First drive of Hyundai Ioniq

By RIZAL JOHAN | 30 December 2016

There is a new hybrid kid in town which is poised to give the reigning hybrid favourite from Japan a run for its money ... or at the very least, eat in to its market share.

The Ioniq Hybrid from South Korean marque Hyundai was launched at the end of November 2016 and comes in two variants - HEV and HEV Plus - with prices starting from RM103,390 and RM114,165 (on-the-road with GST and insurance) respectively.

Under the hood of the locally assembled Ioniq Hybrid is the Kappa 1.6-litre Atkinson Cycle GDi direct injection engine and a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) mated to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT).


The engine produces 105PS at 5,700rpm and 147Nm of torque at 5,000rpm while the electric motor pushes out 43hp and 170Nm of torque.

Powering the electric motor is a lithium-ion polymer battery with a capacity of 1.56kWh. Range in full electric mode is 5km to 15km.

Standard features for both variants include keyless entry, smart key with stop start button, LED daytime running lights, dual zone climate control with single zone operation mode, seven airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist system (BAS), hill-start assist control (HAC), electronic stability control (ESC), vehicle stability management, auto cruise control, auto light control, tyres pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors and rear view camera.


That’s already an impressive list of standard features.

The high-spec HEV Plus variant comes with additional features such as HID Bi-Xenon head lamps and LED type rear combination lamps, 7-inch high definition TFT-LCD digital cluster, wireless charging for smartphones, blind spot detection (BSD), lane keeping assist system (LKAS), autonomous emergency braking system (AEB), smart cruise control system and rain sensor.

Members of the media were recently invited to try out the top specced Ioniq Hybrid HEV Plus for a day and we drove through highways and windy B-roads as well as the slalom course and the autonomous emergency braking system.

Testing out the Ioniq's autonomous emergency braking system.

It's important to note that the autonomous emergency braking system is usually found on higher end cars but for this price (below RM120K), its inclusion has taken the safety features of the Ioniq to the next level.

We were privy to how the autonomous emergency braking system works where a mannequin was placed in front of the car and we travelled towards it at speeds around 30kph.

The system responds when impact is imminent, meaning really, really close like you’re about to hit an actual pedestrian, and then hard braking is automatically applied bringing the car to a stop.


Looks-wise, the Ioniq Hybrid HEV Plus is an elegantly designed car with clean and fluid lines with a drag co-efficient if 0.24.

The design also offers functionality as it lowers drag coefficient and thus, improves fuel efficiency.

The wide semi-gloss chrome grille houses the smart cruise control sensor and also has an active airflap again to reduce drag.



The sloping roofline gives it a sporty look which ends with an integrated rear spoiler to minimise air resistance and increases downforce.

The exterior also has dark blue accents and the front and rear which is sparse but conveys the message that this is a hybrid car.

The dark blue accents can also be found in the interior such as the stitching on the seats, the circumference of the push start button, around the air con vents and the 7in LCD audio system.



The cabin has a quality feel to it with its leather seats and steering wheel with looks and feel of more upmarket cars.

The steering wheel in particular, has a very sporty look and feel with its flat bottom D-cut design.

The car itself offers a lot of comfort for its occupants and driver although head-and-leg room in the rear is a little tight for tall people.


Besides that, the car is very quiet with very minimal noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

It’s also a great car to drive around in as it offers quite a lot of torque when pushed and engaging it in sport mode makes it quite a lot of fun to drive as well.

Driving through the B-roads and the slalom course, the Ioniq is planted and handles itself well through turns and bends.

Gear changes are fast, smooth and quiet and the brakes respond well with just the right amount of brake bite.

The only thing you are not going to get is a sporty exhaust sound but that’s not an issue really considering the amount of fun we had driving it.