2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV Performance

$30,315 - $36,815
Price Range (MSRP)

Look like a regular car, drive like a regular car - that was the brief for the Ioniq Electric and in almost all aspects it delivers on that premise. It drives like any other compact hatchback with a comfort bias and tends to have a floaty feel over undulating surfaces, while the steering is direct and responsive if lacking in feedback. Performance from the 118-horsepower electric drive system is decent though, largely thanks to a relatively low weight that sees the 218 lb-ft of instantaneous torque put to good use. It’s no avid driver’s car, and the low-rolling-resistance tires don’t offer loads of grip, but it’s comfortable and economical, even if the 124-mile range is on the low end of the spectrum for this segment, particularly against the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and Hyundai’s own Kona Electric.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV Engine and Transmission

While the hybrid and plug-in versions of the Ioniq feature combustion motors, in its purest form the Ioniq Electric has no combustion engine in sight. Instead, a 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack is mated to a 118-horsepower, 218 lb-ft electric motor on a 360-volt system. Electric performance is punchy - thank instant torque for that - particularly around town, while at highway speeds the performance is a little less forthcoming.

With a single-speed drive system, not having to shift gears takes some getting used to, with steering mounted paddles used for adjusting the levels of brake regeneration and their accompanying levels of braking effect in off-throttle scenarios. It’s a little awkward at first, but with careful driving and some foresight, it’s possible to drive the Ioniq Electric predominantly without the brake pedal, which in turn gets you maximum range as well.

The Ioniq is equipped with a 6.6 kW charging system with DC fast charging capabilities. With a level 3 DC fast charger, up to 80% of its charge can be recouped within 23 minutes, while a standard charge on a 220-volt system will take approximately four and a half hours, and charge on a slower 110-volt system will take around ten hours to fully charge.

Hyundai Ioniq EV
Nissan Leaf
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Horsepower 118 147 @ 3282 200
Torque 218 236 266
Transmission Single-Speed Reduction Gear Auto Single Speed Reducer N/A

Drivetrain

Just one drivetrain is available, with the Ioniq’s pairing of battery and a single electric motor driving the front pair of wheels through a single-speed transmission setup. The system is found wanting for little and behaves much as any standard front-wheel drive hatchback would, while 118 hp is hardly enough to trouble the grip levels on the front wheels, even without the weight of a combustion engine to pin the front wheels down. While front-wheel drive may not be ideal in cold weather conditions, the state of California is hardly as frosty as the Northern states, so the lack of an all-wheel-drive option is unlikely to faze buyers.

MPG

A full charge of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery yields an estimated range of 124 miles, giving an MPG equivalence of 136 MPGe. While the latter figure is impressive, the range is well behind that of other EVs in the segment, particularly for vehicles engineered with pure electrification in mind. The Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 offer around 150 miles range each, with a potential 200-mile range on a soon-to-be-launched larger battery option for the Leaf, while the Chevrolet Bolt offers 238 miles. Hyundai’s own Kona Electric, which overlaps on price with the Ioniq Electric Limited, gets an EPA estimate of 258 miles of electric range. While the Ioniq was a foot in the door for Hyundai’s EV foray, times have moved on while the Ioniq has been left behind.

Hyundai Ioniq EV
Nissan Leaf
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Combined 136 mpg 112 mpg 119 mpg
City 150 mpg 124 mpg 128 mpg
Highway 122 mpg 99 mpg 110 mpg