Test Drive – Hyundai Ioniq (facelift) 38kWh


By Guillaume Séguin – 7th May 2020

The Hyundai Ioniq was first launched in 2016 as a Hybrid. Shortly after that came a plug-in Hybrid and a fully electric version. Today, thanks to the €7,500 incentives on Plug-in-Hybrid vehicles, the plug-less hybrid would end up being more expensive and has therefore deserted the Hyundai Ireland’s pricelist. The fully electric version we have here today has been upgraded : bigger battery, improved interior features and a price bump. How does it compare to its predecessor and to the other family EVs on the market ?

So what is the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ?

2-tone leather interior

The Hyundai Ioniq is your average mid-size family car. It measures 4.47 meter long by 1.82 meter wide. It’s pretty similar to a Nissan Leaf, but significantly (8 cm) lower, with (positive and negative) consequences as we will see later. The motor delivers 100kW (136hp) and the battery is of modest capacity for 2020 : just 38.3kWh usable. But wait, less is more.

This powertrain offers good performance ; what you expect from an electric car. It won’t win drag-races but the performance is adequate. With regards to the chassis it’s set up for family use: more comfort, less sport !

Range, Charging and driving modes

With such a battery size, you might expect the range to disappoint. But it isn’t that bad : 312km WLTP is actually somewhere between the Leaf 40 (275 to 285 km) and the Leaf 62 (385km), and much better than the e-Golf (217 to 230km). Why is that ? This car is extremely efficient. The smaller battery pack is lighter and the lower, more aerodynamic roof line makes it less thirsty for electrons, as you can see in our range test with 10.1 kWh on our Eco run (!). Less is more.

When you have a small battery, it’s logically quicker to fill up. Unfortunately progress wasn’t made with charging speed compared to the previous model, au contraire, and compared to the competition the result is modest: It charges on AC at 7.2kW (single phase only) and at no faster than 45kW on DC (CCS). Yes, if you had a pre-facelift Ioniq, you might be disappointed by this last figure. This new battery pack comes with a different BMS (battery management system) making this Ioniq, once leading in charging speed, now look like it’s 5 years behind. But don’t stop reading just yet!

There are 4 driving modes : Sport, Normal, Eco and Eco plus. These have a different setup regarding energy recuperation, climate control and top speed as you can see in the video below. I really liked the fact that these modes are adjustable, so you will find what’s best for you.

The great thing about this car is that you can adjust the regenerative braking thanks to flappy paddles located behind the steering wheel, just like the Kona Electric. There are 3 different levels of recuperation and a long press on the left paddle can bring the car to a complete stop.

On a day trip from Cork to Kenmare, Mizen head and back to Cork, I managed to match the WLTP range of 312km with just 1% to spare. Mind you, this was an eco run with sometimes reduced speed, limited heating and loads of anticipation. The good thing about this car is that you can easily make the most of the range thanks to the flappy paddles allowing no regeneration (Level 0) to just glide (a bit like if you were in Neutral). Optimizing range requires much more effort in most other EVs, but Hyundai nails this. With normal use, don’t expect much more than 200-250 km range, depending on the weather and your driving style.

How is it as an everyday car ?

The Ioniq is a competent family car, that I will say is average everywhere, nothing is exceptional, but nothing is really bad. Comfort is good thanks to the relatively small 16 inch wheels. Interior is nicely designed, especially in the 2-tone interior pictured here. Be careful though, that interior comes with a white dashboard topping, which can reflect onto the windscreen. If you don’t like that, the full black interior is available as well, as a no-cost option.

Full-black interior

Because of the low height of the car the boot is quite shallow and the headroom in the rear is somewhat limited for taller people. Anyone else will find themselves at ease, with decent storage, cup-holders for all, nice fit and finish and good materials. Probably the strongest point of this unique version we’re getting in Ireland is the equipment list. It is very comprehensive, with alloy wheels, leather upholstery, front heated seats, heated steering wheel, automatic low/high beam full LED headlights, electrically operated driver seat with memory, a perfectly positioned wireless phone charger, reverse camera and rear parking sensors (oddly, none on the front) all as standard . In terms of driving aids, it has a simple lane keep assist but, unfortunately, no adaptive cruise control.

The boot is nice and square but shallow

Should I buy one ?

The Ioniq is a good all-round family EV, an interesting alternative to the popular Nissan Leaf 40kWh SVE which is slightly cheaper, with a larger interior, but with less range. Unlike the Leaf, which uses the Chademo connector, the Ioniq uses the more common, and future-proof, CCS connector and will be cheaper to run. The other competitor is the VW e-Golf, which is still a good product despite its old age but has much more limited range. The Kia E-Niro and E-Soul would be the strongest competitors with reasonable prices and range, but are not as efficient as the Hyundai. If you are interested in the Ioniq, you’ll be pleased to know that it also comes with a 5-year warranty which is a great plus. Then you only have to choose your favorite interior and one of the 9 available external colours because there are no other options available.

– See below the video of this review –

Price :
Hyundai Ioniq Electric : €34.850

Price excludes delivery charges, includes VAT, VRT, VRT rebate and SEAI grant.

Big thanks to Kearys Cork for lending me the car !