Overview The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq isn’t flashy or exciting. Instead, the small hatchback offers hybrid and plug-in-hybrid powertrains that prioritize efficiency. The Ioniq also looks like a normal car, which is a departure from extroverted—some would say weird-looking—alternatives such as the Toyota Prius. While the Toyota hybrid is renowned for its gas-sipping efficiency, the hybrid Hyundai actually has better EPA fuel-economy ratings, especially on the highway (up to 59 mpg versus the Prius’ 53). However, the plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq is less efficient than the plug-in Prius Prime. Along with a handsome interior as well as a competitive roster of driver assists and infotainment features, the 2021 Ioniq does a great job of sipping fuel while shipping people. Just don’t expect it to raise any pulses.What’s New for 2021?The hybrid and plug-in-hybrid Ioniq enter into 2021 without any significant changes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy Blue hybrid: $24,500 (est.) SE hybrid: $26,500 (est.) SEL hybrid: $30,000 (est.) Limited hybrid: $33,000 (est.) SE plug-in hybrid: $28,000 (est.) SEL plug-in hybrid: $31,000 (est.) Limited plug-in hybrid: $34,000 (est.)To avoid the added cost and underpowered behavior of the plug-in-hybrid Ioniq, we’d go with the hybrid version. While the base Blue model is the most efficient, according to the EPA, we prefer the additional features that are found on the SEL model. It comes standard with 17-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, LED running lights, heated front seats, rear cross-traffic alert, and a sunroof. Apart from that, there are a handful of dealer-installed accessories to choose from.Engine, Transmission, and PerformanceThe Ioniq hybrid we tested wasn’t quick, requiring 8.9 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. Shift timing isn’t perfect in Eco mode; the transmission pauses too long to downshift when you want to accelerate. The plug-in hybrid Ioniq’s combination of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motor, and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will be familiar to fans of the Ioniq and its cousin, the Kia Niro. The Ioniq holds its own on curvy roads, responding obediently to steering inputs and maintaining a firm grip on the road. If pushed hard in corners, the body leans, but overall the car feels stable and competent in most every situation. Pleasantly surprising are its composed ride and relaxed highway manners. All Ioniqs have steering-wheel paddles that you can use to modulate the level of regenerative braking, allowing drivers to approximate the one-pedal driving style that Tesla has popularized among EV cognoscenti.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGThe base Ioniq Blue model is the most fuel-efficient hybrid on the market. The Ioniq Limited we tested fell 2 mpg short of its EPA estimate during our test, but it’s still one of just a few cars we’ve tested that have topped 50 mpg. In our real-world testing, the plug-in did about as well as its closest competitors in our set of highway tests, but it failed to live up to the promise of its EPA ratings.Interior, Comfort, and CargoThe Ioniq’s cabin is comfortable and attractive even in base trim, and it can be well-appointed in more expensive versions. Adding to its green cred, Hyundai sourced sustainable materials for the Ioniq’s interior, using composites made of sugar cane and volcanic rock. While the rear seats won’t inspire outrage on the part of your passengers, several competitors offer more room to spread out. The Ioniq fits about as much luggage as other members of its class and more than some larger competitors. Interior cubby storage lags behind competitors, but Hyundai has employed some clever tricks to maximize what space is available. The plug-in version gives up four cubic feet of cargo space compared with the hybrid model. You can blame the larger battery pack for the deficit, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
Infotainment and ConnectivityEven base models come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and auxiliary and USB ports—swank accommodations for an entry-level model. Top trims use a 10.3-inch screen that includes navigation. Hyundai’s touchscreen interface is easy to use and performed well in our tests.Safety and Driver-Assistance FeaturesThe Ioniq hybrid and plug-in hybrid were named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but none have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Every Ioniq comes standard with a bevy of driver-assistance features, while upper trim levels include even more active-safety equipment such as an ability to detect pedestrians in the car’s path. Key safety features include: Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alertWarranty and Maintenance CoverageHyundai’s excellent warranty is one of the best in the industry. The Ioniq bolsters it with a lifetime battery warranty for the original owner, which aims to curb concerns about expensive battery repairs. The company also offers complimentary scheduled maintenance that bests mainstream rivals such as Toyota. Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
2020 Hyundai Ionic Hybrid
front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Blue, $24,175; SE, $26,125; SEL, $29,375; Limited, $32,175
DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.6-liter inline-4, 104 hp, 109 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 43 hp, 125 lb-ft; combined output, 139 hp, 195 lb-ft; 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 176.0 in
Width: 71.7 in
Height: 56.9 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft3
Cargo volume: 27 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 3000–3100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 8.9 sec
100 mph: 26.5 sec
¼-mile: 16.8 sec
Top speed: 115 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 55–58/55–57/54–59 mpg
More Features and Specs