But don’t tell the to the folks at Hyundai. The company has probably the best chance yet at battling the Prius with its upcoming Ioniq hybrid hatchback. The South Korean automaker even has all of its bases covered, offering traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric versions of the vehicle.
With that being said, spy photographers have spoiled the surprise for Hyundai, and the vehicle has now been fully revealed for all to see. Compared to the new Prius, which has garnered mostly negative attention for its styling, the Ioniq is a much more conventional design. About the only controversial design element is the massive front grille, but most manufacturers are going with a gaping maw these days, so Hyundai isn’t alone.
For those that prefer a more conservative design, the choice will be clear this time around for potential buyers. However, there are still two big questions that linger with regards to the Ioniq: how much will it cost and what kind of fuel economy will the vehicle get.
The standard 2016 Prius models with a NiMH battery pack will get 54mpg in the city and 50mpg on the highway and 52mpg combined. The Eco model, which is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack, is rated at 58mpg city, 53mpg highway, and an impressive 56mpg combined. Although Toyota hasn’t announced pricing at this time, it is expected to be priced between $24,000 to $30,000 before any options are tacked on.
Hyundai has a history of undercutting its Japanese rivals in pricing while offering more features, so we expect that trend to continue with the Ioniq. The fuel efficiency part is a lot harder to pin down, but if Hyundai can split the difference between the NiMH and li-ion versions of the 2016 Prius, it should have a winner on its hands with the Ioniq.