The future is electric; there is no way around it. As OEMs continue to electrify their lineups and take advantage of the electrification revolution, new hybrids are reaching the Mexican market. Though the penetration of green vehicles in Mexico is still at a nascent stage with only 17,807 hybrid and electric units sold in 2018, competition is fierce to differentiate in this niche. In this occasion, Mexico Automotive Review took the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Limited for a ride to learn what Hyundai is bringing to the table in terms of hybrid mobility.
On the outside, Ioniq stands out with its sober, yet elegant design. While we are used to thinking of extravagant aerodynamic designs on fastbacks when talking about hybrids, Ioniq stands out precisely for a minimalistic and straight-forward style that reminds us a bit of Hyundai’s rally car Veloster. The combination of vertical DLRs on black air intakes, a uniquely bright black grill full of horizontal lines and just the right amount of chrome gives Ioniq the presence that the green vehicle niche had been missing. With eye-catching headlights and elegant black details on doors, back and rims, it would be difficult for the untrained eye to discern Ioniq’s electrified nature. But a small blue horizontal line in the front and rear is the giveaway that hints at the car’s solid fuel-efficiency and environmentally friendly performance. This line is also found on the dashboard, steering wheel, front seats and even air conditioning vents.
This car’s spacious cabin is a testament to Hyundai’s bet on connectivity and equipment to cater to drivers who care about the environment and also look for the most advanced infotainment technology the market has to offer. Ioniq Limited comes with an infotainment system featuring four speakers and two tweeters with jack, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, connected to a 7in LCD touchscreen. Additionally, driver and passengers can connect their smartphones to the car and even charge it on the go thanks to Ioniq’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a wireless Qi phone charger in the central console.
The most important question we had regarding Ioniq was whether it would perform. Of course, great fuel efficiency was to be expected, but we were worried that this would compromise good performance at high speeds on highways or a fun driving experience. We were happy to be proved wrong. Mexico Automotive Review took Ioniq down the busy streets of Mexico City and highways beyond the city limits to compare its road performance in different situations.
On the highway, Ioniq’s electric motor will power it up to a speed of 120km/h before the combustion engine takes over. This is a huge advance for a hybrid motorization as most HEVs in the market will operate electrically at low speeds of 50-60km/h common to inner-city commutes. The combination of an advanced 42W, 240V Lithium-ion battery pack feeding Ioniq’s permanent-magnet, synchronous electric motor and a 1.6L, four-in-line motor connected to a double-clutch, six-gear automatic transmission makes Ioniq one of the most powerful hybrids out there. Not only can it deliver an aggregate 139hp, but its torque offers that wow factor that the bulk of hybrids were missing out on, with a solid acceleration of 0 – 100kmh in just 10.8 seconds. Bottom line, Ioniq can offer a sporty and versatile driving experience using both motorizations.
The car also delivers a competitive km/L rate and low carbon emissions that can easily rival and beat the best-sellers in the green vehicle niche. Ioniq delivers an official 28.8km/L on city roads, 27.8km/L on highways and combined fuel efficiency of 28.3 km/L under lab conditions. However, we wanted to put those figures to the test and we found positive results. Over three days, Mexico Automotive Review covered 250km combining city and highway conditions and only consumed less than one quarter of Ioniq’s 45L fuel tank. The car delivered a rough average of 25 km/L, which is hands down a great on-the-road performance considering that drivers can chose between different driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport) and that aggressive driving habits and challenging road and weather conditions weigh on the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Safety-wise, Ioniq delivers. The 2016 and 2018 models have received five-star reviews from the Euro NCAP and Asean NCAP safety performance assessment programs. While we could expect it to come with ABS brakes, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and similar safety systems as standard equipment, Ioniq goes the extra mile to reduce potential harm on passengers. The 2019 Ioniq has an ultra-resistant structure built with a combination of advanced steel and aluminum that absorbs impact force by stages. Additionally, it comes with seven airbags covering the front seats and doors, all side windows and the driver’s knees. The driver can also monitor tire pressure from the dashboard to prevent potential flats.
Ioniq also comes with several comfort features to offer an enjoyable driving experience. First of all, it has a large trunk with plenty of space to load luggage or groceries. Though it could have a bit more leg space in the back seat, Ioniq offers several amenities for all passengers. Starting with reduced vibrations thanks to the combination of its hybrid motorization and a solid suspension, Ioniq also stands out for its stability. The front air vents that Hyundai borrowed from Veloster are more than just a style statement, they are designed to create downforce that helps keep the car stick to the ground and increase wheel traction.
Eco-friendly drivers looking for a solid value-for-money ration in a hybrid will find in Ioniq a great option, especially those in Mexico City that have faced the challenges of fuel shortages and environmental contingencies. At a list price of MX$405,700 (US$21,100) for the entry GLS Premium version and MX$481,000 (US$25,000) for the top-range Limited version, Ioniq is a great option considering its fun handling, fuel efficiency, standard infotainment equipment and technological features in terms of powertrain and safety.