2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

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2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV Review

Hyundai's electrified Ioniq - stylized IONIQ - trio is the carmaker's first major step towards getting rid of fossil fuels altogether. The Ioniq Electric, however, is only available in California for the time being. Powered by a 118-horsepower electric motor and a single-speed direct drive transmission, the front-wheel drive EV has an estimated 124-mile range thanks to a 28.0kWh battery pack. That's a range found lacking against newer EVs like the latest Chevrolet Bolt and updated Nissan Leaf. Available in two trims, the Ioniq EV is priced from $30,315 to $36,815, undercutting Nissan, but making the Ioniq a cheaper entry point to the EV game than buying a class-leading Bolt EV. But, the Ioniq Electric's biggest rival is closer to home, as Hyundai's own Kona EV is more powerful, offers nearly double the range, and overlaps on price, begging the question - is the Ioniq Electric still relevant?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.0
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2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2018 Ioniq EV?

Mechanically and visually, the Ioniq Electric remains unchanged for 2019. The revisions that have been made are minimal, with Google's POI search replaced by HERE with Server-based Voice Recognition. Additionally, Hyundai has added new available safety features in the form of new driver attention warning, combined with lane keeping assist, while high-beam assist is now integrated with HID headlights.

Pros and Cons

  • One of the most affordable electric vehicles
  • Drives like a regular car without compromised dynamics
  • Generous cargo volume
  • Increased safety technology for 2019
  • Inoffensive design
  • Disappointing EV range
  • Cramped rear passenger space
  • Only available in California
  • Poor rearward visibility
  • Hyundai Kona offers more from an EV
  • Floaty handling dynamics

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2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Electric
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$30,315
Electric Limited
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$36,815
See All 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Hyundai wanted the Ioniq Electric to look and feel as much like a regular car as possible, and to a large extent, it's succeeded. The Ioniq boasts well-rounded driving dynamics and an enjoyable driving experience, but one that leans more towards comfort than towards driver thrills.

It's in the steering feel that the Ioniq fails to deliver. The wheel itself is phenomenally well molded, but it feels too light in hand and doesn't weight up proportionately to the cornering forces. It's precise on turn-in and responds well to inputs mid-corner as well as at low speeds when maneuvering through tight city spaces, but there's a lack of feedback that we feel could have been a bit better.

However, the suspension is well tuned and the battery's low mounting point gives the Ioniq a low center of gravity that bodes well for handling attributes and an overall feeling of stability. The relatively low curb weight for an EV helps give the Ioniq a feeling of surprising nimbleness, but the suspension is a little too buoyant and aloof at times and it feels floaty over undulating surfaces. The grip is also limited, due to the efficiency-biased tires, so while the Ioniq feels lively, there's only so much that can be extracted from it in terms of driver thrills.

The ride is for the most part compliant, on the softer side of things as it makes effective use of the light weight to avoid being overly sprung. It's about par for the segment, though, with none of the other offerings focusing on anything but comfort. But the floatiness leads to porpoising on wavy tarmac, which could result in car-sick prone passengers feeling quite ill.

To Hyundai's credit, the brakes have been particularly well engineered - something that is commonly a flaw when it comes to EVs. Hyundai has programmed in three levels of brake regeneration strength, accessible via steering mounted paddles that increase or decrease the levels of 'engine braking'. The most aggressive setting still isn't overly aggressive, and the brake pedal is required. Fortunately, it's programmed with good levels of adjustment and modulation and without the grabbiness often associated with these types of systems.

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV a good car?

The Ioniq has been around for a few years now, and while it may have been Hyundai's first electric effort, the best Ioniq isn't the pure electric one. It boasts decent driving dynamics and practicality but is severely lacking when it comes to the range it offers compared to other established EVs, and the California-only availability is also a bit of a bummer. At the entry price of an Ioniq Electric, you'd be better off looking at a Nissan Leaf, and if you had your heart set on the Limited, then another electric Hyundai product is leagues ahead for a similar price. The Hyundai Kona Electric is everything the Ioniq should be and more, and if you've got eyes on a Hyundai EV, that's the one you should be aiming for.

Check out other Hyundai Ioniq Styles

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Comparisons

Nissan Leaf Nissan
Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Nissan Leaf

The Leaf has been a long-standing entrant in the EV game, but it's not the best out there. It offers about 25 miles greater range than the Ioniq, and also offers a semi-autonomous driver aid functionality that the Ioniq can't match. Both are similarly matched from a price perspective at around $30,000, but for the money, the Ioniq feels like it's better constructed and with a greater sense of luxury. Neither is an ideal EV, but for the price conscious, the Leaf gets greater safety systems and greater range, both of which are key elements when buying an EV. For those reasons alone, we recommend the Leaf, even if only barely so.

See Nissan Leaf Review

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vs Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt is currently one of the best affordable EVs on the market, with a range nearly double that of the Ioniq at more than 200 miles. It's a little pricier than the Ioniq, but it boasts superior driving dynamics, greater performance, and higher levels of specification than the base Ioniq. The Ioniq is a little more comfortable on longer journeys, but the Bolt is better to drive on a day to day basis, only challenged by Hyundai's other EV, the Kona Electric. The Chevrolet is better than the Ioniq in most aspects.

See Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
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