We haven’t driven the Plug-in Hybrid version of the Ioniq yet, but our first impressions of the standard Hybrid’s powertrain are reasonably positive. Unlike the Toyota Prius, the Ioniq Hybrid cannot be instructed to drive solely in electric mode, no matter how high its battery stock. You’ll be lucky to make 10mph before the petrol engine kicks into life. Thankfully, the transitions from electric drive to combined mode are smooth, and providing you don’t call for maximum warp speed, the petrol engine is reasonably subdued, too. If you do need all-at-once acceleration, the mechanical cacophony that emanates from under the bonnet becomes quite intrusive and rather vulgar.
The all-electric Ioniq EV relies solely on a 118bhp electric motor, and despite having less outright power than the Hybrid, it accelerates quicker. This is down to the way the electric motor delivers all its urge instantly when you press the accelerator. It will hit 62mph in under 10 seconds but once the initial thrust is over, it takes quite a long time to reach its maximum top speed of 103mph.
Switchable drive modes in the EV give you the choice of driving in Eco, Normal and Sport settings. While the latter releases an additional 22lb ft of torque from the motor to give you the best performance, you need to bear in mind that using this feature will impact the distance you can travel between charges. Regardless of drive mode, the EV is pretty unobtrusive. There is a milk-float-type whirr when accelerating away from the mark, which is typical of an EV, but once you’re cruising, it’s impossible to hear anything except the rush of wind and the sound of the tyres sizzling against the road surface.