If you desire reliability, affordability and the so-called “most fuel efficient car in America,” seek out the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid base model, which has a $23,035 manufacturer's suggested retail price.
Or, dump in another $5,000-$8,000 for the Limited version.
Both get an EPA-estimated miles per gallon of 59/57/58 (highway/city/combined), which anyone inside the giant Hyundai North American headquarters in Fountain Valley will tell you is better than the Prius.
Whether you go for the more expensive Limited—like the Blue Metallic baby I drove that is shown above—will depend on you want these goodies: 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/45R17 tires; power tilt-and-slide sunroof; leather seating surfaces with heated front seats; HID headlights with LED light guide; chrome accent exterior door handles; auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink & compass; and LED interior illumination; passenger auto-down/up window; premium door sill plates; Blue Link Telematics System; and Blue Link Connected Care & Remote Package (for 3 years, enrollment required).
With all that, your total MSRP rises to $28,335 for the Limited and its 1.6-liter hybrid with six-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission. And for $3,000 more than that, toss in the Ultimate Package with automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control, lane departure warning headlights with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) rear parking sensors; navigation system with 8-inch color touchscreen display; wireless device charging, Infinity Premium Audio with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology and eight speakers; Integrated Memory System for driver's seat; floor console-mounted rear vents; cargo cover; and optional Blue Link Guidance Package (for three years; enrollment required).
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But wait, accessories are also available, ranging from a cargo net for $50 up to carpeted floor mats for $125.
So, yeah, it beats the shit out of me how much your final version would cost as it depends on what you can and cannot live (and drive) without. What I do know is that, for a small sedan, it's a surprisingly quiet and comfortable ride. (In this regard, I won't say it is better than the Prius, but it is better than my Prius, which is two model years older.) And the Ioniq is also better when it comes to pep, getting into the flow of freeway traffic from a stop much faster than my hybrid.
I did not fully appreciate warning systems in today's cars until my Ioniq. To be honest, there was a test vehicle from another automaker I will not name here that went overboard with the emergency beeps, bells and whistles, something that became abundantly clear when I could not tell whether I was being warned that I strayed into another lane or that the conversation with my father via my cell phone and the Bluetooth connection was too superficial.
But driving on a road at UC Irvine, I looked down at one of the Ioniq dashboard indicators for a split second when some beeps went off and caused me to look back up. That's when I saw a campus cart parked partially in my lane. I probably would have saw it in time without the warning to adjust as needed, but it was nice to know something was looking out for me.