Review: Hyundai Ioniq (2016)


Available as hybrid, plug-in or pure EV. Easy and relaxing to drive. Low running costs.

Limited rear headroom. Hybrid has poor ride quality on some surfaces. Bland inside and out. Foot parking brake.

Hyundai Ioniq (2016): At A Glance

The Ioniq is Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Prius, but it has a trick up its sleeve. Because there's the choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric power. That means there is a model to suit different drivers, whether they only drive short distances or regularly cover lots of miles.

The cheapest model of the three is the hybrid, which uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine alongside an electric motor. It can run on electricity alone at low speeds or when cruising, but most of the time the petrol engine will be running.

It’s reasonably quiet unless tasked with hard acceleration and the driving experience feels much like any other automatic car, since the gearbox is a six-speed dual-clutch, unlike the sometimes droning CVT used in the Toyota Prius. Official economy is 83.1mpg, with emissions of 79g/km.

The battery-powered version, identified by its smooth front grille, has a range of up to 174 miles on a full charge. It’s extremely responsive at low speeds, making it a perky performer in town, but it also copes well at motorway speeds, helped by its very quiet cabin. It’s certainly quieter and more refined than the hybrid.

The plug-in hybrid version combines the best of both worlds, in theory – giving enough electric range to cover the average commute, but with a conventional petrol engine to take over when travelling further afield.

Inside, the Ioniq is neatly laid out, comfortable and comes with plenty of technology. There’s a standard-fit touchscreen, but you'll need Premium trim to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, which means apps like Spotify and Google Maps can be accessed on the move. All models do come with adaptive cruise control, a parking camera, climate control and lane keep assist though.

The back row provides ample leg room, but the sloping roofline limits head room for taller occupants, while the split tailgate glass restricts rear visibility. Boot space is ample for shopping or luggage, but is slightly restricted on the EV, owing to the larger battery pack. There’s also a couple of charging leads to haul around, though they’re not too bulky.

For those seeking an alternatively-fuelled car, the Ioniq is an interesting alternative to the Toyota Prius hybrid or Nissan Leaf EV. It’s competitively priced, very well-equipped and provides options to suit most types of driving, plus it comes with a reassuring five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. 

Hyundai Ioniq hybrid 2016 Road Test

What does a Hyundai Ioniq (2016) cost?

List Price from £22,790
Buy new from £19,998
Contract hire from £216.00 per month

Hyundai Ioniq (2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4470 mm
Width 1820–2045 mm
Height 1450 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

Inside, the Hyundai Ioniq isn’t as futuristic as the Toyota Prius, with a more traditional dashboard and instrument binnacle. The quality is impressive, while everything's logically laid out, but it does look a little drab.

The entry-level SE comes with a 5.0-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth, but buyers have to upgrade to Premium trim to get built-in navigation and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support, which enables apps like Google Navigation or Spotify to be accessed on the go, via the larger 8.0-inch screen.

There are some subtle differences between the EV and the hybrid, chief among which is the gear selector. On the hybrid it’s a typical automatic gear lever, while the EV has buttons for selecting gear. It also has a slightly different centre console design and instrument display.

In the back row the Ioniq has plenty of leg room, but the sloping roof limits head room for taller passengers. That’s no issue for children, of course, who should be perfectly comfortable. Boot space in the hybrid is 443 litres, while the larger battery in the EV means a smaller 350 litre capacity.

The boot is wide and square, so loading with suitcases or large boxes is straightforward. The only problem is the load lip, which might make getting heavy objects in and out tricky. Folding the rear seats is easy and significantly increases boot space to more than 1400 litres in both variants.

Safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera and lane keep assist as standard. Premium models look good value with heated front seats and steering wheel, rear ventilation and a wireless phone charging pad, while top models get luxuries like ventilated front seats.

Standard Equipment:

SE comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, automatic lights, autonomous emergency braking, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, hill start assist, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, five-inch touchscreen, USB connectivity and AUX input.

Premium trim adds auto-dimming rear view mirror, power folding door mirrors, heated front seats, xenon headlights, eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, Android Auto and Apple Carplay, upgraded audio system, wireless phone charging pad.

Premium SE gains alloy pedals, auto wipers, blind spot detection, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment, rear cross traffic alert, leather seat facings.

Electric versions have 16-inch alloy wheels, single-zone climate control, auto wipers, stop and go capable adaptive cruise control. 

Child seats that fit a Hyundai Ioniq (2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Hyundai Ioniq (2016) like to drive?

Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid Ioniq use a 1.6-litre petrol engine linked to an electric motor and battery pack. Peak power is 141PS and it has a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This gives it a more conventional driving experience than the sometimes loud CVT used in the Toyota Prius, yet it’s still very smooth.

It's a very relaxed drive, especially around town at low speeds, where the near silent electric motor usually provides drive without the engine kicking in. Even when the engine does fire up, it is barely noticeable. It means the cut and thrust of urban traffic is easy to cope with in the calm cabin of the Ioniq.

It’s fairly capable out of town too, with accurate steering and good body control through corners. The engine defaults to eco mode, which is great for returning excellent fuel economy, but means it can feel glacially slow when trying to overtake or accelerate to join a motorway.

Pushing the gear selector to the left puts it in sport mode, allowing you to change gears using the paddles located behind the steering while. While this isn't fun in a sports car kind of way, it does help significantly improve acceleration in those situations when you could do with more power.

Unfortunately, when the surface gets uneven or broken the ride quality can become unsettled, thumping over potholes and jiggling over ripples and undulations. It's only a problem with the hybrid, though.

One oddity is that the Ioniq - for all its modern technology - has a foot-operated parking brake rather than an electric handbrake.

For the most part the hybrid and EV feel very similar to drive, though the EV picks up speed from a standstill more quickly and is quieter. The ride quality over uneven surfaces is appreciably smoother in the EV, despite the fact it has a less complicated rear suspension system to cope with the bigger, heavier battery pack.

The EV has a range of up to 174 miles on a full charge, which from empty takes as little as four hours on a dedicated EV charger. Fast chargers, like those at motorway services, will boost the battery to 80 per cent in about half an hour, or there is a three-pin option that takes upwards of 10 hours from empty.

It’s unlikely many drivers will need to charge from empty, of course, since most EV owners use their cars over short distances in town. Nonetheless, the Ioniq EV copes very well at higher speeds, with enough performance in reserve for overtaking at motorway speeds and neat handling on country roads.

In terms of running costs, the EV is exempt from VED road tax, and it's in the lowest BIK rate for company car drivers. The hybrid, on the other hand, emits 79g/km of CO2 and is officially capable of 78.5mpg. In real world driving it’s quite easy to exceed 60mpg, but beware that opting for larger 17-inch wheels pushes emissions up and economy down. 

Officially, the plug-in hybrid returns 256mpg and emits 26g/km CO2. Obviously, that won't be reflected in the real world unless you charge it regularly and rarely travel more than its 39-mile electric range. Even when the battery's empty, we found 60mpg easy to achieve.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Hybrid 79–83 mpg 10.8 s 79 g/km
Plug-In Hybrid - 10.6 s 26 g/km

Real MPG average for a Hyundai Ioniq (2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

47–136 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Hyundai Ioniq (2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best hybrid car?

I do a fair bit of town and motorway driving and was wondering what is the best family hybrid car?
We'd recommend the Hyundai Ioniq or Toyota Corolla - both really good hybrid family cars that come with long warranties.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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