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2021 Hyundai Ioniq Performance Review


Performance: 8.1

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq is exceptionally fuel-efficient, but it’s less impressive when it comes to power, acceleration, and ride quality.

  • “You probably weren't expecting the Ioniq to be a secret EV hot hatch, but let me tell you for certain: It isn't. Hopefully you weren't expecting it to be comfortable, because it isn't that, either." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Ioniq holds its own on curvy roads, responding obediently to steering inputs and maintaining a firm grip on the road. If pushed hard in corners, the body leans, but overall the car feels stable and competent in most every situation. Pleasantly surprising are its composed ride and relaxed highway manners." -- Car and Driver
  • "Well-rounded dynamics make the driving experience enjoyable, but a bit more steering feel would be welcome." -- Edmunds (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Hybrid and PHEV: a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 139 horsepower
  • EV: an electric motor with 134 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic (hybrid and PHEV); single-speed (EV)

No matter which powertrain you choose, the Ioniq won’t throw you back in your seat. Acceleration is decent from a stop, but this Hyundai is slow to reach 60 mph, and executing passing maneuvers on the highway will require some forethought. The transmission can be slow to downshift.

  • "The Ioniq hybrid we tested wasn't quick, requiring 8.9 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. Shift timing isn't perfect in Eco mode; the transmission pauses too long to downshift when you want to accelerate." -- Car and Driver
  • "No one's pretending that the Ioniq is meant for drag racing, but around town, the lack of power made things tricky. Seconds to 60 is one thing, but it's tricky to tally how much time I spent waiting for enough space to open up to turn across a few lanes or fit a gap in traffic. As would be expected from an electric motor, acceleration is linear, with near-instantaneous pedal responses. That doesn't mean that flooring it results in quickness or fun, however." -- Motor Trend
  • "As long as you keep the Ioniq in its Sport mode – achieved by slotting the shifter to the right into it manual shift position – the Ioniq is relatively responsive and quick to dash off some electrically assisted acceleration. It's still not quick exactly, but relative to its default Eco setting, which is positively ponderous, the Sport-enabled Ioniq is perky and alert." -- Edmunds (2020)

MPG Estimates

The Ioniq Blue gets EPA ratings of 58 mpg in the city and 60 mpg on the highway. Other Ioniq trims get 54 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway. That’s phenomenal fuel economy for a hybrid.

Alternative Fuels and Charging

The plug-in-hybrid Ioniq can be fully charged in less than nine hours using a standard 110- or 120-volt household power outlet. With a 240-volt outlet, the plug-in-hybrid model can reach a full charge in a little more than two hours.

All-electric models take about six hours to fully charge when using a 220- or 240-volt outlet. Using a DC fast-charger, the battery can reach an 80% charge in about an hour.

Handling and Braking

The Ioniq has neither the gentlest ride nor the nimblest handling in the class. Cracks and bumps in the road unsettle it, and while the steering is well-weighted, it requires frequent adjustments. Long stopping distances were also noticed in some tests.

  • "The suspension is stiff to the point where I found myself bracing for impact when I saw potholes approaching and knew to prepare to be tossed around over gutters and dips. The front and rear damping seems out of sync, causing lots of bobbing and swaying even on smoother surfaces. It only ever settles at a stop." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Ioniq Electric doesn’t deliver an exciting Tesla-like electric driving experience, but its low center of gravity, reduced mass, and well-weighted steering wheel make it pleasant enough in normal driving. Its braking performance, however, is dismal; it took 191 feet to stop from 70 mph, at least in part to its low-rolling-resistance tires." -- Car and Driver
  • "Our big complaint is one we've made about other Hyundais: the steering. On the open highway, the Ioniq darts to and fro, requiring constant tiny corrections that can make long drives a real chore." -- Autotrader (2020)
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