Hyundai Ioniq
Hyundai Ioniq

Remember ten or fifteen years ago when the Toyota Prius was pretty much the only hybrid game in town? People were so suspicious of it. The batteries were either going to burst into flame during a collision, like the gas tank of a ’70s Ford Pinto, or they were going to die in the first few years and cost something $1.7 million to replace. They were expensive cars and you were never going to make your money back “at the pump.” (I hate that phrase.) They were going nowhere.

Well. That wasn’t how it turned out.

Now we have tons of hybrids on the market. No one blinks an eye at a hybrid. They seem tame, boring. They have definitely lost their edge. They’re … normal. And that is fantastic.

Right! On to the Review. Hyundai Ioniq. On it.

Let’s get to the point of this review: the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid. I drove this when the car in all its forms when it launched in March 2017: hybrid, PHEV, and EV. What I remember is that they were all so delightfully ordinary. Sure, they had tech inside and under the hood. They were all electrified to some degree. But they didn’t scream, “Hey! Look over here at all my green cred!” They just seemed useful.

And so it is with the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue I drove for a week. I ran errands in it. I piled laundry in the back and was astonished at how massive the rear cargo area is. I got a kick out of the honeycomb-patterned fabric upholstery. I didn’t swear at the infotainment system. Not even once.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq cargo
2017 Hyundai Ioniq cargo

The Ioniq Hybrid Blue is the base trim, so unlike some press cars that I get to drive, this one only had the bells and whistles that come with it. Oh, wait — Hyundai HQ did add carpeted floor mats. Otherwise, it was just standard equipment.

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is not a race car, but it is reliable and comfy. It’s EPA-estimated fuel economy is a combined 58 mpg, but I only got about 41 mpg combined in my week because I am not a careful driver. I also did a lot of highway driving, which isn’t a hybrid’s sweet spot. But 41 mpg with my lead foot is not bad.

A Little Tech or a Lot

The instrument cluster in the dashboard is an LCD screen with all your usual stuff, like speed and fuel level. But when I used the windshield wipers, it would tell me what setting I had landed on. Like, intermittent or low. I live in the Pacific Northwest. I loved that little detail.

A nice, big 7-inch touchscreen in the center console is also standard, and it works just the way you think it will. The learning curve is more like a flat line. And it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto right out of the box so you don’t have to learn a single new thing at all if you don’t want to. Just plug in your phone and go.

You can get all fancy with the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid; there are other trim levels and packages and options and doodads and gewgaws. You can get wireless device charging and adaptive cruise control and BlueLink compatibility. But you can also get a pretty great hybrid for $23,160. That was the price of my test car, carpet mats and all.

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