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[Behind the Wheel] Ioniq PHEV exciting and stable

The eco-friendly compact sedan Ioniq plug-in hybrid electric vehicle does not have a sporty look. Yet, it is far more exciting to drive than expected.

A latecomer to the green movement, Hyundai Motor released three different versions of Ioniq. The Ioniq PHEV, tested by the Korea Herald for three days last week, is the latest in the Ioniq series targeted at mass consumers. After three consecutive days of traveling nearly 200 kilometers, the Ioniq PHEV showed fuel economy of 18.7 kilometers per liter, somewhat lower than the official 20.5.

The vehicle showed a remarkable driving range of about 946 kilometers, as it can move some 900 kilometers in hybrid mode. The lithium-ion polymer battery can travel 46 kilometers on a full charge.

The silent and smooth driving experience was another impressive factor.

The ghost-like quietness of the model particularly stood out late at night when it glided through an apartment complex in eastern Seoul.

Hyundai Motor‘s Ioniq PHEV (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor‘s Ioniq PHEV (Hyundai Motor)

According to Hyundai Motor, the combustion engine starts to take over when the driver presses down over 80 percent on the accelerator.

Powered by the new Kappa 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine, Ioniq PHEV produces a maximum 105 horsepower and up to 15 kilogram-meters of torque.

The permanent magnet electric motor installed produces a maximum 60.5 horsepower and 17.3 kg-m.

Three different versions of the Ioniq lead Korea’s green car market, posting combined sales of 11,237 units between January and November, the company’s data showed.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy selected the Ioniq as the Greenest vehicle this year with the highest score the award has ever seen.

The Ioniq PHEV is priced between 32.3 million won ($29,900) and 34.2 million won. With 5 million won in government subsidies, the vehicle can be purchased at less than 30 million won.

The Korea Herald rating (out of 5 stars):
Design: 4 stars
Safety: 5 stars
Gas Mileage: 5 stars
Price: 4 stars
Overall: 18/20

By Kim Bo-gyung (