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Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - February 19, 2019

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2019 Hyundai NEXO OVERVIEW

Much of the country might not know it, but California has been a testing ground of hydrogen-powered vehicles for some time now. More than a few automakers have quietly offered low-volume fuel-cell specials for lease in the Golden State, and Hyundai, having jumped into the silent fray a few years back with a hydrogen-powered Tuscon, returns for 2019 with the all-new Nexo. Unlike its predecessor, the Nexo is purpose-built, riding on an exclusive platform not shared with any volume models. The automaker's extensive efforts makes the 2019 Hyundai Nexo a compelling option in the small and interesting niche of hydrogen-powered automobiles.

What's New for 2019

The 2019 Nexo is an all-new model.

Choosing Your Hyundai Nexo

Due to its existence as a low-volume regional special, there's just two available trims and no options to speak of. It goes without saying that there's certainly no optional powertrains on tap. The lack of extras doesn't mean the Nexo is just spartan transportation, however. Hyundai has made sure their gasless wonder comes well equipped with all the bells and whistles expected of cars costing 60 grand.

Most of the Nexo's price tag, of course, is attributable to the hydrogen fuel-cell powerplant under the hood. The stack of fuel cells generates 95 kW of power and is paired with a 40 kW battery producing 240 volts of juice. It's efficient enough to return an EPA-estimated 65 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent city, 58 MPGe highway, and 61 combined for Blue models or 59/54/57 MPGe (city/highway/combined) for Limited trims. This mileage, coupled with a 41.4-gallon hydrogen tank, gives drivers an estimated 380 miles of range before needing to refill. The five minutes of anticipated recharging time is akin to filling up a standard-sized gas tank at the local Shell station.

From a performance standpoint, the front-drive, single-geared Nexo makes 161 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. These numbers are good enough to move the Nexo to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which is a marked improvement from the 12.5 seconds it took the Tuscon FCEV to reach the same speed. The Nexo also trumps its predecessor in weight, charging time, cargo space, and all-important total range.

Range anxiety is a real issue for these types of alternative-energy curiosities, but keeping drivers in the know is a driver information feature called Blue Link. It provides to-the-minute range and fuel level status, a monthly vehicle health report, and even a fuel station locator. The latter is particularly helpful, considering that there are only a few dozen hydrogen stations in operation throughout the state.

All Nexos are built with safety in mind. Standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, a surround-view monitor, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, and high-beam assist. The standard blind-spot monitoring feature is a claimed industry first. It uses wide-angle cameras mounted on the exterior pillars to project an image of the blind spot on the center screen. Drivers merely need to look at the screen rather than crane their necks to discern whether they're in the clear to switch lanes.

Unlike many hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, the Nexo can be purchased as well as leased in its two trims:


The 2019 Hyundai Nexo Blue starts at $59,345 (all prices include the $1,045 destination fee). For comparison's sake, the next most expensive base model in the Hyundai stable is the 2019 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, which starts at $34,320. New technology is never cheap, even from a budget brand. However, the list of creature comforts is comprehensive. Blue models come with 17-inch wheels, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and heated power front seats. A 12.3-inch touchscreen handles all audio and navigation commands. The upholstery is an eco-friendly, vegan-based leatherette.


The Nexo Limited is priced from $62,845, representing a $3,500 premium over the Blue. The Limited model only sports a range of 354 miles. The Limited adds 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, remote parking assist, ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a 440-watt Krell audio system with eight speakers.

CarsDirect Tip

A hydrogen-powered vehicle isn't for the faint of heart. An expensive price tag, the dearth of hydrogen stations, and the price of hydrogen fuel – filling the tank often costs two to three times more than if it were gas – make it a tough sell over an electric car. If none of this deters you, we'd lease the 2019 Hyundai Nexo rather than purchase it. The depreciation curve of such a specialty vehicle will probably not be in the buyer's favor.

Get your price on a Hyundai Nexo »

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