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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

... the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is easily the most attractive hybrid on the market with all of the brand’s impressive technology to go with it.

Look out Prius: The all-new Hyundai Ioniq is the latest affordable hybrid to hit the market offering style – serious sedan-like style I might add – with impressive technology features and the kind of fuel economy that can reach 58 miles-per-gallon combined, all for a starting price of $22,200.

I drove a 2017 Hyundai IONIQ with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack for a total of 139 horsepower. Available in three trims — the base Blue, SEL and Limited — with standard equipment on my Limited trim including: leather upholstery; exterior chrome accents; premium door sill plates; heated front seats; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; Bluetooth connectivity; Blue Link Telematics and Connected Car Care; iPod and USB input jacks; push-button start; 17-inch alloy wheels. Price as described for the Ioniq Limited without options is $27,500.

The Ioniq Competitors include the Toyota Prius Two Eco and the Chevrolet Volt. There is also an Ioniq Electric with a 124 mile-per-gallon-equivalent range available to California residents and an Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid coming in Fall 2017.


2017 HYUNDAI IONIQ HYBRID  (select to view enlarged photo)

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Hyundai gives this hybrid a sporty spin on class, as the design of the Ioniq will both please the scrupulous and be a relief to those who dislike the Prius. I like that a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio is included as a standard feature on all models. The SEL adds Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert; heated front seats, an upgraded 7-inch instrument cluster display, and a power driver’s seat. My Limited trim added 17-inch alloy wheels, the sunroof, leather, and the Blue Link Telematics system plus Connected Car Care. My test drive also featured the $3,000 Unlimited Package that added a larger 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, an 8-speaker Infinity premium audio system, wireless charging device and cargo cover, plus safety technology that feels needed as the rear features a rather large hatch with limited visibility. Overall, the interior is accommodating, but not especially more comfortable that the Prius Two Eco that I also recently test drove; yet the Prius Prime has a new 11.6-inch display screen which has practically doubled in size compared to previous models (it’s bigger than an iPad and can display climate, navigation, and music without screen crowding). But smart battery storage allows for some impressive cargo space with the Ioniq at 26.5 cubic-feet.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet rated the vehicle at the time of publication, or has The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, an advanced airbag system, and a review camera. Blind Spot Detection are standard on the SEL and Limited. Additional safety technology options like Lane Departure Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection are available as options on the SL and Limited (yet only the Limited adds Headlights with Dynamic Bending Light.)

Cost Issues: The Hyundai Ioniq starts at $22,200 for the base Blue; $23,950 for the SEL; and my Limited test drive at $27,500 (the Unlimited Package brings the price over $30k). The base model Prius One starts at $23,475 with a mid-level Prius Eco Two at $27,762 with options (alloy wheels, special Hypersonic Red paint, glass breakage sensor, rear bumper protector – items you can go without). A loaded Prius Prime Advanced trim can reach $36,305.

Activity & Performance Ability: While not an unpleasant ride, don’t let the sportiness of the Ioniq’s design fool you – it lacks a punch. Otherwise, the steering is light and easy to work, the regenerative braking transitions well, and the body swings wells on backcountry roads. The D-cut steering wheel feels a tad odd at first.

2017 HYUNDAI IONIQ HYBRID  (select to view enlarged photo)

The Green Concern: Fuel economy for my Ioniq Limited is 55-city and 54-highway for a combined 58 miles-per-gallon. The Ioniq Electric gets claims 136 miles-per-gallon-equivalent. The Prius with the 1.8-liter hybrid system gets 58-city and 53-highway for a combined 56 miles-per-gallon.

For the price, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is easily the most attractive hybrid on the market with all of the brand’s impressive technology to go with it. As someone who has well gotten over that “new car” feeling and just cares about the practicality of a vehicle purchase in regards to fuel economy and cost, the attractive Ioniq design feels like an added bonus.

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©2017 Katrina Ramser Parrish