Today Hyundai revealed many of the important technical details of its upcoming plug-in hybrid family, starting with the IONIQ, Korea’s Toyota Prius-slayer.

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The IONIQ packs a dedicated 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle engine which Hyundai claims has a thermal efficiency of 40 percent thanks to its long stroke, the improved cooling with a split cylinder head and block, plus the direct injection working at 2,900 psi (200 bar) through a six-hole injector.

The new gas engine delivers 105 horsepower and 108 foot pounds of torque, while the permanent magnetic electric motor is a 43.5 horsepower unit sending 125 pound-feet of torque to the wheels from zero rpm.

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All that goes through a six-speed dual clutch transmission, also designed to be as efficient in a hybrid drivetrain as a gearbox can be.

Here’s the numbers buyers will care about most: fuel economy. While official figures aren’t out yet, a leaked brochure at Hyundai Blog reports the skinny-tire model will get up to 53 MPG in the U.S. Official EPA-certified figures should be coming later.

Hyundai’s new architecture uses a steel/aluminum chassis with the lithium-ion battery pack positioned low and forward under the rear seats to keep the center of gravity low, aided by the aluminum hood and tailgate.

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To keep the IONIQ just as safe as light, 53 percent of the car is made of Advanced High Strength Steel.

While the new Prius’ rear suspension is a double wishbone setup, Hyundai went for a dual-lower arm multilink system to make this handle almost exactly like a race car.

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Inside, not much will show that you’re driving a hybrid, apart from the blue accents all around in the cabin. On the plus side, the cupholders look large enough to satisfy American tastes. Gotta have that Big Gulp, right?

The IONIQ will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month, followed by a whole range of plug-in hybrids and electric cars from the Korean giant.

Photo credit: Hyundai


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