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Hyundai are revolutionising the future of motoring with IONIQ. Here's How

Not content with their meteoric rise to a best-selling market leader in just a few years, the team at Hyundai now have an even more ambitious goal in sight: saving the planet.

They’ve got quite a job on their hands. But they’ve got a plan. By revolutionising the way we drive, by leading the way with mind-boggling technology in cars for the everyday consumer, by reducing our environmental footprint to a mere shadow, Hyundai is bringing about serious change in the automotive world.

Enter the Hyundai IONIQ. It’s a special car – the first ever to be offered with a choice of three different powertrains, depending which best suits your driving habits. First up there’s a hybrid model, which pairs a fuel-efficient petrol engine with a 32kw electric motor to balance power and efficiency. Secondly, an all-electric version with long range batteries you can charge at home and on the go. And finally, an innovative plug-in hybrid version, which allows you to choose between hybrid driving or all-electric, depending on the type of journey.

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The IONIQ is, then, a pretty innovative creation. But which drivetrain to choose? Here’s the lowdown on each:

Hybrid

This version is designed to be the perfect compromise for those who aren’t quite ready to embrace an entirely electric driving experience. It works in the same way as other hybrids but using newer, more efficient technology.

Put your foot down at the traffic lights and the electric motor instantly propels the car forwards from the standstill before the 1.6-litre petrol engine kicks in to deliver some more oomph, so you can pull away quickly, and keep accelerating, without burning colossal amounts of fuel. The sensation of immediate speed is intensified by the IONIQ’s two clutches, which work together to anticipate your gear changes and respond more quickly.

Electric 

Emissions aren’t a problem for the all-electric IONIQ, which is powered by a torquey 88kw motor running from a super-efficient Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery. The batteries can take the IONIQ a whopping 280 kms on a single charge, which smashes every other electric vehicle in this class out of the water.

Like the Hybrid version, the electric version is seriously quick off the line. Accelerating is more like flicking a switch than beginning a process of combustion, so you get the performance of a larger petrol engine and no emissions. It’s fun to drive too; the batteries are positioned right down in the chassis of the car, which lowers the centre of gravity and makes for more responsive handling through the corners.

Plug-in Hybrid

The best things in life take time, which is why the plug-in version isn’t yet available in Ireland. Hyundai has thus far been elusive with the details, further raising the anticipation for this version of the IONIQ; there’ll be more on this later in the year when the car is launched. 

There are some key differences between the three cars. But the true appeal lies in their similarities. They all share a wealth of seriously clever technology to keep you safer than ever on the road. Like built-in radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors (yep, this is still a car – not a spaceship), to warn you about a potential collision and, if necessary, apply emergency braking. It’ll even steer you back into the correct lane if it detects you straying over the lines.

The IONIQ might save your life, then, but as we’ve discussed, it’s supposed to be saving the whole planet. So not just the drivetrains designed to be as ruthlessly fuel-efficient as possible; the entire car has been finely contoured to be aerodynamically fluid, scything through the air with a drag coefficient of just 0.24. To put that in perspective, the racing-spec Ford Focus RS has a drag coefficient of 0.36. The insane, blisteringly fast Pagani Huayra hypercar – 0.31. So in normal English – the IONIQ is one of the most aerodynamic cars you can buy.

Some of the new features are just plain cool. Like the wireless charging pad in the centre console, which pumps juice into your phone without the need for any wires at all. Or the digital instrument cluster, which automatically changes appearance and colour when you select a new drive mode. Or the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto-enabled 8” touchscreen controlling the navigation system.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Finally, we get to the price. Futuristic superhero cars are notoriously expensive. The IONIQ hybrid, though, is priced from a mere €34,445. The electric version? €29,450 (includes Govt. grant of €5,000). And let’s not forget: you’ll spend less at the pumps in an IONIQ than almost any other car. This is a car for the wallet-conscious as well the environmentally aware. Which is why it’s the car of the future.

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