2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: Prius Parity?

It annoys me when automakers and car reviewers pigeonhole vehicles, suggesting they’re aimed at Baby Boomers or Millennials or some other monolithic group. Case in point: the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, an all-new gasoline-electric compact hatchback that takes aim at the Toyota Prius. More than one reviewer has called the Ioniq a good choice for Millennials or first-time buyers, especially those debating between car ownership and ride-sharing.

IMG_0113.jpgBut the Ioniq is also a good choice for budget-minded shoppers of any age. I typically allocate around $3,000 a year for Pilates classes and gym memberships. I also can’t help myself at Carter’s or Oshkosh outlets, where I buy discounted clothing for my little granddaughter. If I can whittle down my car payment and save money at the pump, it allows me to spend that extra money on the activities and the people I love.

That makes the Ioniq a winner, according to my budget calculations.

The new hybrid from Korean automaker Hyundai looks like a Prius clone, but is less expensive than one and gets better fuel economy. The base Ioniq Hybrid starts at an affordable $23,035, undercutting a base Prius One by about $1,300. Ioniq Hybrid buyers can brag about their green credentials, since the car returns 55 miles per gallon in city driving and 54 miles on the highway, according to the EPA. In comparison, the 2017 Prius returns 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway.

IMG_0090.jpgI test-drove a 2017 Ioniq Hybrid Limited, putting several hundred miles on it in the course of a week while averaging just over 50 mpg. It was a great little performer for work commutes and family errands. It’s easy to park in congested cities and has enough pep to easily merge onto the highway.

IMG_0114.jpgMy test car was a top-of-the-line model priced at $31,460, including an $835 destination charge and $3,125 worth of options. The $3,000 Ultimate Package on my test car came with a long list of items, such as automatic emergency braking and an Infinity premium audio system.

The Ioniq also is available as an all-electric car; a plug-in hybrid version will be available this fall for the 2018 model year. I’m going to talk up all three versions in my Pilates classes and book club, where people always ask about what I’m driving and what I would recommend. And I sure hope to see the trio advertised in the AARP magazine.

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