Hyundai Ioniq a Game-Changer

Hyundai Ioniq
Hyundai Ioniq

DETROIT — We had the opportunity to test-drive the Hyundai Ioniq. This is a game-changing car that gives the consumer a choice of three different drivetrains — all of them some form of electric.

There is an all-electric version, a plug-in hybrid and a hybrid. I had the hybrid. And I call it the lesser of the three because it was more dependent on its gasoline engine. Still, this was a very capable hybrid.

It was a five-door hatchback that was powered by a 1.6 liter engine. The car had a lithium polymer battery and the combination generated 130 horsepower. There was a six-speed dual clutch transmission and this combination gave the Ioniq an EPA rating of 55 mpg in the city, 54 mpg on the highway and 55 mpg combined.

And the Ioniq had a little oomph. I put my foot into it and found the acceleration was pretty good. It was comparable to most four-cylinders. It was also an easy driver. It cornered well, expressway handling was good and the sight lines were excellent.

I took couple of streets that were more patchwork than smooth asphalt. The suspension handled them pretty well, keeping the bumps and thumps out of the car. The Ioniq rode pretty quiet. But I did think too much road noise got into the passenger compartment, especially in the cargo space area. But it was not separated from the passenger area, that’s what made it a hatchback.

Inside, the Ioniq had a horizontal layout that was sparse. This was a no-nonsense car. There was an infotainment screen that controlled the satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

My test car had a rearview camera with cross traffic alert. There was a blind-spot alert system, lane departure warning and Bluetooth.

A large circle speedometer in front of the driver was flanked by the hybrid monitor on the left and a temperature gauge on the right. The fuel gauge was at the bottom of the middle gauge.

I was somewhat surprised that the automatic transmission could be put in manual mode and shifted.

There was plenty of space in the front seats. They were comfortable and provided a good bit of lower back support. I climbed in the back and found a lot of head space, acceptable leg room and plenty of hip room. The car could handle three people seating in the back seats but not for a long haul.

Still, the Ioniq was utilitarian. Fold the second-row seats and the car could carry even the most cumbersome cargo.

The best part of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq was that it had a sticker of $25,910. That was a great price for a car with all these features and it was a gas-sipper.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.

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