Good and smooth with strong acceleration in town. Low running costs and no emissions. Less than 100 miles max range and there are too few charging points in public. Cost is quite high.
Powered by a 47kW electric motor that is fed by a 16kW per hour ion battery, there is 140lb of torque from a still position, which accelerates smooth and strong. No gearbox makes it fun to drive.
The car itself is tall but the motor and the batteries are placed below the floor so the centre of gravity remains low. The suspension is compliant and absorbs most road problems. There is not a good grip when cornering quickly and once the city has been left behind, wake from HGVs and side winds are problematic.
There is a slight whirring sound when the motor is running at low speeds around town, but once on the faster speed motorway, it grows whiny and irritating. There is also a fair amount of noise from the wind, even at average speeds.
Only available on lease, it costs more than £400 per month. That is quite pricey but at least there are no worries regarding battery life. Full charge range is under 100 miles, but is shortened drastically by using the air-con or heat. Full recharge takes six hours but you can get a quick 80% in thirty minutes from a quick-charge point.
The build seems solid but there is no real data yet on reliability. Trim in the cabin is durable but it comes across as unappealing and gloomy.
The ion received a four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. It has six airbags, stability control and emergency brake assist.
Everything has been made familiar looking for those who are new to electric cars. The dial for the battery condition is styled like a gauge for fuel, and the drive selector looks just like the average auto gearbox shifter. You are forced to sit high up though and it feels to be an odd position.
Although said to seat four, it may be uncomfortable with those being adults. There is a lack of knee space in the rear and the seats are thinly padded. There is not a large boot either.
Standard equipment is strictly basic. There is air-con, power windows and power steering.
Maximum effort has been made here to create an electric car that is going to change your driving choices. This new style of car has good results in the area of safety, and plenty of useful add-ons. So when you get behind the wheel remember that electric cars are likely to be big contenders in the future of driving, and that you are one of the first to drive one. It’s all good!