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First Drive Review: 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid combines premium materials with efficiency, low price

Hyundai has refreshed the Ioniq for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor North America

New face, same name. If it weren't for its quirky backside, the refreshed 2020 Hyundai Ioniq may not be instantly recognizable to the masses, especially if they were sitting inside. The world's first car designed from the start to offer three electrified powertrains has gotten enough upgrades to make it truly begin to be taken seriously.

That all starts with the Ioniq Hybrid. The hybrid model is the most traditional of the car's three powertrain options (others being the plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric). It gets its power from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid The Ioniq Hybrid has enough power to take on daily driving situations with ease.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor North America

Despite having just 104 horsepower and a maximum of 125 pound-feet of torque. The Ioniq is surprisingly zippy in around-town driving situations. This is helped by the immediate availability of the car's power. This isn't always the case in small cars where automakers are using turbocharged engines with significant lag times to achieve fuel efficiency. The car also has unobtrusive regenerative braking.

Hyundai's Ioniq Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 58 mpg combined. That's a touch higher than what the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid gets.

The auto is only offered in front-wheel drive.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid The car has received significant upgrades to its fascia for the 2020 model year.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor NorthAmerica

For the 2020 model year, the car has gotten new front and rear fascias. There's new sill and wheel designs as well as upgraded headlights. The result is an aesthetic that is less yawn-inducing than it was in the past.

The real story is the Ioniq Hybrid's interior. Gone are the cheap-looking appointments and in their place is the high-quality materials Hyundai put in its other vehicles paired with excellent fit and finish. Its cupholders are still a sore point, but that's nit picking a bit.

In the tester was Hyundai's new 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen. The high-definition screen features the automaker's most recent operating system iteration that is captained by the driver's touch. The system is responsive and easy to use whether you're tuning the radio or setting up an address in the navigation system. Navigation prompts and mapping are easy to follow on the screen.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid touchs creen The top-tier IONIQ Hybrid comes standard with a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen. An 8-inch screen in standard in the IONIQ Hybrid base model.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor North America

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

Each new Ioniq comes loaded with a long list of standard safety technology including lane keeping assist, high beam assist, and forward collision avoidance assist. A host of additional available new driver assist technologies bring the car up to par with the more premium offerings in its class.

Pricing for the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid starts at $23,000. The Limited trim level tested is a top-tier model that comes in at $31,000.

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The Fiat 500 made a snazzy debut earlier this year and a new film documented the one-off models designed to celebrate the new generation of Italian design.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

There's so much more to the auto business than getting a vehicle to a dealership. One of the sides rarely captured in newsreels, but drooled over by fans are restored and modified creations. Heck, SEMA has built an entire convention around it. The MotorTrend network is almost entirely devoted to the cause.

Those mods are usually on existing cars, however. A new film released by Fiat takes a look at how three Fiat 500s were modified before they debuted.

New Fiat 500⎮One Shot - Trailer www.youtube.com

"One-Shot" is the first docufilm by the automaker. It covers a six month journey to create a unique one-off ahead of the debut of the redesigned Fiat 500 earlier this year. The new model is an all-electric car that retains much of the classic Fiat looks but with a completely modern powertrain.

"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." These words, from Olivier François – President, Fiat Brand Global and FCA Chief Marketing Officer – open the film, explaining how the debut of the New 500 should be considered as a milestone in the brand's history.

The documentary is dedicated to the three cars designed by high-end brands - Armani, Bvlgari, and Kartell. Armani is a fashion house, Bvlgari is a jewelry company, and Kartell sells contemporary furniture.

Filmmakers take the viewer on a journey from the moment the company representatives first met with Fiat in Turin through the launch of the three exclusive cars in Milan earlier this year.

Fiat 500 "One Shot" docufilm still shots

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The new 500 has a more aggressive exterior that's less bulbous but still retains many fo the design characteristics of the 500 of years past. It has a range of approximately 199 miles (WLTP). Fiat has given the car three drive modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. The Range drive mode allows for one-pedal driving.

The 500 is the first Fiat to receive FCA's new UConnect 5 system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless communication. It comes equipped with a 10.25-inch touch screen.

Officially, the decision on whether or not to bring the new Fiat 500 to U.S. shores is still up in the air.

You can watch the film below.

New Fiat 500 | One Shot documentary by VICE - Genesis of the New 500 One-Offs www.youtube.com

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Spider-man performers are seen at the premiere of Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man Far From Home" at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 26, 2019 in Hollywood, California.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Usually its the stars that are bragging about a multi-picture deal. This go-round it's Hyundai. The automaker has teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will place Hyundai's new models and technologies in coming productions. Hyundai will also offer marketing support and the companies will collaborate on a wide range of ancillary content-creation.

"This strategic partnership with Sony Pictures will allow customers to understand and experience our human-centered future mobility vision through innovative vehicles and technologies, illuminating a way forward for transforming how we move, interact, and design our lives for optimal benefits. We will offer various ways to inspire our customers and movie fans around the globe," said Wonhong Cho, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Hyundai Motor.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $27,750, comes in three trim levels. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai isn't the first automaker to collaborate with a production, nor is it the first to enter into a relationship of this kind. Nissan worked with Disney on a number of pictures including the recent Star Wars movies, the remake of "Mary Poppins" and "A Wrinkle in Time" among others. Audi has had its vehicles appear in animated features. Porsche presented a new vehicle at the last Star Wars movie premiere. Land Rover and Aston Martin are virtually synonymous with the James Bond brand.

Hyundai Motor's new models and technologies will be featured in five upcoming Sony Pictures films including "Uncharted" (July 2021); the sequel to "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (November 2021); the sequel to "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (October 2022); and other tentpoles to be determined.

In the last Spider-Man movie, Audi had a supporting role. It looks like their time with the Spidey stories has come to an end.

"This deal embodies the true definition of the word partnership," said Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management, and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The deal has many layers, including substantial marketing support, but its real potential and impact come from groundbreaking content that we will develop together."

Hyundai has a great deal of new-age tech on the horizon including hydrogen-powered transportation, cloud-based driving dynamics, and air travel.

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