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2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.9 / 10
This Car - 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

A smart and sporty 4-door hatchback, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq gives environmentally conscious shoppers a choice among three affordable models: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric vehicle. It takes on the popular Toyota Prius, as well as the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and the similar Kia Niro in the growing market for electrified fuel-efficient small cars that offer real-world practicality. Three trim levels are available, Blue, SEL and Limited, with prices starting around $23,000 for the Hybrid Blue, rated at an impressive 57 mpg in the city and 59 mpg on the highway. Hyundai says it has a fuel range of 690 miles. The best-selling Toyota Prius is a few hundred dollars more and it’s rated 58-mpg city and 53-mpg highway. The Ioniq Electric, offered in Base and Limited trims, starts around $30,000 and offers 124 miles of range. 

You'll Like This Car If...

Stylish, comfortable and refined, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq is a true alternative to the Toyota Prius, which invented the hybrid segment. With its reasonable base price and laundry list of standard and available features, the sporty Ioniq feels like a premium-compact car, and it’s a bit cheaper and more fuel-efficient than the popular Toyota. Hyundai also offers a better warranty with lifetime battery coverage. 

You May Not Like This Car If...

If ultimate electric range is what you’re after, the Chevy Bolt is still your best choice in this class. It offers 238 miles of range, which is over 100 miles more than the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq. It also packs 200 horsepower and is more fun to drive than the 118-horsepower Ioniq Electric. 

What's New for 2018

For 2018 Hyundai has added the new Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid to the lineup. This model works much like a Toyota Prius Prime or Chevy Volt. It can be driven up to 27 miles on pure electric power before a 1.6-liter gasoline engine turns on to drive the vehicle and charge the batteries. Total range is about 590 miles. Plug into a 240v source and battery charging time is just 2.5 hours. 

Driving It Driving Impressions

From behind the wheel, the 2018 Ioniq Hybrid is refined and comfortable with few indications that its complex powertrain is using both an electric motor and a gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine to get you down the road. Basically, it feels like a regular compact car, and that’s a good thing. The Hybrid even uses a normal-looking shifter for the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and there are paddle shifters if you want to get sporty and choose gears for yourself. There's ample power for daily driving, engine-to-motor transitions are smooth, and brake response is nicely linear, but there is some tire noise. Throttle response, transmission shifts and steering response feel livelier in Sport mode, although fuel economy takes a hit. Use Sport mode habitually and mileage in the city will dip to about 40 mpg. The Ioniq Electric has a nice punch off the line, but overall it too has a relaxed, easygoing nature. 

Favorite Features

Available as part of an optional and expansive package on the Ioniq’s Limited trim level, this clever system uses a camera mounted behind the rearview mirror along with a radar sensor mounted on the front bumper to detect vehicles or pedestrians in your path and warn you of a potential collision. If you don’t take action to avoid the impact, the system will apply the brakes for you.

Of the three powertrains offered in the Ioniq, the new Plug-in Hybrid model is our favorite. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the Hybrid, it’s significantly more affordable than the Electric and it offers the best of both worlds and is basically two cars in one. Fully charge the batteries and it’s an EV for the first 27 miles, then it becomes an extremely efficient hybrid with 600-plus miles of range.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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