by Sandy Myhre
There is no question that Hyundai is in the forefront of innovative technology and the Ioniq model range is testament to that.
The all-electric EV Ioniq has been reviewed on Wenches Adventures and the difficulties of finding a rapid charging unit north of Kawakawa was explained. That’s about to change. Since the review was written (early August) it’s been announced that six new charging sta-tions are due to be installed between Kaikohe and Cape Reinga in the next six months thanks to $150,000 from ChargeNet NZ (which owns the Kawakawa rapid charge unit) and a match-ing grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.
In the meantime, and after that in fact, the Ioniq Hybrid fits the bill perfectly. There are two models in the hybrid range – the 1.6 entry level and the flagship, the Elite. The difference be-tween them them, as you’d expect, can be seen (in the Elite) with leather seats and steering wheel with heating, blind spot detection system and automatic folding wing mirrors.
But the gap between the two literally goes a little further than aesthetics. In terms of fuel economy, the Elite betters the entry level model by .5. The official figures for the entry level are 3.4l/100k whereas the Elite is 3.9l/100k. Quite why that’s so would probably take a lengthy disseration on digital engine management and synchronicity between the electrical and petrol components. So we’ll take Hyundai’s word for it.
There has been considerable engineering attention paid to on-road ability and performance and there’s very little difference between the entry level and the Elite. The top model has a blind spot detection system and rear traffic cross alert.
Both have lane keep assist (LKAS) or what a neighbour describes as ‘suffering from white line fever’. Interestingly, this ‘assist’ alert doesn’t recognize New Zealand’s yellow lines which are arguably somewhat more important. Hopefully, sensible driving takes precedent.
The cabin comes complete with all the usual creature comforts you expect in a contemporary car in terms of inter-connectivity and the generously-sized touch screen has rear view mirror display. Even better, you don’t need to have graduated with an IT degree or be fresh off Star-ship Enterprise to operate the menu system.
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is one seriously nice motor car. Considerable attention to creature comfort and looks has been paid sufficient to out-shine the Toyota Prius which, it has to be said, has never looked pretty from the get-go.
Speaking of get-go, from start the electric motor does its thing and it’s not until about 30kph or so. What the Ioniq Hybrid doesn’t have – but the Electric Vehicle does – is a regenerative braking system on downhill coast. There are arguments for and against but with good driv-ing, fuel economy won’t be adversley affected.
The Ioniq Hybrid is ideal for areas that don’t have conveniently-placed rapid-charge units and yet large geographical distances and this means whole swathes of New Zealand – think Northland, Canterbury Plains, generous portions of the West Coast and Bay of Plenty. But even without the ever-increasing installation of electric vehicle ‘refuelling’ stations, this car is a serious contender for investment. It ticks so many boxes including that of utterly delightful.