Hyundai says its new Ioniq Hybrid will be sporty, as well as efficient

The Hyundai Ioniq will be the first car to offer buyers hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric powertrains as part of the same model line, but Hyundai says it will emphasize sporty driving as much as efficiency. Aimed squarely at the Toyota Prius, the Ioniq debuts this week in South Korea, but consumers in other markets won’t get an up-close look until March.

Teased multiple times already, the Ioniq has a five-door hatchback shape that should look familiar to drivers of older Prius models. The design is a bit more restrained than the latest generation of Toyota’s hybrid icon, which may be a good thing, depending on your perspective. There’s a lot of contrasting black material, including trim that connects the Hyundai-signature grille to the headlights. Hyundai also claims a drag coefficient of 0.24, matching that of the 2016 Prius.

Hyundai will begin the rollout with the Ioniq Hybrid. This model uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, teamed with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Hyundai says it chose a dual-clutch unit to deliver a sportier driving experience, foregoing the CVTs that are loathed by car enthusiasts, but used in many efficiency-focused vehicles.

The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid will likely feature a similar powertrain, but maybe with a larger battery pack and more powerful electric motor, as with Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid duo. Fuel-economy figures will have to wait until the Ioniq’s U.S. launch, although Hyundai says the hybrid can drive on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph.

Shown previously, the interior looks fairly conventional at first glance, but Hyundai says efficiency was as much a focus here as on the rest of the car. The Ioniq uses recycled and “eco-friendly” materials, including recycled plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone, which Hyundai says is actually 20 percent lighter than comparable materials. The carmaker also tried to rely less on oil-based products, and used soybean-based paint on some interior trim pieces.

The Ioniq features a 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster display, as well as a traditional infotainment display in the center stack, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Qi wireless phone charging will also be available, along with a system called Eco-Das (Eco-Driving Assistant System) that analyzes a driver’s route and coordinates battery charging and gasoline-engine use accordingly.

Finally, there’s a full array of safety systems, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control will also be available.

The Hyundai Ioniq will make its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March, followed by the 2016 New York Auto Show later that month. Sales should start before the end of the year, with the hybrid arriving before the plug-in hybrid and all-electric models.

Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Product Review

With sapphire glass and analog dials, you'd never know this watch is smart

The world of hybrid smartwatches is getting much larger, and the latest comes from a name with history — New York Standard Watches. In our NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review, we find out what makes this watch special, and why we were so…
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.

Audi’s self-driving car unit teams up with Luminar to go driverless in 2021

Audi's self-driving car unit has teamed up with Luminar to develop and test autonomous technology. Luminar provides its lidar technology, which sees farther than the sensors offered by rivals, while Audi brings its own software.