One look at the Hyundai Nexo and you might think the boldly styled SUV is packed with complicated tech features. Although the design is distinctive, surprisingly, there's nothing overly complicated once you get behind the wheel. The key difference with the Nexo is that it's a hydrogen fuel cell-powered SUV. The only byproduct is water, which is ejected via the exhaust system. For 2021, the Hyundai Nexo carries over unchanged. At the moment, the Nexo is only available in California.
For a vehicle with an ultramodern look, the Hyundai Nexo isn't intimidating to drive. There's nothing outlandish or overly complicated about it despite all the advanced technology. Good power from the electric motor allows the Nexo to easily keep up with traffic, and the nicely tuned chassis handily absorbs road imperfections to create a smooth ride. Unlike older electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the Nexo's brakes are predictable; you're able to stop smoothly because they don't grab abruptly when you push the brake pedal. Additionally, the Nexo benefits from good steering feel.
The Nexo's techy-looking interior may seem daunting, but once you interact with it, you'll realize it's just as easy to use as in every other Hyundai vehicle. Even the automatic parking system is easy to use; press the remote parking button on the center stack, get out, press and hold a button on the key fob, and the car parks itself.
Even though the Nexo is a rolling technology showcase, you get the simplicity expected from a Hyundai vehicle. From the way it drives to the multimedia controls, the Nexo is familiar and user-friendly, minimizing any feeling of intimidation a consumer gets when they get in the vehicle and see all the gadgetry. And unlike other electric cars, fully charging the Nexo takes under 10 minutes.
The Hyundai Nexo uses an electric motor with an estimated 161 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque backed by a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion battery. With its three tanks full of hydrogen, the Nexo can travel up to 380 miles in the base Blue grade. The range-topping Limited model is only good for 354 miles due to the additional weight added by the extra standard equipment, which includes 19-inch alloy wheels.
IIHS: 2020 Top Safety Pick+
The Nexo received a Good score on all IIHS crashworthiness tests (Good is the highest possible score). In the IIHS' front crash prevention test, the Nexo got a Superior rating on the vehicle-to-vehicle test and Advanced in the vehicle-to-pedestrian test (Superior is the highest rating).
Hyundai's SmartSense suite of driver assistance features are standard on the Nexo. That includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front and rear automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane keeping assist with centering function. The range-topping Limited upgrades the blind-spot monitoring system with the ability to show what's on the left and right side of the vehicle on the 7.0-inch instrument cluster display.
Hyundai's standard infotainment system features a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a wireless charging pad, and built-in navigation. The Limited trim adds features like remote parking capability, a 360-degree view parking camera system, and an eight-speaker Krell audio system.