Hyundai Ioniq 2021 electric elite

2021 Hyundai Ioniq EV Elite long-term review: Introduction

We've added a Hyundai Ioniq Electric to our long-term test fleet, so that we can take a closer look at living with the full-electric version of Hyundai's clever small car.
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The CarAdvice long-term garage is moving in a decidedly electric direction at the moment – and for a very good reason – with the latest addition to the long-term fleet being the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq EV Elite.

We’re getting more and more correspondence related to electric cars – driving them, charging them at home and on the road, what they are like to live with and, yes, range. As we move to an electric future, those questions will only multiply. As such, where possible, we’ll take a longer look at how potential buyers can interact with electric vehicles.

So, that’s why we have the Ioniq in the CarAdvice garage. Here’s a look at the model grade we have.

The MG ZS EV (which we also have in the long-term garage at the moment) has garnered plenty of attention thanks to its sharp pricing. And rightly so – sharp pricing attracts buyers. The Ioniq, however, isn’t that far away, and as tested the Elite starts from $48,970 before on-road costs. Our long-termer also has ‘Fluid Metal’ metallic paint, which adds $495 to the price.

While the world has undoubtedly gone SUV crazy, the electric vehicle rollout has also proven the counterpoint. Australians will consider a different body style if the technology and pricing suit their needs. The Ioniq is a case in point – a five-door lift-back – with plenty of cabin space and standard equipment.

The midlife upgrade brought with it some minor changes. They included new head- and tail-lights, a revised grille design, new wheel designs, and a revised interior. Crucially, the EV’s motor was also upgraded, from 88kW to 100kW, while the old, air-cooled battery pack has been replaced by a higher-density, liquid-cooled version.

The 38.3kWh battery pack offers up a claimed range of 311km, up from 204km from the previous model. In previous testing of the Premium grade, we’ve achieved close to 300km around town, so we’ll be interested to see how that translates to real-world driving situations over a longer loan period.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq EV Elite
Power and torque100kW/295Nm
TransmissionSingle-speed automatic
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
Kerb weight1475kg
Boot volume355L/1417L
Turning circle10.6m
ANCAP safety ratingFive-star (tested 2018)
WarrantyFive years/unlimited km
Motor countSingle
Battery size38.3kWh
Driving range311km (WLTP)
Charging time80 per cent capacity in 57 mins on a 50kW fast-charger
Tow rating braked, unbrakedUnrated
Main competitorsHyundai Kona, Nissan Leaf, MG ZS EV

The cabin of our Elite is effectively entry-level, yet feels anything but that. Robust, quality cloth trim, all the electronic gadgets you'd expect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a broad 10.25-inch infotainment screen ensure that the Elite feels more than well-equipped for the base model. We'll look closer at cabin functionality in one of our monthly updates, but straight up, the Ioniq is comfortable and practical.

The Ioniq is interesting in that Hyundai offers three distinct versions for buyers who might suit one better than the other. There’s no ‘electric and that’s it’ mantra here. You can choose from a regular hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or the full-electric model we’re testing. Currently, in 2021 in Australia, that seems to me to be a smart idea. Rather than sitting on the fence, I reckon Hyundai has put together a compelling product range, not to mention spread the development load across the current technology span pretty cleverly.

Electric is the platform we want to test for a variety of reasons. Perhaps most importantly so we can assess real-world range against claimed range and take a closer look, over a longer period, at how the Ioniq uses its stored energy. We’ll be doing what we encourage buyers to do, and charging at home overnight as much as possible, while also using the charger we have in the CA office where needed.

We will, of course, also spend some time looking at the way you’d have to charge on the road. It’s this part of electric vehicle ownership that most comes up in conversations and most concerns potential buyers. Not so much charging time either, more specifically access to public charging infrastructure.

Where is it? Does it work? Is it available when you get there? All those very real questions. And to be honest, we’ve had pretty mixed results, as you would know, when we’ve tried to using public chargers before. You can charge at home when you’re around town, but if you’re heading on a road trip, you’ll need to know where the public chargers are, and know that they work.

As always, if there’s anything specific you’d like to know about the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric, let us know, and we’ll endeavour to answer it for you over the next few months. There’s plenty of opinion out there about electric cars – mostly from people who’ve never driven one, funnily enough.

We’ll keep testing them and adding them to our long-term fleet, though, because the future of motoring is upon us, and we’ll assess it for you without fear or favour.

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