It’s no secret that Hyundai sales been lagging in Malaysia in the last couple of years. Japanese rivals have stepped up their game (particularly Honda) while the appreciating Won has had a detrimental impact on the all-important value proposition of Korean cars. To neutral observers, it has felt like an eternity since Hyundai last outed a winner. But oh boy, have they outdone themselves this time round.
So, I’m going to call it even at this early stage. If the Ioniq Hybrid doesn’t sell in respectable numbers (well into the hundreds per month), Hyundai Sime Darby Motors might as well throw in the towel because they have thrown in the kitchen sink for this car. For a C-segment sized four-door notchback (a la Toyota Prius), the Ioniq starts at below RM100,000 for the ‘base’ variant (sans insurance) and up to RM110,000 for the ‘Plus’ version that comes with cutting edge active safety features. If these were the prices for the new Elantra, you’d say they’ve done a good job, but the Ioniq is just getting started.
Premium features without the premium price
For not a lot more money than a top-spec Honda City, you are getting a full hybrid with a 105hp/147Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder combustion engine assisted by a 44hp/170Nm electric motor (a 1.56kWH lithium ion battery pack resides under the rear seats). There’s a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that transfers power to the front wheels, with vehicle stability management and seven airbags fitted as standard. Did I mention that the Ioniq also has a fully independent multi-link rear suspension?
It gets even more interesting if you stump up RM10,000 more (and this you really should), the Plus variant gets you bi-Xenons, leather seats (powered for the driver side), larger LCD displays, wireless phone charger, blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, autonomous braking and active cruise control. Oh, the Ioniq Hybrid is also rated to return 25.6km/l (real world performance probably differs).
You’ll have to shop well into the luxury segment to get anywhere as complete a feature set found in the Ioniq Hybrid Plus. And just so nobody gets jittery over the amount of technology being offered, the Ioniq will come with five-year warranty (eight years for the high voltage battery pack which costs less than RM10,000 to replace, if required) and three years of free maintenance service.
If you’re about to pull the trigger on the new Civic (or any four-door C-segment model for that matter), the Ioniq warrants your immediate attention. In fact, you might need to act with some urgency as we understand that the prices may not hold if the Ringgit continues its slide against major currencies. But as it stands, there may not be any other car that offers as much value as the Ioniq in 2016…maybe not even in the past 10 years. Welcome back, Hyundai.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Price: RM99,888 (HEV), RM110,388 (HEV Plus) (both w/o insurance)
Engine: 1.6-litre, direct injection inline-4, FWD
Output: 105hp @ 5,700rpm, 147Nm @ 4,000rpm
Electric motor: Permanent magnet synchronous type
Output: 44hp @ 0rpm, 170Nm @ 0rpm
Transmission: 6-sp dual-clutch auto
Performance: 0-100km/h in 11.1 seconds, top speed 184km/h
Fuel efficiency: 25.6 km/l (combined cycle)
Wheels/tyres: 17in alloys, 225/45 R17
Safety: 7-airbags, Electronic Stability Control
Warranty: 5-year incl. 3-yr maintenance; 8-year for high voltage battery