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Auto Express managed to get their hands on a South Korean spec model of the Ioniq Hybrid for a test drive and the Prius may be in for some competition.

Instead of a continuously variable transmission found in the Toyota Prius, Hyundai paired their six speed dual clutch automatic gearbox with a 104bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and 43bhp electric motor.
This gear box is more commonly found in pure petrol/diesel cars and Hyundai claims to be the first company to build one that shifts fast enough to be used in a petrol electric hybrid vehicle. When put to the test, the gearbox shifted smoothly between electric and petrol power with none of that droning found in the Prius.

Its system is intuitive, switching between engine and battery power and coasting when going downhill. This reactive thinking from the car’s system also helps you save in fuel with an average fuel economy of 63.3mpg, a bit higher than the Prius Mk3’s 59.3mpg and the Ioniq is aiming for a lower CO2 emission output too.

While the exterior and interior design give it a sense of sportiness, you won’t find the same sportiness in Eco mode. It basically does what the name suggests, but once you shift the Ioniq into Sport you can feel the engine upping its power output for a more engaging ride.

These figures are based on the Korean model but if everything remains unchanged, then the Ioniq could overtake the Toyota Prius in the Hybrid market. As for it's price, the Ioniq starts from £13,260 to £16,144 in Korea.
 

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Verdict
It's too early to make a definitive judgement on the Ioniq, but what is clear from our early 
drive in the South Korean-spec model is the Toyota Prius will no longer have it all its own way in the hybrid market. The Ioniq arguably looks better, drives acceptably well and will almost certainly be cheaper to buy. That will undoubtedly be enough
 for many to take the plunge.

Maybe having some competition for the Prius will force it to change up its look because right now it ie pretty ugly.
 

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It's hideous, great for aerodynamics but pointless if it's that bad. Also can't seem to find the electric drive range for the Prius except for it being pretty short. Maybe the ioniq will outstrip them in that area too.
 

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Toyota might have to do that but I think that's only part of what they might have to do, there are other parts that come into play, like all the hybrid things about it that buyers are really after.

Plus I don't think the Prius looks that bad, might just take some time to get used to.
 

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I don't think the Prius looks that bad, might just take some time to get used to.
I would never say your opinion is wrong, or argue the aesthetics of the new Prius. That is not the point of this comment.

I have only seen the new Prius in photos, so I am withholding a final opinion until I actually see one. But based on the pictures I've seen, I am disappointed in the design, and do not think I will get use to it over time. (that is the point of my comment).

I have found in the appearance of cars, houses, and in music and art (all of which are subjective) my first impression is difficult to change, and that opinion is enduring, For example, I still love to look at a 57 Thunderbird, or a Shelby Cobra; I love the looks of a P-51 Mustang, or Frank Lloyd Wrights 'Falling Waters.' They have a certain dignity, balance, and purpose. The new Prius 'appears' to me like different people designed the front, the rear and the profile. In 2D photographs, I like the Ioniq.
 

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Well its human nature that your first impression is hard to shake. So don't worry about that.

The Prius isn't ugly, but it certainly isn't getting a positive response from me. The design wouldn't be a reason that I buy the car.
 

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Interesting how the system switches the car to coasting when you're going downhill. Pretty useless where I like since it's mostly flat but great for people living in areas like San Francisco.
 

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Well its human nature that your first impression is hard to shake. So don't worry about that.

The Prius isn't ugly, but it certainly isn't getting a positive response from me. The design wouldn't be a reason that I buy the car.
I think Toyota did it intentionally seeing how well they've established the Prius in the market, its been a leader in the segment for how long?

I bet if Hyundai had what Toyota did, they would do the same thing. But while they're trying to establish themselves, they probably want to play it safe.
 
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