Hyundai Ioniq vs Toyota Prius
Hyundai has entered the hybrid market with its new Ioniq, but does it have what it takes to topple Toyota’s Prius?
Hyundai’s rise from bit-part player to genuine contender in the global car market has changed perceptions of the firm in next to no time. The brand has broadened its offering with everything from affordable small cars to upmarket SUVs, and now it’s beginning its assault on the eco car sector with its all-new Ioniq.
This is the first hybrid Hyundai to land in UK showrooms, and will be sold alongside plug-in hybrid and all-electric models. However, this standard hybrid version of the Ioniq conforms to a familiar recipe, with a conventional 1.6-litre petrol engine linked to an electric motor to deliver impressive claimed fuel efficiency at an affordable price. Not that this is anything new, of course, because the Toyota Prius has been combining these methods of propulsion for years – and the latest fourth-generation version of the car does it to great effect.
The Prius picked up the Green Award at the 2016 Auto Express New Car Awards, and has already seen off the challenge of the Kia Niro hybrid SUV, which shares much of its mechanical make-up with the Ioniq.
The Hyundai has a more affordable price than the Prius and promises masses of kit, though, so the Toyota faces a fight to stay on its petrol/electric perch.
Toyota’s optional Touch 2 with Go multimedia system offers text-to-speech functionality to read your messages aloud on the move, as well as Google Street View. However, it’s the Ioniq’s system that provides better integration with your phone, as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on mid-spec Premium models and above.
CVTs have attracted a bad reputation over the years, but the box in the Prius should change that. It manages the switch between petrol and electric power nicely, delivering smooth, seamless acceleration. The Ioniq’s DCT box is the more responsive, but can be jerky.
Car group tests
- New Hyundai Ioniq Electric 2020 review
- New Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 2019 review
- New Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in 2017 review
- Hyundai Ioniq autonomous ride review
Used car tests
Trends show that hybrid buyers generally aren’t too interested in car customisation, but the Prius offers owners the ability to tailor the vehicle to their taste. There’s options such as chrome or piano black foglight surrounds, side sills and rear bumper inserts.
First place: Toyota Prius
Hybrids have to deliver impressive efficiency, and the Toyota beats the Ioniq on paper and in the real world. It’s more expensive, but has a decent spec, plus its cabin is roomier and there’s virtually nothing to separate these cars on boot space. The Prius serves up decent performance as well, while the ride is also more refined. Four generations of development mean this is the most complete hybrid yet.
Second place: Hyundai Ioniq
This first attempt at a full-on hybrid family hatch from Hyundai is a strong one. The Ioniq offers plenty of practicality at an affordable price, with lots of kit, too. However, the electric motor and petrol engine aren’t integrated as well as in the Prius, and the car isn’t as comfortable, either. Still, if efficiency on a budget is your main concern, the Ioniq is a great alternative to the Toyota.
Other options in this category...
Kia Niro 2
Price: £22,795Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 139bhp
The Niro uses the same powertrain as the Ioniq, so shares its small flaws. Although it’s more expensive, the extra style the hybrid SUV brings will attract plenty of buyers who want low hybrid running costs without the extrovert looks.
Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion
Price: £23,560Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl, 118bhp
It’s not able to match this pair of hybrids for on-paper efficiency, but the Passat BlueMotion still emits only 95g/km of CO2. If you need masses of space and long-distance touring capability with shoestring running costs, the VW is a great eco car.
|Toyota Prius Business Edition||Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE DCT|
|On the road price/total as tested||£24,500/£26,290||£23,595/£24,160|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£11,593/47.3%||£11,283/47.8%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£538/£1,076||£706/£1,412|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,082/£1,803||£1,305/£2,175|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||14/£533/A/£0||11/£528/A/£0|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£169/£219/£169||N/A|
|Peak power/revs||121/5,200 bhp/rpm||139/5,700 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||142/3,600 Nm/rpm||265/4,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||CVT auto/fwd||6-spd DCT/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||43 litres/repair kit||45 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||343/1,558 litres||350/1,505 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.2 metres/0.24Cd||10.6 metres/0.24Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||5yrs (100,000)/1yr||5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||10,000 miles (1yr)/206||10,000 miles (1yr)/173|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||16th/4th||30th/23rd|
|0-60/30-70mph||10.3/9.8 secs||10.3/10.0 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.9 secs*||4.7/6.5 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||5.9 secs*||9.8/13.2 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||111mph/N/A||115mph/2,100rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||57.8/12.7/547 miles||47.9/10.5/474 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||113/70g/km/11%||136/79g/km/15%|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/no/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£545/LED/yes||£565/yes/yes|