While it isn’t the most glamorous or trendy of electric cars, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ticks plenty of boxes. It’s easy to drive, reasonably practical and should prove effortless to own. Some rivals offer a bit more space, and range, while Hyundai’s own Kona Electric provides a more charismatic option. If you are ruled more by your head than your heart, however, the Ioniq is well worth a look.
The Ioniq Electric is one of the most affordable electric family cars, although it’s far from cheap compared with petrol or diesel-engined rivals and the most basic Nissan Leaf is cheaper. Unusually, the electric version of the Ioniq costs roughly the same as the plug-in hybrid model (after the government's plug-in car grant), so in that respect the all-electric car looks like decent value.
Residual values should be above average, too, which helps to keep long-term costs down and means that there are some juicy leasing deals around.
As with any electric car, everyday running costs are low, with the cost of electricity a fraction of what you’d pay in petrol or diesel. A maximum range of up to 194 miles is better than the most basic Leaf, but not as much as you get in higher-spec versions, or with any Kia e-Niro, Kia Soul EV or Volkswagen ID.3.
A less complex powertrain than a combustion-engined car – and less brake wear due to the car’s regenerative braking function – should keep maintenance bills comparatively low.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a Hyundai Ioniq
Hyundai has an excellent reputation for reliability, ranking third overall in the latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks manufacturers by overall performance. Our owner reviews have also been largely positive, which makes us fairly confident that Ioniq owners shouldn’t have too many problems.
The warranty is more generous than most, with a five-year, unlimited mileage package.
Expert rating: 5/5
Safety for a Hyundai Ioniq
The Hyundai Ioniq achieved the maximum five stars when tested by Euro NCAP in 2016 and that rating also applies to the electric version. Standard safety kit is good for all models, and includes automatic emergency braking and Lane Keep Assist, which gently steers the car back on track if it starts to veer out of its lane on the motorway.
Higher-end models also get a blind spot detection system and rear cross traffic alert, which warns of oncoming traffic when you’re reversing out of a parking space.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Hyundai Ioniq
The low, tapered shape of the Ioniq does a lot to help it slip through the air efficiently and thereby maximise range, but it doesn’t do a lot for interior space. There’s plenty up front, and rear legroom is fine, but the sloping roofline means that rear headroom is a bit tight. The boot is a decent size and access is easy, although it’s not as capacious as a Nissan Leaf’s, or a VW Golf’s. You can fold the rear seats down to cater for tip trips and the like but the low rear window does limit how much you can squeeze in.
The unusual split rear window design (blame the focus on aerodynamic efficiency) means that rear visibility is a bit compromised, although all versions have a rear-view camera and parking sensors.
Up front, the driving position is good and there’s plenty of adjustment while the dashboard and infotainment system are pretty straightforward, using a mixture of touch-screen and physical buttons. Interior quality is good, with a solid feel and some appealing materials, although the design is rather plain.
There’s not much excitement in the way the Ioniq Electric drives, either, but that’s not its remit. If all you’re after is something that’s smooth and easy to drive you won’t be disappointed, thanks to its generally comfortable ride and light steering. It’s quiet, too, of course, with little noise from the electric motor and a slippery shape that helps to keep wind noise to a low level on the motorway.
Expert rating: 3/5
Features of the Hyundai Ioniq
The Ioniq Electric is available in two trim levels and both provide a good standard of equipment. Opt for the cheaper version and you get everything you’re likely to need, or want, including sat-nav, LED headlights, cruise control, electric folding door mirrors, heated front seats, rear-view camera and parking sensors and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The higher-spec version costs a fair chunk more, but in addition to some cosmetic upgrades it includes useful extra features such as automatic wipers, front parking sensors, electric driver’s seat adjustment and more advanced safety kit.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Hyundai Ioniq
The Ioniq Electric’s 136 horsepower motor doesn't match its key rivals for outright power, but it still provides decent pace and the kind of instantaneous acceleration from standstill that makes electric cars so nippy and responsive in urban driving.
Charging the battery to 100 per cent takes just over six hours using most home wall boxes or public chargers. Rapid charging using a 50 kW DC charger allows you to charge the battery to 80 per cent in just under an hour.
If electric power doesn't suit you, have a look at our expert review of the two hybrid versions of the Ioniq.