Throw the phrase “hybrid” on the market, and most of the people will most likely image a Prius. That is comprehensible — the Prius was one of many first gasoline-electric automobiles to hit the market, and has since gone on to be the world’s best-selling hybrid automobile.

However some individuals do not desire a Prius. I can not blame them — it is ugly, and tends to hold a repute of being pushed by individuals who prefer to go gradual within the quick lane. Enter the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, then, a automobile that’ll do every part the Prius can do, and in some circumstances, do it higher.

A spark of efficiency

Underneath the Ioniq’s hood is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that mixes forces with a 32-kilowatt (43-horsepower) electrical motor. The Ioniq might solely have 139 whole system horsepower, however because of the powertrain’s mixed 195 pound-feet of torque, together with a comparatively mild curb weight of simply over three,000 kilos, the hybrid hatchback is not any slouch whereas accelerating up freeway onramps or steep grades. It is no efficiency automobile by any stretch of the creativeness, nevertheless it by no means feels underpowered, both.

Energy is shipped to the entrance wheels by way of a six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox — a pleasant change of tempo from the constantly variable transmissions you normally discover in compact hybrids. The transmission does an excellent job of fading into the background, however the Ioniq can generally really feel jerky when accelerating from a cease. The Ioniq even has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, although they’re hardly participating — greatest to depart these alone.

When you’re transferring alongside, Hyundai’s hybrid impresses with a easy trip. The Ioniq makes use of a MacPherson strut entrance and multilink rear suspension, which is aided by tires with some significantly thick sidewalls. My check automobile rolls on 15-inch wheels wrapped in 195/65-series rubber, which is nice at muting highway noise and minor floor irregularities. Thick sidewalls can generally imply gradual dealing with reflexes, however the Ioniq’s comparatively low weight makes it really feel fairly spry. The Ioniq’s direct, correct steering additionally goes a great distance in making this automobile enjoyable to drive. Fortunately, the Ioniq affords easy braking response, too — free from the regenerative lurch that plagues some hybrids.

In fact, the Ioniq’s largest boon is its gasoline economic system; it is essentially the most environment friendly non-plug-in automobile obtainable within the US, with an EPA score of as much as 58 miles per gallon mixed for the bottom Blue mannequin. Due to their additional options and weight, the upper SEL and Restricted trims are estimated to return 55 mpg mixed, which continues to be significantly spectacular. Nonetheless, after 488 miles of testing an Ioniq SEL, one of the best I used to be capable of obtain was solely 47.Eight mpg.

Even in mid-range SEL trim, the Ioniq’s inside verges on “penalty field.” Extra choices can repair that, nonetheless.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Minimal frills

Not like the Toyota Prius, which appears to have gotten weirder and uglier with every technology, the Ioniq simply appears to be like like an everyday automobile. The Ioniq is not a bad-looking machine in any respect, nevertheless it’s form of boring. Some individuals just like the Prius, for higher or worse, as a result of it stands out. The Ioniq, in the meantime, will a lot simpler be misplaced in a crowded car parking zone. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a middle-ground hybrid design, the Honda Perception is a protected and engaging wager.

The Hyundai’s inside is fairly forgettable as nicely. Low cost plastics do the cabin no favors, however at the least the cockpit is comfy, spacious and quiet. Due to a 1.56 kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery beneath the rear seats, cargo area out again is a decent 26.5 cubic ft — spitting distance throughout the Prius’ 27.four cubic ft.

On the tech entrance, the Ioniq comes well-equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus HD and satellite tv for pc radio on a 7-inch touchscreen. Hyundai’s infotainment techniques are persistently intuitive and simple to make use of, and within the Ioniq, it is enterprise as common.

My SEL tester is a step up from the bottom Blue trim, and provides a pointy 7-inch LCD instrument cluster, together with driver-assistance options corresponding to automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise management that works down to five miles per hour, lane-keep help, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and driver consideration warning. If you need issues like an Infinity premium audio system, embedded navigation, an Eight-inch touchscreen or wi-fi smartphone charging, it’s a must to step as much as the Restricted.

It is an excellent automobile with a dusty patina of dullness.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

No-nonsense commuter

The Ioniq begins at $22,400, not together with $920 for vacation spot, however this automobile is healthier with all of the bells and whistles. Even my SEL mannequin — $25,870 as-tested — feels too near “rental automobile” for consolation.

The highest-end Restricted trim, nonetheless, will get you all of the aforementioned options, in addition to a sunroof, automated high-beams, HID headlights, leather-based upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink transceiver. On prime of that, I might splurge for the Final Package deal, which will get you a reminiscence driver’s seat, rear-seat HVAC vents and a cargo cowl. Absolutely loaded, the Ioniq totals to $31,670 out the door.

With its nice gasoline economic system, respectable driving dynamics and aggressive pricing, the Ioniq makes fairly a case for itself. That it does so with out all of the bizarre Prius appears to be like and stigma makes it all of the extra engaging. 

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