Anyone keen to try the world of hybrid motoring has had little choice until relatively recently but to head towards a Toyota dealer.

But Hyundai has been catching up fast with the Ioniq, the first car in the world to offer three electrified powertrains in one body type. The innovative approach means you have a choice of a petrol/hybrid version, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car.

And whichever you choose you have a car that is clean, with a tempting price tag and is cheap to run.

Just as important, the Ioniq does not mean making any compromises. The plug-in version driven here is a properly practical, well-equipped and good to drive five-seater hatchback.

Power comes from a combination of 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 61 horsepower electric motor, delivering a combined 141 horsepower.

Hyundai claims a range of 39 miles in pure electric mode though I could only manage under 30 miles, but that could be enough for many people’s daily commute. Once power in the lithium-ion-polymer battery under the rear seats is used up, the petrol engine seamlessly takes over.

Like other hybrids, the smoother you drive, the better the all-round experience. Accelerate gently and the car is smooth and quiet, comfortably slipping through the six-speed automatic transmission with little fuss.

The same is true when cornering. Keep things neat and tidy and the Ioniq will reward you with a relaxing ride.

Harsh acceleration and bundling the car hard into corners are just not this car’s style which, like other hybrids, values passenger comfort way above pin-sharp handling.

Inside, the instrumentation reflects the sophistication of the car’s powerplant with jazzy digital displays and an eight-inch touchscreen that can display vehicle data.

The level of equipment is high, with the test car in Premium SE specification offering everything from heated – and cooled – seats to a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a blind-spot detection system, smart cruise control, parking sensors and rear-view camera. Wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.

Standard safety features include autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist system and individual tyre pressure monitoring system.

Even the satellite navigation system is geared to saving fuel by monitoring the road ahead and giving you a ‘coasting guide’, with suggestions on when to lift off the accelerator to use less fuel.

Hyundai says it anticipates keen interest from private buyers and fleet users alike, given the plug-in hybrid’s pricing and low tax rates.

The low tax bills come thanks to the Ioniq's rock-bottom CO2 emissions, which come courtesy of the ability to charge the battery at a wall socket (it takes about two-and-a-half hours) or with a suppled charging cable which allows the car to be plugged in to a domestic three-pin outlet.

The result is that the car emits just 26g/km, compared with the conventional hybrid's 79g/km. Buyers can also have a 7kW POD Point wall box supplied and installed for £300.

Auto facts

Model: Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Premium SE 1.6 GDI

Price: £26,795 (after £2,500 Plug-In Car Grant)

Insurance group: 12E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 252mpg

Top speed: 110mph

Length: 447cm/176in

Width: 182cm/71.6in

Luggage capacity: 9.4 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 12 gallons/43 litres

CO2 emissions: 26g/km

Warranty: Five years/100,000 miles