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WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

As ever with anything electric, there’s a perky amount of torque from rest, bundling up to 30mph with instant response, maintaining a good slug all the way up to motorway speeds where the single-speed starts to tail off acceleration. If it’s wet - or even damp - you’ll find yourself butting up against the traction control more than in a traditional internal combustion-engined car, but that’s true of pretty much all pure EVs and nothing to worry about in particular.

Other than that, the ride is firm but well damped, the body control good, the steering acceptable. You never quite escape the idea of below-the-belt mass - a phenomenon accentuated in the wet - because it brings with it the tendency to understeer if you drive too fast, but most of the car’s excesses are tidied up by the electronics, so again, not a huge issue. It’s also not really that kind of car, much more suited to cruising and playing at being a very relaxed mode of transport.

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The UX300e is extremely quiet, even for a pure EV, with even the tyres, glass and wheel arch liners having been tweaked to damp out excess unwanted noise, and it shows. The three driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), do what they say - but you’ll probably find yourself just leaving it in ‘Normal’ for 99 per cent of the time unless you’re frantic about a charge. And while it doesn’t have the commanding driving position of some small SUVs it’s a useful size for pottering about, so there’s an easy familiarity about the way it just gets on with it without fuss.

Issues? One thing that’s slightly out of whack is the four-stage brake re-generation. You can access it via the paddles on the back of the steering wheel, but it suffers from two things. First, it’s simply not strong enough, only offering a half-gear of gentle deceleration when engaged, and two, it defaults back off as soon as you continue, meaning that you have to remember to flick the paddle again when coasting. There’s re-gen on the decently weighted physical brake pedal as well, but in the age of one-pedal - and therefore maximum energy harvesting - electric cars, this feels like a bit of a miss.

As far as charging goes, there’s an AC port on the right-hand side rear wing, and a DC port on the left. Hit up a public rapid charger and you can hoover up zero to 80 per cent charge in about 50 minutes, or more likely an 8.5 hour charge on a regular 32A home wall box. If you get stuck, then you can charge on a three-pin plug, but that’s really just for emergencies - it’ll take 19 hours to get a full charge into the heated/cooled battery.

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