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First Drive

First Drive: Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

The story:
Hyundia has become the first brand to offer all three types of battery powertrain in the same vehicle with the arrival of the Ioniq plug-in hybrid, which joins the full electric and regular hybrid versions of the lower medium hatchback.
Category:Lower medium
Key rival:Toyota Auris
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Premium SE
On sale:Now

Hyundai’s Ioniq plug-in hybrid completes the line-up, just 18 months after the launch of the hybrid and full electric models. 

The plug-in emits just 26g/km and has the ability to run up to 39 miles, according to the official figures, on battery alone. 

Eligible for the £2,500 Government grant towards ultra-low emission vehicles, the PHEV is actually more expensive than the full electric model when the electric’s £4,500 grant is taken into account, but the greater flexibility of having petrol engine back-up will bring wider appeal. 

The regular hybrid model, which emits 79g/km, costs £4,900 less than the PHEV on list price, but isn’t eligible for a grant. That said, it doesn’t need to be plugged in for maximum efficiency. 

Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 2017 - Image 1All the cars have the regular Premium trim, which is £1,800 cheaper than the Premium SE driven here, but misses out on a large chunk of appealing kit. 

The driving experience is nothing unusual for anyone having driven an automatic, let alone a plug-in car. A switch in the centre console allows the driver to save the battery for use in an urban area, rather than using it on higher-speed parts of the journey when the petrol engine is just fine. 

Overall, it’s okay from the driver’s seat, if not very engaging, and the brakes tend to grab unpleasantly when prodded hard. 

paul barker

The verdict

Makes sense with the right journey profiles, and one of the cheapest ways into plug-in hybrid motoring.