Hyundai doesn’t usually wish to be Toyota, it wants to mangle Toyota, in partial by relentlessly duplicating a Big T’s jiujitsu. Toyota total a mass-market hybrid, and it’s flattering many had a dilemma on it, as others chipped futilely during Fortress Prius with undeserved competitors, including a unsuccessful Honda Insight, or shied divided from variety altogether.
Yet, even as soothing fuel prices have partially deflated a eco-car business over a past year, Hyundai sees opportunity, both in recent ride-sharing fleets where a break-even indicate on a hybrid is simply reached, and in up-and-coming millennials. They will paint 40 percent of new-car buy-ers by 2020. And as prolonged as these young’uns stay a impetus with their values as they age (just like a baby boomers, cough), including a welfare for civic vital and smaller electrified vehicles, a impetus of bearded and plaid-wearing buyers could impetus right into Hyundai’s open arms.
The Ioniq and a sister, a Kia Niro crossover, are usually volleys one and dual in a seven-vehicle handbill over a subsequent year dictated to bust a Prius’s close on a normal person’s mental picture of a hybrid. Hyundai’s devise is to quarrel tough on pricing. The bottom $23,035 Ioniq Blue comes in $2535 underneath a bottom Prius Two, yet you’ll have to review a particular facilities lists closely to see that automobile has a things that matters to you. Would we rather have exhilarated mirrors (Prius) or dual-zone meridian control (Ioniq)? As we go adult a Ioniq’s trim levels, from Blue to SEL to Limited, a Hyundai’s cost advantage narrows yet remains.
Hyundai skeleton to occupy a same simple member set to produce not usually a hybrid Ioniq, that in a many stripped-down Blue trim lays explain to a 58-mpg EPA average, yet a plug-in hybrid and a full EV as well. It is also Hyundai’s initial height designed with liberty in mind, a automobile pronounced to be prepared to supplement all-seeing, all-knowing hardware to a portfolio of discretionary driver’s aids when a tech becomes available.
There is event here. If Toyota can be faulted for something besides refusing to make anything some-more than medium improvements to a Prius’s handling, it’s for not expanding a Prius sub-brand into physique styles such as crossovers, that are a elite choice of today’s buyers. Not everybody peaceful to compensate additional for foundation wants a potato, and Hyundai doesn’t devise on creation that same mistake.
However, initial we get a Hyundai potato that looks a lot like a Toyota potato, and indeed like a Idaho russet that was a Honda Insight. And that’s not unequivocally anyone’s fault. If Mother Nature had simply taken a few classes during Art Center, we’d all be pushing around in Ferrari 330 P4s. But her breeze hovel rewards a rather zaftig form with tiny wheels and a tall, billboard butt. Toyota wrestled with this maze on a stream Prius by assigning a front and behind styling to Wavy Gravy. But Hyundai has motionless to be unsentimental and accoutre a Ioniq with a some-more required apartment of corporate code motifs that mix into a appreciative countenance of well-bred grace.
If a Ioniq looks like an Elantra with a hatchback, that’s since it some-more or reduction is. The Ioniq’s 106.3-inch wheelbase is identical to a Elantra’s, and a strut front and multilink behind suspensions, while carrying some-more aluminum, owe many to Hyundai’s renouned compact. Any motorist of a stream Elantra won’t even need to spend many time with a Ioniq’s owner’s manual, as a control placement, a grand “piano key” buttons, a technically grained plastics that effectively costume a inexpensive bits, and a functions of a executive touchscreen are so familiar. Both cars have great, Uber-iffic rear-seat room. Perhaps a best reason to select a Ioniq over an Elantra is a healthy load capacity. Spreading a behind dampers distant detached helped emanate a cavernous stable in back, generally once a behind seats are folded. And a induce hole is far-reaching and easy for vast items.
The Ioniq’s other categorical engineering accomplishments embody a relentless thrifting of a internal-combustion engine and incorporating a 12-volt lithium-ion battery into a same container as a hybrid’s 240-volt, 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery. Until now, non–plug-in variety have typically followed a some-more conventional track with cheaper, reduction power-dense (but reduction tempestuous) nickel-metal-hydride batteries and apart lead-acid 12-volt batteries. In a Ioniq, both a 12- and 240-volt batteries get congested into a singular box compress adequate to fit underneath a behind dais with usually a tiny movement grille to give it away. Hyundai also offers a industry’s initial lifetime battery warranty, stealing one fear that causes intensity buyers to reject electrified cars.
Like a Prius, a Ioniq is built for and thrives in a kind of stop-go-stop travelling that helps keep Xanax in brief supply. Hyundai sets no benchmarks with a steering feel, that is sincerely lifeless, yet it does spec costly Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires with a 65,000-mile guaranty on a discretionary 17-inch wheels (the bottom 15-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Energy Saver tires). And a Ioniq’s suspension, while a tiny on a organisation side—especially with a tires arrogant to a endorsed 36 psi, a rather high series for a 3173-pound car—does a excellent pursuit gripping a rubber facedown, a physique sincerely honest in corners, and a motorist feeling in control. It constructed 0.86 g on a skidpad opposite 0.82 incited in by a 2016 exam of a mid-level Prius Three.
The Ioniq runs in a rather dull Eco mode unless we slip a shifter left, that drops it into Sport mode and perks adult a stifle extremely and can also activate a manual-shift mode if we lift or lift a shifter and take control of a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Sport mode also conjures adult a tachometer in a digitized instrument cluster to exhibit that, even during full tilt, a Ioniq’s gearbox customarily shifts before 5700 rpm, where a 1.6-liter inline-four creates a claimed rise 104 horsepower. Hyundai chose this delivery for a potency over a required involuntary with a torque converter and planetary gearsets—and since it has no two-motor CVT same to a Prius’s (and since usually Honda has ever been authorised by a World Police to build a manual-transmission hybrid). Fully nailed, a Ioniq returned an 8.9-second run to 60 mph, another drubbing of a 10.5-second Prius, that weighed usually 3113 pounds.
Always pushing in Sport mode defeats a Ioniq’s purpose as a mileage stretcher, yet Eco mode produces usually a faintest responses from a gas pedal. This is quite apparent on a turnpike if you’re perplexing to scuttle around someone, generally on a grade. You unequivocally have to put a spurs to a Ioniq to daub a medium giddyup, and a rote engine thrum lets we know that this is not a appurtenance built for thrills.
The powertrain switches from electric to gas to total bearing mostly transparently, yet a occasional driveline jerk slips by as a electric motor/generator and six-speed seem to tumble out of sync. The automobile also takes a time changeable between expostulate and reverse, and unless we reason a brake, it competence even hurl downhill a bit while a computers do a math and pierce a levers. The regenerative braking is sincerely amiable and there’s no max-regen mode as in a plug-in Ioniq or Prius or Chevy Volt, substantially since a Ioniq hybrid’s battery ability is too tiny to unequivocally advantage from it. Thus, we can’t “one-pedal” a Ioniq.
You get singular information about mileage performance, including a commission relapse that classifies your pushing as possibly “economical,” “normal,” or “aggressive.” When we distributed a 45-mpg exam average, that arrangement showed 49 percent, 42 percent, and 9 percent, respectively, a clearly normal spread, lest we trust a common lead feet are what caused a exam normal to tumble good brief of a 55-mpg EPA total rating for a Limited-trim exam car. We competence have finished improved if a Ioniq rewarded a handlers for stingier pushing by a display, as a Ford C-Max does with a ever-growing shaggy vines. That kind of digital pellet-drop can get a mice operative harder to surpass in a experiment, yet a Ioniq offers no such rewards.
Actually, real-world fuel economy in a mid-40s is standard for this class. The Prius delivered 42 mpg and 44 mpg on a 54-city/50-highway rating in dual apart tests. Hybrids in ubiquitous gleam generally brightly in a EPA’s tests, and a Ioniq appears to be no exception. Whether Hyundai’s hoped-for amicable changes meant it’ll gleam in a salon is another question, yet ride-share drivers wanting usually a lowest-priced and many fit potato will certainly come calling, and that’s a start.
Explained: The Finer Points of Gas-Engine Efficiency
Hybrid potency is distant some-more formidable than pairing an electric motor/generator with a gas engine. The Ioniq’s Atkinson-cycle 1.6-liter inline-four optimizes a miles from any gallon of gas interjection to efficiency-boosting measures such as a water-cooled exhaust-gas-recirculation system. With reduce EGR temperatures, a Ioniq’s Kappa engine can fill any cylinder with as many as 20 percent empty gas during a intake stroke. The standard uncooled EGR complement displaces usually 10 percent of a fresh-air charge. Hyundai claims that this disproportion alone is good for a 3 percent fuel-economy advantage by shortening a engine’s pumping losses.
The engine cooling complement uses a split-circuit pattern to allay a temperatures of a conduct and retard separately. The control proof opens a cylinder conduct thermostat during 190 degrees, while coolant starts issuing to a retard during 221 degrees. The aloft retard heat decreases a flexibility of a oil, shortening friction. Lower cylinder-head temperatures assistance forestall knock, permitting Hyundai to use a high 13.0:1 application ratio and more-advanced ignition timing. The engine’s Atkinson-cycle operation serve reduces pumping waste with an enlargement cadence effectively longer than a application stroke. The net outcome is a claimed 40 percent thermal potency for a internal-combustion side of Hyundai’s gasoline-electric powertrain. —Eric Tingwall