2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Review

3.5 / 5
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The compact 2017 Hyundai Ioniq hatchback — offered as a hybrid (reviewed here), a plug-in hybrid and a pure EV — serves notice to the long-dominant Toyota Prius that there's a new green contender in town. In this small but growing corner of the market, Hyundai has delivered a compelling alternative.

Opt for the SEL or Limited trim level and you'll enjoy an EPA-estimated 55 mpg in mixed driving, beating the standard 2017 Prius by a full 3 mpg. But the headline-grabber is the efficiency-optimized Ioniq Hybrid Blue with an EPA-rated 58 mpg combined, edging out the similarly conceived 2017 Prius Eco (56 mpg) and setting a new record for a hybrid vehicle that lacks plug-in capability. Interestingly, the Blue model is also the cheapest Ioniq Hybrid trim and may well end up being the most popular.

The Ioniq's story isn't just fuel efficiency, though. Even in base Blue trim, it's a nicely loaded hatchback with plenty of cargo room, more than the regular Prius in fact (but less than the Prius Two Eco and its more compact lithium-ion battery pack; the regular Prius uses a nickel-metal hydride pack). And if you crave a fancier driving experience, you can get the Ioniq with features such as heated front seats, a sunroof, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitoring and a navigation system.

You might also like that Hyundai fits the Ioniq Hybrid with a six-speed automatic transmission. Most hybrids use a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). CVTs are ideal in many ways, though some drivers dislike the way they exacerbate engine noise during quick acceleration. In contrast, the Ioniq provides a more traditional feel coming from distinct gear shifts and ratios. In another nod to its conventional feel, the Ioniq interior looks similar to that of the Sonata or Elantra. That's not a bad thing compared to the techno-futuristic design tics that make us flinch in other hybrids.

Overall, we're very impressed with the new 2017 Ioniq. It's proof that high fuel efficiency, style and utility need not be mutually exclusive.



What's new for 2017

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is an all-new model.

We recommend

If your priority is maximum mpg, the Ioniq Blue is the clear choice. At 58 mpg combined, it beats the other Ioniq Hybrid versions by 3 mpg. But there are no options for the Blue: no heated seats, no navigation system and no advanced driver safety aids such as blind-spot monitoring. If you're willing to give up a little mpg for creature comforts, we think the SEL hits the sweet spot.



Trim levels & features

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a small four-door hatchback with 26.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded down. The array of features varies depending on which version of the Ioniq you choose. The Ioniq Hybrid is available in Blue, SEL or Limited trim.

Standard features on Blue trims include 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry and start, automatic climate control, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth, a USB port, and satellite and HD radio.

SEL trims add LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear center armrest, and chrome interior and exterior accents. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also included, while an optional Tech package for the SEL adds traffic-adapting cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.

The top Limited trim bundles the SEL's features and adds larger alloy wheels, a sunroof, xenon headlights, leather seating, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED cabin lighting, and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics features. An optional Ultimate package includes the SEL's Tech package features as well as turn-swiveling headlights, rear parking sensors, driver-seat memory settings, wireless device charging, an Infinity eight-speaker sound system, and a higher-resolution 8-inch touchscreen with navigation system.

The Ioniq Hybrid uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission as its primary motivation. Augmented with a 32-kilowatt electric motor fed by a lithium-ion battery pack, the Hybrid powertrain delivers a Prius-like total output of 139 horsepower.



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 Hybrid.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5

Driving

2.0 / 5

Acceleration2.5 / 5
Braking2.0 / 5
Steering2.0 / 5
Handling2.5 / 5
Drivability2.0 / 5

Comfort

2.5 / 5

Seat comfort2.5 / 5
Ride comfort2.0 / 5
Noise & vibration2.5 / 5
Climate control4.0 / 5

Interior

3.5 / 5

Ease of use4.0 / 5
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5
Driving position4.0 / 5
Roominess3.5 / 5
Visibility3.0 / 5
Quality2.5 / 5

Utility

3.0 / 5

Small-item storage3.5 / 5
Cargo space3.0 / 5

Technology

3.5 / 5

Audio & navigation3.0 / 5
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5
Driver aids4.0 / 5
Voice control3.0 / 5

Driving2.0

The Ioniq's weakest area is its everyday driving demeanor. It accelerates tepidly unless you floor it; steering is vague yet well-weighted. A relatively light car whose bumpy-road handling gives the impression of a heavier, blunter car. The current Prius is significantly superior in this category.

Acceleration2.5

The Ioniq feels reluctant and sluggish around town, requiring more pedal input than expected when in default mode. Sport mode provides much more natural acceleration but sacrifices efficiency. Full whack behavior is solid — it hits 60 mph in 8.7 seconds in our testing, quicker than a Prius.

Braking2.0

Pedal effort is springy and on the light side. The way it blends regenerative and friction braking feels unnatural. And under moderately heavy to full-panic braking, the nose dives pretty dramatically, which can be unsettling.

Steering2.0

The mushy on-center steering feel adds a challenge to maintaining lane position at freeway speeds. The effort is suitable at all speeds, never too light or too heavy, but it's nearly completely lifeless, communicating little about the road and state of grip to the driver.

Handling2.5

The Ioniq's handling is benign but has low limits. Its tires howl in protest even in moderately quick turns. It turns into a corner cleanly and without much hesitation. But when it encounters bumps, it reacts like a much heavier car, with exaggerated up-and-down ride motions.

Drivability2.0

There's a distinct lack of regenerative braking when coasting so you have to be on the brake pedal more often. Shift quality, responsiveness and acceleration smoothness are inconsistent. It seems like the transmission is easily tripped up, especially immediately after hard braking.

Comfort2.5

The Ioniq's unsupportive seats and conflicted ride quality won't win over any hearts, though its climate control interface stands out for its simplicity and innovative driver-only mode. The good isolation from engine vibration is overshadowed by the road noise, which is noticeable at all speeds.

Seat comfort2.5

The flat-bottom seat cushion lacks lower thigh and lateral support. The backrest portion is better and the cloth upholstery feels durable, but we felt squirmy after a couple of hours. The backseat is flat, upright and quite firmly padded. Also, the front seat adjustments are manual on this trim.

Ride comfort2.0

The Ioniq's ride is somewhat busy, and it'll go up and down in an exaggerated manner on lumpy road sections. It's also a little floaty at times, which means it exhibits the kind of ride movements that might make sensitive types nauseated.

Noise & vibration2.5

Road noise and patter are transmitted into the cabin to an undesirable degree. The engine is relatively muted by comparison, though still audible. The engine is well-isolated in terms of vibration; it doesn't shake the cabin when it comes on line. Wind noise is reasonably well-suppressed.

Climate control4.0

Nice, simple layout with large buttons and two easy-to-use knobs for temperature. The clever driver-only setting saves energy. It shows no problems battling summer temperatures and keeping the cabin cool with a minimum of fan noise. We like that dual-zone automatic climate control is standard.

Interior3.5

Functionally, the Ioniq's interior succeeds. Its controls are laid out well, and its height-adjustable and long-travel driver seat should accommodate people of all sizes. There's also ample head- and legroom up front. Backseat passengers don't fare nearly as well.

Ease of use4.0

The Ioniq's placement of controls is clear and logical with lots of large buttons. The infotainment screen is high-resolution and doesn't wash out, and the menu flow is simple (no navigation). The redundant hard keys are a nice touch, too.

Getting in/getting out3.0

The front doors are usefully long and open wide, and the wide but low sills and minimal seat bolsters help access. Access to the rear seat is more narrow; the narrowness, combined with the gently sloping roofline and high seat, hampers entry to a degree.

Driving position4.0

It's easy to find a suitable driving position thanks to a good range of adjustment in both the seat and the tilt-and-telescoping steering column. As a bonus, the steering wheel also offers terrific grip shapes.

Roominess3.5

There's ample legroom and headroom for tall drivers, thanks in part to the lack of a sunroof. Inside the car feels airy and the pedal box for the driver's feet is sufficiently wide. Six-footers in the backseat are somewhat cramped with limited headroom and toe room. Decent kneeroom, though.

Visibility3.0

The front windshield pillar bases and rearmost pillars are pretty chunky and can be obstructing. But there's a decent rear view, thanks to split glass in the hatch. (The bisecting beam is an unfortunate byproduct.) The backup camera view is smallish and not especially sharp, but it's certainly adequate.

Quality2.5

Many of the Ioniq's drab, gray plastics and cloth surfaces look and feel low-rent, though their assembly is commendably tight. The console bin lid and door panel creak readily when touched.

Utility3.0

Its cargo hold is relatively basic but sizable enough to swallow most everyday items you'd want to transport. The cabin nooks up front number appropriately, though backseat occupants don't have nearly as many options.

Small-item storage3.5

A tall, narrow console bin and open, narrow slot are surprisingly useful; so is the well forward of the shift selector. The door pockets are useful for water bottles only, and the glovebox is basic. The backseat has only two tiny door pockets and a net on the back of the passenger front seat.

Cargo space3.0

The backseat is split 60/40 and folds nearly flat. The hatch opens high so tall people won't hit their heads on it, but the liftover height is on the tall side. The cargo hold measures 26.5 cubic feet (vs. the Prius' 24.6 cubes) and is wide, if not that tall, at the aft-most point.

Child safety seat accommodation3.0

The outboard seat LATCH anchors are buried deep between the cushions and are somewhat hard to reach. The top tether points are obscured by a retractable cargo shade.

Technology3.5

Its screen may be small, but it's well-lit and responds well to touch inputs. Device integration and phone pairing are simple and support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The native voice controls function well but are limited in what they can control.

Audio & navigation3.0

The small infotainment screen supports swiping gestures and responds reasonably quick, making the most of its size. The audio system has a brassy sound quality, with minimal bass. There's no native navigation system, but you can navigate using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Smartphone integration4.0

Bluetooth pairing is simple and fast, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. There are USB and auxiliary ports and two 12-volt accessory outlets, which is nice.

Driver aids4.0

There are a good number of optional driver aids available for the SEL and Limited trims, including adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring with lane change assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and a rearview camera with rear cross-traffic alert.

Voice control3.0

Voice recognition (VR) supports only basic commands (phone calls, switching audio source) natively, but it responds well. In any case, that's where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come in. You can access your smartphone's VR by holding the Ioniq's VR button for a few seconds.

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.