New 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Hatchback New 2018
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

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. 

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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

AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING
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.

PLUG-IN HYBRID
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.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The 2018 Ioniq Hyundai proves that an environmentally friendly car doesn’t have to be far-out and futuristic on the inside. Hyundai's interior design is attractive and well-laid out, and the new Ioniq's cabin has the space, feel and appearance of a premium-compact car. Controls are easy to reach, and it doesn’t take long to figure out how to get to data such as range, fuel economy, etc. There are also plenty of conveniences, such as Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, and wireless smartphone charging. Materials used are eco-friendly -- sugar cane is used in the soft-touch materials and fabric, and there's recycled plastic with wood and volcanic stone. Seat comfort is high, and the driving position is perfect. 

Exterior

Thankfully Hyundai decided to make the Ioniq attractive and not freakishly fantastic like some cars in this class. Some aspects of the Ioniq's design have been defined by aerodynamics, such as the smooth roofline that ends in a flat rear, which pays off in the best aerodynamics of any car in the U.S. Rear visibility comes through two rear windows. Unfortunately, where those windows split can fall right in the center of view, depending on seating position. The Ioniq uses LED accents and LED taillights, and the hood and liftgate are made of aluminum to reduce weight. Want to quickly tell the Hybrid from the Electric? The Electric has a closed front grille and different wheels.

Notable Standard Equipment

With the new Ioniq's three-cars-in-one scenario, not even an engine is standard equipment (there's no engine in the Electric). However, there are plenty of features that are standard on the Hybrid, Electric and Plug-in hybrid models. All three come with a 7-inch touch screen, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with redundant stereo and phone controls, power windows, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All three offer 5-passenger seating. Safety features include hill-start assist control and seven airbags (including a driver’s knee bag). Dual-zone climate control is standard on the Hybrid and Plug-in, but not available in the Electric.

Notable Optional Equipment

Heated front seats are standard in the new Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in and Electric, optional in the Hybrid. Leather seating is available in all three. You can get a power driver's seat, but a power seat isn't available for the front passenger. Other options include adaptive cruise control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, a cargo cover, Qi wireless charging, a navigation system, and heated side mirrors. A rear center armrest with cup holders is standard in the Electric and the Plug-in hybrid, but optional in the Hybrid.

Under the Hood

While all three members of the new Ioniq family use an interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor, the horsepower and torque combination is different for each car. All three also use a lithium-ion polymer battery. You can recharge 80 percent of the Electric's battery in only 23 minutes. Fuel economy for the Hybrid Blue model -- 57 mpg city and 59 highway -- is best in its class, and the fuel-economy equivalent for the Electric is the best in the country.

Ioniq Hybrid
1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4
104 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
109 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
32-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
43 horsepower, 125 lb-ft of torque
Total system output: 139 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 55/54 mpg (Hybrid), 57/59 mpg (Blue)

Ioniq Electric
88-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
118 horsepower, 215 lb-ft of torque (Electric)
Total system output: 118 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 150/122 MPGe
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 124 miles

Ioniq Plug-in
1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4
104 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
109 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
44.5-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
60 horsepower, 125 lb-ft of torque
Total system output: 139 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 52 mpg (city/highway combined)

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Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid starts around $23,500 including destination, in line with a Prius and a bit less than a Ford C-Max, and can go over $31,000. Pricing for the 2018 Ioniq Plug-In hybrid begins just under $26,000. The Ioniq Electric, on sale initially in California, starts at about $30,500 (around $20,500 in California after rebates), making it less expensive than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt. It tops out near $37,000. The Ultimate Subscription Model for the Electric requires $2,500 at lease signing, and you pay a predetermined monthly amount for 36 months based on the model and features. It includes unlimited mileage, plus free scheduled maintenance, free replacement of regular-wear items (windshield wipers, tires, etc.) and reimbursement for the cost of charging the car for the first 50,000 miles. All three new Ioniqs have a lifetime warranty on the battery. Do check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Ioniq.

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