Forget the Prius; there's a new fuel economy champ in town. The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a small, attractive hatchback that delivers an EPA-rated 58 mpg (combined) in ultra-efficient Blue trim and 55 mpg in the standard trims, handily beating the Prius (56 mpg in Eco trim, 52 mpg in other versions).
That said, there's a lot more to the Ioniq Hybrid than good gas mileage. This small hatchback is nicely trimmed and well equipped, even in entry-level form. Its 139-horsepower hybrid drivetrain uses a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission rather than the CVTs found in most hybrids. It makes for snappy shifts and a more conventional driving experience. And it's only one of three Ioniq powertrains; Hyundai sells all-electric and plug-in hybrid versions as well. The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a compelling vehicle, one that ought to have Toyota worried.
Current Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The lowest-priced Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, called the Ioniq Blue, is the most fuel-efficient model. Technically it's the entry-level model, but it's still rather nicely equipped with alloy wheels, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, and a touchscreen stereo compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Blue is the model we recommend, though the more expensive models are compelling choices. The SEL adds some nice comfort and convenience features and offers optional advanced driver aids, while the Touring provides leather upholstery, a power driver seat with memory function, and other luxury features.
Common between the models is a 139-hp hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 1.6-liter gasoline engine, electric motor and a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Off-the-line acceleration is punchy, though merging onto the highway requires some foot-to-the-floor action. The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid's grip in the turns is modest — no surprise in a car tuned for maximum fuel efficiency — but steering precision is good, and the handling is steady and composed. The ride is comfortable, if a bit noisy.
We are quite satisfied with the interior trim, including the eco-friendly seat cloth, which is made from a soy-based material. The front seats are reasonably comfortable, though backseat space is tight and the Ioniq's split rear window and aerodynamic hatchback shape compromise rear visibility somewhat. (Happily, a rearview camera is standard equipment.) In terms of utility, the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid scores high marks. There's plenty of room for cargo and the big hatchback opening makes it easy to load. And if the Ioniq's 26.5 cubic feet of luggage space isn't enough, the seatbacks split and fold to form a flat load floor.
Used Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Models
The first-generation Hyundai Ioniq made its debut for the 2017 model year. For 2018, the optional lane departure warning system was upgraded to provide steering assistance.