EV Review: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

 In Electric Cars, EV Industry

Introduction

One of the top Korean automakers is late to the party with their first electric vehicle in North America. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric has arrived along with its sibling, the Ioniq Hybrid; a plug-in hybrid arrives late 2017. It’s a four-door car with a hatchback, specified as a compact car but toeing close to the midsize segment. And as an efficient family car, it does a fantastic job. In fact, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric was the rated best in fuel economy by the EPA, achieving an EPA rating of 136 MPGe.

One flaw stands out more than anything else: the Hyundai Ioniq Electric doesn’t stand out at all. Its technology is no more advanced than cars introduced five years ago. Its EV range is okay, but there are others released in the same model year at a similar price point that obliterates its range per charge. It’s been called a ‘vanilla’ electric car, and that seems to be a fitting description.

Exterior styling:

Unlike many other electric cars, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric is actually…attractive! From the front, its looks mimic the rest of the Hyundai car lineup. The slanted headlights and accentuating LED fog lights fit the car well, and the large black grille area is wide, tall, and modest. While it’s a hatchback, the sedan-like profile works really well for the Ioniq. The Ioniq’s alloy wheels area beautiful accent also.

And yet, while the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric looks great, it doesn’t do anything that sets it apart from the competition. It’s appreciated that the Ioniq Electric doesn’t have the tacky blue accents on the exterior, but it needs something to individualize it.

Fit and Finish Interior

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric looks to be one of the bargain cars in the EV marketplace with the Ioniq Base, then gives a few extra goodies with the Ioniq Limited. Base equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and locks, and heated front cloth seats. It also comes standard with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming as well as Proximity Key entry and push button start and Hyundai’s BlueLink connected systems. What isn’t present might surprise you. In the Base trim, you don’t have an available sunroof, nor do you get an auxiliary heat pump for those colder times of the year.

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The Limited trim gives you a more pleasant experience. The heat pump is available as is a sunroof. Leather heated seats are standard equipment along with premium door sill plates.

If you want a decent sound system, it’s only in the Ioniq Limited trim. Infiniti Premium Audio and an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system are an optional package along with Wireless charging, HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights, and Smart Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning.

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric is comfortable and easy to drive, of that there’s no doubt. But the offerings in the market are underwhelming at best. There’s an opportunity for Hyundai to truly compete. As it is, the Ioniq Electric, even in the Limited trim, leaves you wanting more.

Driving Experience

There’s no question that the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a pleasing car to drive. Hyundai has proven that it can handle a quality suspension and steering system with the Sonata and other cars, and the Ioniq carries the same road feel. Confidence is high when you’re navigating city streets, pulling away from stoplights, and tackling normal commuting tasks.

Whether driving solo or with four adults inside, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric feels just the same in performance and handling.

When you get out on the highway, it’s a little more intimidating. The 88kW electric motor is equivalent to 118hp, and the power feels like it’s lacking somewhat amid other traffic. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s paddle shifters control its adjustable regenerative braking, a feature that other carmakers can learn from.

The Ioniq Electric has a rated range of just 124 miles, but the real-life range is about 20 percent less. In today’s electric car market, that range should be much more. Its direct competitor, the Chevrolet Bolt, as an example, has 238 miles or range.

Features

MSRP $29,500 USD
Type BEV
Range 124 Miles / 200 kms
Time to charge 4.5 Hours (Level 2)
Electric Motor 88 kW
Battery Capacity  28 kWh
Top Speed 93 Mph / 150 km/h
Warranty 5 Years / 60,000 Miles or 100,000 kms, Lifetime EV Battery Warranty

Conclusion

It’s a tough market for electric vehicles currently, at least until the base pricing drops. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric wants to fill that void, but the price tag doesn’t quite make it happen. It’s still a great car overall, although it doesn’t do enough to stand out. The Ioniq Electric would be a fantastic fleet car for low-mileage drivers. It would also be a good option for a couple or family that wants an environmentally-conscious car, willing to sacrifice a longer range for a few thousand dollars in savings. Also, it’s only available in California right now – its popularity will assuredly increase when it’s available everywhere.

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