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Hyundai Nexo fuel cell 160hp

Date: 22 August 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

Hyundai's second fuel cell vehicle has moved the game on significantly. But is the UK ready for hydrogen?
Standard equipment:
Sat-nav, lane-keep assist, blind-spot view monitor
Engines:
Fuel cell: 95kW
Battery: 40kW
Trims:
Single trim
Transmissions:
Single speed automatic

Hyundai has been experimenting with hydrogen for decades and put the world on notice to its advantages in 2015 with the launch of its ix35 fuel cell car. 

Although interesting to drive, it still felt like a bit of a covert lab experiment, camouflaged in a dated left-hand drive-only body. But the biggest hurdle it faced back then, as now, is the lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK. 

Nexo Front

Hyundai is not the type of company to accept defeat of course, so we went to Norway where hydrogen refuelling stations are often only a few miles away, to see if the Nexo hydrogen car could be considered a genuine form of everyday transport.

Ignoring what's under the bonnet, the Nexo feels like any typical EV, with impressive levels of torque from the off. 

The drive is quiet and refined, with the electric motor producing 160hp. That's not particularly rapid but it would be churlish to expect sports car levels of performance when the Nexo is almost as big as the seven-seat Santa Fe.

With three hydrogen tanks on board, Hyundai reckons the Nexo can cover an impressive 497 miles between fill-ups. And because we're talking hydrogen alchemy, the only thing coming out of the tail-pipe is good old H2O. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 At 08.54.51

A stretched version of Hyundai's cascading grille and double stacked lights are now familiar themes, while shark's teeth lower lights and bold alloys give the Nexo a meaningful stance. 

Inside is a mixture of space age and retro '90s Gameboy. There's a 12.3in screen and a 7in display in front of the driver as well as a plethora of buttons to control the myriad drive and infotainment functions. There are also plenty of techy touches such as a blind-spot view monitor.

Nexo Rear

The interior is spacious, meaning excellent head and leg room, and a 461-litre boot is plenty big enough, with folding seats and a flat load area too. 

Of course, filling station scarcity in the UK aside - at last count, there were 26 - the major issue holding back hydrogen car sales in the UK is the fear of the unknown tech and its price. How much are we talking? Around £50k, that's how much. As for the unknown, Hyundai reckons the Nexo should have a similar mechanical lifespan as a petrol car. So what's stopping you? As things currently stand, if you're looking to transition from diesel to something a bit more eco, then a conventional EV or PHEV may still be your best option.

Hyundai Nexo fuel cell 160hp 

P11D £55,000 (after government grant) 

On sale Early 2019

Range 497 miles 

CO2 (BIK band) 0g/km/9% 

BIK 20/40% a month £83/£137

Boot space 461 litres

Engine 135kW/160hp


Verdict


7/10
  • Quirky interior, loads of great tech, good to drive.
  • Cost, lack of refuelling infrastructure in the UK, too many buttons.

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