Test Drives

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review: The New Normal



With Singapore’s push towards electrifying its vehicle population, cars like the Hyundai Ioniq Electric will play an even bigger role in bringing electric vehicles to the mainstream


SINGAPORE

In the time between Hyundai first offering us a test drive of the Ioniq Electric, and us actually driving the car, a pretty important development happened here in Singapore: The Government announced plans to eliminate internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in Singapore by 2040, and make a big push towards encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

As such, cars like the Ioniq Electric now take on an even greater significance in our local motoring landscape. Ioniqs are already being used as taxis here, so they’ll definitely be a very common sight on our roads in the years ahead. But more crucially, the Ioniq also sets the blueprint for what the average car buyer can expect in Singapore’s electrified future.

So, if this is the type of car that you’ll be driving 20 years from now (assuming we’ll all still be alive by then), it stands to reason that you should pay close attention to see what the Ioniq Electric is all about.

The car you see here is the facelifted version of the Ioniq Electric that was first launched here in 2018, and there are some notable key differences in this revised model. Externally, there are new LED lights front and rear, and a different ‘grille’ design that now incorporates two flaps which open up while on the move to allow for ventilation for the electric drivetrain system.

On the inside, the interior has been redesigned, and there is now a large 8.0-inch touchscreen display sitting atop the dashboard. The infotainment system now also allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for your smartphones.

Advanced driving aids such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist come standard on the Ioniq Electric, as is the collision avoidance system which warns you if you’re about to hit somebody. These features are starting to appear on mainstream cars like the Toyota Corolla Altis too, but their presence here is still impressive nonetheless.

But probably the most important change to the facelifted Ioniq Electric is the new 38.3kWh battery, which boosts the car’s range to 311km, up from 280km pre-facelift. The revised drivetrain also sees an increase in power, from 118hp previously to 134hp now.

Charging time is quoted at around 6 hours or so from a standard home wallbox, but the Ioniq does support fast charging, so you can pretty much get it juiced up at a public DC charger within an hour or less.

By and large the Ioniq Electric does drive pretty much like any other normal car would. The only noticeable difference is the regenerative braking system which does cut in somewhat abruptly and randomly when you lift your foot off the accelerator. However, the level of interference can be adjusted using the paddle shifters, or it can even be turned off entirely, so it’s not really a major drawback actually.

The other thing about driving an electric-propelled car is that it gains momentum in a fashion that’s quite unlike an ICE car. On paper the Ioniq Electric’s 0-100km/h sprint time of 10.2 seconds doesn’t seem particular quick. But it gains speed so silently and effortlessly that it sometimes catches you out, and you won’t notice that you’ve hit triple digits until you peer at the speedometer, or see the vehicle in front rapidly filling up your windscreen (which is when the collision avoidance system comes in handy).

These are factors that motorists will have to adjust to when they transition to electric motoring. But otherwise, the Ioniq Electric does feel relatively normal to drive. The ride is a bit floaty, and it crests over bumps in that softly-softly manner that’s almost boat-like, but not unduly uncomfortable. It handles alright as well, not particularly exciting but not terrible either, with the sort of neutral poise that’s best described as ‘inoffensive’.

For what it’s worth, the Ioniq is really designed to be as normal as possible. Even the charging port is at the back, where the fuel-filler cap normally sits on an ICE car. A Hyundai Kona EV driver at a charging station remarked to me that this placement seems ‘more logical’, as opposed to most other EVs which have their ports in front, given local drivers’ propensity to reverse park.

It’s probably little details like these that might help swing the tide towards EVs like the Ioniq Electric. After all, if this is the car that you’ll be driving in the future, at least you can rest assured that the driving experience won’t be very much different from what you’re used to right now.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Electric Motor 134hp, 295Nm
Battery Lithium ion, 38.3kWh
Charge Time / Type 6 hours (approx) / Wallbox
Electric Range 311km
0-100km/h 10.2 seconds
Top Speed 165km/h
Efficiency 11.7kWh/100km
VES Band / CO2 A1 / 0g/km
Agent Komoco Motors
Price $154,999 with COE
Availability Now

Verdict: Updated Ioniq Electric is well-equipped, and feels as normal as any other family car to drive


READ MORE: The Ioniq is also available in hybrid form. How does that fare as compared to the full electrified version? Read our review to find out!

about the author

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Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.