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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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

The long process to design, engineer, and award a contract for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) next-generation mail delivery vehicle (NGDV) has finally come to an end. The government has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle for service. Oshkosh Defense is a a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK).

The NGDV project is the USPS's first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades. Over the next 10 years, the contract allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.

"Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come," said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation.

U.S. Postal Service's Next-Generation Mail Delivery Vehicle

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

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The new mail trucks will have multiple powertrain options, just like many passenger vehicles on the road today. There will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version that runs exclusively on electric power and a fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) variant.

Under the contract awarded today, USPS has committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million as a first step toward the new vehicles' production. The money will be used to finalize the production vehicle design and complete factory build-out, all of which is necessary before production gets underway. The process is similar to ones mass market vehicle manufacturers use.

"Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," said John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation, and President, Oshkosh Defense. "Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS," Bryant concluded.

In addition to a new exterior and powertrain options, the NGTV also gets modern features and amenities like a rearview camera, walk-in cargo area, air condition, telematics, and a sliding cargo door. There's also a host of safety technology and equipment including airbags, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera, and forward collision warning.

Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.

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The Chevrolet Trailblazer was added back to the Chevy lineup for 2021 but it's not the same style as the old TrailBlazer - not even close.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

When the new Trailblazer was announced, there was a collective groan from auto industry enthusiasts. They wanted a beefy off-roading that was possibly going to rival the Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. What they got was a cute, little subcompact crossover.

There's no question as to why Chevy makes the modern Trailblazer. The subcompact and compact SUV segments are hot right now. Really hot. They needed something to fill the sales space between the Trax and the Equinox. Why they chose the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer's name is another story for another day.

This particular Trailblazer comes with the buyer's choice of two engines - a turbocharged 1.2-liter or a turbocharged 1.3-liter. Both are attached to a continuously variable transmission but neither is what you'd call exhilarating. As tested, the larger engine provides just enough horsepower to not be miserable to drive.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer The Trailblazer is advertised as being right-priced but options add to the total quick. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Though it feels stable on the ground, the Trailblazer seems to be trying to walk the line between engaging and comfortable to drive. It doesn't work. The Trailblazer is the right size and has the correct center of gravity to want to be thrown through the twisties but its loose steering leads to uninspired handling so that's a no-go.

The suspension, on the other hand, is jittery and stiff rather than supple. Like Vanilla Ice said, "If there's a pot hole, yo I'll find it." Between the road, engine, and transmission noise that is passed on to the passengers and the reverberations from every crack and crevice, prove that Trailblazer's mechanics are more of a failure than anything else.

When it comes to the interior, the Trailblazer earns its praise. Its seats are relatively comfortable though adults won't want to sit in the rear ones for long. The car appears to be well-made with good fit and finish. It has higher than average cargo space.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer For ease, the Trailblazer's front seat also folds flat. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The model has gotten the good bits from the General Motors infotainment and climate control parts bin. It has a 7-inch infotainment touch screen with an 8-inch available. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, keyless entry, and a rearview camera are also standard.

The car's safety tech includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Those are all pretty standard for the class.

Test test unit 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer sent for review was an Activ grade model (yes, there's no "e" at the end of "Activ" and no, we don't know why). That's just one fo the five trim levels the Trailblazer is offered in for 2021, it's first model year in existence with the new crossover body style. Chevy checked the all-wheel drive option box on the model, which added $1,500 to this particular model's base $24,245 price tag. Another $3,300 in extras later and the test unit's cost came in at $31,225.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer has a well-appointed interior. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

That's not cheap. You can get a mid-grade Nissan Rogue, a fully equipped Buick Encore GX, base model Ford Bronco 2-Door, or a mid-grade Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for the same money, and have enough extra to take your family on a road trip for a long weekend away from home.

The problem is, unlike the Encore GX, Bronco 2-Door, and Sonata Hybrid, the Chevrolet Trailblazer just isn't compelling. There's plenty of other options in the class that do nearly everything the Trailblazer is capable of doing, but better.

The Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos come with a better warranty. Mazda's CX-30 delivers an enthusiastic and dynamic drive. The Encore GX is better appointed. There's also the new Volkswagen Taos, which was developed specifically for the U.S. market and a number of all-electric options that are out now and coming soon.

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