NEW YORK — The covers were officially pulled off the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq lineup at the 2016 New York Auto Show, revealing the trio of eco-friendly Hybrid, Plug-In and Electric models. It is the first car to offer all three types of electric propulsion.
Though some information was released prior to launch, including the promise that the Hybrid will deliver best-in-class fuel economy, additional facts were revealed here in New York. For starters, Hyundai estimates the Ioniq Plug-In will be capable of travelling 25 miles on electricity alone, besting the new Prius Prime also introduced here in New York by 3 miles, but falling well short of the Chevrolet Volt. Its plug-in battery is also substantially larger than the regular hybrid's (8.9 kWh versus 1.56), while its electric motor is more powerful as well.
The Ioniq Electric, meanwhile, has an estimated driving range of 110 miles, which would be one of the lengthiest ranges among EVs not named Tesla. Its battery boasts 28 kWh.
Battery size and propulsion aren't the only ways the Electric differs from its two siblings. Its "grille" is entirely filled in with gloss black trim, while inside, the center console is uniquely designed to house a push-button electronic gear selector. The cupholders are also relocated, and there is a low well for smartphones and other items reminiscent of the one found in the Tesla Model S (or at least half of one).
We also got our first chance to sit in the Ioniq, which revealed an impressive wealth of travel for both the driver seat and telescoping steering wheel. The backseat seemed to offer as much leg- and headroom as the Toyota Prius (the latter can be similarly pinched for tall occupants), but much better than the barely three-across Volt. The cargo area seemed to be smaller than that in the Prius, most notably regarding width.
Finally, Hyundai was keen to point out that the Ioniq features a more conventional interior design than many hybrid and electric models. That it most certainly does, but it stands out by its use of materials. Instead of the petroleum-based plastics found in every other car, the Ioniq's interior panels consist of an eco-friendly mix of powdered wood and volcanic stone. The end result looks like neither wood nor stone, and we wouldn't say it's particularly special in its feel or appearance — in other words, its portrayal of black interior plastic is convincing. Plus, besides being a more sustainable material, this wood/stone mix is also lighter than typical plastic panels.
The Ioniq Hybrid will be the first of the trio to arrive in showrooms, but exact timing has not yet been announced.
Edmunds says: The Hyundai Ioniq looks competitive on paper and compelling in person, but there's a lot of future testing to be done before declaring it a Prius beater.