Who Else Besides Toyota Will The Hyundai Ioniq Threaten?

For the past couple years we’ve heard of Hyundai’s pending “Prius Fighter,” and now that the Ioniq will go on sale in the U.S. later this year, in question is what other automakers might also feel the heat?

The Ioniq – its name a merger of ion and unique – is to be three cars in one – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV. It’s already on sale in 52.7 mpg hybrid guise in Korea, and Hyundai projects 30,000 global Ioniq line sales this year, a not insubstantial 77,000 next year, but inquiries surrounding its ultimate potential remain.

For starters, the purpose-built electrified car with which a plug-in hybrid version and all-electric version will share the same platform has plug-in fans hoping/wondering what kind of electric range these variants will achieve.

Teasing everyone along, Hyundai appears to have met or come very close to its goal, at least on paper, of building a legitimate contender to the world’s best-selling green car, the Prius.

The Ioniq’s 1.6-ilter hybrid version utilizing a unique dual clutch transmission already achieves superior fuel economy in Korea than the third-generation Prius and eyes are on whether it will beat the new 2016 Prius.

According to Reuters, the Ioniq is “expected” by Hyundai to achieve 57 mpg in the U.S., although in our direct queries with Hyundai’s U.S. representatives, they said no word or projections are being released here yet.

In any case, its sporty looks also have been praised by some as more fetching than the 2016 Prius which echoes design cues from Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell vehicle as well as the former Prius.

What’s more, that Hyundai is serious about green cars is clear. While reports currently are that the Korean automaker needs to improve to meet stringent fuel economy and CO2 targets, it has said it is well on track.

In fall 2014 it said its global fleet would be 25-percent greener by decade’s end, and the number of electrified cars it has on offer has been estimated at 22 by the Korean Herald, while Reuters says it will be 26.

And, Hyundai said in 2014, it would transform itself into a “global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020.”

Within these plans, Hyundai is pursuing also fuel cell vehicles, actually beat Toyota’s purpose-built Mirai to market with its converted Tucson FCV and has development reportedly underway of its own purpose-built FCV.

The Ioniq is however a focal point in this effort to green the fleet.

“Our vision for future mobility focuses on choice, with a variety of powertrain options to suit customers’ varied lifestyles, without compromising on design or driving enjoyment,” said Woong-Chul Yang, Head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center. “Ioniq embodies Hyundai Motor’s vision to shift the automotive paradigm and future mobility; Ioniq is the fruit of our efforts to become the leader in the global green car market.”

Ioniq Overview

Hyundai saved hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs with its three-in-one electrified car.

While making a nod to sportiness, it is no fire breather in hybrid trim, however. Even with the dual clutch tranny – to bypass the “elastic band” feeling Toyota and other automakers’ CVTs offer – its 0-60 time is only 10.3 seconds.

According to Automotive News, the Ioniq is more entertaining than the Prius, especially in sport mode.

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