2020 HYUNDAI IONIQ

​Hyundai claims the Ioniq is America’s most fuel-efficient hybrid.

​Hyundai’s Ioniq hybrid five-passenger hatchback offers only one model with three eco-friendly powertrains – hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all electric – remaining a viable contender against the industry’s most popular hybrid – the Toyota Prius.​

​Hyundai claims the Ioniq is America’s most fuel-efficient hybrid and for 2020, the Hyundai Ioniq remains price competitive and less expensive than most “green” automotive competitors with three years or 36,000 miles free maintenance, free battery pack replacements and a new 10-year power-train warranty.

​We test drove the Ioniq Hybrid Limited, tops above base Blue, SE and SEL trims, getting an EPA rated 55 miles per gallon for a 654 mile range. Blue trim gets 59 mpg, for a 702-mile range, the industry’s best for an 11.9-gallon fuel tank.​

​Ioniq exterior upgrades for the Limited are eye-catching: 17-inch five-plate eco-spoke wheels wrapped in all-season, low resistance tires; front and rear LED lights; a new mesh grille; steering wheel mounted manual paddles to control regenerative braking and automatic high-beam assistance to dim for approaching traffic.

​Ioniq’s raked windshield and sloping rear profile have stylish strips of chrome along doors and below windows, around lights, mesh grill and the new wheels. The Limited comes without options.

​The multi-link rear suspension helped cushion our ride and handling was acceptable with a narrow span for lane assistance. Surround cameras for 360-degree views assisted parking with excellent alerts for cross-traffic danger when backing up. Stop/start was seamless.

​While not quick off the line, manual paddles gave nice highway power punch. However, underway tire thrum resonates in the cabin.

​Our bolstered front leather seats were comfortable and the upgraded 10.25-inch dashboard touchscreen was intuitively easy to use and information rich, with excellent voice recognition. Small storage spaces are ample.

​Rear seats are height-cramped due to the sloped hatchback and best for kids.

​A bar splits the rear window, hindering rear views, just like the Prius. Folding rear seats yield cargo space similar to the Prius.

​Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of driver safety aids included in all Ioniqs: forward collision avoidance, a strong lane-keeping assist and driver attention monitoring for fatigue that also can lock doors if traffic is detected approaching when an occupant is exiting.

​Ioniq has a top crash safety rating after insurance testing, excellent extendable visors, no spare tire and no CD player, using instead Android Audio and Apple CarPlay.

LIKES: Mileage, looks, ride, power, price, cargo space, range, warranty.

DISLIKES: Restricted rear view, tire thrum, no spare tire.

BOTTOM LINE: One of the best “green” buys among compact hatchbacks.

FACT FILE

2020 HYUNDAI IONIQ BLUELINK LIMITED

Base price w/destination fee:​​ $32,130 (no options)

Curb weight: ​3,115 lbs.

Wheelbase​: 106.3 inches

Length: ​176 inches

Width​: 71.7 inches

Engine: ​1.6-liter, DOHC, direct injection

Horsepower​: 104-hp @ 5,700 rpm

Torque:​ 109 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

Electric motor: ​32 KW (43 hp)​

Electric battery:​ 1.6 KW

Combined horsepower:​ ​139

Transmission:​ 6-speed automatic w/SHIFTRONIC

EPA rating​: 55 mpg city/54 mpg highway

Range: ​11.9-gallon tank

Performance: ​0-60 in roughly 8 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.