By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – For us, the test drive of the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, which was a plug-in hybrid, was the trifecta.
We had driven the hybrid and the all-electric version, and the plug-in hybrid meant we have driven all the Ioniq models.
The IONIQ Plug-in featured a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine that delivered 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission and it had paddle shifters that went unused.
Our plug-in version of the Ioniq’s electric motor delivered 45 kW or 60 horsepower with maximum torque of 125 pound-feet, powered by an 8.9 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery. The total system output was 156 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
With a full charge, this combination delivered the equivalent of 119 mpge combined. Running on just the gasoline engine, the car got 52 mpg combined. In any mode, it was a gas sipper.
We think it was the six-speed transmission that took away the feel of a hybrid while we were driving. Acceleration was good, the four-door hatchback was bereft of any sort of hybrid-like drone while accelerating and it could get up to speed smartly.
Our test model was the Limited trim version and it had most of the standard creature comforts: ambient interior lighting, premium audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Hyundai Blue Link, and wireless charging.
The suite of safety equipment was impressive. It included forward collision warning, highway driving assist, front and rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, driver attention warning, lane following assist, blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic alert with avoidance assists and a rearview parking camera with dynamic parking guidance.
The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in hybrid was an easy driving car. We never felt overwhelmed by the bigger crossovers and pickup trucks on the road.
Of course, we had satellite radio, streaming, voice controls and Bluetooth. Out test vehicle also had a navigation system.
When we climbed into the back seat, we found it a little close, but it was not extreme. In fact, we think three smaller people could sit in the back seat. Because the Ioniq is front-wheel drive, the tunnel was not an obstruction. Oh, we almost forgot, our test model had a moonroof. For $33,040 as tested, given the cash it would save on gasoline costs, we thought the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV exceled.