Environment’s friend on the road: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

By Aida Sevilla-Mendoza Philippine Daily Inquirer March 06,2019
Environment’s friend on the road: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid’s front fascia has a grille, projector-type headlights, and DRLs just like a normal car.

With the introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid compact hatchback in Manila last December, consumers are offered an environmentally friendly car other than the Toyota Prius.

Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea launched the Ioniq in 2017 in three powertrain variants: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric.

The Ioniq Hybrid comes in three trim levels: Blue, SEL, and Limited.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States rates the Ioniq Hybrid Blue without a plug as the most fuel-efficient hybrid car on the road, getting 58 miles per gallon (24.7 km per liter) in combined city and highway driving.

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (Hari), the Philippine importer and distributor of Hyundai motor vehicles, sells the 2019 model year Ioniq 1.6 GLS 6DCT Hybrid (no plug) loaded with creature comforts and driver assistance safety features.

Looks normal

At first glance, the Ioniq Hybrid looks like a normal, low-riding 4-door hatchback with a front grille, projector headlamps, daytime running lights (DRLs), huge air intakes, LED taillights, and a prominent rear spoiler.

Environment’s friend on the road: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid has a combined (gasoline engine and electric motor) hybrid power rating of 139 hp, and nets 24.7 km per liter in combined city and highway driving.

The interior is standard conservative, not futuristic-looking, with well laid out, easy-to-reach controls, legible gauges, paddle shifters, plus a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Front seat legroom is spacious, but not in the rear, which has enough legroom for only two adults and headroom cramped by the sloping roofline.

The cargo area, unencumbered by the battery pack which is located under the rear seat, measures a sizeable 26.5 cubic feet, more when the 60/40 split rear seat is folded.

The Kappa 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, mated to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) driving the front wheels, produces 105 ps and 109 lb-ft max torque.

The engine is assisted by a 43.5 ps electric motor that makes use of regenerative braking and a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.

How it works

This is how the Ioniq Hybrid’s system works.

Environment’s friend on the road: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The rear seat of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid’s low-riding cabin is cramped for headroom and legroom.

At start and low speeds, the electric motor goes to work. Upon acceleration and uphill driving, the electric motor and gasoline engine team up to propel the car. At mid or high steady speed, either the engine or electric motor is active.

Deceleration or downhill driving recharges the hybrid battery. At full stop, the engine is on hold.

What sets the Ioniq Hybrid apart is that it drives smoothly like a normal car (if you think hybrid is abnormal).

Engine noise hardly intrudes the cabin, thanks to excellent insulation and the 6-speed DCT that minimizes stray engine noises.

Hyundai Motor chose a DCT to avoid the typical droning of a CVT (continuously variable transmission.)

Despite its meager horsepower digits, the Ioniq Hybrid 1.6 GLS 6DCT manages decent and leisurely acceleration.

It is almost fun to drive because of its responsive handling.

Environment’s friend on the road: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Cargo volume in the Ioniq Hybrid is 26.5 cubic feet, unencumbered by the battery pack which is located under the rear seat.

On the traffic-free Skyway one daybreak, the Ioniq Hybrid required a heavy foot on the gas pedal to eventually hit 148 kph. But perhaps switching to manual Sport mode and using the paddle shifters would have been quicker.

The test unit I had was equipped with a lane departure warning system that sounded a loud alarm whenever I switched lanes without using the turn signal.

The motor-assisted power steering was well-weighted but rather vague.

Firm grip

The Ioniq Hybrid’s low curb weight (1,370 kg), lower center of gravity (ground clearance is 150 mm), multi-link rear suspension, and 17-inch low-rolling resistance tires help it to maintain a firm grip on the road and keep it stable and competent in most situations, including when caroming through a tight corner.

The Ioniq Hybrid offered by Hari has a complete suite of active and passive safety features including seven airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), vehicle stability control, hill start assist, rear parking sensors, rear camera with dynamic guidelines, lane departure warning, and smart proximity keyless entry with illuminated pushbutton start.

Low-slung with a sloping roofline and 17-inch alloy wheels, the Ioniq Hybrid looks like a standard hatchback.

Driving the Ioniq Hybrid is made easier and more pleasurable by audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls on the steering wheel, tilt and telescopic steering column, fully automatic air conditioning with rear air vents, memory driver’s seat that recedes when you open the door and moves forward to your favorite driving position once you are seated, an 8-speaker Infinity premium sound system, and numerous cubbies, bins and cupholders.

Summing up, for P1.498 million–a price that is P389,000 less than the Toyota Prius-C subcompact hatchback—you can reduce your carbon footprint and conserve non-renewable energy every time you hit the road by getting a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GLS 6DCT Hybrid instead of a “normal” gas-guzzling car.

For a high-tech car, the cockpit of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is thoughtfully functional rather than futuristic-looking.

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