2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium (car review)

YOU could fill up an encyclopedia, or at least a very large notebook, with the features offered by the 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium. But to make it simple, we’ve whittled it down to a single word; polished.

Everything about the IONIQ EV is made with convenience and efficiency at the forefront of its design. From its heated steering wheel to the acceleration coming from the 100kW motor, there is not one edge on this car that is not smooth and sleek.

If you’re not a car expert, electric vehicles may be unexplored territory, so the first thing you will notice is the noise – there is none. An engine’s purr is usually an idiot-proof sign indicating the car is ready to be driven. Here, not so much.

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The vehicle runs on a 100kW electric motor. This is connected to a lithium-ion polymer battery that holds up to 38.3kWh when fully charged. If that means nothing to you, all you need to know is that you can drive up to 311km before having to plug it in.

That’s technically not quite true, thanks to the regenerative braking system. It’s a slice of genius designed to prolong your battery and increase efficiency. Essentially, it does this by using an active hydraulic booster to recharge the battery every time you brake.

Paddles on the steering wheel allow you to adjust this level of regenerative braking, and it also acts as a great way to slow down the car without using the brakes, similar to shifting down in gears.

The IONIQ has four driving modes – Sport, Normal, Eco, and Eco+. Each mode has its benefit. When in Normal, the regenerative braking system is less intense, making for a comfortable drive.

Eco and Eco+ are the most efficient modes and are best for driving around town. They smooth out the throttle response and torque delivery, limiting excessive power usage.

Eco+ restricts your speed to a max of 90km/h, switches off air control, and amplifies the regenerative braking.

For an electric car, with a focus on efficiency, Sport mode is a lot of fun. Its pick-up is almost instant. The moment you put your foot down, the 295Nm of torque launches you quickly up too high speeds.

Charging the IONIQ is an odd experience though. You have the option of either using a public DC fast charger, an AC charger, either in public or installed at your home, or what they call a trickle charge’. That’s where you plug your car into a standard power point.

Without diving into too much detail, if you can find yourself a DC fast charging point in your local area, you can charge the IONIQ up to 80% in roughly 54 mins. Unfortunately, there’s still not enough of these around, unless you own a Tesla.

We did not have access to an at-home AC charger (which takes approximately 6 hours to reach 100 per cent charge), so we were left with the trickle charge, which took 17.5 hours to get to full batteries.

Handy blue lights up on the dashboard indicating how far through the charging process you are though. Using the trickle charge method does not take much household electricity either, you just have to remember to charge it overnight.

We do suggest that if you do invest in an EV, it would be smart to purchase an AC charger for convenience. Because of these charging times and distance limitations, it’s obvious EV’s are not yet the best vehicles to take on longer trips.

In light of that, electric vehicles like the Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium are presently more suitable for average city driving. Rivals with rapid charging technology options and longer range, like the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, may have an advantage.

The biggest downside to Hyundai’s electric sedan might just be its look though. More specifically, the plastic looking front grille. It’s designed to house the active front grille shutters that open and close to cool the electric motor and reduce drag.

And even though it’s super useful, it is simply not pretty. That aside, the rest of the car is clean and refined. It has LED daytime headlights, heated and power-folding side mirrors, and a glass sunroof.

Its 16-inch alloy wheels are lightweight and high-tensile to ensure maximum efficiency. The petrol cap turned charging point is a nice touch. Inside, Hyundai has done something some rivals haven’t, making each element of the interior feel modern and up-to-date.

The charcoal cloth trim is very space-age. All of the surfaces, including the fabrics, contain certain percentages of raw materials (sugar-cane by-products, recycled plastic, powdered wood and volcanic stone – very fancy).

The air conditioning unit features digital touch buttons instead of dials. The 10.0-inch infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, and satellite navigation.

Sound is pumped through the Infinity premium auto system and into eight speakers. Four modes – Drive, Neutral, Reverse and Park – can be selected via a Shift-By-Wire system located in the centre console.

Here you will also find a selection of controls, including the buttons for the heated and cooling seats, heated steering wheel, rear camera, auto hold, driving mode selection, and the electronic hand brake.

Many of the car’s settings can be viewed and adjusted on the dashboard by using a range of navigation buttons on the leather steering wheel. The display flashes up SmartSense safety alerts, and reveals you how much regenerative braking you are using.

You can also see how much charge your vehicle has, your speed, energy flow, and your battery state. Depending on what driving mode you are in, the 7.0-inch TFT LCD colour display changes between Blue, Red and Green.

The IONIQ Electric Premium also comes with a smart key with push-button start, a wireless phone charging plate, USB port, drive only air-conditioning mode, driver’s seat memory function, sporty alloy pedals and satin chrome door frames.

We told you it had a lot of things. Out on the open road, you get to see more of those things, including driving aids like smart cruise control with stop/go. And boy, were we impressed with it.

If you have never driven a car with this feature, it’s quite amazing. The car can almost drive itself. Once a max speed is set, the car will maintain this speed until it senses the car ahead is getting too close.

The moment this happens, the vehicle adjusts its speed to ensure there is a safe distance kept between you and the car in front. This distance can be adjusted using a button on the steering wheel.

When coupled with front collision avoidance assist, lane keep and lane follow assist and a bunch of other safety goodness, it becomes almost impossible to get into any trouble. A handy high beam assist will also switch between high and low beam automatically.

The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium comes in a range of colours including Polar White, Intense Blue, Amazon Grey, Fluid Metal, and Fiery Red. The Hyundai Auto Link Premium app is also available to check your car’s health and can even remote start it.

The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium is priced at $57,450 drive away. The batteries have an 8-year warranty and the entire vehicle is covered by Hyundai’s standard 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty as well.

Our 2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium was supplied by Hyundai Australia. To find out more, contact your local Hyundai dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - regenerative braking; interior design; SmartSense safety system; Sport mode.
Cons - front grille; limited driving range; jumpy Eco+ mode.
Jacinta Counihan
Jacinta Counihan
Jacinta Counihan is an up and coming journo who has grown up surrounded by cars and loud machines. As a little girl, all she wanted was a red Mini Cooper S. Now she's older and has broadened her horizons. Next on the list is a red Ferrari (when she can afford it).


  1. I think most reviewers have missed the point of the latest full electric (standard model Ioniq).

    The old model was the most efficient vehicle on the road excluding motor cycles. With the lower powered motor and lighter battery, unless you were driving hard, I easily obtained 8kWH per 100 kM no other vehicle, electric or petroleum powered can come near that.

    When I upgraded to the newer standard model with bigger battery and motor, I thought (like the Electric Kona), this efficiency would be reduced. But in my tests in suburbia and 110 km/hour freeways that is not the case. Of course it depends how you drive exactly the same with an internal combustion.

    With care and driving sensibly and safely this model is slightly more efficient than the previous. The larger motor means more regen, and the tweeking of the regen controls is very clever.

    It used to annoy me that coming to red lights on the old model always required braking and if you wanted to stay still you had to engage the brake otherwise the car would slide forward under power.

    This new model allows you to use regeneration to a complete, safe stop at the same time regenerating 50+kW

    You say that ECO+ mode reduces speed to 90km/h. This is not true. This is only the default but you can set it to what you like.

    I find the speed limiter much superior to the cruise, as I have more control.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> regenerative braking; interior design; SmartSense safety system; Sport mode.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> front grille; limited driving range; jumpy Eco+ mode.2020 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Premium (car review)