Published on August 28th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez1
This is more than just a family car
One of the most surprising launches of recent memory was, without a doubt, the Hyundai IONIQ. At a time where only premium manufacturers seemed to be bringing in high-tech powertrains to Malaysia, Hyundai stepped up the game with the IONIQ at a very accessible price point. Owing to local production and its EEV status, Malaysians got to experience cutting edge technology in a mid-sized sedan for around just RM100,000.
Before even opening the hood, you see that the IONIQ’s a futuristic looking vehicle. It sports a 2.5 box design for maximum aerodynamics and functional styling. The result is a drag coefficient of just Cd 0.24 – as slippery as a Tesla Model S! Hyundai have also used more aluminium parts than most conventional cars do. This helps to reduce the weight of the car without compromising on its strength.
At the front of the IONIQ, you’ll notice that the Hyundai logo is found on a radar module at the centre of the grille. The radar here is used in conjunction with a forward detection camera to give you Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Smart Cruise Control (SCC).
AEB can be a lifesaver as it can stop or slow the IONIQ down when it detects a collision is imminent. SCC on the other hand, takes what’s great about cruise control, and controls the brakes and accelerator to match the car ahead of you. It takes a lot of the stress out of highway driving, allowing you to simply concentrate on keeping in your lane.
There are other safety systems that take advantage of the IONIQ’s various sensors. If the driver begins to stray out his lane, the car will produce an audible warning and attempt to guide itself back into the centre of the lane. Too many preventable accidents occur when drivers snooze at the wheel, this system works to reduce the number.
The tech in the Hyundai IONIQ isn’t just safety-related of course. There are also features that enrich the user experience in other ways. The fully digital instrument cluster, for one. It gives the driver all the information he needs in a clear manner, and even includes information from the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. You also get a wireless Qi charger in the cabin, so there’s no worries when you leave your charging cable at home.
And finally, there’s the IONIQ’s biggest high-tech feature – its hybrid powertrain. It comprises both a petrol engine and an electric motor that work together seemlessly for maximum efficiency.
Under the hood is a 1.6-litre direct injection, naturally aspirated engine running on the Atkinson cycle, which is significantly more efficient that the Otto cycle found on most other engines. This has given the engine a class-leading 40% thermodynamic efficiency, where most other modern cars hover between 30-35%. The Atkinson cycle does yield less power though, but that’s where the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor comes in. It produces 43hp and 170 Nm of torque – enough to move the IONIQ completely in electric mode up to 120km/h in ECO mode.
Put it in Sport mode, and it adds on to the engine’s 104hp and 147Nm of torque for maximum acceleration and responsiveness. This mode also takes advantage of the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission’s ability to make quick shifts.
It’s really only after driving the IONIQ in both these modes where you can see just how advanced Hyundai’s hybrid system is. The engineers have aimed at making the car drive as much like a normal car as possible. The transition from electric power to petrol power happens without any interruption and gear changes are noticeably smooth too, in spite of how quickly they occur.
They’ve done things their own way. The battery itself uses a lithium-ion polymer compound and is placed very low, under the rear passenger seats. This helps with high speed stability and also gives owners access to a large boot with a full-sized spare tyre. Plus, compared to the latest Toyota Prius, the battery capacity here is about twice as large, which helps put the IONIQ slightly ahead in terms of fuel economy.
In addition, the gearbox we mentioned earlier consists of several modules, meaning it can be serviced rather than completely replaced, unlike many other dual-clutch transmissions.
And to ensure even more peace of mind, Hyundai package the IONIQ with a 5-year, 300,000km warranty as well as an 8-year unlimited mileage warranty on the battery. For between RM95K and RM110K, the Hyundai IONIQ is impossible to beat for those who want the latest and greatest in tech.