Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq comes in three variations. The Ioniq Hybrid follows the Toyota Prius, with a gasoline-engine/electric-motor setup. The Plug-in Hybrid is nearly identical, only it can be plugged in and run short distances on electric power. The Ioniq Electric runs solely on electric power, but can’t match the range of the Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf.
You'll Like The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq If...
Not as futuristic as the Toyota Prius, the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq offers hybrid efficiency in a sleekly styled hatchback that is reasonably priced and loaded with cool features. Toss in Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain and lifetime battery coverage, and the Ioniq suddenly becomes a no-brainer.
You May Not Like The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq If...
If you’re looking for a hybrid with a big back seat and trunk, a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid or Ford Fusion might be a better place to start. The Ioniq Electric can’t match the 238-mile range of the Chevy Bolt, or even the new Nissan Leaf.
For 2019 the Ioniq SEL gains automatic emergency braking as standard, while Driver Attention Alert and High Beam Assist are added to the optional features list.
If you didn’t see the hybrid badges, you would never know the Ioniq was a hybrid/electric vehicle. Far from the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius school of futuristic design, the Ioniq’s interior is conventional but nicely laid out with the materials and build quality of a premium compact car. All controls are intuitive and user-friendly, with such high-tech must-haves as Apple CarPlay and wireless phone charging. Interior bits are composed of eco-friendly substances, including recycled plastics, wood, sugar cane and even volcanic stone. Rear-seat space is generous for this class, and seat comfort both front and rear is good.
Thankfully Hyundai decided to make the Ioniq attractive and not freakishly fantastic like some cars in this class. Some aspects of the Ioniq’s design have been defined by aerodynamics, such as the smooth roofline that ends in a flat rear, which pays off in the best aerodynamics of any car in the U.S. Rear visibility comes through two rear windows. Unfortunately, where those windows split can fall right in the center of view, depending on seating position. The Ioniq uses LED accents and LED taillights, and the hood and liftgate are made of aluminum to reduce weight. Want to quickly tell the Hybrid from the Electric? The Electric has a closed front grille and different wheels.
From behind the wheel, the 2019 Ioniq Hybrid is refined and comfortable with few indications that its complex powertrain is using both an electric motor and a gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine to get you down the road. Basically, it feels like a regular compact car, and that’s a good thing. The Hybrid even uses a normal-looking shifter for the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and there are paddle shifters if you want to get sporty and choose gears for yourself. There’s ample power for daily driving, engine-to-motor transitions are smooth, and brake response is nicely linear, but there is some tire noise. Throttle response, transmission shifts and steering response feel livelier in Sport mode, although fuel economy takes a hit. Use Sport mode habitually and mileage in the city will dip to about 40 mpg. The Ioniq Electric has a nice punch off the line, but overall it too has a relaxed, easygoing nature.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid starts around $23,300 including destination, less than a Prius and Honda Insight, but when loaded can go over $31,000. The Ioniq Electric, on sale initially in California, starts at about $30,700 (around $20,700 in California after rebates), making it less expensive than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt. It tops out just over $37,300. Pricing for the 2019 Ioniq Plug-In hybrid starts just over $26,200 and tops out around $33,300. All three Ioniqs have a lifetime warranty on the battery. As for resale, the Ioniq doesn’t hold its value as well as the Toyota Prius, and even trails slightly behind the Kia Niro. Before you buy, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Ioniq.OK, so what’s next?I’m interested in this car. What’s for sale near me?I’m interested in this car, and I’d like to trade in my current car while I’m at it.Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.
Even the most basic Blue trim offers an impressive roster of standard equipment. Topping the list is a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, hill-start assist plus seven airbags. Moving up to the SEL brings automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, Smart cruise control, a power driver seat and more. The Limited trim includes a power sunroof, high-beam assist and Blue Link connected car services. Dual-zone climate control is standard on the Hybrid and Plug-in, but not available in the Electric.
Heated front seats are standard in the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in and Electric, optional in the Hybrid. Leather seating is available on Limited trims. You can get a power driver’s seat, but a power seat isn’t available for the front passenger. A rear center armrest with cup holders is standard in the Electric and the Plug-in hybrid, but optional in the Hybrid. Limited models can be upgraded with an Infinity audio system, adaptive front headlights, Qi wireless-device charging, navigation, driver’s memory seat and rear-seat vents.
AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKINGStandard on the SEL, the Ioniq’s automatic emergency braking employs a windshield-mounted camera combined with radar sensors in the front bumper to seek out vehicles and pedestrians in the car’s path. The system can warn the driver of a possible collision, and even bring the car to a complete stop.PLUG-IN HYBRIDOur favorite of the three Ioniq offerings, the Plug-in Hybrid costs a bit more than the standard Hybrid but is nowhere near as expensive as the Electric. With the Plug-in, you can travel up to 27 miles solely on electric power, after which the system reverts to full hybrid mode.
Under the Hood
While all three members of the new Ioniq family use an interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor, the horsepower and torque combination is different for each car. All three also use a lithium-ion polymer battery. You can recharge 80 percent of the Electric’s battery in only 23 minutes. Fuel economy for the Hybrid Blue model — 57-mpg city and 59 highway — is best in its class, and the fuel-economy equivalent for the Electric is the best in the country. Ioniq Hybrid1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4104 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm109 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm32-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor43 horsepower, 125 lb-ft of torqueTotal system output: 139 horsepowerEPA city/highway fuel economy: 55/54 mpg (Hybrid), 57/59 mpg (Blue) Ioniq Electric88-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor118 horsepower, 215 lb-ft of torque (Electric)Total system output: 118 horsepowerEPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 150/122 MPGeEPA-estimated range per full charge: 124 miles Ioniq Plug-in1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4104 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm109 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm44.5-kW Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor60 horsepower, 125 lb-ft of torqueTotal system output: 139 horsepowerEPA city/highway fuel economy: 52 mpg (city/highway combined)
The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq comes in three variations. The Ioniq Hybrid features a gasoline-engine/electric-motor setup, while the nearly identical Plug-in Hybrid can be charged at home and run solely on electric power for short distances. Finally, there’s the California-only Electric that can’t quite match the range of the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, but doesn’t cost as much either. In its most efficient form, the Ioniq Hybrid Blue earns 57-mpg city/59-mpg highway, with a total cruising distance of nearly 700 miles. That’s right up there with the best-selling Toyota Prius. The entire Ioniq lineup offers traditional Hyundai value, with loads of features for not a lot of cash, and one of the best standard hybrid warranties in the business.