Not bad … for a hybrid. Hybrids are all about efficiency, and the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is no exception. Going green often means sacrificing style, utility, and driving pleasure.
Not so in the Ioniq. Or at least, not so much as usual. Its short hatchback profile won’t find its way to the runway, but it’s a handsome and cohesive design. It looks especially palatable next to more polarizing competition like the Toyota Prius Prime.
Likewise, the handling of the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is average by most standards, but we consider that an achievement for a hybrid. Given the electronic wizardry going on underneath the hood, acceleration and ride are admirably refined and predictable.
Still efficiency king. The Plug-In Hybrid is the middle child of the Ioniq lineup, slotting between the Hybrid and Electric models (covered separately). The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid makes a practical transition between the two, offering a mild electric range without requiring charging stations on road trips.
Thanks to an 8.9-kWh battery, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid will do up to 29 miles before needing the engine at all, according to the EPA. That’s better than some rivals (like the 22-mile Prius Prime), but it pales next to the 48-mile range of the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.
After the battery is depleted, it still achieves an EPA-estimated 52 miles per gallon combined. That’s not far shy of the Ioniq Hybrid, and a strong performance for a plug-in powertrain. With a home charger, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid's efficiency is among the very best.
Calling shotgun. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid treats front-row passengers well. Bolsters are thick and supportive, and there’s plenty of space for legs and shoulders. Sound dampening is fairly good.
The rear seat is less accommodating. It works for two adults, as long as they aren’t tall – the sloping roofline cuts into the headroom, and the short wheelbase takes its toll in legroom.
The hatchback body pays off behind the seats, however. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid can fit 23 cubic feet of cargo before the seats are folded. That’s three less than the Ioniq Hybrid, but it’s excellent for the class. The Prius Prime manages 19.8 cubic feet, and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid falls third with 15.5.
More for the money. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s interior does sport its fair share of hard plastics, but that’s forgivable given the base trim’s starting price of $27,455. It's one of the most affordable ways into an eco-friendly powertrain, and the Plug-In Hybrid is among the cheapest of its kind.
The top Limited trim smooths out the interior with leather upholstery, adding navigation and Harman Kardon sound to boot. Against luxury competitors, it’s not a bad value.
But we still prefer the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid closer to base. The 8-inch touchscreen comes with smartphone compatibility and is perfectly adequate for our needs. Even better, Hyundai’s comprehensive suite of safety tech and excellent warranty come with every model. We’d consider bumping up to the SEL trim for power-adjustable seats, blind-spot monitoring, and wireless charging, but no further.
Final thoughts. Like many middle children, the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is easily lost between its two siblings. It shouldn’t be – it’s an easy step toward an electric future. For drivers who aren’t quite ready to switch over to electric power, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is an ideal go-between.
It has no pretensions of being a sports car or a luxury vehicle, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s practical, sensible, and more affordable than the competition. Efficiency is more attainable than ever, and that's a good thing.
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