The Toyota Prius has gone largely unchallenged in the mainstream hybrid arena for much of its life, but the Hyundai Ioniq aims to give it a run for its money. While Toyota has gone positively wild with the new Prius, the Hyundai Ioniq will go for a more elegant and subdued approach.
Following an earlier teaser of the car’s silhouette, two new preview sketches of the Hyundai Ioniq were released today. Hyundai claims the Ioniq will offer class-leading aerodynamic efficiency, and that’s reflected in the car’s swept-back windshield and raised rear decklid. The front grille will wear Hyundai’s familiar hexagonal grille, but with gloss-black detailing stretching toward the headlights, which bear new C-shaped lighting signatures. Underneath the new headlights are vertical foglight housings with sculpted edges presumably designed to direct air away from the wheels.
The wheels themselves likely will not look so dramatic in the flesh, but it wouldn’t be a shock for the Hyundai Ioniq to ride on bespoke wheels intended to maximize wind resistance. The car’s silhouette is a smooth wedge shape, with an invisible B-pillar and a tall trunk. Based on the spy shots we’ve seen, the Hyundai Ioniq will be a hatchback with a short and stubby rear, similar to the outgoing generation of the Prius.
Inside, Hyundai’s goal is to make the Ioniq clear and uncluttered. The teaser image reveals a simple center stack, with the infotainment screen integrated neatly between two air vents. Our previous spy shots reveal a small array of buttons and knobs will be positioned just below the screen to switch between key functions like media source, navigation, and phone pairing, while HVAC controls will populate the lower space of the console. A nicely sized storage area will be available in front of the shift lever, complete with USB connectivity and a 12-volt charger.
The Hyundai Ioniq will be the first single model to offer all-electric, plug-in hybrid, and traditional hybrid powertrains. It will ride on an “exclusive” new platform complete with a high-capacity lithium-ion battery for EV versions, while Hyundai’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is rumored to power the other two hybrid models that run on gasoline. We expect fuel economy ratings to be very competitive with the Prius’ 50/54 mpg ratings.
It isn’t clear which of these powertrains will be available at launch, but we should know more when the car debuts in Korea in January 2016. It will later appear at both the Geneva and New York auto shows in March.