One-Day Drive

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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New performance SUV

Hyundai announces pricing for 2022 Kona N

The Kona N is price right at $35,425.

Hyundai

Hyundai is hard at work developing new electric vehicles, and has released some truly interesting electric concepts in recent months. However, the automaker’s efforts in the electric world haven’t stopped it from rolling out fun-to-drive and affordable performance vehicles under its N brand. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the latest vehicle in the series. The Kona N will go on sale soon with a reasonable starting price of $35,425, which includes a $1,225 destination charge.

2022 Hyundai Kona N One well-equipped model will be available.Hyundai

The Kona N joins Hyundai’s high-performance stable that also includes the Veloster N and Elantra N, though the latter hasn’t yet hit the streets. The hot crossover gets the same output numbers from its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the Elantra N: 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster gets 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That rowdy four-banger is paired with an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.

Hyundai’s full-on N cars get plenty of other go-fast bits to keep them planted in corners and stable at higher speeds. The Kona N gets an electronic limited-slip differential, an active sport exhaust system, electronically controlled suspension, and 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P-Zero performance tires.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Aggressive wheels and tires help keep the Kona N planted in corners.Hyundai

Hyundai generally knocks it out of the park with value, and the Kona N is no exception. Its modest price tag buys a generous helping of advanced driver aids in addition to its exciting specs. Standard features include forward collision warnings, lane keep assist, lane following assist, driver attention warnings, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a safe exit warning system.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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