Price £19,995 - £23,595 PROS Conventional styling Decent practicality Low running costs CONS Some cheap plastics inside No plug-in hybrid until 2017 Engine sounds strained at high revs "The Hyundai Ioniq is likely to tempt many buyers who might ordinarily choose a Toyota Prius." The Hyundai Ioniq is the first car to be offered in three different power configurations. There’s already the Ioniq Hybrid (the subject of this review) and 2017 will bring a plug-in hybrid version. There’s also an Ioniq Electric, which is purely electrically powered. We’ve reviewed it separately and it too is on sale now. The Ioniq is a neatly styled, if slightly generic, five-seat hatchback very much in the vein of the Toyota Prius, which will be the main sales rival for the Ioniq in hybrid form. The Ioniq features Hyundai’s large grille and a swooping, almost coupe-like roofline that improves aerodynamics and therefore fuel economy. Other plug-in hybrid family cars, such as the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Lexus CT and Toyota Auris Hybrid, will also compete with the Ioniq, but the entry-level non-plug-in version (called simply the Ioniq Hybrid) is inexpensive enough that it’ll probably be seen as an alternative to wide range of conventionally powered petrol and diesel models. The hybrid Ioniq is powered by a 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine, making 104bhp and paired with a 43bhp electric motor. The latter is only there to assist the petrol engine, though: unlike the forthcoming plug-in version, the basic Ioniq Hybrid won’t be capable of travelling on pure electric power for any great distance. It’ll do 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 115mph; fuel economy is a claimed 83.1mpg, while CO2 emissions of 79g/km ensure exemption from road tax but not the London Congestion Charge. The Ioniq Hybrid is sure to be seen as an attractive company-car option, with its low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rate of 15%, although urban business users will find the 7% BiK of the Ioniq Electric even more appealing. Standard equipment is also pretty good on all models: alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, air-conditioning and DAB radio are standard from the entry-level model up, with Premium models benefiting from sat nav and the latest Bluetooth compatibility technology, while the Premium SE has a leather-clad interior. The interior of the Ioniq is very conventional in terms of its layout – there’s little that reminds you of the sophisticated technology under the metal. It’s solid and well designed, though, however there are some cheap finishes in to be found in certain places. Although it’s not exactly an inspiring place to sit, it is at least easy to use. Despite its technology, the Ioniq Hybrid is still a car that anyone will be able to jump in and drive straight away without any fear of having to adapt to new routines. It’ll comfortably accommodate a small family, too. The Ioniq provides space to spare for front and rear-seat occupants alike, as well as an impressive boot with more capacity than that of the Toyota Hybrid. It can extend further by folding the rear seats down, too. All the positive attributes of good fuel efficiency and low emissions that made the Toyota Prius such a success apply equally to the Hyundai Ioniq, which has the further advantage of comfortably undercutting the the Japanese car’s price. It’s covered by the same five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty as other Hyundai models, which have acquired a very positive reputation for reliability, so the Ioniq should be an easy car to live with. It’s a safe one, too. Every model is loaded with up-to-date technology including automatic emergency braking (which can slow the car to a halt if it detects an obstacle in its path), as well as lane-keeping assistance. Higher-spec models also have adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic detection to help with reversing out of parking spaces or driveways onto busy roads. These systems helped the Ioniq score the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests. As a first hybrid offering from Hyundai, the Ioniq is generally quite impressive. It may not be the most imaginatively designed car, but it forms a very well rounded package and one that’s competent enough to be seen as a real threat to the market dominance of the Toyota Prius. It’s just a shame that the plug-in hybrid version hasn’t been available from the outset.