The popularity of the facelifted Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid among taxi and private-hire operators is well-founded: The car is really frugal.
I achieved 4.6 litres/100km during this test-drive - close to Hyundai's claimed 3.8litres/ 100km. On the car's 45-litre fuel tank, that theoretically translates to nearly 1,000km of range, more than enough to get to Kuala Lumpur and back.
For comparison's sake, the similarly ubiquitous Toyota Prius achieves a stated fuel economy of 4 litres/100km, while a family car like the Kia Cerato gets a claimed 6.6 litres/100km.
The combination of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, electric motor and 1.56kWh battery - which together delivers 130hp and 265Nm of torque - has not changed in the IONIQ Hybrid. But Hyundai says it is now tuned for more refinement in city traffic, together with a "revamped" starter-generator.
At up to 30kmh or so, the car can move around silently on its motor. But push the accelerator deeper and the engine smoothly comes to life.
The engine - apparently tuned for less overall power, but better economy - does not create much noise or vibration, and only becomes more vocal when you demand more of it, for example, when overtaking on the expressway. Even then, the IONIQ Hybrid feels slightly breathless at high speed.
The engine can charge the batteries and power the front wheels simultaneously in low-load situations, or jointly drive the front wheels with the electric motor when more power is needed. Overall, the changeover is smooth.
Interestingly, you can activate electric-only mode at higher speeds by backing off the throttle and lightly easing back on.
The IONIQ Hybrid has always been great value among the hybrids sold in Singapore because you get lots of car for the price. At $114,999 for the sunroof-equipped model ($107,999 without), it is more than $40,000 cheaper than its competition, which does not get a sunroof.
In its latest facelift, the IONIQ Hybrid gets new LED headlights and daytime-running lights with Hyundai's "cascading" front grille.
Arrow-shaped LED taillights give it a distinctive appearance, as do new 15-inch aerodynamic wheels.
Inside, a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display now sticks out from the dashboard and the graphics in the digital driver's display have also been tweaked to make them clearer.
But the addition of a touch-sensitive air-conditioning panel is unnecessary as it is now - as with any touchscreen in a car - less intuitive to operate than a simple set of buttons. It also attracts fingerprints.
There is now a pair of paddles behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel. In Eco mode, they vary the intensity of regenerative braking; and, in Sport mode, manually control the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Level 1 in Eco mode is where you should leave it as 2 and 3 make the car a tad jerky.
The car seats five, although the rear is cramped for three.
Incredibly low fuel consumption, combined with features like collision avoidance, lead vehicle departure alert and ventilated front seats, make the IONIQ Hybrid a good choice for those looking to save money on a compact car.
The Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid (above), in its latest facelift, gets new LED headlights and daytime-running lights with Hyundai's "cascading" front grille, as well as arrow-shaped LED taillights that give it a distinctive appearance. A new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display that sticks out from the dashboard and graphics in the digital driver's display that have been tweaked for clarity are among the updated features.
A new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display that sticks out from the dashboard and graphics in the digital driver’s display that have been tweaked for clarity are among the updated features.