The Hyundai Ioniq is designed to compete directly with the Toyota Prius.

The Ioniq Hybrid Isn’t Just About Efficiency, it’s the Complete Package

— by Jeffrey N. Ross

While Hyundai is no stranger to the hybrid segment, the company wanted to go after the segment-leading Prius with a dedicated green car, the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq. Hyundai launched its hybrid hatchback for the 2017 model year, and the lineup has since grown to include the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid and Ioniq Electric giving Hyundai a broad product mix to compete against other hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs.

In fact, these three powertrain options have allowed Hyundai to tout the Ioniq as the "world's first dedicated vehicle platform with three electrified low-and zero-emission powertrain choices." With key rivals Toyota Prius, Kia Niro and Honda Insight, that is a huge advantage, and we spent a week in the fully loaded 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Limited to see if Hyundai has what it takes to dethrone the Prius as king of the hybrids.


 Style-wise, the Ioniq does a good job of fitting in with the rest of the Hyundai lineup.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Exterior

With an updated styling announced for the 2020 model year, the look of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid carries over unchanged. Like many of its green-minded rivals, the Ioniq Hybrid was obviously shaped in a wind tunnel with a sleek hatchback design with a drag coefficient of just 0.24 that is equaled by the current-gen Prius. Unlike the Prius, the Ioniq does a good job of fitting in with the rest of the Hyundai lineup with a recognizable front end that features hexagonal grille, vertical LED running lights and angled headlights. The rear view of the Ioniq looks surprisingly sporty, but the split rear window does affect rearward visibility for the driver. While the Limited adds plenty of additional features on the inside, the only upgrades this trim level brings to the exterior are stylish touches like the 17-inch alloy wheels and HID headlights.

The best part about the Ioniq Hybrid is that it provides a more traditional car-like experience.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Interior

Like the exterior, the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid carries over mostly unchanged from 2018, but Hyundai has updated the navigation system for improved voice recognition and POI-search database. On this Ioniq Limited, navigation is part of the $2,200 Ultimate Package that also includes the larger eight-inch display, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, two memory settings for the driver's seat, wireless smartphone charger, rear HVAC vents and a cargo cover.

The best part about the Ioniq Hybrid is that it provides a more traditional car-like experience rather than the quirky cabin of the Prius. You get a very straight-forward and intuitive cabin design that also ties in well with other current Hyundai products, and the Limited comes standard with a luxurious cabin that includes leather seats with heated front seats, Blue Link Connected Car Services, power sunroof and LED cabin lights. Not only is the cabin design refreshingly normal, that flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters adds a nice, sporty touch; these paddle shifters are included on SEL and Limited trim levels, and they are especially helpful during brake regen deceleration.

The is similar in size to the compact Elantra sedan, but the EPA categorizes it as a large car thanks to its sizeable cabin offering up 122.7 cubic feet of interior volume. Compared to the Prius, this added space is most obvious in the rear seat where the Ioniq is far roomier than its key rival. Five adults have no problem fitting in the Ioniq Hybrid, and this hatchback can accommodate 26.5 cubic feet of cargo as well.

 Hyundai did a great job to make the Ioniq not look or feel like an average hybrid.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Powertrain

Hyundai obviously did a great job to make the Ioniq not look or feel like an average hybrid, but it also designed a really good hybrid powertrain to make this the most efficient hybrid in its class. The business end of the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a 104-horsepower 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder paired to a 43-horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion polymer battery, which combines for a total output of 139 horsepower. This efficient powertrain results in EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 55 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway** (on the Limited; the Blue trim level gets 57 city/59 highway) beating the 2019 Prius and 2019 Honda Insight.

Where the Ioniq Hybrid really shines is its six-speed dual-clutch transmission – no mushy CVT here! This transmission gives the Ioniq actual shift points instead of the endless shift band that CVT-equipped hybrids have, and the Hyundai also has smoother acceleration, less engine noise under acceleration and a more enjoyable overall driving experience; tapping the gear shifter into Sport mode makes this even better – not Veloster Turbo fun, but very impressive for a best-in-class hybrid. Unless you're feather soft on the throttle, you won't get much all-electric range on this hybrid, but you don't have to drive this car gingerly to attain its fuel economy ratings. During my week with the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, I had no problem eclipsing 60 mpg in city driving, while highway driving was usually in the low 50-mpg range. When it came time to give the Ioniq back, I had averaged over 58 mpg on half a tank's worth of driving.

The Hyundai Ioniq delivers all of the latest in advanced safety technologies.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Safety

None of the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq models have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but this hybrid hatchback delivers all of the latest in advanced safety technologies. New for 2019, the Ioniq Hybrid Limited comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, Smart Cruise Control, Driver Attention Warning and High Beam Assist.

Rather than simply focusing on efficiency, the Ioniq Hybrid is the complete package.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Overall

As more automakers look to boost the efficiency of their lineups, it's no surprise that the number of hybrid vehicles has increased over the years. There's no hiding the fact that Hyundai benchmarked the Prius in creating the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, but rather than simply focusing on efficiency, the Ioniq Hybrid is the complete package with a family-friendly interior, a recognizable Hyundai design and a driving dynamic that is enjoyable and rewarding. And that is the rear difference that sets the Ioniq apart from other hybrid hatchbacks. Pricing for the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid carries over with a starting MSRP $22,400*, and the well-equipped Ioniq Hybrid Limited starts at $28,550. Opting for the fully loaded Ultimate Package adds another $2,200 raising the as-tested price of this car up to $31,560, which is a lot of technology and efficiency for the money. And if that's not enough value, the Ioniq Hybrid is covered by Hyundai's impressive warranties, which include a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and powertrain and hybrid warranties that are both good for 10 years or 100,000 miles!

Drop by your local AutoNation Hyundai dealer today to check one out!

*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

Categories: Test Drive Reviews