Is the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

If you’re in the market for an affordable hatchback PHEV, the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid edges out its competition.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jun 22, 2022
If you’re looking for a practical hybrid car that can help you reduce fuel spending without breaking the bank (or sacrificing on good looks), the 2021
Hyundai Ioniq
Plug-in Hybrid hatchback might be the perfect car for you
Great fuel economy? Check. Best-in-class warranties? Check. Looks like a regular hatchback and feels like a luxury car? Check. Best of all, it starts at $27,705, making it just about the most affordable plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) on the market. 
Ready to explore everything the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid has to offer? Get the full tour from
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2021 Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid

Some electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) lean into their futuristic brand with brash styling and gimmicky accessories. 
Not the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq. This plug-in hybrid hatchback, also available as a simple hybrid and an all-electric vehicle, keeps things simple—and in so doing, it manages to come out as the most affordable PHEV on the market right now
If you want flashy, look elsewhere. If you want straightforward functionality—with some surprisingly high-end touches—the 2021 Ioniq PHEV is a great bet. 

Pricing

Pricing on the 2021 model starts out at a shockingly low $27,705—only a few thousand above the regular hybrid’s base Blue trim. The mid-grade SEL trim goes for $30,705, while the top-of-the-line Limited PHEV rounds things out at $34,155. Still an attractive price when it comes to electrified vehicles! 
And keep in mind—every new Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid purchase is eligible for a $4,543 federal tax credit!

Performance and fuel economy

Thanks to a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine married to an electric motor and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Ioniq PHEV gets impressive fuel economy in either gas-only or hybrid mode. On gasoline alone, the EPA reports an estimated combined fuel efficiency of 52 mpg, while the combined fuel economy for gas and electric operation is over double that at 119 MPGe
And because it’s a plug-in hybrid rather than a regular hybrid, the Ioniq PHEV is capable of operating for short periods in all-electric mode. Its total driving range as an EV is 29 miles. That’s five miles longer than its main competitor, the Toyota Prius Prime. 
And let’s not forget about charging time! If you’re hoping to operate your Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid mainly in electric mode—which is perfectly possible for drivers with short commutes—you’ll be pleased to know that it takes the hatchback just two hours to reach a full charge on a Level 2 charger, and under seven hours using a standard 120-volt household charger. 
As for driving dynamics, the Ioniq sits in that sweet spot between mediocrity and greatness: it won’t blow anyone away with speed or power, but neither does it distract with a sluggish, bumpy ride quality. Instead, expect straightforward, unobtrusive on-road manners from the Ioniq PHEV

Exterior styling

Another area where Hyundai hews closer to tradition than innovation is in the Ioniq PHEV’s exterior styling. Nothing about this hatchback screams “hybrid,” “electric car,” or “futuristic,” along its engineering makes subtle improvements to aerodynamics. 
Instead, it looks like the unassuming compact hatchback it is. Pick from five colors (silver, gray, white, black, and “Intense Blue”) and enjoy the simple things in life. 

Interior and comfort

The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid’s interior is a high point, as it feels upscale despite the low price point and reflects the environmental concerns of many of its buyers. Sustainable composite materials made out of volcanic rock and sugarcane add a meaningful touch to an overall comfortable, well-appointed cabin. 
Storage isn’t a strength in the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid, but neither is it a serious weakness. A respectable 23 cubic feet of cargo space should cover all your daily needs. 

Technology

Tech-savvy drivers will appreciate the lengths Hyundai has gone to to make the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid a 21st-century vehicle. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is available even at the entry-level SE trim, as are keyless entry and ignition and a sturdy lineup of driver assistance tech, including: 
  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Forward collision mitigation 
Even more tech features, like blind spot monitoring, a high-tech navigation system, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon® sound system, are available as options or standard equipment on higher trim levels.   

Warranty coverage

A major point in favor of any Hyundai vehicle is unbeatable warranty coverage. Hyundai’s standard limited and powertrain warranties apply to the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid, along with a stellar PHEV battery warranty: 
  • Limited warranty: five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Powertrain warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Battery warranty: lifetime warranty for original owner

Trim levels and options

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is available in three distinct trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. The base SE trim is shockingly well-equipped, with everything from smartphone integration, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel to dual-zone automatic climate control and driver attention warnings. 
Upgrade to the SEL, and you’ll add a digital instrument display, power adjustable driver’s seat, and a handful of extra driving aids. And in the top-of-the-line Limited trim, luxury is the name of the game, with leather upholstery throughout the vehicle, ambient interior lighting, and a sunroof.
In spirit with its ethos of keeping things simple, the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid doesn’t offer any special packages or options, but there’s still room to customize in small ways at the dealership.  
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The bottom line

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is a solid choice for an affordable PHEV. If you’re looking for a snazzier ride, an all-electric car, or something with real on-road power, it might not be your cup of tea, but for most drivers it delivers on all the essentials—with a few unexpected bonuses. 
Another great thing about the 2021 Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid? Hyundai didn’t make any changes to the 2022 model, so buying a 2021 model instead means getting a car with all the same strengths at a lower price. Win-win! 

2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV vs. 2021 Toyota Prius Prime

How does the 2021 Hyundai square up against its main rival in the plug-in business, the
Toyota Prius Prime
The Prius Prime is still king of fuel economy: 54 mpg combined fuel economy on gas operation alone and a sky-high 133 MPGe with gas and electric combined can’t really be beat. But its electric-only driving range is just 25 miles, and it’s more expensive. Toyota loyalists might still prefer the Prius Prime, but anyone new to PHEVs (or just interested in the best value for money) will be better off going with Hyundai. 
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
$27,705
52 mpg
119 MPGe
29 miles
2 hours
Lifetime
2021 Toyota Prius Prime
$29,245
54 mpg
133 MPGe
25 miles
2 hours
10 years or 150,000 miles

2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV vs. 2021 Kia Niro PHEV

Another major competitor for the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is the
Kia Niro
PHEV, starting at $30,765
The Niro does have one major advantage over the Ioniq: it’s more of a crossover than a hatchback, meaning that drivers with a taste for SUV styling will likely prefer its vibes to the more humdrum Ioniq. But it’s considerably more expensive, with the base trim starting at a higher price point than either of the Ioniq’s two lower trim options. 
And for that higher price, the Niro falls behind the Ioniq on comfort and luxury, with synthetic upholstery in every single trim. 
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
$27,705
52 mpg
119 MPGe
29 miles
2 hours
Lifetime
2021 Kia Niro PHEV
$30,765
46 mpg
105 MPGe
30 miles
2.25 hours
10 years

How to save money on car insurance

If you’re looking at plug-in hybrids as a way to keep fuel costs low—first of all, you’re not alone. Second of all, there’s an even easier way to save on
an even bigger car-related expense
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