2016 Geneva - Hyundai's Ioniq trio makes its debut

For all the strides it made over the past two decades, Hyundai has been admittedly lagging behind its Japanese rivals, Toyota specifically, on hybrid and electric vehicles. Yes, there was the Sonata Hybrid in the lineup but Hyundai didn't have a car to rival the popular Toyota Prius. At the ongoing 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the South Korean brand is making up for the time lost with not one, not two, but a trio of electrified cars under the ‘Ioniq’ nameplate. It’s an aggressive move, given that the Ioniq would be the first production car in the world to offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric drivetrains in a single model.

Under the hood of the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in models is a direct-injection, four-cylinder, 1.6 liter petrol engine from the Kappa family. Tailored for hybrid applications, this engine is mated to a six-speed double clutch automatic transmission and delivers 105 PS and 147 Nm of torque on a standalone basis.

With a 32 kW electric motor powered by a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery, the Ioniq Hybrid offers a combined output of 141 PS and 265 Nm of torque. With a targeted 79 g/km CO2 emissions, the Hybrid has a top speed of 185 km/h.  The Ioniq Plug-in has a bigger 45 kW electric motor powered by a battery with a significantly higher rating of 8.9 kWh. Hyundai claims an estimated 50 km of pure electric driving range and CO2 emissions as low as 32 g/km in the Plug-in. 

The Ioniq Electric offers pure electric mobility backed up by a 28 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery with a maximum output of 88 kW. Delivering the instantly available 295 Nm of torque through a single-speed reducer transmission, the Ioniq Electric has a healthy estimated driving range of over 250 km and a decent 165 km/h top speed.

Electrified powertrains aside, another strong point of the Ioniq is its nearly conventional styling. None of the quirkiness we have come to associate when we hear hybrids and electrics are to be found in the Ioniq. The Hybrid, Plug-in and Electric Ioniqs share the same basic design and sheet metal but get subtle differentiation in their detailing. The grille, for instance, is different for the Electric compared to the black slats of the Hybrid and the Plug-in. Similarly, the Electric gets copper-coloured accents externally compared to the blue accents doting the other two.

What attracts our attention in the all-black cabin of the Ioniq are the blue highlights with matching stitching in the seats and the sporty flat-bottom steering wheel. While a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster provides the driver with a fully digital driving experience, the latest in connectivity features like Android Auto, Apple Cap Play, Tom Tom live services and wireless smartphone charging should keep the tech geeks busy. Safety features include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control apart from the regular ABS, EBD and Airbags. 

Offering multiple drivetrain options to the buyer, the Ioniq is impressive as an overall package. This puts it in a very strong position to grab sales from hybrids like the Toyota Prius as well as pure electrics like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Let's see if the market responds favourably to this electrified Ioniq trio!

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