One of the biggest selling points of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is its fuel efficiency. Touted as the most fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle in America, the base Blue model boasts fuel efficiency of 58 mpg combined (57 in the city and 59 on the highway).
The Ioniq Hybrid is one of the three powertrains available on the brand new vehicle — others include a battery-electric version and a plug-in hybrid coming in 2018. With a name inspired by “ions” and “unique,” the vehicles mark the company’s first dedicated alternative powertrain vehicles.
The hybrid hatchback is a familiar design, but a smoother rear design gives this vehicle a sportier look. Design also comes into play to improve fuel efficiency, according to Hyundai — aerodynamic features include an air flap that adjusts to driving conditions; wheel air curtains to direct air over and around the front wheels and tires; and an undercover boy to help smooth out air flow under the vehicle.
The vehicle features a 1.6L GDI DOHC 4-cylinder engine delivering 104 hp and 109 lb.-ft. of torque. Drivers can choose between Eco and Sport modes, but Sport mode will likely reduce fuel efficiency.
The vehicle’s dash displays just how fuel-efficient your driving style is, providing percentages of Economical, Normal, and Aggressive driving. Self-competition is a good motivating factor, and I found myself trying to lower my aggressive driving percentage.
I tested the higher end Limited model, which averages 55 mpg, on the roads and highways of Southern California. By the end of three days, my average was 49.9 mpg, not quite what I’d hoped.
Aside from fuel efficiency, the vehicle has lots of interior volume, measuring 122.7 cubic feet. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency defines the car as large based on its interior volume. Hyndai said the vehicle has best-in-class cargo space because batteries are placed underneath the rear seats.
All models come standard with rear-view camera, but the SEL and Limited models come with blind spot detection technology, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist. The lane change assist was helpful for me, although at times, the loud noise it emitted was startling.
Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection is optional on the SEL and Limited models, although luckily, I didn’t have to use this feature. One of my favorite features was that the side mirrors shift downward when the vehicle is in reverse so you can see the curb. This was very helpful for parallel parking, to make sure I was close enough without scratching the rims.
The Blue model has a starting MSRP of $22,200, while the Limited model starts at $27,500. With its 11.9-gallon gas tank and estimated 58 combined mpg, the range for the Ioniq hybrid Blue is 690 miles — that’s a long way to go between fuel-ups.