If 2015 will be remembed as the year one particular German automaker was caught with its trousers down flaunting global emissions tests in a spectacularly big way, then 2016 could well go down as the year the motoring industry turned decisively green.
For one, the original eco-warrior, the Toyota Prius, enters its fourth generation this February with sales already having started in earnest over in Asia. Add to the mix the much anticipated Honda Clarity FCV plus Toyota’s very own hydrogen-driven offering, the Mirai, and what we have on our hands is a full frontal assault on the fossil fuelled motoring establishment.
However the green tide doesn’t end there, as yet another famous name from the East is ready to throw its hat into the eco-conscious ring. Following it’s unveiling to domestic media in South Korea, the Hyundai Ioniq, the world’s first car to feature an arsenal of not one, not two but three separate ultra-low emission powertrains, is almost ready to tackle our carbon-choked roads.
The all new chassis is unlike anything previously seen on a Hyundai model, having been assembled exclusively for the Ioniq project. It carries what is the world’s first choice of three efficient and low emission powertrains for a single model; a standard hybrid engine, a plug-in variant and a full electric unit. Whilst all three motors contain the familiar array of lithium ion batteries, the hybrid pairing combine with Hyundai’s newly developed 104bhp 1.6-liter GDi engine to pack a collective punch of 150bhp at full chat. Power is harnessed and distributed through Hyundai’s hybrid-exclusive DCT dual clutch gearbox.
If one gripe still hangs persistently over the diverse hydrogen and hybrid class of 2016, it is the thorny issue of styling. Certainly, the latest Prius has by no means matured with age and slung on the carpet slippers; it sports a design that’s as ‘out there’ as any of its famously polarising predecessors. The same can be said of the Mirai; if its radical fuel cell power-plant doesn’t get chins wagging, the somewhat ‘eccentric’ exterior styling most definitely will.
On this count, the Ioniq may not quite be in the same league as its green contemporaries. However, it employs some classic Hyundai visual indicators, most notably the eye-catching signature hexagonal grille framed by blue and white streaks that dissipate away into the headlights.
The all-new Hyundai Ioniq is due to appear at the Geneva International Motor Show and the New York Auto Show in March 2016, shortly after its world premiere in Korea later this month. Expect the Ioniq to make its way onto the green scene on Britain’s roads in summer-autumn 2016.