2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Review: Better Than A Prius?

One of three electro-centric compact hatchbacks from Hyundai, the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are the most readily available in the range. Perhaps not as focused as the dedicated EV, the affordability of it, starting at just $23,400, and supreme gas mileage make these two the most likely to be purchased. In its most basic form, the Hybrid Blue trim gets impressive fuel economy of 59 mpg combined, even besting the popular Toyota Prius. The entry-level model in the US also comes with a fair number of safety features and a decent infotainment suite, but the best tech is reserved for the pricier Limited trim. While mileage may vary, every model is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor, developing a combined 139 horsepower, while the PHEV will manage 29 miles on electricity alone. Only a front-wheel drivetrain is available, and a somewhat unrefined six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission rows the gears.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Ioniq Hybrid?

Very little has changed for the 2021 model year. However, the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now wireless and an electric park brake has become a standard fitment on all models. There have been minor changes to the paint palette as well.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressive 58/60/59 mpg on Blue model
  • Improved standard infotainment suite
  • Many standard and available safety features
  • More curb appeal than a Prius
  • Usable 29-mile electric range on PHEV
  • Low performance, and not fun to drive
  • Low-budget interior
  • Cramped rear seats

Best Deals on Ioniq Hybrid

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid Blue
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,400
Hybrid SE
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,350
Plug-In Hybrid SE
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$26,700
Hybrid SEL
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,600
Plug-In Hybrid SEL
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$29,700

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Exterior

All Ioniq models boast the brand-new mesh-type grille, as well as new front and rear bumpers. The standard model rides on 15-inch alloy wheels and comes outfitted with automatic halogen headlights. The SE adds LED daytime running lights to this, while the SEL upgrades the head- and taillights to LEDs, too. Active grille shutters are standard across the range, as is the integrated rear spoiler. The SEL and Limited set themselves apart from the lower trims by sporting chrome sills and door handles, respectively. Only the Limited trim gets the larger 17-inch alloy wheels, which come with bespoke designs. And, while it may be the cheapest and mildest model, the Blue gets unique badging to flaunt a buyer's preference for efficient fuel economy over luxuries.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Frontal Aspect Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Aft View Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Front-End View Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Like the rest of the Ioniq range, the hybrid model is underscored by a 106.3-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 176 inches. It's a bit girthy for a compact hatchback, measuring 71.7 inches wide, while the height of 56.9 inches is par for the course. However, the hybrid is quite a bit lighter than its siblings, weighing in between 2,996 and 3,115 pounds, depending on trim. The PHEV variants run even heavier, between 3,318 and 3,417 lbs.

  • Length 176.0 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 56.9 in
  • Max Width 71.7 in
  • Front Width 61.5 in
  • Rear Width 62.1 in
  • Curb Weight 2,996.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The Ioniq's color palette is nothing to write home about. Five colors are available at no extra cost, including Scarlet Red Pearl, Black Noir Pearl, and the eye-catching Intense Blue. Summit Gray has been replaced with Amazon Gray for 2021 and Stellar Gray with Stellar Silver. Ceramic White is a $400 option. The Pug-in models cannot be dressed in Scarlet Red Pearl, and some exterior color choices do restrict interior options, so keep that in mind.

  • Ceramic White
  • Black Noir Pearl
  • Amazon Gray
  • Stellar Silver
  • Intense Blue
  • Scarlet Red Pearl

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Performance

Performance across the Ioniq range is pretty standard, with only one powertrain on offer. The four-cylinder gas engine comes paired to an electric motor, developing a combined 139 hp, although the plug-in's electric motor is slightly stronger and supplements the combustion engine a little more. However, the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is geared to maximize fuel economy which adversely affects acceleration and responsiveness to throttle inputs. With the drive mode set to the higher-performance Sport mode, the Ioniq still takes close to nine seconds to get from 0-60 mph, according to independent testers. This is still quicker than the Toyota Prius, though. Front-wheel-drive is standard with no option available for AWD, which isn't surprising considering the powertrain's very limited outputs.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Forward Vision Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Rear View Driving Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Side View Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

Every model in the Ioniq Hybrid range gets the same powertrain. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine develops 104 hp and 109 lb-ft torque on its own, but it comes paired with an electric motor that puts out 43 hp and 125 lb-ft for a combined figure of 139 hp. In the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Plug-in, a stronger 60-hp electric motor is used, but the combined output remains the same 139 hp. While this is enough power to get the lightweight hatchback around town, it's certainly not enough to do so quickly. Passing on the highway will require some patience, at the very least.

Rowing the gears for the compact vehicle is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which directs power to the front wheels only. The gearbox bears most of the blame for the Ioniq's poor performance. It shifts at the most awkward times in an attempt to maximize economy over just about every other driving factor.

  • Engines
    1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid, 1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Coupled with the Ioniq's unimpressive performance is a very uncommunicative steering system. Cars designed for town driving generally have pretty light steering, but the Hyundai's feels like trudging through a quagmire. This often leads to overcorrection when initially light inputs go largely ignored.

The brakes are equally unimpressive. The regenerative capabilities aren't very efficient, resulting in staggering to get the most out of the friction. On the plus side, there are level control paddles for the regenerative brakes on all models but the Blue, which doesn't have regenerative braking. The somewhat iffy brakes are only further exacerbated by the low grip of the tires.

All of this is rounded out by an overly busy ride. On anything but the smoothest of roads, the Ioniq feels every little bump. For such a light vehicle, the suspension feels ill-tuned, with mid-corner bumps jarring occupants rather violently. If the cabin were more plushly appointed, it might help negate some of this, but the Ioniq is not a luxury vehicle, and it never feels remotely like one.

Ioniq Hybrid Gas Mileage

Only one powertrain is available to the Ioniq range, but it performs a little differently on the entry-level Blue spec, thanks to its lower rolling-resistance tires. In this configuration, the Ioniq Hybrid hatchback beats even the acclaimed Toyota Prius, with an EPA-estimated 58/60/59 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. The Prius tops out at 56 mpg in the combined cycle. However, the rest of the Ioniq Hybrid line-up falls just shy of Toyota's famed hybrid, getting 54/56/55 mpg. Still, that's nothing to sniff at. With an 11.9-gallon fuel tank, the Ioniq will carry you across 655 miles before needing to refuel, while the penny-pinching Blue trim can go an extra 47 miles before needing to find a gas station.

The Plug-in Hybrid models get a slightly less impressive combined 52 mpg, with 119 MPGe combined running on electric power. Running purely on electric power, the plug-in can travel up to 29 miles. It also gets a slightly smaller 11.4-gallon tank, meaning that its total range is 620 miles. The larger 8.9 kWh battery in the plug-in takes two hours and 15 minutes to charge from a manual Level 2 outlet.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    11.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 58/60 mpg
* 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue Hatchback

Ioniq Hybrid Interior

The interior of the Ioniq is nothing special. It is well-built, with a fair number of standard features, but it is neither lavish nor overly spacious. Those up front will have little to complain about, but those in the back will bemoan the low roof and raised seats to make space for the battery. The choice of materials seems to follow the trend of affordability, too, with plenty of hard plastics on display. At least the trunk doesn't suffer too much. The infotainment suite is easy to use, thanks to the large eight-inch touchscreen, and the rest of the controls for the features being laid out for ease of access.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Dashboard Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Front Seats Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Central Control Panel Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As a compact hatchback, the Ioniq Hybrid isn't the most spacious of cars. Those up front will have little to complain about, with ample head- and legroom to spare, as well as six-way power front seats as standard. When you take into account the smart positioning of the driver's seat, this makes the Ioniq a comfortable driver. However, those in the back would make a strong case against it being a good car for passengers. The rear seats lose quite a bit of headroom to the sloping roof, and legroom isn't impressive, either. This is fine if it'll only ever be you and the kids, but try transporting a few adults around town and complaints will pour in within minutes of setting out. The upper trims get access to heated front seats. Accessibility fairs much the same as spaciousness, with wide-opening front doors making entering and exiting easy for the front seats, but the rear doors are more narrow, which is only exacerbated by the sloping roofline.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.2 in
  • Front Head Room 39.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The Hyundai Ioniq may not be one of the brand's more premium models, with plenty of hard, cheap plastics on display. However, it's still well-built and feels solid. All but the top-most trim comes upholstered in premium cloth, in a choice of either Gray or Black. The Limited retains the same palette but upgrades to genuine leather. A leather steering wheel and gear shifter are standard from the SE upwards, too.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback Trunk and Cargo Space

In its PHEV configuration, the Hyundai Ioniq is relatively practical for a hybrid vehicle. However, it isn't the most spacious hybrid on the market, offering 26.5 cubic feet of trunk space, as opposed to the Prius' 27.4 cubic feet. But the Hyundai has enough space for most day-to-day needs, easily accommodating a week's worth of groceries, or more. The cargo area is also easily accessed thanks to the large aperture created by the liftgate. If you need a little extra space, the rear seats can be folded in a 60/40 split, but due to the positioning of the battery pack beneath the seats, this doesn't free up a lot of space. Due to the larger battery, the Plug-in Ioniq sacrifices a bit more trunk space, supplying only 23 cubic feet. It's not a huge difference, but it does cost the hatchback some points when the PHEV already struggles against the competition.

There are a variety of small-item storage options around the cabin. Passengers in the front get access to a large bin near the gear shifter, supplemented by a somewhat narrow center console bin, and a wide slot set within the dashboard. Each of the four doors has a pocket large enough to fit a water bottle, and there is a glovebox, although it's a bit on the small side. Strangely enough, there are no standard cupholders in either row of seats.

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Front Seats 1 Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Side View 1 Hyundai

Ioniq Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

There is a fair number of standard features on the Ioniq Hybrid, with basic conveniences including proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and power windows. Dual-zone climate control comes standard, along with cruise control, but this is upgraded to adaptive cruise control on the SEL. Similarly, the six-way manually adjustable driver's seat is upgraded to a ten-way power seat at the same trim level. The Blue and Plug-in SE get a 4.2-inch driver-information display, while the rest of the range gets a seven-inch model. The safety suite improves as you move up the trim levels, starting with lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, and high beam assist, with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and pedestrian detection added along the way. A power tilt-and-slide sunroof is available at the higher trim levels.

Infotainment

Even the entry-level Ioniq Blue comes standard with the larger eight-inch touchscreen interface that supports Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. A six-speaker sound system channels the audio for the majority of the trims. The SE expands the listening options with HD Radio and SiriusXM, while navigation is added when you upgrade to the Limited. The top-tier trim also gets the largest 10.25-inch touchscreen interface and upgrades to the eight-speaker premium Harman Kardon sound system. USB ports come standard across the range, but a wireless charging pad is added to the SEL and Limited.

Ioniq Hybrid Problems and Reliability

As yet, no recalls have been issued for the 2021 model. There weren't any recalls for 2020 either but the Ioniq Hybrid was called back in 2019 for the possibility that the rear wheel lug nuts may be loose. While the standard limited warranty is only valid for 60,000 miles/60 months, the powertrain, hybrid components, and battery are all covered for 100,000 miles/120 months. Unlimited roadside assistance is offered for the first 60 months of ownership.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback Safety

For yet another year, the NHTSA has not subjected the Hyundai Ioniq for crash safety review. However, the IIHS has been pretty thorough in its review of the Ioniq Hybrid. In every test conducted, the organization awarded the hatchback a top score of Good. In 2019, the IIHS also awarded the car its Top Safety Pick award.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Key Safety Features

The standard list of safety features on the Ioniq isn't astounding, but it covers all the bases. Each model comes with ABS, stability and traction control, and seven airbags: dual front, driver knee, front side, and side curtain. The base model starts out with lane keep assist, a driver attention system, a rearview camera, high beam assist, and forward collision avoidance. The SE adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the SEL further adds pedestrian detection and lane following assist. The Limited rounds out the standard safety features with highway drive assist, and front and rear parking sensors.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid a good car?

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid hatchback certainly looks impressive on paper, with a low starting price, a fair number of safety features, and competitive cargo capacity. However, once you take it for a test drive, you'll quickly discover that the Ioniq is not all it seems to be.

In fact, the first signs of disappointment appear the moment you climb inside. The cabin may be well-made, but it looks and feels cheap thanks to poor choices in materials and some cost-cutting. Get moving, and the disappointment grows. Acceleration isn't lively, at all, and handling is subpar, at best. Compounding this is shoddy ride quality, with all but the most velvety of roads often inducing some car sickness in even the most iron of stomachs.

It's not all bad, though. The compact hatchback gets truly impressive fuel economy, especially in its highly efficient Blue trim. And even this entry-level model gets some desirable safety features like forward collision avoidance. Add to this the reasonable trunk for a hybrid vehicle, and the Hyundai Ioniq certainly feels like an affordable and versatile daily driver for those on a budget.

Still, the Toyota Prius manages to keep the crown, in our opinion, with a higher quality interior, better ride comfort, and more standard features. So the slightly higher starting price, and slightly lower fuel economy, don't feel like much of a downside.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid?

With only four models to choose from, and little in the way of customization within trim levels, the price of Hyundai is pretty set at each level. The entry point to the hybrid range is the Hybrid-exclusive Blue trim, with a starting MSRP of $23,400. The SE is positioned between the base Blue and the SEL, with its starting price set at $25,350. The SEL isn't that much more expensive at $28,600, while the top-tier Limited breaks the $30k mark at $31,400. The Plug-in models are priced slightly higher, with the base model SE starting at $26,700. The mid-tier SEL will set you back $29,700, while the top-of-the-range Limited asks for $33,150. The prices of the Ioniq Hybrid don't include tax, registration, licensing, incentives, or Hyundai's $1,005 destination charge. As a hybrid vehicle, the Ioniq may also qualify for additional tax rebates in certain states, although the previously available federal tax rebates are no longer applicable.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Models

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid comes in four trims, namely Blue, SE, SEL, and Limited, while the Plug-In Hybrid models come in three: SE, SEL, and Limited. All models use the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, coupled to a 43-hp electric motor on the Hybrid and a 60-hp motor on the Plug-In Hybrid. Both configurations develop a system total of 139 hp and drive the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The cheapest model is the Blue and it's only available in Hybrid. It comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels and runs on low-rolling-resistance tires. Standard equipment includes automatic projector headlights with high-beam assist. Standard safety features include forward-collision avoidance, lane-keep assistance, a backup camera, and a driver-attention system. Inside, the seats are upholstered in premium cloth and dual-zone automatic climate control is standard. The infotainment system features wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and the touchscreen measures eight inches. The audio system has six speakers.

The SE receives LED daytime running lights and more safety equipment, notably rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. The steering wheel and gear shifter are trimmed in leather and the front seats are heated. The driver-information display is upgraded from 4.2 to seven inches and both an HD Radio and SiriusXM are added. The Plug-In SE trim gets the standard 4.2-inch driver display, while blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are omitted but pedestrian detection and lane-following assistance are added.

On the SEL, both the head- and taillights are LED and an electric tilting and sliding sunroof is standard. In the interior, there is a wireless charging pad and additional safety features in the form of adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and lane-following assistance. The Plug-In SEL trim loses the sunroof but adds rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring and it gets the larger seven-inch driver display.

The flagship Limited trim runs on 17-inch alloy wheels and adds front and rear parking sensors. Inside, the seats are trimmed in leather, there are rear ventilation vents, it gets the sunroof, and highway drive assist is standard. The infotainment touchscreen measures 10,25 inches and incorporates navigation - and it's connected to an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

See All 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Trims and Specs

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Additional Packages

There are no official packages for the Ioniq Hybrid, so what you see is, generally, what you get. A small number of standalone accessories can be tacked on, such as a $150 cargo cover, a $55 cargo net, or carpeted floor mats for $155. However, if you actually want to improve upon the base offering of the trim you're interested in, you're out of luck. The only way to get access to some of the Ioniq's more desirable features, such as leather upholstery or the larger infotainment suite with the upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, is to upgrade to an entirely different trim.

🚗What Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

Since there is no way to really customize your purchase, the best model for you will primarily come down to what you really need. If affordability is your main goal, then look no further than the Blue trim. For 2021, this is the Ioniq Hybrid car with the lowest price, starting at $23,400, don't expect to get an impressive array of features. However, it does still come with automatic dual-zone climate control, wireless smartphone integration, and forward collision avoidance. Where it beats its more expensive siblings is fuel economy, boasting an impressive 59 mpg combined mileage. However, if you want the best value for money while still getting some of the higher-tech features, then we suggest looking at the SEL. You skip out on the leather upholstery and upgraded infotainment suite, but you do get blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, the much more comfortable leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a power sunroof that makes the compact hatchback feel a little roomier than it is. In terms of which powertrain we'd opt for, while the plug-in gets a pure electric range of 29 miles, the smaller gas tank and smaller trunk somewhat compromise its upsides, and yet the more powerful electric motor doesn't really contribute to a vastly improved driving experience. We'd rather save on costs and get the regular hybrid.

Check out other Hyundai Ioniq Styles

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Comparisons

Toyota Prius CarBuzz
Hyundai Ioniq Electric Hyundai
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid104 hp58/60 mpg$23,400
Toyota Prius 95 hp58/53 mpg$24,525
Hyundai Ioniq Electric 134 hp145/121 mpg$33,245

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid vs Toyota Prius

The most direct competition to the Hyundai Ioniq in the USA is, indisputably, the ever-popular Toyota Prius. It may be true that Hyundai managed to beat Toyota's impressive fuel economy figures with its Blue trim, but the rest of the Ioniq range falls a little short of the Prius in terms of economy. It doesn't help that the Ioniq also falls behind in just about every other area, too. The Prius is far more premium inside, with much better materials used in production and a little more space to go around. It's now also been updated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the Toyota Safety Sense driver-assistance suite. With much better handling and a far more comfortable ride, the Toyota Prius will still impress.

See Toyota Prius Review

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid vs Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Unlike its hybrid siblings, the Ioniq Electric is a pureblood hatch, using nothing but electricity to get around. As such, it gets a much larger 38.3 kWh battery, which gives it a total range of 170 miles. This is below average for an electric vehicle and far below the range of the hybrid Ioniq. However, the Ioniq Electric's actual mileage figures are quite commendable, getting 145/121/133 MPGe across the city/highway/combined segments. It also doesn't lack power compared to the hybrids, with the electric motor developing 134 hp and 218 lb-ft. The Electric also supplies a decent amount of cargo space for an all-electric vehicle. It's 23 cubic feet may match the low capacity of the Plug-in Hybrid, but against other electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, it fairs quite well. If you never plan on traveling outside your town, then the Ioniq Electric is a car that's actually cheaper to own, although quite a bit more expensive to buy.

See Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid:

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