Hybrids achieve their eye-opening fuel economy through their advanced drivetrains and their ability to match an electric motor with a conventional gasoline engine. The Ioniq starts with a fuel efficient 1.6L 4-cylinder engine mated to a 43 horsepower electric motor. Combined, they make 139 horsepower which is then sent to the front wheels. While most other hybrids use a continuously variable transmission for maximum efficiency, Hyundai deemed the odd "rubber band" feeling produced by acceleration with a CVT unacceptable from a driving dynamics standpoint. Besides, they reasoned they could hit their mileage target without using one anyway. Instead, a sports-car style dual-clutch automated manual was utilized in the Ioniq, producing quick, precise gear changes, and reduces much of the sluggishness and numbness common in many hybrid vehicles.
Hyundai also utilizes the same gearbox in their plug-in Ioniq, which again uses a 1.6L gasoline engine, but supplements it with a more powerful electric motor. Range on the plug-in hybrid will be around 27 miles, after which the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the batteries automatically and the car begins to function more or less like the standard hybrid.
Lastly, select markets get a fully electric version of the Ioniq. It uses a 118 horsepower electric motor exclusively. Maximum range on the Ioniq electric is 124 miles, which should be fine for most commutes.
The standard Ioniq Hybrid is available in three different trim levels: Blue, SEL and Limited. Standard features across the Ioniq Hybrid lineup include a 7-inch color display touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and bluetooth built in, a rearview camera, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control, automatic projector beam headlights, a 4.2-inch LCD instrument display, dual-zone automatic temperature control, SiriusXM satellite radio and HD radio.
The midlevel SEL adds several safety and convenience features. SEL versions get a Blind Spot Detection system, along with a rear cross-traffic alert system, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, heated side mirrors with turn signals built in, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a nicer rear armrest with built in cup holders and some additional chrome work around the windows and interior door handles.
The top of the line Limited gets nicer 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt and slide sunroof, leather seating surfaces, HID headlights, an electronic auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built in garage door opener, LED lights on the interior and automatic windows.
Throw the word "hybrid" out there, and most people will probably picture a Prius. That's understandable -- the Prius was one of the first gasoline-electric vehicles to hit the market, and has since gone on to be the world's best-selling hybrid car.
But some people don't want a Prius. I can't blame them -- it's ugly, and tends to carry a reputation of being driven by people who like to go slow in the fast lane. Enter the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, then, a car that'll do everything the Prius can do, and in some cases, do it better.
Under the Ioniq's hood is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that combines forces with a 32-kilowatt (43-horsepower) electric motor. The Ioniq may only have 139 total system horsepower, but thanks to the powertrain's combined 195 pound-feet of torque, along with a relatively light curb weight of just over 3,000 pounds, the hybrid hatchback is no slouch while accelerating up highway onramps or steep grades. It's no performance car by any stretch of the imagination, but it never feels underpowered, either.
The Good Great driving manners in a tidy-looking package make the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq more efficient and more fetching than a Prius.
The Bad Without options, it can feel like a penalty box.
The Bottom Line The least expensive, most efficient way to beat the Prius at its own game.
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