Hyundai Nexo Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Thursday 5th October


What is it like to drive?

Drives a bit like one too, albeit without the nasty mechanical noises and vibrations that go along with, you know, having an engine. There is nothing to the Nexo dynamically – it’s a big, heavy thing that’s not really designed to make keener drivers giggle, but it rides well, wind- and tyre-roar are well supressed (a challenge when you don’t have an engine to partially mask them) and the power delivery is as satisfying here as it is in most every other EV. Just don’t go expecting Tesla-like acceleration or indeed any kind of outright performance. The Nexo does 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds – 20 per cent faster than the ix35 – and 111mph. Its 120kW motor gives 161bhp and 291lb ft of torque.

But driving the Nexo is an experience dominated by its active safety and part-autonomous systems. Hyundai equipped a few of these with ‘Level 4’ tech (conditional, ‘eyes-off’ autonomy, like the Renault Symbioz) and successfully had them drive more than 100 motorway miles from Seoul to Pyeongchang in South Korea – but commercially the Nexo will come with the same kind of kit we’ve seen from the likes of Tesla, Audi, Mercedes and so-on.

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Together, these systems mean the Nexo can effectively pilot itself down a motorway, with the occasional bong if you take your hands off the steering wheel. It’ll do the remote parking thing – regardless of whether you’re sitting in the driver’s seat or not – but of more interest is the ‘Blind-spot View Monitor’ (BVM), which flashes up feeds from rearward-facing cameras on the driver’s LCD instrument cluster when you flick the indicator (left or right, as required). It’s surprisingly useful – you quickly get used to flicking your eyes downward, as you might to see how fast you’re going or how much range you’ve got left – but it’s no substitute for actual mirrors and actual eyes.

Paddles behind the steering wheel let you cycle through four regen modes. Zero offers nothing whatsoever when you lift off the gas, three is like you’re brushing the brake pedal and the others are somewhere in between. The Nexo is not as much of a one-pedal car as the BMW i3 or new Nissan Leaf, but with practice it’s easy enough to pilot without really touching the brakes. Which is convenient because they’re springy, quite sharp and therefore tricky to modulate.

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