For those who think they might want to go electric but suffer enough range anxiety that they’d want a gasoline-powered engine as a backup lest they get ulcers or panic attacks, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is a solid alternative at a competitive price.
If you drive the Limited model that I tested, you’ll get 29 miles of range in all-electric mode and 52 miles to the gallon once the 1.6-liter, direct-injection, Atkinson four-cylinder hybrid engine kicks in for 630 miles of total range, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Because many commuters will drive fewer than 29 miles in a day and have the ability to plug into a standard household outlet to fully charge the 8.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery overnight, you can go days or weeks without the Ioniq even sipping petrol.
But, and this is a huge BUT, that will require staying within speed limits and not putting the acceleration pedal to the metal. When the switches will be made between the electric motor and the gasoline engine is dependent on the driving performance.
It’s been amazing watching EVs and hybrids evolve to the point where their bodies don’t look all that different from their gas-chugging cousins. The Ioniq Limited would fit alongside any other sporty sedan.
The difference comes when you compare mileage. My test ride has a staggering 91 mpg with combined gas and electric power, according to the EPA, which pegs annual fuel costs at $600 and your fuel cost savings at $3,750 over five years when compared to the average 2018 vehicle.
The EPA rates the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Limited at 10 on a one to 10 scale (10 being best) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas and a seven for smog.
Government 5-Star Safety Ratings were not available on my test ride, which did come equipped with an array of advanced safety features at no extra cost. These range from blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert to front, front-side impact, side curtain and driver knee airbags. Also included are Vehicle Stability Management with traction control and quite normal feeling regenerative brakes that stop the car and collect energy to recharge the battery.
When it comes to added features, the Symphony Air Silver Ioniq I drove was outfitted with the Ultimate Package that includes: lane-keep assist; carpeted floor mats; power tilt-and-slide sunroof; automatic emergency braking; Infinity premium audio system; the eight-inch touchscreen’s navigation system; wireless device charging for compatible smartphones; dynamic bending headlights that follow your steering wheel; smart cruise control (which is quickly becoming my favorite extra); and a Blue Link Connected Care Package subscription with an option to renew after three months.
So how much does all that cost, or the Ioniq in general for that matter? Here’s the deal: The sticker for my test ride states the total price is to be determined. I can tell you that the Kelly Blue Book for this area has the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the base model at $25,835, with $24,429 being the “fair purchase” cost, and the Limited’s MSRP at $29,185 and the fair purchase price set at $27,171.
It’s a lot of car for under 30 grand, and it was a kick in the britches to drive, even when putting the smooth, six-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission through the paces.
Hyundai backs it up with unheard of warranties: 10 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) on the powertrain and the hybrid system components, seven years or unlimited miles anti-perforation, five years or 60,000 miles for new vehicle and roadside assistance and, get this, LIFETIME! on the 8.9 kWh lithium battery.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.