Hyundai Ioniq hybrid Review

The Hyundai Ioniq is a hybrid car that’s cheap to run and just about big enough for small families but it doesn’t look as stylish or feel quite as upmarket inside as alternatives


This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Easy to drive
  • Cheap to run
  • More affordable than alternatives

What's not so good

  • Slightly cramped back seats
  • Struggles at motorway speeds
  • Plug-in version’s more usable

Hyundai Ioniq hybrid: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

Watch our Hyundai Ioniq video review

The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid is well worth a look if you want a small family car that’s cheap to run and easy to drive around town. It’s well-equipped and slightly cheaper than the likes of the popular Toyota Prius and high-riding Kia Niro.

Its low-slung body and swooping roofline look similar to the Prius but the Hyundai Ioniq is much more interesting inside thanks to some eye-catching blue trims around the air vents and a slick digital display behind the steering wheel.

Things get even better if you pick a mid-range Ioniq Premium – it comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, smartphone mirroring and an upgraded stereo.

It’s not just packed with high-tech features, it’s comfortable, too. There’s plenty of seat adjustment to help you get comfy and lots of head and legroom in the front.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the back seats – tall adults will struggle for headroom and there isn’t enough elbow room for three adults to sit side-by-side comfortably. The boxier Kia Niro will be a better bet if you regularly carry lots of passengers.

When it comes to boot space however, the Hyundai Ioniq has the edge over the Kia. Its boot it slightly larger and easily big enough for a baby buggy and some large soft bags. Flip the back seats down and there’s enough room to carry a bike with one wheel removed.

The Ioniq looks like it was lifted straight from the Toyota Prius jelly mould. Sadly, it’s not quite as spacious inside but you might still be mistaken for an Uber driver on your way to work

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Every Hyundai Ioniq hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that helps them return around 65mpg. The electric motor can power the Ioniq by itself at slow speeds so you can cruise around town almost silently without using any fuel.

Spend more time on the motorway than driving around town? You might want to consider a diesel car instead that’ll return better fuel economy over long distances. The Hyundai Ioniq struggles to overtake slow-moving traffic and its engine drones rather loudly when you accelerate hard.

Fortunately, systems such as automatic emergency braking that’ll try to stop the car for you if it detects an obstacle ahead helped the Ioniq earn an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2016. This makes it one of the safest family cars on sale and well worth considering if you want an affordable hybrid that’s easy to drive and cheap to run.

If you want to see the kind of savings you can expect, just click through to our Hyundai Ioniq deals page.

What's it like inside?

Watch our Hyundai Ioniq interior and infotainment review

Snazzy blue trims and a digital display behind the steering wheel give the Ioniq’s interior a stylish edge, but adults won’t want to spend too much time in its rather cramped back seats

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

Watch our Hyundai Ioniq practicality video review

Pretty much no one will struggle to get comfortable in the front of the Ioniq, but you pay the price for the sleek lines in the back, where it’s not as spacious as some of the other hybrids on the market

Despite all the clever tech, my favourite feature on the Ioniq is probably the adjustable lumbar support - perfect for staving off backache on longer journeys

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
443 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,505 litres

The Hyundai Ioniq’s steering wheel and front seat come with plenty of adjustment so you’ll have no trouble getting comfy – even if you’re very tall. Every Ioniq gets a height-adjustable front passenger’s seat and adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat to help reduce backache on long journeys.

Pick a top-spec Premium SE car and you get electric seat adjustment with a memory function – useful if you regularly lend your car to someone significantly taller or shorter than you. There’s even a seat cooling feature to make hot days that little bit more bearable.

The back seats are reasonably spacious but there isn’t quite as much room for adults in the Hyundai Ioniq as you get in a Kia Niro or Toyota Prius. Anyone over six-foot tall will find their head perilously close to touching the roof and knee room is a little tight – especially with a six-foot-tall driver sitting in front.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of space to carry three kids in the back but the rather narrow central seat means there isn’t quite enough elbow room for three adults to sit side by side. There’s a slight lump in the floor that can get in the way of your middle passenger’s feet, too.

The back doors open quite wide but the Hyundai Ioniq’s sloping roofline means you’ll have to stoop down to lift in a child seat if you’re quite tall and the hidden Isofix anchor points make securing the seat base a bit of a pain.

The front doors come with handy round bins that are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle each with just enough room left over for another small bottle or can. You also get two cupholders in the centre console and space under the folding front armrest for a few valuables.

The rear door bins aren’t as spacious as those in the front but you get a pair of seat-back pockets as standard to tuck away thin items (such as iPads) and a folding rear armrest with two built-in cupholders.

The Hyundai Ioniq’s boot isn’t quite as large as the 502-litre load bay in a Prius but, at 443 litres, it’s easily big enough to carry a baby stroller or enough bags for a family weekend away. By comparison, the boxy Kia Niro can only carry 427 litres of luggage.

The Ioniq’s boot opening is wide and square so it’s relatively easy to lift in some bulky luggage but there’s quite a tall boot lip that makes loading heavy items rather difficult. Still, its square shape makes it easy to pack full of large boxes and every Hyundai Ioniq comes with a handy luggage net to help tie down smaller items.

Sadly, there isn’t any storage space under the boot floor and you can’t adjust the floor height to reduce the size of that annoying boot lip, either. There are a few tether points dotted around the boot but no shopping hooks to stop your groceries rolling around.

Fortunately, you can fold the back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split if you need to carry some very long items and a passenger in the back seats at once. Flip both back seats down and the Ioniq’s boot grows to 1,505 litres – big enough to carry a bike if you remove one of its wheels. The back seats don’t fold completely flat, however, so it’s not particularly easy to push heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.

What's it like to drive?

Watch our 360-degree Hyundai Ioniq hybrid video review

The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid’s great for pottering around town but it’s just not quite as frugal as the plug-in model and a diesel will be better for long journeys

You’ll hear barely a whisper from the petrol engine around town but it chimes in with a rather annoying drone when you accelerate hard

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. They work together to drive the front wheels through a standard-fit six-speed automatic gearbox.

Hyundai claims the Ioniq hybrid will return 74.3mpg but you can expect to see around 65mpg in normal driving conditions. Unfortunately, it can’t match the plug-in hybrid model’s claimed 39 miles electric-only range but it can still potter along at slow speeds for short distances using just the electric motor. As a result, it’s much more frugal around town than a conventional petrol or diesel car.

When the petrol engine chimes in to lend a hand it does so smoothly and without any unpleasant jolts. With both motor and engine working together it feels brisk enough but the 1.6-litre petrol drones slightly if you accelerate hard.

Even with the engine and motor working together the Ioniq doesn’t have quite enough puff to keep up with fast-moving motorway traffic. If you do lots of motorway miles you’ll want to consider a diesel instead.

Thankfully, the Hyundai Ioniq’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is smooth and doesn’t make the engine rev loudly when you accelerate like the CVT automatic in a Toyota Prius.

Visibility is reasonably good in the Hyundai Ioniq but the pillars between its front doors and the windscreen create some blindspots at junctions and its split rear windscreen can make parking slightly difficult. The Kia Niro is easier to see out of thanks to its raised driving position and boxy body.

Thankfully, every Hyundai Ioniq comes with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to help avoid any scrapes in supermarket car parks and you even get a cross-traffic alert system that’ll warn you if a car’s about to pass behind you as you reverse out of a perpendicular parking bay.

Around town, the Hyundai’s light steering and pedals make it fairly easy to drive and it’s especially relaxing at slow speeds when the near-silent electric motor’s doing most of the work. It can’t quite iron out bumps as smoothly as the Prius but it wallows and leans a little less on fast country roads.

Head out onto a motorway and the Hyundai starts to feel a little out of its depth. Its 1.6-litre engine has to work hard to keep up with fast-moving traffic which means you’ll hear quite a lot of noise from under the bonnet as you drive along.

You’ll hear a touch more wind noise in the Hyundai Ioniq than in the Prius but the roar from its tyres is less noticeable than in the Toyota.

All Ioniq hybrids come with adaptive cruise control to help make long journeys as relaxing as possible. This feature can adjust your car’s speed to maintain a safe distance to other cars in front before returning to a preset speed once the road’s clear.

Also standard is automatic emergency braking – it’ll stop the car as quickly as possible if it detects an imminent collision. This helped the Hyundai earn an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2016, making it one of the safest family cars on sale.

For even greater peace of mind, pick a top-spec Premium SE model. They come with an extra system that’ll warn you if there’s a vehicle in your blindspot before you change lanes on a motorway.

Read about prices & specifications
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