Hyundai Ioniq Fully Revealed with New Platform and Hybrid Powertrain

Can Korea’s big bet dethrone the Prius?

After months of teasing, we finally have confirmed details about the architecture and powertrain inside the Hyundai Ioniq. The Ioniq Hybrid, one of three new Ioniq offerings to come (a plug-in hybrid and a full EV are also planned), will ride on an all-new lightweight platform and use a hybrid-exclusive engine, electric motor, and dual-clutch transmission.

As expected, the Hyundai Ioniq employs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder Kappa direct-injection (GDI) engine that will be used exclusively in the brand's hybrid models. The cylinder head and block are split for better cooling, helping the Hyundai Ioniq achieve a claimed world-best thermal efficiency of 40 percent. Toyota also claims a 40-percent thermal efficiency for the new Prius' 1.8-liter four-cylinder. The Hyundai's engine makes 104 hp and 108 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 95 hp and 105 lb-ft in the new Toyota Prius.

The Hyundai Ioniq mates its new engine with an electric motor and a new lithium ion polymer battery. No specifics are available on the battery capacity, but the electric motor is good for 43 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, compared to 71 hp and 120 lb-ft in the Prius. Driving power to the front wheels is a new six-speed dual-clutch transmission, which Hyundai says is optimized specifically for use with an engine and electric motor. Hyundai is not yet providing combined system power for the Ioniq; the Prius provides a total system power of 121 hp.

Hyundai North America tells us that when the plug-in hybrid is revealed, specifications overall will differ "only slightly." The all-electric Hyundai Ioniq will use a high-capacity lithium ion battery, and likely a much more powerful all-electric powerplant.

One of the biggest areas of focus for the Hyundai Ioniq is handling. To prevent the hybrid from feeling like a wallowy pig in the corners, Hyundai used aluminum instead of steel for the hood and tailgate. By slashing weight on the upper part of the car and positioning the battery very low, Hyundai aimed for a low center of gravity to improve stability and handling responsiveness.

Aluminum is used to make non-structural parts like the front- and rear-wheel suspension components, as well as the front and rear back beams. All together these components are 45 percent lighter than if they were made from steel. High-strength steel is used strategically for crash protection, specifically for small front-overlap collisions.

No claims of official fuel efficiency have been announced, but we expect fuel economy ratings to be very competitive with the Prius' 50/54 mpg ratings. Check back soon for more details on the Hyundai Ioniq in the coming weeks and months.