2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Prototype Review: Move Over, Prius

– Superior Township, Michigan

The Hyundai Ioniq isn’t just one car – it’s three, all with slightly different missions to capture the attention of eco-minded shoppers. Green car editor Sebastian Blanco spent a lot of time with the 58-mile-per-gallon Ioniq Hybrid and the all-electric Ioniq EV during his initial test in February. The missing piece is Hyundai’s Ioniq Plug-In, which arrives at the end of 2017 as a 2018 model.

There’s a lot of unknown data about the Plug-In model; Hyundai won’t release fuel economy and pricing data until closer to the car’s on-sale date. The PHEV uses the same 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine as the Ioniq Hybrid, but has a larger, 8.9-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, and puts out a combined system output of 139 horsepower. Hyundai says the Plug-In will offer at least 27 miles of electric range when fully charged, and considering it uses the same powertrain as the Hybrid in the same package, a fuel economy rating somewhere around 58 mpg doesn’t seem out of reach.

But following a quick spin around Hyundai’s technical center in southeast Michigan, one thing is for sure. The Ioniq Plug-In is a better looking, better driving car than Toyota’s Prius Prime, and puts the whole PHEV package in a car that feels, well, normal.

 

 

Pros

Looks like... a car. I think the Toyota Prius and its Prime sibling are two of the ugliest cars in the world right now. This Ioniq, on the other hand, looks like it could pass for an Elantra hatchback if you didn’t know ...