It seems odd to call the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid the first legitimate contender to the Toyota Prius for hybrid dominance. There have been challengers, sure. But the truth is that the Prius has been the undisputed best choice for hybrid shoppers since its debut in America for 2001. Yet the new Ioniq is the first to truly rival the Prius in all areas.
Essentially, Hyundai set out to mimic the Prius and then one-up it. The Ioniq Hybrid is capable of 58 mpg combined, 2 mpg more than offered by the similarly thrifty Prius Two Eco. That might not sound like much, but in the battle for the hearts and minds of hybrid shoppers, it's a distinguished medal.
The Ioniq also offers almost 2 more cubic feet of cargo space than its main rival and the same kind of long-roof liftback utility that's become a Prius hallmark. Yet inside, the Ioniq appears as normal as most other Hyundai models, its cabin not unlike what you might find in the Elantra or Sonata, and not overdone with the futuristic flourishes that broadcast its eco-credibility.
The best part is that the fuel efficiency and utility are available for a relative song. The base model Blue is the overachiever of the bunch. It's the one that gets 58 mpg and comes wrapped in a nicely equipped package. It lacks some of the special touches you might desire, such as heated seats or leather upholstery, but it's got all of the most common comfort and connected features you might want: a rearview camera, keyless entry and push-button start, a folding rear seat, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and satellite radio.
Moving up to the SEL brings nicer features, including heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver seat, chrome trim and blind-spot detection, with optional driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. The top-trim Limited brings the rest, including a sunroof, high-intensity headlights, leather upholstery and telematics. Options take it even further, with swiveling headlights, a navigation system and wireless device charging among the offerings.
Blending fuel efficiency, utility and style into a Prius-beating package, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq has all you need to maximize those commuting miles while still using your hybrid like a regular car. When it's time to find the Ioniq model that suits you, look to Edmunds for the best buying advice.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.