The Hyundai Ioniq, the queen of efficiency, leans in: a future collector?

The Ioniq is the model that marked Hyundai’s first shift to electricity, with three hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions that quickly established themselves among the benchmarks in their respective segments. But now is the time to take a well-deserved retirement.

It is official that the production of the Hyundai Ioniq, the first of its kind, at the Ulsan plant in South Korea will cease permanently in July, European dealers have stopped receiving orders since last month. If its sales figures didn’t really make it a sales success, it impressed when it debuted in 2016 as the world’s first model to be offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric.

The same name was born at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, christening a compact electric sports concept with a range extender that allows up to 120 km of range without emissions and 700 km in total. He returned, therefore, four years later with the marketing of the model we know today in a first hybrid version, equipped with a 1.6 that develops a total of 141 hp, using an electric motor powered by a 1.56 kWh battery. We are not yet quite at the level of efficiency of a Toyota Prius that has just come out of it in its fourth generation but, for the first time, it is already very impressive.

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The following year, the electric one is presented with 120 hp, a 28 kWh battery and an announced range of 280 km according to the NEDC cycle. But it demonstrates such efficiency that it is possible to do much more with a minimum of eco-driving experience. And it is a few months later that the plug-in hybrid version comes to the fore, using the same recipe as the simple hybrid by adding only an 8.9 kWh battery and very quickly becoming one of the best proposals in the segment. .

In 2019, all three will be entitled to a mid-race restyling that will be mainly an upgrade of the aesthetics and on-board equipment of the two hybrids, while the electric one sees its battery capacity increase to 38 kWh with the key a range this time WLTP of 311 km.

Her death marks “the end of a significant chapter in the recent history of Hyundai,” as the brand puts it, aware that it was she who placed him for the first time and with talent on the world stage of the electrified car. A revolution whose name will survive with a whole range, starting with the Ioniq 5 SUV to which will soon be added the Ioniq 6 sedan and then a larger Ioniq 7 SUV.

Author’s opinion

The Hyundai Ioniq electric in its 28 kWh version was a revelation to me when it came out. I wasn’t expecting it long before I tried it in 2017, the Korean brand hadn’t yet acquired its credentials in the electrified car and the advertised battery capacity was already low compared to the market at the time. A first-generation Nissan Leaf at the end of its life offered 30 kWh and the Volkswagen e-Golf 35.8 kWh. Even worse, the Renault Zoé, still a segment below, was about to reach 41 kWh.

But the outsider had a prank on his sleeve that I did not see coming and that was a revelation: an extraordinary efficiency to which they bring paddles to the steering wheel that allow you to adjust the regeneration in four levels, the first is an absolutely perfect freewheel. A real pleasure when you consider ecological driving as a sport and since then I have not found in any other model so effectively. So I was able to maintain an average power consumption of 7.7 kWh / 100 km with half the battery.

The redesigned version released in 2019 will not have the same effect on me. More battery capacity and engine power, okay, but a little gentrified, less gentrified freewheeling and much less DC charging power.

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