to acknowledge the importance of this trend and duly became the world's first auto maker to offer hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric powertrains in one model, the oddly-named Ioniq.
Much the most popular of the trio, the hybrid is far more than a smart-looking, economical family car that produces low emissions.
It's also silky smooth to drive, has a lovely overall balance and carries a feeling of quality too.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 141bhp, boosted by another 43bhp thanks to the electric motor, and while tuned more towards efficiency than outright performance, it still has plenty of spirit.
The car benefits from having a six-speed dual clutch transmission rather than a CVT and is both enjoyable and lively to drive with its 0-62mph acceleration of 10.8 seconds and instant power delivery.
A 200-mile test drive on mixed town and country roads saw the hybrid return an average fuel figure of 62 miles per gallon, still really satisfying even if the official claimed consumption is closer to 75mpg.
Living with the Ioniq is a pleasurable experience too and that's in a large part down to Hyundai's designers who have carefully packed all the car's hybrid components so as not to compromise space.
Luggage space, for instance, is up there with the best thanks to the battery being placed underneath the rear seats, which can fold flat to provide space of up to 1,505 litres.
As for practicality there's ample space for a family of five, though the centre rear position is perched, while a memory function driver's seat plus heated front and rear seats contribute to a relaxed ride.
Given Hyundai's commitment to a clean, sustainable future for its products it comes as no surprise that there's is an emphasis on eco materials.
It means less reliance on oil-based products, with materials sourced from sugar cane deployed as part of the Ioniq's headliner and carpet, along with the use of paint extracted from soya beans.
Technology and safety are also high on the priority list, the likes of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping systems and driver attention alert on every car.
Go for higher grade models and features like wireless phone charging, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity join the party.
In fact the latest navigation system in Ioniq comes with a seven-year free subscription to Live services for updated weather, traffic and speed camera info.
Ioniq also has a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP and several Car of the Year gongs across Europe for its overall performance.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE
Mechanical: 141bhp, 1,580cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 78.5
Insurance Group: 11
C02 emissions: 84g/km
Bik rating: 22%
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles
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