The IONIQ is a car that shows the changing nature of Hyundai – a brand arguably more committed to electrification than most with a lengthy portfolio of hybrids and EVs to choose from.
When the IONIQ debuted in 2016, it was the first car in the UK to be offered with all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with the model going from strength-to-strength since. But with a growing number of electrified models going on sale, the IONIQ doesn’t quite have that USP any longer – hence this mid-life facelift.
One of the key differences here on this Electric model is the new larger battery, which means the IONIQ can now travel further than before on electricity. The styling has also been revised (though it’s subtle) while Hyundai has brought connectivity up to the levels found in newer EVs. The system – known as Bluelink – lets you interact with the car from your phone – such as checking the miles remaining remotely and even turning on the heater before you get to the car.
As mentioned earlier, the electric variant of the IONIQ is the model that’s received the most changes out of this electrified trio, because of its new underpinnings.
The electric motor produces 134bhp and 295Nm of torque, along with a 38.3kWh battery – nearly 10kWh more than before. This means the range has been increased to 193 miles – a vast increase over the last car’s 124 miles.
The on-board charger has increased in size, too, meaning charging times have been cut. If you want to top up the IONIQ at a fast-charging station, the batteries can be topped up in under an hour.
The IONIQ Electric is quicker to 60mph than the other variants, though it lacks the punch of similar EVs – the 0-60mph time being an unremarkable 9.7 seconds and it reaches a top speed of 103mph.
Ride and handling
Next to some EVs that grab the headlines for their quick acceleration, the IONIQ is more of a sedate experience, though it still has a surge under heavy acceleration. It’s an ideal model for relaxing commutes – particularly around town.
Mounted to the side of the steering wheel are two paddles that control how much regenerative braking the system offers. In the most extreme setting, it can brake quite sharply – meaning there is rarely a need to touch the brake pedal – improving the relaxation factor.
One of the few gripes is that the whirr from the electric motor can sometimes be a bit intrusive, though it’s soon adjusted to.
Interior and equipment
As with the exterior, the interior has been fettled, too, with a new 10.25-inch touchscreen dominating the dashboard. This larger touchscreen (offered on the top-spec cars) is the version that enables the Bluelink connectivity services. The touchscreen is one of the best out there, as its clear, easy to use and responsive. The buttons can be fiddly to use on the move, though.
The interior quality of the Electric is also first rate, and while it doesn’t feel particularly premium next to established German brands, there will be few complaints from those mobbing into the IONIQ from other models.
Unlike other IONIQ models, the Electric is offered in two high-spec trim levels – Premium and Premium SE.
Both are well-specced, with the Premium coming with automatic LED headlights, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Upgrading to the Premium SE brings leather seat upholstery, heated and ventilated leather seats, as well as further safety kit – including blind spot monitoring, lane follow assist and rear cross traffic alert.See Available IONIQ deals
Once the government’s £3,500 electric car grant has been taken into account, prices for the IONIQ start from £29,450 for the Premium and £31,450 for the Premium SE. This actually makes it several hundred pounds cheaper than the plug-in hybrid version, and is the pick of the IONIQ range for that reason.
It’s also competitively priced next to the Volkswagen e-Golf and Nissan Leaf once you consider the lengthy list of standard equipment included.
The IONIQ Electric is yet another tempting electrified offering from Hyundai – bringing viable EVs into the mainstream with affordable pricing and good real-world ranges, though not class-leading.
And should you not quite be ready to make the step into the EV world, the standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions also both make good cases for themselves.