FaceOff: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid vs Toyota Prius

The hybrid car market has finally begun its bloom in recent years. Although manufacturers have been producing hybrid variants of cars already in their fleet, most car makers avoided ground up development of new models due to the sizable sum required for research. This trend has now seen a shift with manufacturers launching all new models designed specifically for hybrid drivetrains. South Korean car maker Hyundai has showcased its desire to break into the still vastly unoccupied market with the all new Ioniq. We pit the all new Ioniq against one of the oldest members of the segment: the Toyota Prius and see how the South Korean car maker fares in its first all-in venture in the hybrid car market.

Design

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Design-wise, the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is a slight deviation from the car maker’s usual works. While the Ioniq adheres to Hyundai’s Fluidic design philosophy, the hatchback brings in numerous new elements that further enhance its aesthetic. The front end features a pair of aggressively designed headlights that flank the now familiar hexagonal grille. Unlike most Hyundai models, the new Ioniq’s grille sports horizontal slats, that strays far enough from Hyundai’s usual design tactics to produce a sense of uniqueness. The rear windscreen slopes at a low angle to integrate directly with the stubby boot giving the Ioniq a coupe-like side profile. Further aiding the Ioniq’s sporty overtones is the large boot mounted spoiler.

The Ioniq ybrid with its Fluidic Design philosophy seeks to make hybrids cool again
The Ioniq ybrid with its Fluidic Design philosophy seeks to make hybrids cool again

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius has been around for years now. For the previous generations, Toyota had adopted a more subtle approach to design allowing the Prius to blend in with the traffic. For the latest generation however, the Japanese car manufacturer has launched a more aggressively designed model. The all new Toyota Prius features sharply designed headlights, muscular shoulder lines and a gently sloping roofline that all integrate to create an edgier avatar of the world’s most popular hybrid. While the new Prius is far more striking than previous generations, Toyota’s immense efforts to spark renewed interest in the minds of the public may have taken the hybrid liftback a bit too far. The bulging headlights, disproportionate bonnet length and small wheels do not enhance in the Prius’ visual appeal.

The 2016 Toyota Prius
The 2016 Toyota Prius

Winner: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Interior

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The Ioniq’s interior presents itself in typical Hyundai fashion with Fluidic Design 2.0 playing a heavy role in shaping its various elements. Similar to most of the mainstream mid-range hatchbacks from the South Korean car maker, the Ioniq features a classy interior with sporty undertones. Passengers are greeted by an all black cabin featuring tastefully designed chrome elements such as the pedals and gear lever that amps up the car’s allure. The dashboard features a well stocked infotainment system that features Google’s all new Android Auto system. With the majority of manfacturers still deploying poorly designed/uninutitive in-house developed infotaiment systems, the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is well ahead of the curve. Hyundai has also fitted the new hybrid hatchback with a wireless charging dock thus further distancing itself from the competition.

The interior of the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq
The interior of the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq

Toyota Prius

Toyota has adopted an avant-garde approach to the design of the Prius’ cabin. As a result, the Toyota Prius’ interior is rather unique and will definitely garner polarizing opinions. The instrument cluster (now an ultra wide LCD display) has been moved to the center of the dashboard creating an aura of emptiness around the driver. Other notable features include the gloss black finish of the center console and steering wheel and the unconventional placement of the car’s gear stick. Thus similar to the car’s exterior, the interior too is visually striking. However, Toyota’s latest iteration of the Prius fails to make a lasting impression.

Interior of the new Prius
Interior of the new Prius

Winner: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Under the Bonnet

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Powering the all new Hyundai hybrid hatchback is a four cylinder 1.6 l Kappa engine that churns out 104 hp and a peak torque of 109 lb-ft. The Ioniq hybrid is supplied with an additional 43 hp by the permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor that is powered by a 1.6 kWh battery pack. Power is sent to the front wheels via a dual clutch gearbox.

The Ioniq offers better range than the Prius
The Ioniq offers better range than the Prius

Toyota Prius

Powering the all new Prius is a 1.8 l in-line four cylinder petrol engine that produces 95 hp and 105 lb-ft of peak torque. The engine is coupled with a 71 hp electric motor to send a total of 121 hp to the front wheels through a CVT gearbox.

The Toyota Prius uses an arcane engine
The Toyota Prius uses an arcane engine

Winner: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Verdict

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is shaping up to be a major player in the hybrid car market and with engine numbers and features that leaves almost all of its competition in the dust, Hyundai’s upcoming offering looks to be another massive hit. One of the greatest drawbacks of any Hyundai is its driving dynamics. Hopefully the South Korean car maker manages to sort the issues out by the time this model hits the streets.