The Hyundai Ioniq is a five-seat hatchback focused on efficiency. It achieves high fuel economy ratings with its hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains and also comes in a fully electric version. The Ioniq received a substantial update for 2020, and carries over unchanged into 2021.
With superb fuel economy and good overall execution, the Ioniq is a worthwhile consideration for hybrid shoppers.
However, the fact that it was designed for three different powertrains—hybrid, plug-in, and all-electric—results in suboptimal interior packaging. Regardless, Hyundai got creative with how to get the most out of every tank of gas, resulting in excellent fuel economy ratings.
Buyers who like to drive won't be dismayed by the Ioniq. A good chassis setup provides nimble, stable handling and smooth highway composure. While most hybrid competitors are saddled with CVT automatics, the Ioniq uses a dual-clutch unit. It's not the quickest vehicle out there, but electric torque helps it feel lively.
The Toyota Prius might remain the status quo in the hybrid hatchback segment, but for drivers who want something different and are OK with a cozier interior, the Ioniq is worth a look.
The standard Ioniq Hybrid uses a 1.6-liter I-4 supplemented by a 32-kW electric motor and 1.56-kWh battery. Total power output measures 139 hp, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In MotorTrend testing, the Ioniq Hybrid's 0-60 mph acceleration time measured 9.6 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy for the 2020 Ioniq was 57/59 mpg city/highway for the Blue trim, and 55/54 mpg for other trims; the 2021 Ioniq's fuel economy ratings should be similarly strong.
The Ioniq Plug-In pairs the same 1.6-liter I-4 and six-speed dual-clutch automatic as the standard Hybrid to a more powerful 45-kW motor and 8.9-kWh battery. Power output is unchanged at 139 hp. Acceleration to 60 mph should be similar to the standard Hybrid; however, the Ioniq Plug-In has about 29 miles of all-electric range. The 2020 model got a 119 mpg-e combined rating; expect similar ratings for the 2021 Ioniq Plug-In.
In addition to the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-In, Hyundai also makes an all-electric version. With a 38.3-kWh battery, it offers 170 miles of range on a full charge. That's well below most other electric cars these days, but few EVs can match the electric Ioniq's base price of just under $35,000. Check out our buyer's guide for the Hyundai Ioniq Electric here.
When evaluated by the IIHS for the 2020 model year, the Ioniq earned the top Good score in all six crashworthiness tests.
All Ioniq trims include the Hyundai SmartSense driver-assist and active-safety suite. Features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams. All Hybrid trims except the entry-level Blue trim have blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is added on the Hybrid SEL. For the Ioniq Plug In model, adaptive cruise control is standard on all trims; however, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included only on the SEL and Limited trims.
Cargo area capacity in the Ioniq Hybrid measures 26.5 cubic feet. However, the larger battery in the Ioniq Plug In reduces cargo capacity to 23.0 cubic feet.
Front-row headroom measures 39.1 inches in the Ioniq, which compares to 39.4 inches in the Toyota Prius. Second-row headroom is 37.4 inches in the Ioniq and the Prius. Front-row legroom measures 42.2 inches in the Hyundai, just less than the Toyota's 42.3 inches. Second-row legroom is much greater in the Ioniq, which has 37.5 inches against the Prius' 33.4 inches.
The Ioniq features an 8.0-inch touchscreen as standard; a 10.3-inch unit is available (and it's standard on the plug-in's Limited trim). Both setups include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and two front-row USB ports; built-in navigation is added with the larger display. Entry-level Ioniq Hybrid trims have a 4.2-inch gauge cluster display, which is upgraded to a 7.0-inch unit on other trims.
All trims have an eight-speaker audio system, which features Harman Kardon premium speakers on the Plug-In's Limited trim. All trims except the entry-level Hybrid Blue include a three-year subscription to Hyundai's Blue Link app, which allows remote monitoring and control of vehicle systems.