The 2018 Hyundia Ioniq Hybrid is Hyundai’s official answer to the Toyota Prius, and it’s a good one. With exceptional fuel efficiency and a strong feature-set, it’s a practical choice for a greener future that avoids the polarizing look of the new Prius.
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2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Overview
What's New for 2018
New in 2017, the hybrid carries over mostly unchanged for 2018. Hyundai spent most of its time and money developing a new plug-in hybrid variant, so the only changes to the regular hybrid are available paddle shifters and a new lane-assist function.
Choosing Your Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The star of the show in the Ioniq Hybrid is the powertrain, which pairs a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine to a 32-kW motor for a total of 139 horsepower. Hyundai says the goal was to exceed the Prius in fuel efficiency, which it did: the EPA estimates the Ioniq Hybrid Blue’s mileage at 57 miles per gallon city, 59 highway, and 58 combined. Also unusual is the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, lending a more traditional driving experience than the CVTs in many hybrids. Cargo capacity also exceeds the Prius with 26.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
If you want to go even greener, the Ioniq is available as either a plug-in hybrid or a full electric. The plug-in and electric versions have their own trim specifications and are listed separately. The Ioniq Hybrid is available in three trims
The Ioniq’s standout features are its mileage and its practicality, both of which are maximized in the base Blue trim. It has just enough luxury features to make you feel at home anyway.
2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Review
Sharing the same restrained design as its EV and plug-in stable mates, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid offers exceptional fuel economy and straightforward, intuitive controls. But it's hampered by a small back seat and a single motor drivetrain that isn't as smooth as much of the competition.
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid prices begin at $23,085 for an entry-level Blue model, and top out at $31,435 for one in Limited trim with the optional Ultimate package. The usual power features are present as well as automatic headlights, keyless push-button start, dual automatic climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a seven-inch touchscreen, a rear view camera, and fifteen-inch alloy wheels.
We'd skip the base Blue trim and choose the mid-level SEL that adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, paddle shifters, seven-inch LCD instrument cluster, heated front seats, power driver seat, a rear armrest with cup holders, heated outside mirrors, LED daytime running lights and taillights, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert; as well as an entry to a number of advanced safety features. It's a better value than the Limited, although only just – if you have the disposable income, grab the top-of-the-line model and enjoy extra goodies like heated leather seats, a sunroof, and HID headlights.
Here's how we'd build it:
- Model: 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL
- Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 139 system horsepower / 195 system lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed dual clutch automatic
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel-drive
- MPG: 55 City / 54 Hwy
- Options: Tech Package ($1,000, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist)
- Base Price:$24,885 (including an $885 destination fee)
- Best Value Price:$25,885
The Ioniq Hybrid delivers a pleasant ride and, compared to others in its class, a fairly sporty driving experience thanks to a low center of gravity provided by the battery placement. Aggressive driving hardly impacts fuel economy and, like its Kia twin – the Niro - the conventional transmission reinforces the Ioniq's "normal" feel, while the Hyundai's lighter weight makes it feel quicker than its Kia sibling.
At the same time, power is only average for the class, Hyundai's single-motor design isn't as smooth as the systems from Toyota, Ford, and Honda; and engine braking is a mixed bag with transition issues between regenerative and friction arising during transmission shifts.
The Ioniq breaks with its contemporaries' must-look-bizarre designs with an understated hatchback shape wrapped around a pleasant, nicely-trimmed interior that's comfortable up front with well-bolstered seats. It's practical, as well, offering 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The conventional theme continues with standard controls that are within easy reach and intuitive to use.
At the same time, ride height – that of a typical compact sedan – doesn't offer the expansive view of a crossover; the sloping roofline means even two tall adults will find rear accommodations tight, while interior room falls short of the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius. Ingress and egress into the front seats is occasionally challenging for taller drivers, too.
The Best and Worst Things
The Ioniq Hybrid's mainstream design and intuitive controls make it compelling; we only wish there was more room in back and that its design wasn't quite so generic.
Right For? Wrong For?
A smooth ride, crossover utility, excellent controls, and outstanding fuel economy make the Ioniq Hybrid a great choice for eco conscious buyers.
A design that might be considered too mainstream may have style-conscious buyers looking elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Despite being hamstrung by a conventional design and small back seat, the Ioniq Hybrid's excellent fuel economy, smooth ride, and intuitive controls make it a solid choice in the compact hybrid class.
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