Driving Me Crazy: 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited

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Driving Me Crazy automotive review Columnists Laurie and John Wiles.

Listen to John and Laurie Wiles’ review of the 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited on their Driving Me Crazy radio broadcast that airs this Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 10am EST and every Thursday throughout the year at the same time. The broadcast is heard “Live” or “On Demand” by clicking onto this specific hyperlink – http://tobtr.com/s/11751255. Please note that the hyperlink is specific to this review. It changes every week. Listeners are welcome to call the broadcast at 347-205-9201 and are asked to stay on topic.

PINEHURST, NC — June 9, 2020 —week we got to drive the 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited, a Hybrid Electrical Vehicle (thus, the “HEV” in the name.)

Just like the one in the picture, ours too was ‘Scarlet Red Pearl.’  I have never been a big hybrid fan personally and neither has Laurie.  Laurie points out that we’ve seen the evolution of the hybrid from its inception and have been through its “growing up” pains over the years. This said, we were truly impressed with this car.

The 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited is a real, bona fide commuter’s car. It gets the incredible gas mileage you expect of a hybrid, averaging right at 55 mpg, but what was most impressive was the “get up and go” built into this not-so-little, roomy, four-door compact.  It is comfortable for driver and all four passengers alike.  And it has all the safety bells and whistles, which always adds real value to every car where safety features are the top priority.

2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited

There are four models of the IONIQ Hybrid: the “Blue,” at $23,200 is a great bargain, especially when you get 58 mpg; the SE at $25,150 has additional safety and comfort features; the SEL at $28,400 features 17” wheels, a sunroof, and even more safety features; and the Limited, which we drove, which weighs in at $31,200 and comes fully loaded, with leather seats, Harmon Kardon premium stereo, a 10.25” touchscreen—and yes, even carpeted floor mats.

Here’s a hybrid that’s really stylish, practical, safe, and affordable considering what it is and what you get. It ticks a lot of boxes for city dwellers, suburbanites, and long-distance drivers who want to get a lot of bang for their gas dollars—especially now, with gas prices under $2.00 a gallon—which haven’t been this low since 2004!

We drove this car quite a bit and the needle didn’t appear to move even a smidge in the gas gauge the entire week.  Naturally, I was curious about how the battery part of the car worked (Hyundai offers a special Hybrid Plug-In, which ours was not, and also an all-electric model.) Our Hybrid had a display in the center of the dash that showed the battery with blue arrows going toward the front wheels of this front-wheel drive car, which indicates when the car was using all-electrical power. When the car’s engine engaged—seamlessly, it seemed, to me—two yellow arrows on the dash pointed at the front wheels. At times both the battery and engine fed power to the front wheels. If you let off the gas pedal a little when going downhill, or pressed the brakes, power was recharged by the battery.

With a small, 11.9-gallon gas tank, at 55 mpg you still get an amazing 654 miles before you have to refill or recharge. That’s a lot of commuting or running around town. The 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-valve, inline, 4-cylinder engine combined with the electric motor creates 139HP, which still produced a lot of stamina for a hybrid and the Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor allows you to reach speeds up to 75 mph. Pretty impressive—but then, it’s a Hyundai.


2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited Gallery and front seating perspective.

The Limited Model we drove had all the bells and whistles—an easy to program, 10.25” touch screen complemented by GPS voice navigation, which we found to be very easy to use and accurate; programming my phone to the car was easy; there are two memory settings for the driver’s seat and total electric seating controls with lumbar support, which makes long-distance driving comfortable and, in winter, cozy because the front seats are heated; the Limited has a power sunroof; dual climate control; Ambient LED Lighting; Wireless Charging Pad and—

Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Highway Driving Assist, which brings us a step closer to autonomous driving; Front and Rear Park Sensors; Lane Keeping Assist; High Beam Assist; Driver Attention Warning; Lane Following Assist; Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist; and the Rearview Camera with Dynamic Parking Guidelines.

Highway Driving Assist gleans information from the car’s monitoring systems to help keep you centered in the road and maintains or controls your speed when the cruise control is set.  It also monitors what’s going on in front and around you to support safe driving. This week I had an opportunity to be on two roads with speed limits of 55 mph or greater. On both occasions, I set the cruise control and ‘forward collision monitoring’ to the furthest distance. One of the roads was long and straight, and, as in the past, the car slowed if the car in front of me was doing less than my chosen speed. It also didn’t want me to change lanes unless I put on my turn signal, which negates the lane-keeping warning sound. Once I got into the passing lane, the car immediately sped up to my chosen speed. All good.

The other road had curves, so I set the cruise control to 55, kept my hands firmly on the wheel, and felt how the car utilized its forward-looking radar to gauge speed and the bend in the curves. Incredibly, the car slowed down to hug the inside curve, keeping to the middle line of the road. I didn’t try to oversteer the car but kept my hands on the wheel to make sure, in my own mind, that the technology was efficient. And it was.  This said, no machine, no computer, as the movie,  2001 Space Odyssey made clear, should be allowed to have a mind of its own.  But it’s cool when things work like they’re supposed to.

2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited Trunk view, split rear seating configuration.

I included a picture of the trunk to support my claim that there’s room back there for a commuter’s ‘stuff’, in fact, several commuters’ things, and lots of space if it’s a weekend getaway for a couple.

About the only negative I would offer about the IONIQ is that the ride was a little rough when the road was rough itself. On the smooth highways, the sedan glided along. You did also hear some road noise, but I actually think that was more the electric motor noise than anything. Want to cure that? Do what I do. Turn on the radio.

Okay, in summary, you want clean air, you want economical commuting or just running around, you want value for the money, you want safety, you want style? 

Take a look at, and a ride in, the 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited. You won’t be disappointed.

 # # #

HYUNDAI DEALERS in the environs of  Pinehurst, NC, and New Rochelle, NY:

Pinehurst Hyundai

10732 US Hwy 15-501

Southern Pines, NC 28387

Phone: 1-910-684-4041

#  # #

Central Avenue Hyundai

111 South Central Avenue

Hartsdale, NY 10530

Sales: 866-795-6215

Service: 866-319-0134

Parts: 866-675-3504


John and Laurie WilesDriving Me Crazy: 2020 Hyundai IONIQ HEV Limited

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