Hyundai Ioniq Electric Vs Renault Zoe Vs Nissan Leaf: Review & Comparisons

Considering buying an electric car? Explore in this review how the Hyundai Ioniq Electric performs against the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf

Review Of The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

If you love Hyundai as a brand, you’ll no doubt be keen to find out what their first ever fully electric car is all about. Fortunately, they haven’t bodged it, and the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric is ideal for families who want to do their bit for the environment, and who want to keep costs down at the same time. It emits zero CO2, offers plenty of usability and is even fun to drive.

On the other hand, electric cars like this cost a pretty penny to buy in the first place, and the Ioniq doesn’t throw any distinguishable, quirky looks into the bargain. Instead, it looks a lot like a regular hatchback.

Good thing or bad thing? OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric review.

On The Road

The Ioniq’s power comes from a 28kWh battery that generates a 119bhp electric motor. That’s a reasonable amount of power for a car like this, and it’s able to cover the 0-62 stretch in just over 10.0 seconds. If you switch to Sport mode, you can shave 0.3 seconds off that time.

That’s still hardly frenetic stuff, but there’s enough punch here to keep up with traffic. Top speed, meanwhile, is 103mph, which means that the car feels perfectly fine at 70mph.

a silver hyundai ioniq electric driving on tarmac road with green hills in the background

On the motorway, it doesn’t feel overwhelmed, but in the towns and cities its brake pedal can frustrate. Stop-start traffic won’t be your friend, as the pedal becomes inconsistent, sometimes requiring more pressure than you’d think.

The Ioniq comes with regenerative braking as standard, a setup that tops up range when the brakes aren’t in use. If you drive sensibly, there’ll be occasions when you only need to hit the brake pedal when grinding to a sudden and abrupt halt.

Out on winding roads, the Hyundai is a pleasure to drive. Tackling and emerging from corners is a cinch and the car feels relaxing and thoroughly satisfying. Thanks to a good amount of grip, it’s all composed, well-planted and feels safe and secure. Body lean, moreover, isn’t an issue.

On the other hand, the steering is a bit vague and lacks feel. It comes with a self-centering action that’s erratic, too.

On the whole, however, the Ioniq Electric is a perfectly fine family car that’s easy to drive.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Interior, Design & Build

the black leather interior of the hyundai ioniq electric

The Ioniq isn’t going to score any points for design and imagination, but it’s a cabin that’s easy to live with. The dashboard is logically and clearly arranged, with the controls and dials well-positioned.

Copper-coloured accents give the interior a bit of upmarket ambience, but other than that there are greys everywhere.

Build quality is good and the cabin is well put together. There are lots of soft-touch materials in use, and there’s plenty of tech onboard, from a reversing camera to Apple CarPlay.

Insulation is decent. At low speeds, you’ll hear a pin drop – the engine is that quiet. As you pick up speed, however, the lack of engine noise means other exterior noises creep into the cabin. Tyre and wind noise can be an issue, but you can resolve them by turning the music up.

Ride quality is also decent. At speed, it’s fine. Slow down, though, and you’ll feel the lumps and bumps.

Is the Hyundai Ioniq practical? It houses five seats and its shape means there should be enough space for five adults to get comfortable. The sloping roof looks like it would cause issues with rear headroom, but it doesn’t.

Big windows make for good visibility, while the boot measures 350-litres. That’s par for the course in this class and easily matches conventional hatchbacks on this score. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,410-litres.

Equipment & Safety Of The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Standard kit across the range is good, with all models getting Bluetooth, a digital radio, smart cruise control, lane-keep assist, rear parking sensors, air conditioning and dual-zone climate control.

The Premium trim adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a 7” digital screen, sat-nav and bi-xenon headlamps.

The Premium SE model rounds the range off with automatic wipers, heated and ventilated electric seats and leather upholstery.

In terms of how safe the car is, the standard model was awarded all five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. Although this Electric version is yet to be assessed, we think it would also score 5/5.

Standard safety kit includes a rear cross-traffic alert system, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and 7 airbags.

Costs Of The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Prices for the new car start out from £29,495 and rise to £31,295. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.

In terms of its running costs, the car’s 28kWh battery pack is lightweight enough to boost efficiency (specially designed wheels and tyres and a special climate control system further enhance efficiency), and with a 174-mile range, the Ioniq should satisfy buyers who are concerned about coming up short.

A full charge takes 4.5 hours using a 7kWh charger, and 12 hours if you use a standard three-pin socket. If you stop off at a CCS rapid charging point, you can charge 80% of the battery in just 33 minutes.

At the moment, the Ioniq is only available at 27 dealerships across the UK but more are expected to be added.

Can you see yourself whizzing around in the Hyundai Ioniq Electric? Let's take  a look how reliable they are on the road

Pros and Cons Of The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Pros:

Well-Equipped

The Premium SE trim is the most star-studded one, getting as it does ventilated and heated leather seats, but standard kit on even the basic model is very good.

Good Range

The Ioniq’s range of 174 miles might not be best in class, but it’s far from worst in class, too. It outdoes the Ford Focus Electric, for example.

Affordable

Most electric cars of this type cost roughly the same, but the Ioniq undercuts many with a lower starting price.

Cons:

Firm Ride

The ride is firmer than the standard model, as Hyundai had to tweak the suspension setup to cope with the electric batteries.

Unimaginative Interior Design

It’s pretty dull.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Renault Zoe vs Nissan Leaf

Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in our 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric review.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Renault Zoe

The new Renault Zoe is a stylish and small EV that convinces with its affordable price tag and reasonable range.

If you want an electric car that feels more like a conventional car, the Zoe is well worth a closer look. It’s obviously super quiet, but apart from that it’s hard to tell apart from a petrol-powered Renault.

Its light and precise steering ensure it’s well-suited to the towns and cities, and on the whole it offers a very relaxed driving experience.

a metallic purple renault zoe isolated on a white background

It’s lively, too, with its electric motor packing enough punch to cover the 0-30 dash in 4.0 seconds flat. This means darting in and out of traffic and pulling away from junctions is easy.

Its electric motor is bigger than last time, with output increasing by 16bhp. As a result, it feels more at home on open roads now and 0-62 is taken care of in 13.5 seconds. Not as fast as the Ioniq, but if you’ll be spending most of your time in urban settings, the Zoe will have all the power you need.

There are one or two caveats. Body lean is a bit of an issue in bends, and there will be times when the car feels too slow. The regenerative brakes will also frustrate. The system means you’ll only need to use the brake pedal when stopping abruptly, but the problem is that the system causes you to brake too abruptly.

Running costs? Buyers can purchase the car and then lease the batteries. How much this costs depends on your anticipated annual mileage. If it’s less than 4,500 miles per year, you will pay just £60 a month. Not bad.

The battery comes with a lifetime guarantee, and Renault claims a driving range of 250 miles. Impressive.

Inside, the Renault Zoe is one of the quietest cars around. When you’re moving along at slow speeds you’ll barely hear a peep. Once you’ve picked up momentum, the special low-resistance tyres can be heard, but even at 70mph the car is still fairly quiet.

The soft and supportive seats offer lots of comforts, while the dashboard sports a futuristic design, the likes of which so many electric cars don’t get. It’s offset, however, by lots of grey plastics.

Is the Renault Zoe practical? The batteries had to go somewhere, but by locating the batteries beneath the seats, Renault has been able to put together a 388-litre boot that’s bigger than the Hyundai and a Renault Clio.

Other than that, it shares its structure with the Clio, and therefore has the same dimensions. As such, interior space, on the whole, is reasonable.

Price:

Hyundai – £29,495 – £31,295
Renault – £22,670 – £30,520

Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Nissan Leaf

The new Nissan Leaf was once a quirky alternative, but it’s now a rock-solid contender that feels more like a conventional hatchback in many ways.

Indeed, the Leaf has so many advantages. It’s now in its second generation, which means Nissan has had more time to get it right, and it delivers what buyers love about regular family cars but adds lower running costs and a super quiet interior.

It’s also powerful, with its electric motor developing an extra 40bhp over its predecessor. This means its total output is 148bhp, which helps it cover the 0-62 sprint in just 7.9 seconds. That’s way faster than the Ioniq.

a white nissan leaf in the snow the modern building in the background

Despite that surge of power, the Leaf is still easy to drive. Acceleration is effortless, the light steering is ideal for urban adventures, and the suspension setup is firm but not uncomfortable.

Nissan has introduced a new piece of technology called e-Pedal, which is rather like regenerative braking. It’s been designed to lower driver fatigue and boost range. It works but it will take some time to get used to.

Running costs? Nissan claims a driving range of 235 miles, which is impressive. Last time around, its predecessor managed 155 miles at best, so the improvement is there to see.

Nissan also say the Leaf is 85% cheaper to run than a diesel or petrol equivalent, and servicing is estimated to be 75% cheaper.

Inside, the Nissan Leaf impresses with its build quality, but the sight of low-rent plastics is a tad off-putting. Are they enough to be a deal breaker? They shouldn’t be, but it’s disappointing.

Anyone who’s familiar with the first generation Leaf will notice that the light cream interior has been replaced with a traditional black one, while all models get blue stitching on the steering wheel, dashboard and seats, as well as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, which all goes some way to making up for those cheap plastics.

Is the Nissan Leaf practical? There’s a good amount of space in here for four people, but knee room is a slight issue for rear seated passengers because they’re seated higher up than those in the front.

Storage spaces could be better, and the door pockets are too slender. Meanwhile, a small tray upfront seems a bit redundant.

Access is easy and the boot measures a very impressive 435-litres.

Price:

Nissan – £26,490 – 31,990

Verdict Of Our 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review

Hyundai hasn’t strayed too far from the standard family car blueprint for this one. It might be their first stab at an EV, but they’ve exercised a bit of caution. As a result, the only things that separate it from a regular car are the electric motor and the low running costs.

Other than that, the Ioniq EV is practical, reliable and well-equipped. The most exciting eco car ever? Nope, but for families who want a sensible, safe and usable way of covering A to B while doing their bit for the environment, the new Hyundai Ioniq Electric gets our thumbs up.

Interested in the Hyundai Ioniq Electric? Let's explore how Hyundai has become one of the best vehicle manufacturers in the world

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Will Titterington

Will Titterington

Writer at OSV Ltd
Will Titterington is a freelance writer, video editor and all-round content creator based in Manchester, UK.

He believes that words can take on a transformative aspect and wants to help people make better decisions today.

His influences as a writer include Hunter S Thompson and Jack Kerouac, while among his interests outside writing are music, art, foreign films and football.

He’d one day like to own a Tesla, and still holds a candle for the Ford Capri.
Will Titterington
  • 4th April 2018

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