The Hyundai Ioniq was the first vehicle worldwide to offer three different types of electrified powertrains on the same platform.
Four years since its debut, the Ioniq is still trying to carve out a niche among American car buyers.
The Ioniq brand is better received in Europe, where sales are just under 32,000 for 2018 and 2019. This is not a surprise because U.S. people love their large trucks and SUVS, while in Europe the cities are smaller, roads are narrower, and compact, fuel-efficient vehicles are more appreciated.
The Ioniq awaits approval in the U.S. The positive is sales have gradually risen since its arrival in 2017, yet total sales for all three vehicles remains low, just 19,574 in 2019. Seven months into this pandemic-plagued year, sales are meager at 7,264.
The Ioniq comes in three distinct models – hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), full electric (EV) – and all three of them are appealing. The Ioniq EV is quite tempting with range this year jumping from 124 to 170 miles. But the other two versions are intriguing as well.
Regardless of which model is chosen, what people will be getting is a premium compact five-passenger, four-door hatchback that has a sporty exterior, is extremely fuel efficient, and can be driven off the dealer’s lot for a reasonable price.
For 2020, Hyundai has refreshed the Ioniq, adding more range to both the EV and PHEV. Styling has been made inside and out across the board, seemingly giving the Ionic more buyer appeal.
This particular story will focus mostly on the 2020 Ioniq PHEV, which shares the basic hybrid powertrain and six-speed automatic transmission with the Ioniq Hybrid. The lowest-priced (starting at $26,600) PHEV among all its competitors, it comes with a larger, 8.9-kWh battery this year and has increased the range from 24 to 29 miles in electric mode.
AT A GLANCE – 2020 HYUNDAI IONIQ PHEV
- Performance: 44.5-kW electric motor, 1.6-liter four-cylinder, 156 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 119 mpge; 52 mpg (overall)
- Price estimate: $26,600 to $34,100
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited distance; corrosion: 7 years/unlimited distance
The PHEV has a 44.5-kW electric motor and a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, that combine to generate 156 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. The knock on the PHEV and the other two Ioniqs is performance. If excitement is the goal, look elsewhere, it’s not happening here. The PHEV goes an estimated 0-60 mph in 10.6 seconds.
Where the Ioniq PHEV shines is fuel efficiency. In pure electric mode it goes 119 mpge and overall it averages an impressive 52 mpg. Despite a relatively small gas tank (11.4 gallons), the PHEV can travel roughly 630 miles before a refuel is required. Rapid charging time to approximately 80 percent is around 40 minutes and about 8 hours with a regular charge.
While certainly not sporty, the Ioniq handles admirably on challenging curvy roads, providing good grip to avoid any driver apprehension. It delivers a stable ride even though the shifting of the transmission isn’t always smooth. There’s also some road noise.
The Ioniq interior is well designed and all the controls are intuitive and user-friendly. New this year is a larger (8-inch) touchscreen infotainment screen and optional 10.25-inch version. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard. A nod to green is its usage of recycled plastics, sugar cane and volcanic stone.
The Ioniq interior is fairly roomy for a compact vehicle, offering both solid head and leg room up front, where it’s capable of accommodating people of all sizes. Yet the same can’t be said for the back seat where three people is definitely a crowd. The cargo area measures 23 cubic feet and expands considerably when the back seat goes down.
There’s nothing too exciting regarding the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, but one has to love its low price and its overall efficiency.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.