2018 Hyundai Ioniq Review

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
September 25, 2017

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 doesn't change from last year, but adds a new member to its roster. A plug-in hybrid is part of the program and is added to the high-volume hybrid and electric-only model. All versions are offered in a five-door hatchback body style, and sit between the Elantra and Sonata in size and price.

The hybrid version is offered in Blue, SEL, and Limited trim levels, while the electric and plug-in hybrid models are offered in base and Limited trim levels.

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.

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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.

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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety N/A
Features 6
Fuel Economy 9
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