Increased range. The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric receives a mild refresh – the first since its introduction in 2017. By far the biggest upgrade is a larger battery pack, upping capacity from 28 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 38.3 kWh.
Range increases to an EPA-estimated 170 miles, way up from last year's 124 miles. This is even more than the standard Nissan LEAF. Fuel economy dips slightly to 133 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent combined (MPGe). It achieved 136 MPGe last year.
Horsepower also jumps from 118 last year to 134 this, while the on-board charger gets bumped from 6.6 kilowatts (kW) to 7.2 kW. This increases charging speeds – using 100-kW fast charging, the bigger battery can hit 80% charge in as little as 54 minutes.
At the same time, the Ioniq Electric still falls short – in both battery capacity and, therefore, range – of the Nissan Leaf PLUS (62-kWh battery, 226-mile range) and the Chevrolet Bolt EV (66-kWh battery, 259-mile range). Meanwhile, the additional horsepower is offset by a 300-pound increase in overall weight – largely due to the larger battery pack.
Additional advanced safety features. For 2020, adaptive cruise control with idle stop and go is added to a core advanced safety features on both Ioniq Electric trims – SE and Limited. This includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, and automatic high beams.
The Limited trim also receives blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Hyundai's semi-autonomous highway driving system.
Updated interior, technology. Inside, the upper dash has been redesigned and both trims get larger touchscreens. The base SE model gets an 8-inch display this year, up from 7 last, while the Limited now has a 10.25-inch unit instead of last year's 8-inch touchscreen.
Both trims feature Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio integration. Limited models get navigation, wireless device charging, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Comfortable and well equipped. Although front seat occupants sit low, both chairs are comfortable, nicely-bolstered, and covered in either grippy cloth or soft leather. Being a hatchback, cargo volume is also commendable, with 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seats. At the same time, just two adults of medium height will be comfortable in back, since seating is on the tight side and the sloping roofline cuts into head room.
The $34,000 SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated outside mirrors with turn signals, and door handle approach light. Inside, the Ioniq Electric has heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, push button start, and cloth seats.
The $39,570 Limited adds such niceties as a sunroof, leather seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, and power-folding side mirrors with puddle lights.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric offers improved range, a mainstream design, stylish interior, and hatchback functionality. The only downsides here are a smallish back seat and a driving range that still doesn’t match the Bolt EV and LEAF PLUS.
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