2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: further thoughts on 50 mpg after 1,200 miles

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2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, Catskill Mountains, NY, Nov 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, Catskill Mountains, NY, Nov 2017

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We've now spent more than 1,200 miles in a variety of Hyundai Ioniqs, but the bulk of them were covered in the conventional hybrid version of the five-door compact hatchback.

That's the highest-volume version, while the battery-powered Ioniq Electric sells in lower numbers and the plug-in hybrid version won't hit the market until early next year.

Following a May drive in which we put 565 miles on a hybrid Ioniq Limited, we've just spent 650 more miles in an Ioniq Hybrid Blue (confusingly, painted black).

DON'T MISS: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: gas mileage review

The "Blue" model is the highest-efficiency version, and carries the highest EPA ratings for 2017 of any car sold in the U.S. this year without a plug: 58 mpg combined.

Not to put too fine a point on it, we ran the wheels off the little Hyundai hatchback and ended up with trip-computer ratings of 53.4 mpg on the first tank of gas and 52.8 mpg for the rest of our trip.

We acknowledge that trip computers can be inaccurate, but we didn't have the time to run five full tanks of gasoline through the car to measure its actual fuel economy.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

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Those recorded ratings fall within the 10 to 12 percent margin we view as reasonable for variance from EPA ratings.

And the bulk of our recent trip was spent at highway speeds, where the Ioniq Hybrid Blue gets a 57-mpg rating. Its comparable city rating is 59 mpg.

Those were slightly better ratings, by the way, than the 49.5 mpg we logged in our previous Ioniq Hybrid, the high-end Limited model with a combined 55-mpg rating.

READ THIS: Finalist for Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2018: Hyundai Ioniq

Still, both cars stayed within their 10-percent allowances, which was encouraging.

Unlike our May Ioniq Hybrid Limited test car, this latest model was the base and most economical version, with carpeted floor mats as its sole option.

That means it's a $23,000 car, minus any incentives or discounts Hyundai dealers may be offering to move what is, regrettably, a low-selling vehicle.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

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For the 10 months of this year, Hyundai delivered only 9,327 Ioniqs in the U.S., though it has not broken out the number of hybrid and electric variants. That's a tenth the 91,031 Prius models, of four different varieties, sold over the same period.

We think the Ioniq represents the first really viable competitor to the Prius, though the brutal fact is that highly fuel-efficient small hatchbacks are simply not selling in great numbers.

That's due to three factors: a market that's moving to utility vehicles of all sizes over passenger cars, higher fuel-economy ratings for those utility vehicles compared to several years ago, and gasoline prices that have stayed relatively low in the U.S. for several years now.

CHECK OUT: Why Ioniq and Leaf didn't win: notes on Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2018

We enjoyed our time in the Ioniq Hybrid Blue, confirming most of our impressions from our earlier test car and with a handful of new notes:

We still wish the driver's seat were just slightly more comfortable for long stints behind the wheel

The increasing prevalence of adaptive cruise control (fitted to the earlier car) made the conventional version on this car seem almost primitive

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, Catskill Mountains, NY, Nov 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue, Catskill Mountains, NY, Nov 2017

Enlarge Photo

The large textured hard-plastic single-piece dash molding is no doubt economical, but it feels just a bit econocar these days

This is not the fastest car to heat up in wintertime, a mark of the engine's relative thermal efficiency

In the end, it's a cheerful, good-natured, unpretentious car that produces very, very good fuel economy

WATCH THIS: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid video drive review

Our 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue was a very basic model, with only carpeted floor mats (at $125) added to its suggested price of $22,200.

With a mandatory delivery fee of $835, the bottom line on the window sticker came to a mere $23,160.

That compares, incidentally, to a sticker price of $31,460 on the much higher-spec Ioniq Hybrid Limited we tested in May.

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