Hyundai silently swoops in on Prius territory with its new Ioniq hybrid and EV

It might surprise you, but Hyundai has yet to put a dedicated hybrid into production. Well, now the Korean automaker is ready to make up for lost time by introducing one vehicle in three flavors of electric performance, and it brought them along to the 2016 New York Auto Show.

Ioniq will compete with several core hybrid and EV players. In its base form, the Ioniq hybrid pairs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is on board

The Ioniq Plug-in hybrid uses the same gasoline direct injection motor as the hybrid, and adds a slight bump in power from its 45 kW electric motor. With its 8.9 kWh battery, the plug-in has an estimated all-electric range of over 25 miles. By comparison, Ford’s Fusion Energi manages 20 miles of pure electric range and Toyota’s new Prius plug-in hits 22 miles. Visually, the Ioniq plug-in hybrid is distinguished by enclosed front fascia panels for better aerodynamics.

Rounding out the suite is the Ioniq electric, which packs an 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, and features an estimated range of 110 miles and a 125 MPGe rating. For comparison ,the Nissan Leaf only manages 107 miles of range with a slightly larger battery. The Ioniq’s electric motor in this model has an estimated max output of 120 horsepower and 215 lb.-ft. of torque through a single-speed reduction gear transmission.

Hyundai did its due diligence to maximize efficiency via a high-performance HVAC system, low-rolling-resistance tires, and a system that predicts energy requirements based on the programmed route and on traffic patterns to optimize charging and required level of gas engine assistance. Weight reduction was also essential in its development, so Hyundai used high-strength steel for the structure and aluminum for non-structural panels. The car’s construction also utilizes renewable materials like volcanic stone, powdered wood, sugar cane, and soybean oil.

The Ioniq hybrid and plug-in both feature a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which uses low-friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil to achieve a mix of driving performance and fuel efficiency. This differentiates the Ioniq from most other hybrids, which use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which are often criticized as having ‘rubber band-like’ acceleration.

Hyundai claims the Ioniq is also an enthusiast’s choice among hybrids, touting its quick steering rack, and faster-shifting transmission modes. It features two driving modes: Sport holds lower gears longer and combines power from both the engine and electric motors, while Eco utilizes the DCT to select gears for optimum efficiency.

Inside, the Ioniq features a 7.0-inch TFT infotainment system, inductive wireless phone charging, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety tech is also on hand, including blind spot warning, lane-keeping assist, and autonomous emergency braking. An electronic parking brake saves space in the center console.

The release dates for the Hyundai Ioniq in all its forms have not been announced, but will likely see a staggered release, with the Hybrid coming out first.

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