- Hybrid, electric, now plug-in hybrid too
- Restrained, “normal” design
- Excellent, intuitive controls
- 58 mpg highest of any hybrid
- 124 miles of electric range
- Not as roomy as Leaf or Prius
- Battery cuts cargo space in EV model
- Volt has twice the plug-in range
- Some see design as anonymous
With a plug-in hybrid joining hybrid and electric versions, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq normalizes green powertrains: it’s relatively fun to drive, and doesn’t look strange.
The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq carries over from its debut year largely unchanged, but with a new member of the lineup. It’s a subcompact to compact five-door hatchback that sits between the similarly sized but less expensive Elantra and the larger, pricier Sonata mid-size sedan in price. Trim levels are Blue, SEL, and Limited for the high-volume Ioniq Hybrid, and base or Limited for the Electric and the new Plug-In hybrid model added this year.
We like the little Ioniq and think Hyundai succeeded in making green cars both normal-looking and more fun to drive than hybrids historically have been. That said, the competing Toyota Prius hybrid and Prius Prime plug-in hybrid have improved greatly in that respect, so Hyundai’s advantage is smaller than it was when the car was first conceived. The Ioniq’s design, however, is that of a normal hatchback with a high tail, in vivid contrast to the bizarre lines of the latest Prius.
We gave the Ioniq a score of 6.2 out of a possible 10 points, with extra points for its superbly intuitive cockpit and controls. It rates high on our green scale, too, and as always Hyundai has carefully grouped its features to provide good value for money. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
With the plug-in hybrid variant rounding out the three-powertrain lineup this year, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq offers something no other car does: a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric powertrains. The Hybrid will be the big seller, with the other two available for special order nationally but only actively marketed in a handful of states.
Global demand for the Ioniq has reportedly been higher than expected, perhaps indicating that Hyundai has a winner on its hands. Its small hatchback design and low gas prices here in the States make it a tougher sell than the company expected four or five years ago when it set out to produce the car that would get the highest fuel-economy rating of any vehicle with an engine.
The company succeeded in that goal; the fact that it has produced a pleasant vehicle that’s easy to live with as well is a welcome bonus. The sole missing element is a range longer than 124 miles for the Ioniq Electric. Reports suggest this could happen by 2019 or 2020.