2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review

The Ioniq Electric is a smart, affordable, sharp-looking hatchback engineered for efficiency.
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by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Hyundai's all-new Ioniq is the first model in the company's line to be offered in three different forms: a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric. They all share similar sporty hatchback styling, which means the Ioniq Electric appears very much like a conventional car. The main tip-offs are the badges and the sealed-off grille.

The Ioniq Electric has officially been classified by the EPA as the most efficient electric vehicle on the market, with a rating of 25 kWh used per 100 miles driven. (Note that the lower the kWh number, the better. But if you more easily understand a mpg-like number, it's 136 miles per gallon equivalent.) And with 124 miles of driving range on a fully charged battery, you can drive the Ioniq on a single charge farther than most rival EVs. The big exception is the Chevrolet Bolt with its 238-mile range.

Still, the Ioniq's strength rests in its space efficiency. Its lithium-ion battery pack is mounted beneath the rear seats, which frees up space for a useful amount of cargo room and helps keep its weight low to the ground. It's also one of the more affordable EVs in the market. All of these points make the Ioniq Electric a smart pick.



we recommend

Based on MSRP, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is one of the more affordable electric vehicles in its class. And after factoring in possible rebates and federal tax credits, the Ioniq Electric's bottom line drops even more, which should place it well within striking distance for many buyers who might not have considered an EV before. We would, however, recommend the Limited trim, primarily for the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert features. One of the few shortcomings of the Ioniq is rear visibility, and these items will help monitor the presence of nearby vehicles.




trim levels & features

The Ioniq Electric is available in just two trims: base, which comes pretty well equipped, and the more generously optioned Limited. Both trims are propelled by the same 88-kW electric motor (118 hp, 215 lb-ft) with a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery pack providing the energy for 124 miles of range.

If you can live without the latest high-tech driving aids, then the Electric trim should suit you well. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a rearview camera, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated six-way manually adjustable front seats and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback. You also get a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, and an audio system with satellite radio and HD radio, and USB and auxiliary input jacks. An SAE combo DC fast charger is also included and can operate at up to 100 kilowatts.

The Limited trim comes with everything above but swaps in LED headlights and adds blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, power-folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, a power driver seat with memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, and rear air vents.

Unfortunately, only Limited model buyers can specify the Limited Ultimate Package, which bundles together a sunroof, automatic emergency braking, traffic-adapting cruise control with stop-start, lane departure warning, xenon headlights with dynamic bending (swiveling), interior ambient lighting, wireless device charging, a larger 8-inch color touchscreen with navigation, and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system.

Also worth noting is Hyundai's new subscription-based Ioniq Unlimited program. You can think of this like a lease, only there's no negotiating, no down payment and no mileage limit. Customers pay a fixed monthly fee for their Ioniq Electric over a 24- or 36-month term, which also covers electric charging costs, scheduled maintenance and registration. You'll still be responsible for your own vehicle insurance. 



If you can live without the latest high-tech driving aids, then the Electric trim should suit you well. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a rearview camera, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated six-way manually adjustable front seats and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback. You also get a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, and an audio system with satellite radio and HD radio, and USB and auxiliary input jacks. An SAE combo DC fast charger is also included and can operate at up to 100 kilowatts.

The Limited trim comes with everything above but swaps in LED headlights and adds blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, power-folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, a power driver seat with memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, and rear air vents.

Unfortunately, only Limited model buyers can specify the Limited Ultimate Package, which bundles together a sunroof, automatic emergency braking, traffic-adapting cruise control with stop-start, lane departure warning, xenon headlights with dynamic bending (swiveling), interior ambient lighting, wireless device charging, a larger 8-inch color touchscreen with navigation, and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system.

Also worth noting is Hyundai's new subscription-based Ioniq Unlimited program. You can think of this like a lease, only there's no negotiating, no down payment and no mileage limit. Customers pay a fixed monthly fee for their Ioniq Electric over a 24- or 36-month term, which also covers electric charging costs, scheduled maintenance and registration. You'll still be responsible for your own vehicle insurance. 

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering3.5 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0
Climate control3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.5 / 5.0
Visibility2.0 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage4.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.5 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration5.0 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Thrilling performance isn't the story here, but the Ioniq Electric does offer decent performance for the everyday commuter. Though it doesn't seem to have quite the same punch as other EVs, we'll know for sure after some instrumented testing.

acceleration

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The Ioniq feels good right off the line, where the electric motor makes maximum torque, but doesn't have as much roll-on punch as you'd want. Highway merging requires full accelerator application, and in some situations it doesn't feel like enough. Further instrumented testing is forthcoming.

braking

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The brake pedal is easy to modulate, and there's a seamless transition from regenerative braking to traditional friction braking. We've yet to perform an emergency-stop test, but under semi-hard braking, the Ioniq is stable.

steering

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The Ioniq Electric's steering is light, easy and relatively precise. There isn't much feedback, but this isn't a vehicle that requires it. It's well-tuned for its purpose.

handling

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Though grip is modest, the Ioniq Electric maintains good composure around turns. Its center of gravity is nice and low thanks to the mounting of the lithium-ion batteries beneath the rear seats.

drivability

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As with other EVs, there's no traditional transmission gear shifting. Accelerator response is always instant. You can use the steering-wheel paddles to adjust the level of regenerative braking, but even the maximum amount isn't aggressive enough for true one-pedal driving.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Ioniq offers a nice level of comfort suitable for daily driving. The seats have good padding and sufficient support, with powerful seat heaters that Hyundai vehicles often come with. The ride comfort is well balanced, but the amount of cabin road noise could get tiresome on a road trip.

seat comfort

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The seats have adequate padding and are wrapped in pleasant materials, particularly the soy-based upholstery. The padding is perfectly adequate, and there's good lateral support and seat adjustment. The rear seatbacks are also comfortable, as are all armrests.

ride comfort

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Driving over big bumps causes the Ioniq to wallow around a bit, but the ride is comfortable for most road surfaces. Small bumps are dispatched without issue, and overall there's a pretty good balance of control and compliance.

noise & vibration

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There's a moderate amount of road noise that enters the cabin from underneath the rear-passenger foot area, which could get tiresome on long drives. Otherwise, wind noise is well isolated. We didn't notice any interior rattles or squeaks on our test car.

climate control

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The controls are straightforward to use. But like most EVs, the Ioniq Electric features only single-zone climate control. The seat heaters provide powerful heat, and a driver-only vent button closes the passenger side vents for when you're riding solo, which is convenient.

interior

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The Ioniq is an easy car to drive. You don't need the owner's manual to figure out the controls, and there's ample adjustability for drivers of all sizes. Rear legroom is mediocre, though, and rear visibility quirks could be a problem for those who are particular about such things.

ease of use

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Controls are straightforward; the touchscreen menus are easy to navigate. The physical buttons for driver aids provide convenient redundancy to scrolling through the settings menu. Switching on the wipers or headlights pulls up a prompt in the gauge cluster, which helps find your settings quicker.

getting in/getting out

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The front doors open wide, and step-in height is low. The openings for the rear doors are a little smaller, but it's not that much more difficult to climb in or out of the back than the front.

driving position

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The tilt-and-telescoping steering column has a lot of adjustment, as does the optional power driver seat. It's pretty easy to find a comfortable driving position thanks to the copious amounts of head- and legroom. The Ioniq should suit a wide range of drivers.

roominess

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There's ample space up front. We also like the abundance of rear seat headroom available despite the sloping rear roofline. Three adults in the back would probably be a squeeze width-wise, but two would be comfortable. Rear kneeroom is adequate, but not excessive. Underseat foot space is a bit tight.

visibility

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Although rear visibility isn't dramatically hindered by the horizontally split rear window, the bisected view out the back is nonetheless a bit of an annoyance. The sloping rear roofline and chunky rear roof pillars only compound the issue.

quality

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Hyundai has strategically placed the Ioniq's premium soft-touch material, which makes this EV feel a little more upscale than rivals. The soft leather and nice shape of the steering wheel and adequate armrest padding really elevate the rest of the cabin. Decent for the price.

utility

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Hatchbacks are wonderfully space-efficient vehicles, and the Ioniq Electric is a prime example. With 23.8 cubic feet, the Ioniq has the most voluminous trunk in the EV segment. Interior storage is better in the Electric than in the Hybrid, too.

small-item storage

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The Ioniq Electric has more interior storage space than the Ioniq Hybrid thanks to the push-button shifter. A bin up front is large enough for a small bag, and there's a spot for your phone with built-in wireless charging. The door pockets can hold a 16-ounce water bottle and a few smaller items.

cargo space

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With 23.8 cubic feet of cargo storage with all seats in place, the Ioniq is one of the better models in the EV class to haul your stuff. The cargo floor doesn't sit as high as in others, and the 60/40-split folding rear seats create a flat load floor.

child safety seat accomodation

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LATCH anchors are tucked away between cushions where the rear seatbacks fold down, which makes access kind of difficult. There is a pair of anchors per outboard rear seat and an easy access top tether on the back of each seat.

technology

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Hyundai is bullish when it comes to technology. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in all Ioniq models. Plus, a slew of advanced driver aids are available, and Blue Link is one of the more comprehensive telematics systems available.

audio & navigation

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The main touchscreen is easy to use but is beginning to look dated compared to other systems on the market. The optional Infinity audio system delivers clear and crisp sound; it should appease discerning audio fans. We didn't have a chance to test the base sound system.

smartphone integration

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With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard in all models, you likely won't need to spring for the optional navigation system. There is a wireless smartphone charging option, and Hyundai's Blue Link system allows you access to some car functions through a mobile app.

driver aids

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A good number of driver aids are available, including adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and a rearview camera with cross-traffic alert. The EV's cruise control system slows to a full stop.

voice control

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The native system is a little laggy, but the screen prompts are clear and the system operates quite well. It's easy to find and load an address on the go, and there are commands for phone and audio functions as well. You also have access to Siri through Apple CarPlay and Google through Android Auto.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.