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.

Best Value

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

Performance

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

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.

Style

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?

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

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.