The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is one of three electrified vehicles in the Ioniq family. This compact hatchback looks normal and that’s a welcome change in a segment influenced by overwrought models. Although not as roomy as key competitors, the 2018 Ioniq is fun to drive and delivers outstanding fuel economy at an affordable price.

Best Value

The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is a five-passenger hatchback that comes in base and Limited trims. This PHEV’s power comes from a gas engine, an electric motor, and by means of regenerative braking, before it's routed to the front wheels.

We chose the Limited over the base trim as it adds such features as LED headlights, side mirrors with turn signal indicators, and chrome embellishments. You'll also find a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, leather seats, and an LCD instrument cluster. The Limited adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane keeping assist.

We didn't choose the available Ultimate Package ($3,750), which upgrades the audio, navigation, and driver-assist features accordingly. All models come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rendering a navigation package unnecessary.

  • Model: 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited
  • Engine: 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor
  • Output: 104 hp /109 lb-ft (139 total system horsepower)
  • Transmission:Six-speed dual-clutch
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 52 mpg combined (29-mile all-electric range)
  • Options: None
  • Base Price:$29,185 (including an $885 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$29,185

Performance

Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine along with an electric motor. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to the front wheels.

By itself, the engine delivers a leisurely 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. When both the engine and motor work together, as when under hard acceleration, this model delivers a fair 139 hp. Remember, Hyundai optimizes the Ioniq for efficiency, so its relatively modest overall power numbers fit the model.

When operating in electric-only mode, the Ioniq PHEV has an EPA-estimated 29-mile all-electric range. The gas engine will kick in as needed, but the electric motor does the bulk of the work around town or when cruising at highway speeds.

Style

The look of the Ioniq family closely resembles other Hyundai models, including the Accent, Elantra, and Sonata. It makes for a handsome design as it avoids the weirdness inherent with some models — here’s looking at you Toyota Prius Prime.

In fact, the Ioniq is very close to the compact Elantra in size and has a hatchback design similar to the Elantra GT. Its tucked in rear corners and generously sized glass hatchback set it apart from the GT, but otherwise the similarities are far greater than the differences.

Inside, the Ioniq’s cabin has a clean layout with soft-touch materials throughout. It seems a cut above other models in this segment and it is. The cabin offers sufficient space for four along with comfortable seats and an easy to decipher infotainment system display. Cargo volume measures 23 cubic feet, supplying ample luggage room for all.

The Best and Worst Things

Perhaps the best thing about the Ioniq PHEV is that it's easy on the eyes. Not everyone finds the Toyota Prius Prime attractive with its design that some may find much too radical.

For some reason, the EPA rates this model as a “large car” when it is anything but. Even with its roomy interior, it still falls short of the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf. If you anticipate needing the rear seats, you'll want to test them for yourself first.

Right For? Wrong For?

Hyundai Ioniq

Shoppers looking for an electrified vehicle and who aren't ready to disconnect from an internal combustion engine may find the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid entirely suitable for their needs. Its 52 mpg combined rating is one of the best in the industry.

On the other hand, the 29-mile all-electric range isn't nearly as long as a Chevrolet Volt. For commuters wanting an electric trip back and forth to work, this Ioniq may need to tap into its gas reserve.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is an affordable and efficient model that comes with a $4,543 federal tax credit and state incentives, where applicable. We like that it blends in with the rest of the Hyundai line, delivering an attractive model with a small carbon footprint.