By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Hyundai Motor America
Hyundai’s Ioniq Hybrid continues to improve its product offering for the 2018 model year, with new and broader applications of active safety features and enhanced voice-recognition features. Hyundai’s approach for the Ioniq line delivers an uncompromising design and driving experience coupled with the latest in safety and convenience technologies.
In crafting the exterior appearance of Ioniq, Hyundai designers concentrated on its future focused character, fundamental to its appeal. A fluid exterior shape and natural air flow channels emphasize aerodynamic body lines and surface volumes. A sporty, hatchback-like profile is inspired by aerodynamic efficiency, complementing the soft lines and surfaces that trace the car’s outline.
The front of the Ioniq Hybrid is characterized by the Bi-Xenon HID headlights surrounded by C-shaped LED positioning lamps. Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille and vertical C-shaped LED daytime running lights further convey purity of design. Contrasting colors at the base of the bumper fascia add individual character and can be paired with two unique interior environments. The Ioniq Hybrid features specially-designed two-tone contrasting 15-inch eco-spoke or 17-inch alloy wheels.
In keeping with its exterior, the interior of Ioniq captures the model’s futuristic qualities, with a Purified High-tech design concept. A smooth, elegant and clutter-free theme and efficient use of interior space complements a logical, structured approach applied to the layout of controls for intuitive operation. Materials for the interior were chosen with an ecologically-sensitive focus and are used to create a simple and clean look throughout the car, giving the interior a sleek, light and purified feel.
To provide a pleasant, comfortable and refreshing interior climate without using unnecessary amounts of energy, the Ioniq climate control can be switched to an efficient operation mode. Recirculated air is maximized when air-conditioning or heating, reducing ventilation losses and increasing the overall efficiency of the system. Also, the fully-automatic climate control can be set to ‘Driver only mode, thereby reducing the load of both air conditioning and heating on the overall powertrain. Ioniq also features console-mounted rear air vents for rear passenger comfort.
The Ioniq Hybrid delivers great driver and passenger convenience, bringing to the segment a range of considerations for which other Hybrid vehicles may have compromised. All Hybrid components are cleverly packaged to maximize space and flexibility of the interior. In fact, the Ioniq Hybrid offers best-in-class cargo space by positioning the battery underneath the rear seats. Moreover, the rear seats can fold down, providing an estimated 26.5 cubic feet of cargo area volume, allowing large pieces of luggage to be stowed with ease. Ioniq also offer generous front and rear headroom, shoulder and leg room, while a memory driver’s seat and heated front seats offer additional comfort.
To suit customers’ varied lifestyles, Ioniq features state-of-the-art infotainment and connectivity features. Ioniq is equipped with a high-definition 7-inch TFT information cluster, with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, it displays all gauge functions (speedometer, drive mode, fuel level). Depending on the selected drive mode, background color and gauges are adapted to always provide the most important and useful information. Within SPORT mode, the display changes into a revolving digital speedometer that is surrounded by an analog-type tachometer, showing engine rpm in red. When choosing ECO mode, the TFT-information cluster simulates the classic speedometer needle.
Ioniq also allows drivers to integrate their smartphone with the vehicle’s infotainment system by providing both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both systems enable users to connect their devices to activate music, telephone or navigation functions with lower distraction levels. A wireless inductive-charging pad for compatible smartphones is also offered.
Under the hood, the Ioniq Hybrid features the Kappa 1.6L direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine delivering an estimated 104 horsepower and an estimated 109 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine has been specifically tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a quick-shifting six-speed double-clutch transmission differentiating Ioniq from its key competitors with a more dynamic and engaging driving experience. The high-efficiency electric motor can operate at speeds up to 75 MPH and delivers instantaneous torque at low speeds, with available power-assist at higher vehicle speeds.
The electric motor delivers an estimated 32 kW with an estimated maximum torque of 125 lb.-ft., powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery with 1.56 kWh capacity. The battery is efficiently positioned under the rear passenger seats. In combination with the 1.6-liter direct-injected engine, Ioniq Hybrid offers a total system output of 139 horsepower while providing low emissions, outstanding efficiency and range.
The Ioniq Hybrid feature a six-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission, which boasts best-in-class transfer efficiency through the use of low-friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil and can achieve a unique mix of driving performance and fuel efficiency.
Enhancing the car’s fuel efficiency and dynamic driving characteristics, the driver can select either SPORT or ECO modes. The SPORT function holds lower gears longer and combines power from the engine and electric motor for maximum performance. In ECO mode, the DCT optimizes gear selection for efficiency, upshifting earlier to achieve class-leading fuel economy.
The driving performance of the Ioniq is among the best in its segment due to a powertrain that is adapted to deliver efficient mobility without compromise. Ride and handling, as well as noise, vibration and harshness levels, are tuned towards superior ride quality, while insulation in the instrument panel minimizes engine compartment noise intrusion. Damping in the floor panels, as well as enhanced A- and B- pillar insulation, thicker window glass and noise-cancelling film on the windshield, further improve the quiet and comfortable driving experience.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $22,200.00 for the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, the one I drove included the Ultimate Package $3,000.00 (Automatic Emergency Braking, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Headlights with Dynamic Bending Light Function, Rear Parking Sensors, Navigation System with 8 Touchscreen Display Infinity Premium Audio With Clari-FI Music Restoration, Technology with 8 Speakers, Wireless Device Charging for Compatible Smartphones’, Intergraded Memory System for Driver’s Seat, Cargo Cover, Floor Console Mounted Rear Vents & Bluelink Guidance Package) and Carpeted Floor Mats $125.00, and it came at $26,210.00 including inland freight and handling $885.00. The EPA fuel economy estimates 57 MPG City and 59 MPG Highway.