Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors’ (HSDM) has launched the cheapest hybrid model – the Hyundai IONIQ – in Malaysia with prices starting from RM103,390 (with insurance and roadtax). The low price is possible due to the model qualifying as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) under the current National Automotive Policy (NAP). This means that the government gives incentives to HSDM which can offset the production cost and allow the model to be sold at a lower price. Additionally, it is also assembled locally and that too helps to bring the price down.
The IONIQ is actually quite new in the world market, having gone on sale in Korea in January this year. So its appearance in Malaysia – and as a locally-assembled model too – is quite fast. It is offered in two versions – the HEV and HEV Plus, with the latter having more high-end safety and convenience features for about RM10,775 more.
While hybrid vehicles are already familiar on Malaysian roads, the IONIQ is a somewhat unique model as it was conceived not only as a hybrid model but the platform can be fitted with a plug-in hybrid powertrain or a fully-electric system. This gives Hyundai flexibility in offering the same model in different markets to suit economic conditions.
The design of the car seems fairly conventional (with a coupe-like rear end) but the bodywork is quite aerodynamically efficient with a CD of 0.24. Features like an active air flap in the grille (closing off at higher speeds), front wheel air curtains, a rear spoiler and diffuser, side sill moldings, floor undercover and a closed wheel design contribute to the aerodynamic efficiency.
Besides aerodynamic efficiency, the IONIQ is also light as many weight-reduction measures have been used. For example, the bonnet and tailgate are of aluminium, reducing the weight by 12.2 kgs compared with conventional steel. But while the weight of the car is significantly reduced, it does not compromise on the rigidity and safety of the car. With up to 53% Advanced High Strength Steel, the chassis benefits from superior rigidity with high impact-energy absorption and minimized cabin distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision. This rigid