Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hatchback Limited: The Brand's Prius-Fighter

Highlight: The Ioniq is available in three variations: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric vehicle.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $ 31,760 (Base Model: $23,320)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; traction control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; vehicle stability management system; an electronic stability control system; traction control; a driver’s blind spot outside mirror; and a hill start assist system

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 15-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; cloth seats; manually operated front seats; folding exterior mirrors; an integrated rear spoiler; and a variety of driving modes

Standard Equipment (Limited): 17-inch wheels; a rearview camera; an electronic blind spot detection system; a lane change assist system; a power sunroof; a keyless entry system; a keyless ignition starter system; leather seats; rear seat center armrest; an automatic temperature control system; and heated front seats 

Options On Test Vehicle: cornering headlights; rear parking sensors; a navigation system; an 8-speaker Infinity audio system, a wireless charging pad; memory setting for power driver’s seat; a cargo cover; floor console mounted rear vents;  Blue link guidance package and carpeted floor mats

Other Trim Levels:

SE and SEL

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD with a satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Android/Apple CarPlay: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder/104-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 57-city/59-hwy

What’s New: With the exception of a minor tech package change on the midlevel SEL trim, the Ioniq is basically a carryover, after joining the Korean brand’s lineup last year.

Why: We had an opportunity to spend time behind Hyundai’s first dedicated hybrid in 2018. Toyota’s Prius-fighter continues to be available as a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle too. And unlike the once popular Prius hybrid, the design of the Ioniq is not polarizing or resembles a space ship. In fact, the vehicle looks quite stylish for a hybrid.

The Ioniq, which is available in three trims, can easily accommodate five. Pricing has only increased by approximately $200, when compared to last year’s model. This make sense since the car market has softened, while the industry has turned toward crossovers, SUVs and trucks. Even Hyundai, which misread the market, has strengthen their portfolio in the crossover segment.

Like all of today’s current Hyundai models, the layouts of the controls and gauges are easy to follow. The operation of the infotainment system, which houses the audio, navigation and ventilation, are user friendly too.  

Hyundai’s Ioniq is powered by a slightly smaller 4-cylinder engine than the Prius. While the fuel-efficient engine only pumps out a puny 101-horesepower, don’t fret. Once behind the wheel one will notice it is more than adequate.

With Hyundai’s first dedicated hybrid being late to the table, the Korean automaker made sure that both the fuel mileage and the overall fuel range exceeds that of the Prius. According to fueleconomy.gov, the Prius has a combined fuel average of 52 mpg, when compared to the 58 mpg from the Ioniq. On a full tank of gas, the Prius can travel 588 miles. Ironically, Hyundai’s latest dedicated hybrid can go almost 654 miles, before a refuel is needed. We must note the tank size of the Ioniq is slightly larger than the Toyota. The Hyundai is capable of carrying 11.9 gallons, as compared to the Toyota’s 11.3 gallons.

Moreover, the economically priced vehicle, which along with its sibling from Kia, the wagon-like Niro, has the best hybrid warranty in the industry. The Ioniq is packed with a number of amenities. Depending on the trim, leather seats, a power sunroof and an electronic blind spot system are available.

But: The 2019 model we reviewed front windshield yielded an excessive amount of glare. It took a moment for us to accept this as being somewhat normal, although it was highly annoying. And the split view rear window creates a blind spot for the driver.

Verdict: While consumers taste have shifted toward crossovers, SUV and trucks, Hyundai has designed and produced a fuel-efficient value packed hybrid that is competitive to the once popular Toyota Prius. The conventional styling, the lower price point, the array of amenities and the warranty makes this a best buy for those seeking to stretch out their miles.

Competition: Kia Niro and Toyota Prius


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