2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited Review

South Korea is making a very good, very un-weird EV

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Fairly entertaining to drive in sport mode, sporty styling, robust feature set, spacious and ergonomic interior, superb efficiency, unique drive selector, better wheels than the hybrid version.
Negatives: A bit slower than other EVs off the line, glossy black grille welcomes scratches.
Bottom Line: For those in search of an EV that's both efficient and easy to live with, the Ioniq is a great choice. The Ioniq is comfortable, drives more than respectably and has an excellent cabin in terms of room and ergonomics. It's worth a serious look for those who want efficiency but don't want to stick out like a sore thumb.
 View Our 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Overview
The Ioniq trio represents a signficant efficiency move for Hyundai. Hybrid, EV, and Plug-In Hybrid versions offer up a serious choice for those in search of more efficient powertrains than standard gas. All three models offer up the same attractive styling and premier level of interior ergonomics. In our second Ioniq review, we test the EV, which offers up the best range for an EV next to the ultra-distance Chevy Bolt. Read on for our full review.

Driving Experience



We keep our expectations low when it comes to EV driving dynamics, but the Ioniq delivers more than its environmental ethos communicates. It's actually a little bit better to drive than the Ioniq Hybrid we drove a few months back.

Ride Quality: The Ioniq rides a bit on the firm side, but that doesn't mean it's harsh at all. We think it strikes a great balance, absorbing bumps while not making you feel like you're driving a pillow.

Acceleration: It doesn't tap into the power immediately, even though peak torque is immediate. After half a second, though, it does scoot thanks to the 218 lb-ft.

Braking: The transition from regen to conventional braking isn't very noticeable. The pedal is progressive, and stopping distances are good.

Steering: Though the steering is light and pretty numb, it never felt artificial or off-center.

Handling: Minimal body roll enabled the Ioniq to handle curves pretty well. We didn't have any trouble getting it through turns quickly, and the tires held on.




Hyundai manages to infuse their cars with some of the easiest in-car tech around. Everything's intuitive, easy to reach and visually attractive.

Infotainment System: The upgraded 8-inch touchscreen has good visibility, and all the icons and fonts are easy to read. It's also responsive, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

Controls: A brilliant row of media buttons just below the center screen make it easy to navigate choices. The drive selector buttons are pretty cool and simple to operate.

Bluetooth Pairing: Quick and seamless.

Voice Call Quality: Clear as a bell and issue-free transmission. No problems here.




Nothing about the Ioniq's styling is revolutionary, but at least it really does look like pretty normal hatchback with a bit of a tall back end.

Front: The solid black grille is nice but will take on scratches very easyily. The fascia is neither overly simple or overly complex, and we like the minimal use of chrome.

Rear: Hyundai kept things simple here, albeit a bit thick with the split rear window/spoiler combination.

Profile: The best view of the Ioniq in our opinion. It's well-proportioned, and though the wheels are small, they're pretty sporty.

Cabin: The interior is laid out well, and the steering wheel, dash and seats all have an upscale look. There's a bit too much grey for our tastes, but it's by no means a deal-breaker.




Though the Ioniq is based on the Elantra, there's more room here. The cabin is big and airy, and five passengers can occupy the Ioniq without a problem. Hyundai did a solid job of making a fuel-conscious car usable for the everyday.

Front Seats: The leather seats provide good cushioning and bolstering, while the heating fired up fast.

Rear Seats: It's a little cramped in back, but there's decent headroom.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The electric powertrain whirr isn't overly intrusive, but freeway speeds make tire noise noticeable.

Visibility: Only the rearward visibility is compromised due to the split rear window.




Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has tested the Ioniq, but the Hyundai Elantra on which the Ioniq is based is a Top Safety Pick+ for 2017 and earns four stars from the NHTSA, so the Ioniq should get decent marks.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The Limited tester we drove came with blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert & lane change assist, and rearview camera. All of these features worked very well during our time behind the wheel.

Optional Tech: Our car had the Ultimate Package, which bundled automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control, lane departure warning, headlights with Dynamic Bending Light Function, and rear parking sensors. We especially loved the headlights, which were bright and truly adaptive.




The Ionic is practical from a storage standpoint, especially in light of its cargo hold. The cabin also had plenty of space for small gear items, all well-placed.

Storage Space: The two cupholders are deep and accessible behind the shift buttons, and the armrest can hold small items out of view.

Cargo Room: The rear cargo hold is cavernous and deep with 23.8 cubic feet of space. It's all very easy to access, too.

Fuel Economy



The Ioniq EV's rating of 136 MPGe is higher than that of any other car sold in America this year, and that's seriously impressive. Just don't confuse efficiency with range, which stands at 124 miles on a full charge, better than every EV except for the Chevy Bolt (238 miles)

Observed: We got between 4 and 5 miles per kWh. A full charge takes about four hours.

Distance Driven: 105 miles

Driving Factors: We drove about 75 percent on local suburban roads at speeds of under 45 mph and 25 percent on highways at speeds of up to 70 mph.




The Ioniq's upgraded Infinity Premium Audio with 8-speakers is a very good system, and we're glad we had it. Though it's clear and crisp, it's not as rich with bass as we would've liked.

Final Thoughts

Hyundai thought the Ioniq very well, indeed. It's not only incredibly efficient, it's also truly practical for the everyday commuter with excellent ergonomics, a great cabin and well-styled sheet metal. Even in top trim, it's well under the average new car purchase price across the industry, and that's a good thing. For those who have been put off by other EVs, the Ioniq makes daily driving a breeze.

Check out our 1-Minute Video Review:

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