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Prius-fighting 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is Three Cars in One!

Prius-fighting 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is Three Cars in One!

By Christian Wardlaw, January 08, 2016

By offering consumers a choice between three different powertrains, Hyundai expects the new 2017 Ioniq to compete with a variety of alternative-fuel vehicles including the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius. Hyundai introduced the first version of the 2017 Ioniq in South Korea, and will reveal full details of its new green machine at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

When the new Hyundai Ioniq goes on sale by the end of 2016, buyers will need to decide if they want a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, plug-in electric powertrain with limited range that reverts to gas-electric operation when the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, or a full electric vehicle powertrain. According to Hyundai, the Ioniq is the first car to provide these three choices in a single vehicle.

As this article is written, only a handful of details are available for the Ioniq Hybrid. It will employ a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, electric motor, Lithium-ion polymer battery, dual-clutch transmission, and a regenerative braking system. Estimates for the combined horsepower rating and expected fuel economy were not divulged, but Hyundai is aiming to deliver “dynamic ride and handling” qualities for an “entertaining drive” combined with “class-leading fuel economy,” according to the company.

Batteries are mounted low in a bespoke platform composed primarily of high-strength steel. Hyundai uses advanced high-strength steel for portions of the vehicle architecture responsible for protecting vehicle occupants in a collision, and non-structural bodywork is aluminum in order to save weight.

Designed to cheat the wind, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq displays a familiar profile not unlike a Chevy Volt, Honda Insight, or Toyota Prius. The Ioniq expresses a greater sense of style than its chief competitors, combined with exercised restraint that precludes the garish detailing applied to the redesigned 2016 Prius.

A hexagonal grille resides up front, decorated with chrome horizontal bars and flanked by LED running and driving lights. A chrome strip runs along the bottom of the doors in similar fashion to the current Sonata, while handsome, machined-surface aluminum wheels with gray inserts fill the wheel wells. Around back, a split rear window divides the tall, aerodynamic rear deck in similar fashion to a Prius, and the rear bumper displays sharp edges and a large insert intended to reduce the car’s visual mass.

Inside, the Ioniq is not different for the sake of being different. What Hyundai terms a “futuristic yet warm” interior features environmentally friendly materials, “clutter-free” design, and “flexible space,” the automaker says. Blue trim accents and blue ambient lighting deliver a soothing appearance, and horizontal themes resemble those seen in the latest Sonata and Elantra.

The driver faces a racy-looking flat-bottom steering wheel, and Hyundai places the instrumentation, touch-screen infotainment system, control panel, and the gear selector exactly where the driver expects to find them. Refreshingly, traditional buttons and knobs are used for the climate, stereo, and primary infotainment menus, rather than touch-sensing-this or gesture-control-that. Expect a full roster of Blue Link subscription-based services, enhanced with programs designed specifically for the Ioniq.

Following its global coming-out party in Geneva, the Ioniq will be shown in the United States for the first time at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

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