New Hyundai Ioniq prepares for battle with Toyota Prius

Hyundai IONIQ

If the adventurous styling of the third generation Toyota Prius is a little too much for you, take a look at the all-new Hyundai Ioniq. According to Hyundai, the Ioniq represents ‘the next generation of hybrid vehicles’, and it’s likely to go on sale in the UK as early as September 2016.

The full Ioniq range (yes, that’s another strange car name to get your head around), will feature a choice of electric, plug-in and hybrid powertrains. The first Ioniq to come to market will be the hybrid.

Boasting a thermal efficiency of 40% – the same as the new Toyota Prius – the Ioniq hybrid features a 1.6-litre Kappa GDi engine and a permanent magnetic motor, delivering outputs of 105hp and 47hp respectively. Controlling power distribution is a hybrid-exclusive dual clutch six-speed transmission, with Hyundai promising a power transmission efficiency of 95.7%.

The Ioniq is built on a chassis created to carry the three powertrains and features 53% advanced high strength steel and lightweight aluminium. Hyundai claims 12.6kg of weight is saved by casting non-structural bodywork from aluminium, such as the bonnet, tailgate and suspension components.

In the same way Toyota is promising the new Prius will be nicer to drive, Hyundai says ‘dynamic ride and handling’ is at the core of the new Ioniq. By positioning the car’s batteries low and forward, Hyundai has achieved a low centre of gravity to enable sharp cornering characteristics. A dual lower arm multi-link suspension has been fitted at the rear.

It’s clear that the Ioniq looks more conventional than the Prius, which, given the response to the new Toyota, may not be a bad thing. Indeed, the Hyundai Ioniq looks to have more in common with the previous generation Prius and we can even see a touch of the original Honda Insight in the rear light/tailgate arrangement.

The cabin is also more conventional and unlikely to put off potential buyers. There’s a familiar touchscreen infotainment device in the centre stack, while the driver is faced with what we expect to be a customisable digital display. From our first impressions when the car was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the interior looks like a class act.

Hyundai Ioniq interior

Ahead of its unveiling at the show, Rag Jung, head of project management division at Hyundai’s research and development centre, said: “Ioniq embodies Hyundai Motor’s new thinking and bold ambitions for the future. This world-class dedicated hybrid will be the starting point of our future mobility.”

OK, so the styling is a little conservative, but when Toyota unveiled the bold and adventurous Prius, many people woke in the middle of the night screaming for mercy. There’s certainly nothing offensive about the Ioniq and if Hyundai is able to price it competitively, it could be Toyota having the sleepless nights.

Has an unhealthy obsession with cars of the 80s and 90s. Doesn’t really do supercars. Not a huge fan of sports cars. But loves the undervalued and the underwhelming.

Is probably a bit strange.

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