As rumored about a month ago, Hyundai has chosen the model name Ioniq for its upcoming five-door hatchback, whose lineup will include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric versions.

The news came via a press release from the U.K. arm of Hyundai; at the time this article was published, Hyundai Motors America had not released any information.

The Ioniq lineup, based on the next-generation Elantra subcompact, has been known internally by the code name 'AE.'

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The U.K. release calls the Ioniq a "world first" for offering electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains in a single model.

Hyundai has not said anything about a hydrogen fuel-cell variant of the Ioniq, distinguishing it from Honda, whose Clarity mid-size sedan will later add battery-electric and plug-in hybrid versions to the fuel-cell vehicle to launch next year as a 2017 model.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

The Hyundai Ioniq will have its global launch next month in South Korea, followed by appearances at the Geneva Motor Show in March and the New York Auto Show in April.

The new model, the release says, "breaks hybrid stereotype[s] by delivering entertaining drive alongside class-leading fuel economy and appealing design."

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It continues:

Based on an exclusive new platform, made specifically for the car’s multi-powertrain options, the Ioniq chassis is optimized to deliver responsive handling while remaining efficient in each of its three powertrain configurations.

2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco

2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco

In its fully-electric form, the Ioniq is powered by a high capacity, ultra-efficient lithium ion battery.

The plug-in hybrid version combines fuel-efficient energy with battery power obtained by charging the car with electricity, boosting its range while cutting its emissions.

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Finally, the hybrid utilizes the petrol engine and motion of the car to charge the on-board battery, which returns enhanced efficiency by supplementing the engine’s power.

The hybrid version of the Ioniq is likely to use a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a single electric motor sandwiched between the engine and Hyundai's own six-speed direct-shift gearbox.

2016 Hyundai Tucson Eco, road test, Catskill Mountains, NY, Sep 2015

2016 Hyundai Tucson Eco, road test, Catskill Mountains, NY, Sep 2015

That's the same powertrain now offered in the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Eco, the highest-efficiency version of the carmaker's smallest crossover utility vehicle.

The plug-in hybrid version may use a version of that powertrain with a more powerful electric motor and a larger battery, just as the plug-in hybrid version of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid does.

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Less is known about the battery electric version, though its powertrain is likely to be a newer generation of the system first released by Hyundai's sister company in the Kia Soul EV.

More details on the new Hyundai Ioniq will undoubtedly emerge in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, potential buyers can mull over the company's claim: "The Ioniq combines class-leading fuel efficiency with a fun, responsive drive and attractive design--a unique mix not yet achieved by a hybrid vehicle."


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