Hyundai Ioniq Electric: Silence is golden


What is it?

Open the bonnet of the Ioniq and you see what you’d expect from any modern car: a big plastic engine cover.

But those guys at Hyundai love a joke. 

Because this Ioniq does not have an engine. It’s the Electric version, and the under bonnet scene has some ‘experts’ asking if it’s a 4 or 6, somehow missing the vital giveaway signs — like there’s no oil cap, spark plug leads and suchlike.

However, some Ioniqs — there’s a choice of three — do have an engine. There’s a Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and the all Electric model — all of them attractive fastback lookalikes.


What’s it cost?

Prices vary quite a bit, with the Hybrid starting off from $34,790, the Plug-In Hybrid from $41,990 and the Electric from $48,490. Those are the Elite models. Premiums are roughly $4000 more.

Our Electric was Elite spec and the latest model uses a 101kW electric motor that gives it a battery range of more than 300km and provides huge and instant torque at 295Nm.

Standard gear includes lots of airbags, 16-inch alloys, satnav, 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, 8-speaker Infinity premium audio system, DAB+ digital radio, auto-on headlights and wipers, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors and a smart key with push button start.

The Premium adds front parking sensors, leather trim, a glass sunroof, Qi smartphone charging, heated and air ventilated front seats, powered plus memory for the driver’s pew and alloy pedals, and swaps the Infinity for a Harman Kardon audio box. 

The quite handsome car runs on a retuned chassis for a more supple, refined ride, something that made my eyes pop the first time I hoofed it through a roundabout.

I’d just got out of the sports-oriented 130N  with its hard-as-clogs suspension, swapped to the Ioniq and failed to consider that a ‘supple, more refined’ ride might translate to a slightly scary moment through the tight bend.

No harm done and I soon learnt that the ride and handling became more to my liking if I drove the Ioniq in ‘Sport” mode, which tightens everything up.

The other drive modes are Normal, Eco and Eco+, giving you four options. However the latter doesn’t do anything for a so-called ‘drive experience.’

There aren’t a great many Ioniqs around. They account for only about 3 per cent of Hyundai’s big-selling passenger vehicles in Australia, but there’s no doubt electrics are the way of the future and the Ioniq joins an ever-growing list of EVs the world over.

The latest one has a flat snoot with a pair of shutters that open to provide extra cooling to the workings if necessary, but add to the car’s wind-cheating aerodynamics under normal circumstances.

Even the 16-inch alloy wheels have been specially designed to minimise wind drag, likewise the front bumper.

Inside, there’s excellent accommodation, even for tall drivers, in front, and a little less so in the back, due to the sloping roofline and the battery, which is housed under the seats.

Still, it’s a full five-seater, easy to get in and out of and everyone gets a good view thanks to the big windows.

Interior storage is plentiful with bins in all the doors plus spaces for tablets, phones and whatever. Cup holders? Of course.

Boot capacity is generous at 357 litres and with the back seats folded flat, it increases to a vast 1417 litres.

The car’s safety suite  has been upgraded to include High Beam Assist and a Driver Attention Warning system featuring Leading Vehicle Departure Alert. 

That means when the traffic light has changed to green and the car in front is already way up the road while you’re still picking your nose, you get a musical ‘get going’ prompt.


What’s it go like?

Electric cars are very pleasant to drive.

There’s no sound, instant power (zero to 100km/h in less than 10 secs) and the technology has been improved to provide a decent driving range.

At the top end, it will run to 165km/h, which will be useful if you’re on a freeway in Europe. Here, you’ll get your picture taken.

To re-power, you can go to any of many charging stations, or simply plug the car into your home socket overnight.

The car also generates battery power when its coasting downhill and when the brakes are applied.

The latter can be done via paddles on the steering wheel. The left one progressively applies the anchors, the right releases them.

In fact, you can, with a bit of practice, drive the car all day without having to apply the brake pedal at all. I reckon it’s a good thing because it makes drivers concentrate much more, and adds interest to the journey. 

The ‘fuel economy’ is a bit baffling though, with terminology I won’t pretend to understand.

The dash display reads in kWh/100km, rather than L/100km. What really matters is how much battery power you have left, and that’s clearly displayed.

So apart from the silence, there’s an enormous reduction in servicing costs, with no piston engine, no gearbox, so no oil, air filter etc.

Plus you get a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, 8 year/160,000km warranty on the battery.

Just one service is required each year, at $160.


What we like?

  • Concept
  • Appearance
  • Big warranty
  • Drivability
  • Feature list
  • Sizeable boot


What we don’t like?

  • No spare wheel


The bottom line?

No petrol, no oil, no noise, no pollution.

The ride is smooth, the performance brisk, the price, all being considered, is not too terrible. Silence is golden.


CHECKOUT: Hyundai i30 N Fastback: Chic, slick and quick

CHECKOUT: Nothing lower case about Hyundai’s new i20 N


Hyundai Ioniq Electric, priced from $48,490
  • Looks - 7.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 10/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8.5/10
  • Value - 8/10