2017 Hyundai Ioniq first drive impression: If you can lead a horse to water, can you really make him drink?

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While the Hybrid gets a six-speed DCT, the Ioniq Electric is a single speed reduction gear; hence, the pushbutton shifter.

While most conventional hybrids use a regular 12-volt battery for accessories, the Ioniq Hybrid features the world’s first consolidated 12-volt battery system that’s incorporated within the li-ion battery system. There are many advantages, such as no need to replace the battery (a bonus in California, as the state has decided to tax 12-volt battery replacement and recycling), it saves a whopping 26 pounds in weight, it allows for a 2.4 percent bump in cargo room, and you’ll never again have to call roadside assistance for a jump. If the 12-volt is depleted, just push the button next to the fuel door switch that resets the battery. This feature alone may be worth buying the Ioniq.

bl87lFor those who have the ability to plug-in their rides (this may exclude those city-dwelling Millennials who don’t have a real garage to charge in), the PHEV features a little bit more of everything than the Hybrid because of the ability to stay in pure EV mode considerably longer. The 1.6-liter engine and 6-speed DCT remain identical, while it gets a larger traction motor (44.5 kW) a larger 8.9 kWh battery, and a 3.3 kW on-board charger to swap AC for DC.  The PHEV gets an estimated 27-mile range in EV mode, but overall efficiency won’t be announced until it goes on sale much later in the year.

IMG_2600The Ioniq Electric obviously loses the engine, but gains a much larger (88kW) electric motor and an impressively large 28 kWh battery. The size of the onboard charger also doubles to 6.6 kW because the converting power needs to be faster when there’s a bigger battery. When you figure that a 33 kWh battery produces the equivalent energy to one gallon of gas, you know the range is going to be good. And it’s true, with an MPGe rating of 136. That means the Ioniq Electric can go approximately 124 miles on a full charge.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq EV (8)To help with recharging capabilities, the Electric model comes standard with regenerative brake-level control paddles and a driver selector control. Usually, regenerative braking, which recovers the energy lost through heat and friction during braking, is only recovered through one braking level. With the paddles and the four levels of regen braking in the Ioniq Electric, the driver can decide how much energy he wants to recapture, from minimal to maximum. On the highest braking setting, the brakes almost grab and slow down the Ioniq drastically, pumping all that energy back into the battery. As you blip the left paddle to drop the level, the coast down is smoother and more natural, but the energy gain is less. This system makes a lot of sense, especially if your range is close to depleted.