Hyundai IONIQ (1)

Unveiled last week, the hybrid version of the Hyundai Ioniq has been detailed in full ahead of its world premiere at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March. The Toyota Prius-rivalling petrol/electric variant is one of three versions that will be offered – the other two being a full electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid model – and will be the first to go on sale in Europe, during the second half of the year.

On the hybrid, power comes from a new 1.6 direct-injected Kappa GDI four-cylinder engine, producing 105 PS at 5,700 rpm and 147 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Both the Ioniq and the Prius lay claim to featuring an internal-combustion engine with the world’s highest thermal efficiency at 40%, so it’ll be interesting to see which one actually comes out tops.

In any case, Hyundai’s mill is mated to a 32 kW (43.5 PS)/170 Nm permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, a lithium-ion polymer battery and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission – as such, total system output is rated at 141 PS at 5,700 rpm and 265 Nm of torque in first gear, and 235 Nm in all other gears.

The electric motor was specifically designed for world-class efficiency, with optimisation measures including up to 10% thinner core components (electrical steel sheet) and rectangular-section copper wire for reduced core and copper loss. The motor enables the Ioniq to run in pure electric mode at speeds of up to 120 km/h.

Hyundai IONIQ (2)

Meanwhile, the aforementioned DCT is claimed to feature best-in-class transfer efficiency through the use of low-friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil. It also features Sport and Eco modes – the former holds on to lower gears for longer, while the latter shifts up earlier to higher gears for maximum fuel efficiency.

Built on a new dedicated platform, the Ioniq benefits from a number of weight-saving measures, including the use of an aluminium bonnet and tailgate, cutting as much as 12.4 kg off an equivalent steel version. The material is also used on a large proportion of suspension parts to save around 10 kg, including total of 4.6 kg off the front lower arms and 7.14 kg off the rear lower arms. Even the cargo cover on the Ioniq is around 25% lighter than on other Hyundai models thanks to lightweight components and a more compact optimised build.

Under the skin, a multilink rear suspension system with dual lower arms enhances ride comfort, while the steering has been tuned for clear and precise response and feedback, with an increased steering gear ratio adding to a sportier character. As with most hybrids, the Ioniq is fitted with low rolling resistance tyres for improved efficiency, while models fitted with 17-inch wheels come with silica tyres for better performance.

The brakes have also been optimised to maximise regenerative braking performance. A third-generation energy recuperating stopping system, Integrated Brake Assist Unit (iBAU) and Pressure Source Unit (PSU) reduces noise and friction, contributing to increased energy recuperation and efficiency.

Hyundai IONIQ (4)

Outside, the Ioniq has been designed to efficiently manage the airflow around the exterior. Flexible body panels, front wheel air curtains, external active air flap, rear spoiler and diffuser, side sill mouldings, floor undercover and closed wheel design contribute to a class-leading drag coefficient figure of just 0.24 Cd.

The interior is dominated by a 1280×720-pixel seven-inch TFT LCD instrument display that shows a range of digital gauges in high resolution, including a number of hybrid-specific displays like the current system operation or status. There’s also an infotainment system that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, along with a Qi wireless induction smartphone charger.

Other features include a memory function for the driver’s seat, heated front and rear seats, a climate control system with efficient operation and driver-only modes and an Eco-Driving Assistant System (ECO-DAS) that assesses the driving route and enables the most efficient battery charging or extra motor assistance as required by the predicted road conditions, as well as encouraging efficient coasting.

Space is freed up through the efficient packaging of the hybrid components, including the location of the battery under the seats to ensure uncompromised passenger and cargo area usability. Boot space is claimed to be class-leading, with the rear seats folding flat to extend the cargo capacity to 750 litres.

Comfort is key, so the Ioniq comes with in-dash insulation to minimise engine noise, while floor panel damping, enhanced A- and B-pillar fillings, thicker window glass and noise-cancelling windscreen film further reduces NVH. The suspension has also been specially tuned for superior ride quality.

Eco-friendly and recyclable materials find their way onto a Hyundai for the first time, such as interior door covers made from recycled plastic and powdered wood and volcanic stone, trimming 20% of mass compared to conventional materials. The headlining and carpet also feature raw materials extracted from sugar cane, while eco-friendly paint with soybean oil ingredients produce metallic finishes on some components.

Safety-wise, the Ioniq’s body utilises 53% advanced high strength steel for superior rigidity, improving handling and safety with high impact energy absorption and minimised distortion. Body structure improvements also ensures strength and durability in the event of a crash, complemented by a high-strength fiber-reinforced rear bumper. Up to seven airbags are available, including one for the driver’s knee.

The long list of available active safety features includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Smart Cruise Control and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).