Car Review: Hyundai Ioniq HEV Limited is stingy on gas but not on features

It used to be just a two-horse race among fuel efficient small hybrids — Toyota and Honda. But Hyundai joined the fray a few years back, and the Ioniq is making a name for itself.

There is a Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and even a full EV Ioniq to choose from. It’s also not quite as extreme looking as the competition. It still has the same basic shape of a five-door hybrid hatch, but it’s not as futuristically styled as the Toyota or Honda versions.

I spent a week with the Ioniq Limited, and it’s more luxurious than most other small hybrid hatches I’ve driven. It impresses with heated leather seats, a premium sound system and NAV with a large 10-inch touch screen.

The Ioniq is a small car but provides better space than I was expecting. I fit just fine in the back seat, but not sure those taller than 6 feet would be as comfortable. The hatch design allows for above-average cargo storage compared to a sedan.

The Ioniq, however, isn’t winning any acceleration contests. I used the Sport mode and the car wakes up nicely, but that Sport mode hurts fuel efficiency by about 4 mpg. The handling is a bit better than other small hybrid hatch models, but as in all hybrids, the tires are intended for fuel economy and not sporty driving. There is a bit more road noise at higher speeds, especially on the highway.

Cost: $31,200; as tested $32,310

MPG: 55 mpg city and 54 mpg highway; I managed 53.6 mpg in 309 miles of mixed driving.

Safety: Forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection; highway driving assist; blind-spot collision avoidance assist; lane keeping assist; lane flowing assist; high beam assist; smart cruise control with stop & go; front & rear parking sensors; driver attention warning; rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist; rear camera with dynamic parking guidelines.

Things to know: The Ioniq gets a slightly updated look for 2020. The Ioniq Limited gets a long list of features and more luxurious trimmings inside. A more basic Ioniq Blue gets 58 mpg for less than $24,000.

Pros:

  • Very fuel efficient five-door hatch
  • Comes packed with safety equipment and technology
  • Longer and higher mileage warranty than the competition.

Cons:

  • The top-of-the-line Limited trim level is a bit pricey
  • Some more noise in the cabin at higher speeds
  • Dual clutch transmission can feel a bit unrefined at times

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