2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Compare insurance prices:
Save an average of $440
Free Quote

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review: Style And Substance

by Aiden Eksteen

A brand new wave of Hyundai electric vehicles, including the stunning Ioniq 5, represents a new era for the brand, but the Hyundai Ioniq Electric arrived before to lay the foundation. In some ways, it's easy to tell that it's an older EV due to its limited range and lackluster driving dynamics. Cosmetically updated recently, the Ioniq retains a range of just 170 miles on a full charge. The front wheels of the Ioniq Electric are powered by an AC electric motor and 38.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, with specs of 134 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, even with its recent upgrades, the Ioniq Electric still doesn't quite measure up to the likes of the Nissan Leaf or worse still, the Tesla Model 3. Even so, the Ioniq Electric is a left-field choice with more to offer than ever before, and as such, may deliver elsewhere where the competition does not.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
What is BuzzScore?

2021 Hyundai Ioniq EV Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Ioniq EV?

Hyundai has made only minor changes to the Ioniq Electric lineup for 2021. In terms of the color palette, Summit Gray falls away and is replaced by Amazon Gray. Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is now standard on models with the eight-inch display screen. Other than this, the Ioniq remains the same.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressive 133 MPGe combined
  • Generously outfitted with features
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Offers decent cargo-hauling practicality
  • Modern and attractive design
  • Electric motor isn't as peppy as those of rivals
  • Uninspiring drive and handling
  • Uncompetitive all-electric range
  • Cramped rear seats

What's the Price of the Ioniq EV?

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq electric car is priced within the same bracket as other EVs for sale in its class. The SE is offered at a starting MSRP of $33,245 in the USA and the Limited at an MSRP of $38,815. Those prices are excluding Hyundai's destination and handling charge of $1,005 as well as any tax, registration, and licensing fees. There aren't many additional cost options available at all with the $350 Ceramic White paint option being the only one worth mentioning.

The Ioniq EV price is made more attractive considering that a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 could apply to this model.

Best Deals on 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Electric SE
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Electric Limited
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Hyundai succeeded in having the Ioniq Electric deliver as much of a traditional car-like driving experience as possible: its drive and handling dynamics are well-rounded and while it's not a particularly fun hatch to drive, it is a rather enjoyable one from a comfort perspective.

A comfortable ride quality is certainly prioritized for the Ioniq. Its suspension is tuned on the softer side as its curb weight is relatively light for an EV, something which keeps it compliant and reduces the feeling of being overly sprung. Unfortunately, this also has the Ioniq feel very floaty especially over undulating surfaces where it begins to porpoise, and those who get car sick easily will want to avoid long trips in the Ioniq. Apart from the buoyancy, the Ioniq smooths out most road imperfections and minor undulations; it's about as smooth as the next EV in terms of comfort.

Because of the battery's low mounting point in the hatchback, its center of gravity is effectively low which bodes well for the Ioniq's handling dynamics and overall feel of stability. While the Ioniq does feel somewhat lively, there's only so much one can confidently get out of it in terms of spirited cruising because of its overly buoyant and occasionally unengaging suspension setup, on top of low grip efficiency-minded wheels.

While the steering wheel itself feels good to the touch, it communicates very little and feels far too light and desynchronized in its weighting in correlation to cornering forces. An area where the Ioniq Electric really excels is in its regenerative braking, which has been programmed with three levels of adjustment with good modulation and without the grabbiness often associated with these types of systems.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric A Good car?

While the 2021 Ioniq may not quite match up to its competition in all-electric range, which is a very material performance consideration within the class, it is still a highly economical EV nonetheless. Owners of the Ioniq won't be planning any long-distance road trips with only 170 miles offered on a single charge. While that is a 46-mile improvement over previous iterations of the Ioniq, it's not the vehicle's strongest point. It's in efficiency where the Ioniq truly achieves, with its 145/121/133 MPGe EPA estimates, there are very few rivals that'll save their owners as much money as the Ioniq will. Unfortunately, one thing the Ioniq won't be sparing its owners, is time, with a 35.5-hour charge time expected from level 1 charging outlets or six hours on a level 2 unit.

The Hyundai Ioniq all-electric hatchback is a stylish EV that offers a decent level of practicality too with 23 cubic feet in the trunk. When it comes to EVs, however, it's all about the range, and while the Ioniq does offer plenty of value for the money, so do its far-riding competitors.

What New 2021 Hyundai Ioniq EV Model Should I Buy?

Though the price difference may be quite significant between the SE and Limited, we feel the Limited is well worth the extra money, considering that the Ioniq Electric is a family-oriented vehicle. Over and above what the SE features as standard, the top-of-the-line Limited gets a bunch more creature comforts including an upgraded infotainment system, leather seating upholstery, and even a power tilt/sliding sunroof. The Limited also comes with a few more advanced driver-assist technologies such as blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. We feel that these few extra features make the Limited the better option as an everyday family commuter.

Check out other Hyundai Ioniq Styles

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Comparisons

Nissan Leaf Nissan
Tesla Model 3 Tesla

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Nissan Leaf

With five trim levels and a starting MSRP of $31,670, the Ioniq isn't as customizable vs the Nissan Leaf. Base models feature a bigger battery than the Ioniq but offer only a 149-mile all-electric range on a single charge. However, an even larger 60 kWh battery is available further up in the trim line which gives it a 226-mile range, over 50 miles more than what the Ioniq offers. Though a relatively pricey upgrade, base pricing for the Leaf still remains lower than that of the Ioniq. The Leaf's controls and suspension setup feel more refined as well/ While the Ioniq's steering is detached and its ride overly floaty, the Leaf's steering feels nicely calibrated and its suspension always keeps it composed. Overall, the Leaf is the better EV of the two especially with the 60 kWh battery in play, shoppers will have to scoop out a little extra for it when similarly specced, but it's well worth the investment, it being an EV.

See Nissan Leaf Review

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Tesla Model 3

While the Tesla Model 3 may be quite a bit more expensive than the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, its unprecedented 353-mile all-electric range should justify its cost alone, before you even consider its vastly better performance. While that range does come from the higher-tier LongRange model, even the Standard Range Plus model's 263-mile range beats the Ioniq. In terms of design and quality, the Model 3 definitely boasts the more attractive aesthetic and its super modern cabin is exceptionally well put together; look more closely, though, and you'll find that Tesla still has a few build quality quirks to iron out. The Ioniq Electric may hold bearing for some considering that unlike the Model 3, it comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, and boasts a cavernous trunk. However, there's no doubt that the Tesla is the superior EV here, and one that's certainly worth every penny.

To Top