2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid ReviewJun 6th, 2017
Hyundai Introduces the Ioniq
The Hyundai Ioniq has been the attraction of the hybrid community since the 2016 debut of its three variants: Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Electric, and Ioniq Hybrid Plug-in. The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Electric have been released, tested, and reviewed but the plugin-hybrid version is scheduled to release later this fall.
“Ioniq” is a portmanteau of “ion” and “unique”, representing its efficiencies in utilizing lithium-ion batteries and differentiation from other hybrid models. Even with just the first two of the trio released so far, the model has surely lived up to its name. Hyundai’s goal with the Ioniq is to capture the hybrid market and surpass the Toyota Prius in ratings, which it finally has with an EPA highway rating of 58 mpg for the Hyundai Ioniq Blue (compared to Prius Eco’s 53 mpg).
Hyundai didn’t attain this position in the hybrid market out of nowhere with this latest model release. Hyundai has had a team dedicated to hybrid powertrains for nearly 12 years now and for the last 10 years, the team’s focus has been on developing its TMED (Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device) hybrid system. We saw this system at work in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid; however, this release was underperforming of what was expected in features and specs.
Although successful, the Sonata had room for improvements, which were included in the Ioniq release. The Hyundai Ioniq has a similar base and build of the Sonata hybrid but with reworked software, a different engine and transmission, and a better designed body structure with considerations for hybrid efficiencies from the start.
So, what makes the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid improved from the Sonata Hybrid or even the highly acclaimed Toyota Prius? Efficiencies. Every part of the design—inside and out—were developed with the focus of efficiencies in mind. The engine runs clean with a boasted level of thermal management and 40% thermal efficiency. Even the choice of the dual-clutch transmission offers a torque-transfer efficiency of 95.6%; it rids of that detached sound of a typical hybrid when accelerating.
Hyundai has been proud of its release of the Ioniq model, with full confidence in its future success. These cars are designed, modeled, and built off of years and years of research, testing, and analysis. Hyundai claims having had more experience using this type of battery (lithium-ion batteries) that gives them an advantage in this playing field. The high levels of efficiencies come from the fact that although competitors may be using the same products, they do not have the expertise that allows Hyundai to use this same product better.
Hyundai Ioniq Reviews
Despite only being released in the U.S. for a few months, the Hyundai Ioniq has made it to the top of many “best hybrid vehicles” lists. Aside from its high efficiencies and record-breaking hybrid standards, the car itself looks and feels great.
Regardless of the type of Ioniq, this model portrays a conservative and sleek image—more so than that of other hybrid vehicles already out in the market. With a smooth exterior and a classy amount of minimal trim, inside and out, the Hyundai Ioniq looks modern and uncompromising. It has the build of a typical compact-sedan with plenty of space inside. These vehicles are built with high-strength steel and aluminum that was specifically chosen to keep overall weight down for better fuel efficiency.
Although the base and build of the three variations of the Hyundai Ioniq are similar, there are observable differences that adhere to the focus of each model type. All variations of the Hyundai Ioniq have the smooth, wide grille on the front besides the full electric model because there’s no need to allow for cooling air. In addition, some features, such as heated rear seats and sunroofs, are not found on the Hyundai Ioniq Blue—again, to keep down the weight. Sticking to Hyundai’s main focus for this model of efficiencies; lighter vehicles make for less power needed to move it.
Of course, the elements inside these three vehicles vary wildly from hybrid, to full electric, to plug-in. However, the feel of the drive is similar among all three. Whether you’re in the full electric or driving on gas in the hybrid, you’re going to get an easy, gentle start when starting your vehicle. The drive is smooth, again benefiting from the gasoline engine transitioning in with a lack of obtrusiveness.