Hyundai IONIQ Electric – Drive Zero Car Guide

Winner of the 2017 Professional Driver’s ‘Green Car of the Year’, the Hyundai IONIQ hopes to capture the hearts—and wallets—of Australian electric car owners when it (should) arrive on our shores this year.

The IONIQ is scheduled to show up in Australian showrooms mid-year, in both battery and plug-in hybrid variants. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

Drive Zero Car Guides are written for people trying to get a feel of the electric car landscape in Australia. We only wrote guides for battery (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric vehicles that are confirmed to be on sale in the market in Australia now, or are coming soon.

Our goal is to summarise as much as you might want to know about the different considerations for each of these electric cars and who they may be useful for. That said, we’re not qualified car reviewers, so full reviews of these models, we’ve included the best links and video for reviews that we could find.

Sporty looks, safety features and electric range should make IONIQ a favourite when it arrives

Eco-conscious and budget-minded small families should consider this all-electric vehicle for its innovative use of recycled materials, excellent aerodynamics, safety features—and, of course, its tiny carbon footprint.

With the 2018 model will arriving in the second half of 2018, it’s 280-300 kilometre range  is impressive compared to it’s competition, with it lining up against the Nissan Leaf as it’s primary competitor.

The IONIQ manages to check off most of the ‘I wants’ that electric car fans demand. With instant torque that gives it zippy acceleration compared to most electrics, a streamlined design, and superb aerodynamics, it performs well.

Paddle shifters on its steering column give the car regenerative braking in four levels. Loaded with safety features, pedestrian detection braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and cross-traffic alerts from the rear, it meets all the requirements of safety-conscious mums and dads.

Its first-ever lifetime warranty on its EV battery pack gives value-minded buyers the confidence to plunk down their hard-earned dollars for one of these cars.

About the only downside of the Hyundai IONIQ, according to most reviewers, including YouTube’s popular Mat Watson, is that although it can seat five adults, those in the back seat had better be short. Taller adults, including Watson, find it difficult to sit normally without bumping their heads on the roof.

The Hyundai IONIQ at a Glance

Vehicle ModelIONIQ Electric
Battery Capacity28kWh
Driving RangeUp to 200 kilometres
ChargerDC Fast: 80% in 33 mins at 50kW
Seats5 adults
Body TypeHatchback
Probable Retail Price$50,000 AUD
Warranty (battery)Lifetime
Warranty (drivetrain)10 years or 100,000 miles
Top Speed165 kph
Acceleration0 to 100 kph: 9.9 seconds

(2017 Specs courtesy of Inside EVs and Car and Driver).

Hyundai IONIQ Available Model Range

Part of a model range that also includes a plug-in hybrid, this mid-size energy saver is Hyundai’s all-electric answer to Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid. Commuters may favour the fully electric model, since its range limits it to shorter jaunts. For avid long-distance drivers or travellers to more remote destinations without fast-charging capability, the hybrid may be worth considering.

Overseas, the electric IONIQ comes in two trims, the entry level and the Elite. Even at the entry level, the car features lane keep assist, smart cruise control, and an eight-inch touchscreen with premium audio.

In addition to the features available on the entry level, the IONIQ Elite offers smooth leather heated seating in both the front and rear. We’re yet to see what the Australian specification will offer though.

With a quiet, comfortable interior (with the aforesaid exception for taller adults in the rear seats), it provides an enjoyable ride. In its Sport mode, it’s responsive. Even in its energy-miser Eco mode, however, it still has adequate acceleration for highway use.

How much will I have to shell out for a Hyundai IONIQ?

No official pricing has been announced from Hyundai yet, but we’re expecting the IONW EV to priced at around $50,000 including on-roads.

Hyundai IONIQ Impresses Reviewers Worldwide

Car and Driver—the iconic bible of the US car industry—may relegate the IONIQ to an ‘unassuming’, ‘bargain-priced’ role, but we know better. As for us, however, we love a car that’s “proudly efficient in its use of electricity but keeps quiet about it’. Efficiency rules the road.

That’s not all. When the reviewers from Car and Driver got behind the wheel, they discovered that the IONIQ delivers a ‘better-than-expected ride and handling, bargain price’. The real bargain, though, with the IONIQ is that it makes the earth a better place to live.

That goes for its interior as well. Paint crafted from soybean oil, plastic surfaces that contain sugarcane, powdered wood, and volcanic stone all slash the carbon footprint of this—the greenest Hyundai ever.

Yes, the 2017 version doesn’t have the range of some of its competitors. Most of us don’t need that. Our commute isn’t measured in kilometres, but rather in litres. In that department, the IONIQ delivers in spades—it’s a veritable petrol miser.

Motoring.com.au—after it test-drove the car in its Korean birthplace before it arrived in Australia—gushed over the Hyundai IONIQ, saying it was “too good to be true.” Not only was it affordable, the online magazine pointed out, but it also was “attractive” and “spacious.”

Contrasted with the “pufferfish” look of its closest competitor, the Toyota Prius, the reviewer wrote, the IONIQ’s streamlined, sporty look gives the Hyundai the definitive edge when it comes to eye appeal. Instead of a grille, the designers incorporated the car’s logo into a smooth insert, giving the car an aerodynamic edge over its competitors.

Autocar.co.uk—the UK’s definitive voice when it comes to car reviews—praises the electric IONIQ for its quick acceleration time. The car’s torque—218 lb-feet of it—combined with no need for pauses to change gears, give the electric version the edge over the hybrid when drivers need to merge into traffic quickly.

That same torque, though, the Autocar reviewers caution, will “overwhelm the economy-biased tyres.” Fast acceleration on wet surfaces can cause spins without traction control. Drivers may want to equip their new IONIQs with better tyres to compensate.

The car’s “smooth power delivery” and its quiet ride, though, makes the Hyundai IONIQ a fabulous buy for commuters on the hunt for a car that can zip through traffic without upping their carbon footprint, according to the reviewers.

Stuff Motoring—the voice of Stuff.co.NZ when it comes to cars—took a test drive in the Elite version of the IONIQ over some of New Zealand’s most challenging terrain – the IONIQ is already available in New Zealand.

Pushing the car’s range to its limits, the reviewer praised the car for its suitability as a family car, citing its comfortable, “incredibly quiet” ride and its five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

He did, however, recommend that families who purchase the car opt for the wall charger, since it takes 16 to 18 hours for a full charge on a household socket. The wall charger, although pricey, charges the IONIQ EV in only five hours.

Tim Robson—a well-known Aussie motor journalist for CarsGuide—drove the IONIQ in its native Korea before it arrived here in Australia. His first impression? It has a “normal car” profile, both in its looks and in its drive. He praised the electric version of the car for its “non-electric car” feeling. With the exception of its having no gearshift and a few more buttons, he shared, it looked and drove the same as a more conventional petrol-powered car.

Robson praised both the hybrid and the electric versions of the car for their acceleration. On an urban commute, in which seconds count when pulling away from the stop light or “when you want to overtake,” the instant torque comes in handy, he said. With this vehicle, Robson declared, Hyundai could finally “steal some of the limelight” from Toyota’s perennial favourite, the Prius.

Summing up – the Hyundai IONIQ

All the buzz is signalling a success for the Hyundai IONIQ’s Aussie debut, with the key unknowns at this point the exact price and timing of the IONIQ’s arrival on our shores. If Hyundai can get it to market earlier rather than later in 2018, it’s likely that they will capture some of the pent-up EV demand in the market for longer-range, more affordable EV’s.

Right now, it’s peers globally are the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3, just, when it comes to range and pricing. However the new Nissan Leaf isn’t arriving here until late 2018, and the Model 3 could be early to mid 2019. The IONIQ, if Hyundai can bring it to market, should do very well.

* Supplementary images courtesy of Hyundaipressoffice.co.uk

Keith enjoys nerding out about Electric Vehicles, owning a BMW i3, Tesla Model X and now, running Drive Zero .