Kim Reynolds from MotorTrend cringed a little when Hyundai first presented the new ioniq, flashing back to a hybrid comparison he wrote eight years ago between the Prius and Honda Insight. Unsurprisingly, this time around he found the Ioniq hybrid to be a spectacular rival for the Prius.
Of course, there’s the comparable fuel economy. The Blue edition Hybrid has a fuel sipping 58 mpg combined while the other Ioniq trims delivery 55mpg; a feat made possible thanks to the 104-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine’s oddly long stroke. Combined with sodium-filled exhaust valves, late-closing intake valves, and high-pressure direct-injection, the Ioniq can increase the engine’s fuel efficiency as high as 40 percent.
Sometimes, all you need is the 43-hp electric motor and six-speed dual-clutch transmission with the decoupled engine taking a break. But once a bit more power is needed a starter fires the engine, which rapidly boosts its rpm to match the e-motor’s spin.
Sure the Prius’ CVT is smoother, but the Ioniq’s DCT reacts faster and there’s no disconnect between the throttle and engine that CVTs are known for. What makes the Ioniq Hybrid even better is a 12-volt starter battery that’s integrated into the vehicle’s pack instead of a conventional lead-acid one, meaning it can jump start the engine at the push of a button.
Then there’s the EV variant with a combined 136 mpg-e and a range of 124 miles. It may not be comparable to the Bolt’s 238-mile battery, but he’s done the math and the cost of that extra mileage is equal to trading up from a Hyundai Elantra to a Sonata.
Add in the Ioniq’s sporty driving dynamics with prices that’s undercutting the Prius and Hyundai “a very good car that just happens to be a deal, delivers ridiculous mileage, and is fun to drive.”