Friday, May 17, 2019


While hybrid drivetrains are offered in many so-called mainstream vehicles these days, Hyundai created the Ioniq hatchback as a conventional gas-electric hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and electric powertrain, but with no gasoline-only engine option and without some of the quirks that often come with the hybrid segment.

In fact, driving the Ioniq Hybrid can make you forget you’re being the wheel of a traditional hybrid.

Not that you’d confuse it with a high-performance sports car or anything, but shifting on the go from Eco to Sport mode gives you a hybrid that actually is fun to drive.

As noted, the Ioniq comes with the choice of three drivetrains, with the Hybrid and Plug-in mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and the Electric to a single-speed reduction gear set.

This review is limited to the standard Hybrid in Limited trim with a base MSRP of $29,435 including the destination and delivery charge ($885). The base model for the hybrid is the Blue model with a starting price of $23,285. The SEL is a step up at $25,835.

Both the standard Hybrid and the Plug-in get a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque and matched with an electric motor that gets its power from a lithium-ion battery (located under the rear seat) to produce 125 pound-feet of torque. Combined horsepower is 139 hp.

The motor in the all-electric version is rated at only 118 hp but puts out a significant 218 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Blue trim Hybrid is rated at a segment-leading 57 miles-per-gallon city, 59 highway while  the Limited and SEL come in at 55/54 (assuming you haven’t spent all your time driving in Sport mode).

As the top dog in the lineup, the 2019 Ioniq Limited gets as standard such features as HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, power tilt-and-slide moonroof, proximity key entry and push-button start, leather seating surfaces with heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual automatic temperature control, 7-inch color touchscreen audio display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and Hyundai’s Blue Link system with a complimentary 3-year trial.

New as standard this year is safety equipment that includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane-keeping assist, Smart Cruise Control, High-Beam Assist, and Driver Attention Warning.

Other safety features include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle stability management with traction control, a rearview camera, and the usual collection of airbags (front, front-side impact, side curtain, and driver’s knees).

At 176 inches long, the Limited Hybrid offers more stowage capacity (26.3 cubic feet) than its Plug-in and Electric brethren (23 cubic feet) with front legroom of 42.2 inches. Rear legroom in all Ioniqs is 35.7 inches, which isn’t cramped but not particularly generous either.

The ambiance of the interior isn’t luxury, but nice enough for the its class. There is some road noise, but it isn’t excessive.

Options like an Ultimate Package and carpeted floor mats runs the total tab to $31,760, which may produce sticker shock for those who haven’t been car-shopping in the last decade, but is in line with other current hybrid and electric models.

The Ultimate Package includes navigation that operates off the touchscreen, Infinity premium sound, and rear parking sensors for an extra $2,200.

All in all, the Ioniq is a hybrid you should find very comfortable to live with.

What I liked about the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Limited: With the Ioniq, Hyundai has eliminated the annoying whine that often is heard when a hybrid slows to a stop by going with a traditional transmission instead of a CVT. Operation of infotainment features is very user-friendly, as is usually the case with vehicles out of the South Korean’s stable. Fuel efficiency is excellent, though if you want a better driving experience you have to go into Sport mode and sacrifice some of that advantage.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Limited: The backseat is on the small side, but what is more distressing at the rear is the annoying crossbar that splits the large rear window. It is a feature that first popped up with Toyota’s Prius and impacts the rear view. 

Would I buy the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Limited? Of all the compact hybrids on the market, this is one I would seriously consider. A well-equipped Limited model would be my choice, but SEL trim also can be fitted with key options as well.

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