Hyundai Ioniq (2016-2022) Review
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to the Toyota Prius
Strengths & weaknesses
- Good value
- Relaxing, comfortable ride
- Smooth and frugal hybrid system
- Interior materials feel cheap
- Too slow for enthusiastic drivers
- Less economical than a Toyota Prius
We are well on our way towards that 2030 ban on brand new petrol and diesel car sales, and car manufacturers are beginning to hone their craft when it comes to building hybrid and electric cars.
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is one such example of a perfectly capable hybrid car that performs much like a traditional petrol hatchback, but with better fuel economy and vastly reduced emissions figures thanks to the use of an electric motor to reduce the reliance on the engine.
Hybrid cars, including the Ioniq, become much more affordable, too. Used prices are down to around what you'd expect to pay for a standard petrol Ford Focus or Volkswagen Passat, so the issue surrounding expensive hybrid tech has all but disappeared if you're shopping around on BuyaCar.
When it was first launched, the Ioniq's biggest rival was the Toyota Prius, and while Toyota claims the Prius offers better economy (94.1mpg for the Toyota compared to 83.1 for the Hyundai), the Hyundai is available at a far lower cost. It’s also nicer to drive thanks to a smooth six-speed automatic gearbox, which doesn’t drone like the CVT gearbox in the Prius.
The Ioniq's hybrid system works to reduce the stress on the engine under acceleration, while it can also be used to drive the car under electric power at speeds up to 75mph. The battery is only small, so it will run out of energy quickly, but energy recuperated from braking helps to keep it charged while you're on the move.
The Ioniq’s 443-litre hatchback boot is bigger than virtually all of its rivals. The Toyota Prius offers 343-litres in comparison, while the likes of the Ford Focus or VW Passat are smaller, too.
|5 years / Unlimited miles
|443 litres (hybrid), 341 litres (plug-in)
|Band A (free)
Best Hyundai Ioniq for...
Best for Economy – Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 1.6 GDi SE
Even the entry-level Ioniq Hybrid comes loaded with equipment, it's available from under £20,000 on BuyaCar, so it ought to be a tempting option if you're looking for a cheaper hybrid car.
Best for Families – Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 1.6 GDi Premium
The mid-range Premium model has plenty of useful upgrades, such as sat-nav with live traffic information, heated front seats and a second USB port, so it should cope well with regular family use.
One to Avoid – Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 1.6 GDi Premium SE
The top of the range model is of course the most expensive, but the additions on offer over cheaper versions such as leather seat facings and alloy pedals are difficult to justify.
- October 2016 The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid goes in sale in Britain alongside an all-electric model.
- July 2017 The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid goes on sale
Understanding Hyundai Ioniq names
Electric power Hybrid
All Ioniq models have some form of electric power. 'Hybrid' indicates that this model uses a small battery that’s charged using braking energy to boost power or relieve stress from the engine. Versions with an electric motor and no engine are badged Electric.
Engine 1.6 GDi
The engine size is given in litres, all Ioniq Hybrid models come with the same 1.6-litre petrol engine. The GDi badge stands for gasoline direct injection, which is more efficient than other types of engine.
Trim level SE
This refers to the trim level of the car. Ioniq models in SE trim are the most basic, while the likes of Premium and Premium SE trim come with more features and technology, but cost more.
Gearbox 6 Speed Automatic DCT
The Ioniq Hybrid is only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, labelled DCT (dual-clutch transmission). It has two clutches for faster and smoother changes.
Hyundai Ioniq Engines
1.6 GDi Hybrid
Whichever Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid you buy, it'll be powered by the same 1.6-litre GDi hybrid engine that combines the power of the standard petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor.
At low speeds, the electric motor drives the front wheels and can whizz the car up to 75mph in near silence under gentle acceleration. Then, as soon as the battery is drained or you need a bit more power for faster acceleration, you can press your foot down hard to kickstart the 1.6-litre engine. This is pretty instant, and the transition between electric and petrol mode is almost unnoticeable from behind the wheel.
The result is vastly improved fuel economy compared to a standard 1.6-litre petrol engine.
In order to keep the battery charged for the electric motor, waste energy is collected every time you press the brake pedal, so you can have a reasonable level of control over the amount of energy available.
141hp (engine & motor combined)
0 - 62mph: 10.8sec
Hyundai Ioniq Trims
SE, SE Connect, Premium, and Premium SE
Hyundai offers an impressive amount of kit as standard on its entry-level SE models, with 15-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a five-inch dashboard touchscreen, Bluetooth wireless phone connection and DAB digital radio all standard. Dual-zone air-conditioning is included too, so both front passengers can select a temperature for their half of the car.
You can choose either a beige interior with white piping on the seats and dashboard, or a black design with electric blue piping, which adds more variety to a relatively bland space.
All Ioniq Hybrids have autonomous emergency braking and cruise control as standard. They also have lane keeping assist, which monitors the white lines on roads, and can steer the car back on track if it is drifting out of its lane.
SE Connect models were introduced in 2019 and replaced SE trim as the cheapest version of the Ioniq Hybrid. It shares most of the tech included in SE models, but features an updated eight-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality.
For a little under £2,000 more, Ioniq Premium cars have a bigger, 10.3-inch dashboard touchscreen with sat-nav and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software, which replicates your smartphone’s screen on the dashboard. They also feature heated front seats, bright xenon headlights and wireless charging pads for compatible phones.
The Premium package is likely to offer the best combination of equipment and value for most people. It costs the best part of £2,000 to move up to Premium SE, which adds ventilated front seats, leather seat facings and an alert that warns you when another car is in your blind spot.
Watch out too for the optional 17-inch alloy wheels. They do make the car look more stylish and powerful but have a dramatic effect on the car’s official fuel economy, which plummets to 70.6mpg from 83.1mpg.
Hyundai Ioniq Reliability and warranty
Hyundai's five-year/unlimited mileage warranty is one of the best in the business and the dependability of its vehicles has been one of the key selling points for many customers.
Ioniq owners have even more peace of mind too, with a longer 8-year/125,000-mile warranty on the car’s batteries.
Used Hyundai Ioniq
Like The Toyota Prius, the Ioniq holds its value well, thanks to strong reliability and demand.
It’s worth noting that Hyundai’s warranty is transferrable between subsequent owners, so you’ll benefit from the battery part until the car is eight years’-old, or has covered 125,000 miles. That’s assuming that it has been serviced at the right time: fail to do this and the warranty is likely to be invalid.
|1 year old
|2 years old
|3 years old
Best for performance Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid
Best for families Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium 1.6 GDi
Best for economy Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SE 1.6 GDi