Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid

Premium SE 1.6 GDI

Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, side action
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, front static
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, front action
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, rear action
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, rear static
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, rear seats
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, dash detail
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, dashboard
Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid, boot

YOU might have heard our law makers have decided they don't want to sniff a trace of petrol in a new car after 2035, when it's got to be electric power only.

So out will go the sort of car you're looking at now, which combines a conventional petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery.

It's what we call a mild hybrid and helps the car go a bit further on each gallon as the electric motor gently helps out, powered from a battery charged when you lift off the throttle.

There's no cable to plug in to a socket and no anxiety that the car will grind to a halt if the battery goes flat. Most of the time the petrol engine is doing the hard work, but the battery helped enough to push the test car's economy the right side of 54mpg in a week of mixed motoring.

This encouraging frugality comes from an IONIQ in the least frugal of three possible versions; with a bigger-batteried plug-in hybrid and an electric-only version also offered.

The plug-in one goes a claimed 39 miles on electricity alone before the petrol engine cuts in, while the all-electric IONIQ claims 194 miles range.

You won't be surprised to learn you'll pay thousands more for the extra electric ranges though, making the base IONIQ a happy choice for lots of drivers who fancy very decent economy but have shallower pockets.

The mild hybrid IONIQ costs from £22,640 and comes with enough kit not to feel meanly equipped, with only lack of satellite navigation a possible downer.

It was most certainly present in this car - a range topping Premium SE model - and the size of its screen and clarity of presentation would shame the systems in many rivals.

One area where the cheaper car might outperform the range topper is the way it rides our brittle, pockmarked roads. It comes with smaller, 15-inch wheels that ought to feel more forgiving than the 17in ones on the test car, which look smarter but thumped uncomfortably on some patches of poorer Tarmac.

Otherwise, nothing to complain about the way the IONIQ drives, with smooth automatic gearchanges, light and positive steering and enough performance to comfortably tackle today's crowded roads.

Indeed, knock the gear selector leaver into the sports setting and the IONIQ feels positively lively - even if you're then rather ignoring the reason this fuel saving hybrid was designed in the first place.

Other plus points include an interior that looks smart and feels well put together, with clear dials and welcome lack of fussy detail. The heated steering wheel makes a friend of the driver on a chilly day and seat heating that extends to the rear impresses back seat drivers.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid Premium SE 1.6 GDI

Price: £26,995

Mechanical: 139bhp, 1,580cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric hybrid driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 10.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 85g/km

Bik rating: 22%

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