2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Review

The Ioniq Plug-In delivers excellent fuel economy at a reasonable price.
7.3 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

When most buyers think hybrid, Toyota's almighty Prius is generally the first car to pop into mind. But with most manufacturers offering a hybrid vehicle in their lineups, that's slowly changing. With the 2018 Ioniq, Hyundai is offering three variants of the same car: a traditional hybrid, an electric-only model, and the all-new 2018 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid.

The Plug-In is just like the regular Ioniq Hybrid, but it has a bigger battery to allow for much greater electric-only operation — up to 29 miles of driving — and the ability to plug it in to recharge the battery. If you're looking for a vehicle that can give you some electric mobility but aren't ready to commit to a pure electric, the Ioniq Plug-In could work out well. It also boasts a large cargo area, an easy-to-use interior, and Hyundai's generous warranty coverage as other good reasons to consider this plug-in hybrid.

But there are a few downsides. The seats are unsupportive and the ride is disconnected with lots of body motion. Road noise may also be a problem, especially considering how quiet it can be in electric mode. The Plug-In features slightly less cargo volume than the standard Hybrid (23 cubic feet versus 26.5). And even with Sport mode engaged and your foot buried to the floor, the Ioniq accelerates tepidly. Overall, we think the Ioniq Plug-In is worth a look, but you'll still want to check out the Prius Prime as well as the Chevrolet Volt and the new Honda Clarity Plug-In.



What's new for 2018

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is new for 2018.

We recommend

With one of the lowest prices for plug-in hybrid, we recommend the standard Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid. While it lacks the Limited trim's driver assist technology, it still features excellent smartphone connectivity, the ability to drive on electric only, and comfortable seats.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is a compact four-door hatchback that can seat five. It shares its basic hybrid powertrain and six-speed automatic transmission with the regular Ioniq Hybrid, but the Plug-In comes with a bigger, 8.9-kWh battery allowing it to go up to 29 miles in electric mode. The Plug-In is available in two trims: the standard but well-equipped Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid and the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited, which includes more luxury and technology features.

The Ioniq Plug-In uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor to make a total of 139 horsepower. Standard feature highlights include 16-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry with push-button starting, heated front seats, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a USB port and satellite radio.

The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited adds LED headlights, a power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, leather seating surfaces, a bigger driver information display, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

An available Ultimate package is available for Limited models. It includes turn-adaptive headlights, a sunroof, a larger 8-inch touchscreen display with Hyundai Blue Link connected services, a navigation system, LED interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, rear parking sensors, a wireless phone charging pad, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an Infinity Premium eight-speaker audio system.



Trim tested

While we have yet to fully test the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid, the following evaluation is based on the functionally similar 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback (1.6L 4-cyl plug-in hybrid | 6-speed dual-clutch automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.3 / 10

Driving

6.5 / 10

Acceleration6.0 / 10
Braking6.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration7.5 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility6.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space7.0 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation8.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.5 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving6.5

The Ioniq's weakest area is its everyday driving demeanor. It accelerates tepidly unless you floor it; the 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 Prime is superior in this category.

Acceleration6.0

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.

Braking6.0

The 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.

Steering6.0

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 the state of grip to the driver.

Handling7.0

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.

Drivability7.0

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

Comfort7.5

The Ioniq Plug-In's unsupportive seats and bumpy 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 comfort7.0

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 back seat is flat, upright and quite firmly padded. Also, the front-seat adjustments are manual on this trim.

Ride comfort7.0

The Ioniq's ride is somewhat busy, and it'll pogo 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 & vibration7.5

The engine is relatively muted but audible and is well-isolated in terms of vibration, imparting minimal shake when it comes alive. Wind noise is reasonably well-suppressed. But road noise is a little excessive.

Climate control8.0

It has a 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 temps and keeping the cabin cool with a minimum of fan noise. We like that dual-zone automatic climate control is standard.

Interior7.0

Functionally, the Ioniq Plug-In's interior succeeds. Its controls are laid out well, and its height-adjustable driver's seat with long travel 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 use8.0

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. The redundant hard keys are a nice touch, too.

Getting in/getting out7.0

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

Driving position8.0

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.

Roominess7.0

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 back seat are somewhat cramped with limited headroom and toe room. Decent kneeroom, though.

Visibility6.0

The front windshield pillar bases and rearmost pillars are a bit chunky and can be obstructing. But there's a decent rear view thanks to the 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 adequate.

Quality7.0

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.

Utility7.0

The Ioniq Plug-In's cargo hold is relatively basic but sizable enough to swallow most everyday items you'd want to transport. The cabin nooks up front are an appropriate number, though backseat occupants don't have nearly as many options.

Small-item storage7.5

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

Cargo space7.0

The back seat folds 60/40 and lies 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 Plug-In's cargo capacity is a bit smaller than the hybrid, measuring 23 cubic feet versus 26.5.

Child safety seat accommodation7.0

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.

Technology8.0

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 & navigation8.0

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 integration8.5

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 aids7.5

A good number of optional driver aids are available for the Ioniq Plug-In, including adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring with lane change assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning.

Voice control8.0

Voice recognition 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 voice recognition 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.