Mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle. The 2019 Hyundai Nexo arrives as the first-ever mass-produced fuel-cell crossover in the U.S. The Nexo is an interesting consideration, as it's available in California only and only at select dealers, so digging one up may pose an issue.
For green-focused buyers, the struggle may be worth it with its long range without charging and zero emissions. How does the Nexo stack up next to its limited competitors? Keep reading to find out.
Almost 400 miles and no charging. One of the biggest turn-offs to electric vehicles for traditional commuters is the need to charge them. Sure, EVs have come a long way in terms of charging times and driving ranges, but they still require a lot of advanced planning before taking a trip. Even Tesla and its Supercharging stations require route planning and coming up with activities for the kiddos while the vehicle is charging.
The Hyundai Nexo, however, not only boasts a 380-mile range on a full hydrogen tank, it also takes mere minutes to refill, giving you the greenness of an electric vehicle with the refueling time similar to a gasoline vehicle. Finding a hydrogen filling station can pose a bit of an issue, but it's not much more of a problem than digging up an EV charging station on the road.
When compared to other fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) on the road today, the Nexo’s 380-mile range tops the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell and Toyota Mirai, its key competitors, by 15 miles and 78 miles, respectively.
The Nexo’s eco-friendliness goes beyond just its powertrain. It also uses ecological materials in its cabin, including soybean-oil-based polyurethane paint, bamboo-thread seats, bio-plastics, and more.
Feature-packed, but cluttered. On top of boasting an advanced powertrain that gives us a glimpse into the future, the Hyundai Nexo delivers in the standard features any car shopper would be happy with. Its standard features include a sunroof, electric parking brake, power tailgate, wireless charging pad, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated and ventilated seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a push-button transmission, and more.
The other FCVs on the market can't match the Nexo’s standard features. The Clarity Fuel Cell comes closest with an 8-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Toyota Mirai lags with its standard with a 7-inch touchscreen and lack of Android Auto.
Where the Nexo fails us is its cluttered center console. We understand this is a high-tech crossover, but the large center panel with what seems like dozens of buttons on it is a bit too much, even for this advanced rig.
The Toyota Mirai is equally cluttered, but the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell does a great job of looking like an everyday sedan on the inside.
People and cargo are welcome. As the sole FCV crossover on the market, the Hyundai Nexo has a distinct people- and cargo-hauling advantage over the competition.
Its rear seats offer a respectable 38.6 inches of leg room, which bests the Clarity Fuel Cell and Mirai by 2.6 inches and 8.5 inches, respectively. In head room, the Nexo’s 38 inches has a 1.2-inch advantage over the Mirai and 0.9-inch advantage over the Clarity Fuel Cell.
Thanks to its crossover body, the Nexo’s can tote 29.6 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and 56.5 cubes with the rear seats folded. That’s right up there with many traditional crossovers. The Mirai and Clarity Fuel Cell are sedans with trunks that can haul just 12.8 cubic feet and 15.5 cubic feet, respectively.
Final thoughts. The 2019 Hyundai Nexo looks to shake things up in the FCV segment with its roomy crossover body and near 400-mile range. Plus, it's a good value with its impressive list of standard features. Speaking of value, the Nexo costs $59,345 (destination fees included), which is $25 cheaper than the Clarity Fuel Cell and $60 cheaper than the Mirai.
If you can’t stand the busy center console in the Nexo, you may want to opt for the more traditional-looking Clarity Fuel Cell That's likely the only logical reason to choose it over the Nexo.