2020 Hyundai Ioniq

By April 3, 2020

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq is a hybrid that makes a strong case for value, including an outstanding warranty. It’s similar to the Toyota Prius but with a more ordinary hatchback shape. It’s more approachable, and has a friendly face. Ioniq Plug-In Hybrids are an easy step into the electrified future—and Electric models skip gas entirely, of course.

For 2020, a couple of the models get improvements. The gas hybrids get a new mesh grille. The Electric edition (available only in California and other ZEV-rule states) gets a bigger battery, to increase its range from 124 to 170 miles, more than a Nissan Leaf but less than the Hyundai Kona electric crossover that can go 258 miles.

Powerplants range from a 139-horsepower Hybrid that gets an EPA-rated 58 mpg combined; to a Plug-In Hybrid with a range of 29 all-electric miles; to the 170-mile Electric edition. The Ioniq Hybrids have a paddle-shifting 6-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The Ioniq has a low driving position with comfortable front seats and a well-sorted cockpit. Acceleration is moderate at best, while the handling is no-nonsense. Rear-seat room gets compromised by the roofline, but cargo space swells to more than 26.5 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are folded.

With its low-rolling-resistance tires, the base Hybrid Blue model gets the best gas mileage, at 57/59/58 mpg, which makes it one of the highest-mileage vehicles that isn’t a plug-in. The other Hybrid models get 55 mpg city, 54 highway, 55 combined.

The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid has a larger battery pack and a plug. The PHEV Ioniq can go 29 miles on electricity alone. When its gas engine kicks in, it gets 52 mpg combined, for a net of 119 MPGe.

For 2020, the Ioniq Electric gets a larger battery pack—it grows from 28 kwh to 38.3 kwh. That raises its range to 170 miles, with 136 MPGe. It can recharge to 80 percent in under an hour on a 100-kw fast-charger. It’s available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The Ioniq hasn’t been crash tested by the NHTSA, but the IIHS makes it a Top Safety Pick.

All Ioniqs have automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitors are available, as is adaptive cruise control on more expensive versions.

Model Lineup

The 2020 Ioniq Hybrid comes in four different models, the plug-ins in three.

The $23,930 Ioniq Hybrid Blue is an exceptional value. It comes with power features, automatic emergency braking, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual climate control, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The $25,880 Ioniq SE sports LED running lights, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch instrument display.

The $29,130 SEL gains LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a power sunroof, leather upholstery, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The $31,930 Limited gets Harman Kardon audio.

The $27,230 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid SE has adaptive cruise control, while the $30,230 Plug-in SEL gets LED headlights. The $33,680 Plug-in Limited has a 10.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Harman Kardon audio.

The Ioniq Electric is equipped like the plug-in hybrid.

All Ioniqs come with Hyundai’s 5-year/60,000-mile limited vehicle warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Exterior

The Hyundai Ioniq hatchback has familiar and tidy proportions. Its pert shape has the best balance of all the small hybrid hatches, and it wears its details like discreet jewelry.

The nose on hybrids gets a new mesh grille for 2020, while Electrics have a distinct pattern on their face. The front and rear ends with LED headlights and taillights are fresh. The Ioniq’s sweeping aerodynamic lines cost some rear-seat head room.

Interior

The Ioniq cockpit is plain and perfectly functional, with lots of plastic trim while glowing with flourishes of high-definition displays. The higher-end models can be awash in digital displays, and the parking brake and shift controls are operated by buttons and touch controls, not levers.

Front passengers relax in comfort.They sit low in seats with thick bolsters and grippy fabric; leather upholstery comes with the higher models.

The cabin is wider than the car’s low and short body suggests, so there’s good shoulder space in the rear, although the back seat is still only good for two medium-sized adults.The rear seat is also low, but headroom is still an issue, thanks to the sloping roof.

There is good cargo space in the Hybrids, with 26.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats–23 cubic feet the Plug-In and Electric models, because of the battery packs. And the rear seats fold for more room.

The cabin is quieter than most, as the engine sounds are not intrusive.

Driving Impressions

The Ioniq Hybrids team a 104-horsepower 1.6-liter inline-4 with a 43-hp (32-kw) electric motor and a 1.56-kwh lithium-polymer battery. A combined total of 139 hp drives the front wheels through a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. The acceleration is moderate and puttering, but the car doesn’t feel slow, and it’s never raucous or unrefined.

You can increase fuel economy by using the paddles to downshift to maximize regenerative braking, which charges the batteries so you get more electric range. The transitions between motors, the dual-clutch automatic, and the friction brakes are blended and managed well.

Ioniq Plug-In Hybrids use the same powertrain, but battery size rises to 8.9 kwh, which yields similar acceleration with an electric-only driving range of up to 29 miles.

Hyundai’s focus on making a hybrid that has a perfectly normal driving feel with average handling. But that perfectly normal driving feel is remarkable, considering the Ioniq’s high-tech smoothie of batteries and motors.

With their multi-link rear suspension and a range of 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheels and low-rolling resistance tires, the Ioniq Hybrids still have a friendly driving feel accentuated by a lower center of gravity, thanks to its battery placement. As for its overall weight, it’s fairly light at 3,000 pounds.

The Ioniq Electric models is powered by a 134-hp motor that gets its juice from a 38.3-kwh lithium-polymer battery, up from 28 kwh in 2019. A new 7.2-kw charger replaces the 6.6-kw unit on the prior version. This package is now good for up to 170 miles of range, up from 124 miles—and it’s now rated at 133 MPGe, down slightly from 136 MPGe. Hyundai says it can be charged to 80 percent in under an hour on a 100-kw fast-charger.

We haven’t driven the new Electric model, but acceleration should be offset between the power gain and the BEV’s weight increase of about 300 pounds, to 3,488 pounds. The electric model’s larger battery pack requires shallower packaging of a torsion-beam rear axle.

Final Word

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq comes as a regular gas-engined hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an all-electric version called the Electric. They all feel normal to drive despite the technological flourishes under the skin. The real plus is the fabulous mileage. The base Hybrid Blue is an outstanding value, well-equipped including a great warranty for about $24,000.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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