ZERO emissions. It’s the catch cry of the electric vehicle industry. Until now though, so were the words ‘cost prohibitive’. It’s how most people saw a full electric future, thanks to Tesla and the Model S and X. Hyundai’s IONIQ model range throws that out the window.
Yes we know the Tesla Model 3 will do the same when it eventually gets here, but Hyundai has runs on the board with their IONIQ hybrid and full electric vehicle range, with the 2019 Hyundai IONIQ Premium (electric) among its classier options.
Ideally suited for city dwellers, with a peak range of 240km, the IONIQ electric packs a high-output electric motor, sparked up by a large Lithium-Ion battery in the rear of the car.
Complete with a distinct grille-less nose, which seems to have become common on electric cars, the IONIQ feels normal to drive, even if you’ve been raised on internal combustion engines.
Hyundai have done a good job in making the driving experience feel ‘normal’, except for the lack of engine noise, and it gets off the line enthusiastically when you accelerate, and overtakes with ease. It’s smooth, and genuinely nice to get around in.
Being electric, lifting the throttle also brings regenerative braking into play, recharging the car on the fly, with a choice of four levels of charge, ranging from completely off, to the most aggressive, Level 3, which will pretty much pull the car up by itself.
Modes can be changed via steering wheel paddles and with careful management those paddles could be used almost like changing gears, to use the regenerative braking to control coasting speeds down a hill.
And if you don’t want to think about it at all, you can just flick the right paddle three times and turn it off.
As is common with electric cars, the instant torque and power from the direct drive gives the IONIQ plenty of oomph, enough to run 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds, but it’s the sprint to 60km/h which feels the most exciting.
Nestled above the gear selector though is Sport mode, which, when pressed, gives the IONIQ Premium an even gutsier throttle response. This entertaining performance is, however, let down by the handling, which is safe but hardly inspiring.
Packaging constraints mean the IONIQ (electric) has a torsion beam rear suspension, unlike the IRS of the regular hybrid, however, Hyundai Australia’s local engineering team have done an impressive job tuning the system to provide a comfortable ride.
We reckon some motorists may experience anxiety over joining the electric revolution, and the real-world 240km range on offer from the 2019 Hyundai IONIQ Premium (electric) isn’t likely to sway their fears about making the switch.
But, it was driven hard, the air-conditioning was running and there was one full-sized adult on board, and our EV drained its battery in perfect sync with its initial range prediction.
Being able to trust the readout is a massive win for Hyundai, and something that’ll inspire confidence among buyers. Now to that question everyone asks, how do I charge? Well, there’s a few different ways to do it.
You’ll get from flat to 80 per cent in 23 minutes on a 100kW DC fast charger, with locations popping up all over the place, or around four and a half hours using an home AC fast charger, or 12 hours hooked up to a regular wall socket.
At just under 4.5-metres long, a fraction over 1.8-metres wide, and a little under 1.5-metres high, the IONIQ sits squarely in the small hatch segment, offering enough passenger and load space for anything up to a young family.
With the 60/40 split-folding rear seats upright, it offers 350-litres of storage, while folding the back seats forward liberates up to 750-litres of storage volume.
As the name implies, the electric edition of the Hyundai IONIQ is powered by a high-output (88kW/295Nm) permanent-magnet synchronous motor.
Maximum torque is available from step-off and its generous on-going supply means a single-speed reduction gearbox is used to transmit power to the front wheels.
Hyundai’s comprehensive SmartSense safety suite is standard, including active tech like AEB and forward collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring, lane keep and change assists, driver attention alert and smart cruise control.
There’s also rear cross traffic collision warnings, along with the usual suspects like ABS, EBD, brake assist, ESC and vehicle stability management, as well as LED daytime running lights, a rear view camera and park assist, plus tyre pressure monitoring.
And if, despite all that, an impact is unavoidable, there are front, front side, and curtain airbags, plus one for the driver’s knee. The Premium edition also gets a 7.0-inch instrument display and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
Seating is leather appointed and the front row is heated and ventilated, with a heated steering wheel to boot. There’s a USB charging port in the centre console and a wireless charging pad for new smartphones.
Add in the likes of front park assist, auto defog windows, Hyundai’s auto link premium (which adds roadside assist and emergency alerts), HID bi-xenon LED headlights, and paddle shifters, and you start to see how up market this car feels.
It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and also comes with electric folding mirrors (with puddle lights), a power glass sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and an electric parking brake.
The 2019 Hyundai IONIQ Premium (electric) might be pricier up front at $48,990 plus on-roads, but its annual servicing is just $160. Couple that with the fuel cost savings and it makes genuine sense to consider going pure electric.
It has a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty , with 12 months roadside assist and the first service (at 1,500km) is included. The IONIQ battery warranty extends for eight years or 160,000km.
The 2019 Hyundai IONIQ Premium (electric) comes in five colour variants; Fiery Red, Intense Blue, Iron Gray, Platinum Silver and Polar White.
Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Hyundai IONIQ Premium (electric), or its two sister hybrid models, contact your local Hyundai dealer.