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2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric: Which Is Better?

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author photo by Eric Brandt August 2019

The Nissan Leaf was one of the very first electric cars to hit the mass market when it came out for the 2011 model year. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric, however, is one of the newest arrivals to the compact electric hatchback segment and it's one of the Leaf's closest competitors. They both offer respectable electric range, affordable pricing (even before any tax incentives kick in), and of course, they both save you a bundle in fuel costs compared to a similar gas-powered car.

Let's take a closer look at the differences and similarities between the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and see which EV is better.

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric exterior

Exterior

The Ioniq and the Leaf are pretty similar in size. They're the exact same length, but the Leaf is proportioned a little differently, being one inch narrower and about five inches taller than the Ioniq. As for aesthetics, they both do a pretty good job downplaying the fact that they're electric. A lot of electrified cars have showy aesthetics to let the world know they're electric, but these two look like pretty normal cars, which we think is a good thing. Neither one stands out as a particularly head-turning car, so which one is better-looking is up to you.

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric interior

Interior

The Leaf and the Ioniq both have pretty nice and roomy interiors, but the materials inside the Ioniq are a little nicer than the materials in the Leaf. They both have nice digital gauge clusters that do a nice job showing you important information like how many more miles you can go on how much battery you have left. For being compact cars, both the Hyundai and the Nissan have very spacious cargo areas with the Leaf offering 23.6 cu ft of space and the Ioniq having 26.5 cu ft. See the Nissan Leaf models for sale near you

Like the exterior, neither of these cars really blows the other one out of the other. Which is better on the inside mostly comes down to personal preference. See the Hyundai Ioniq Electric models for sale near you

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric mechanicals

Mechanicals

The Ioniq Electric has one powertrain option and the Leaf now has two with the introduction of the longer-range Leaf Plus for 2019.

2019 Nissan Leaf Powertrains

  • 110 kW (147 horsepower) electric motor; 40 kWh battery; 112 MPGe; 150 miles of range
  • 160 kW (214 hp) electric motor; 62 kWh battery; up to 108 MPGe; up to 226 miles of range

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Powertrain

  • 88 kW (118 hp) electric motor; 28 kWh battery; 136 MPGe; 124 miles of range

The Ioniq Electric delivers less power and less range than the Leaf, but a better MPGe rating. That means that it's technically a more efficient car and can go more miles on the same amount of electricity. MPGe is measured in how many miles a car can go when using the same amount of energy that it takes to burn a gallon of gas. What that means to you is that while the Leaf is a longer-range EV, the Ioniq gives you a little more bang for your buck in terms of your electric fuel costs at home.

The new Leaf Plus delivers performance that is impressive by just about any compact car standards. It also has a very impressive range of 226 miles, meaning this is the one to go with if you're planning on doing a lot of longer-range driving with your EV and if you want better performance. However, that 226-mile rating only applies to the base S trim. Upgrading to the SV or SL model brings the range down to 215 miles and the MPGe rating to 104.

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric technology

Technology

The base infotainment system in the 2019 Leaf is a 5-in screen, but we recommend upgrading to the nicer 7-in unit, which comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can also add navigation and Bose premium audio. The Ioniq comes standard with a 7-in screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and can be upgraded to an 8-in unit with navigation and Infinity premium audio.

The Ioniq Electric is a little light on standard safety tech at the base level. It comes standard with a rearview camera and a blind spot mirror, but if you upgrade to the Ioniq Electric Limited you get blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a driver attention warning, and high beam assist. The Leaf throws in standard automatic emergency braking on every model and available safety tech includes rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and pedestrian detection.

The Leaf is also available with the Nissan ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving technology suite. ProPilot uses some of the aforementioned safety tech to help you steer, accelerate, and brake your car making driving a little easier. Of course, this is no replacement for attentive driving, but it's nice technology to have, especially for highway driving.

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric pricing

Pricing

The Leaf has a starting MSRP of $29,990 and the 2019 Ioniq Electric starts at $30,315. The only other trim level available for the Ioniq is the Limited model, which starts at $36,815. The Leaf has more variety in its model range with the mid-range SV ($32,600) and the high-end SL ($36,300), which is comparable to the Ioniq Electric Limited. Upgrading to the Leaf Plus starts at $36,550 for the S Plus model, $38,510 for the SV Plus and $42,550 for the SL Plus. All of these prices are before any federal, state, or local tax incentives kick, which can make these cars pretty affordable depending on where you live.

2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric conclusions

Conclusion

The big advantage that the Ioniq Electric has over the Leaf is a better MPGe rating which, according to the EPA, means it costs 81 cents to drive it 25 miles versus the base Leaf costing 98 cents per 25 miles. If you're buying an EV to save money on fuel, then the Ioniq Electric might be more appealing to you. The Ioniq also has a better standard infotainment system, a bit more cargo space, and a slightly nicer interior at the base level. If you're shopping on the more affordable side of EVs, you might find more to love in the Ioniq. However, if you're looking for a more versatile EV with longer range, better performance, and the slick ProPilot Assist driving tech, then a Leaf or Leaf Plus might be more up your alley. Find a Nissan Leaf for sale or Find a Hyundai Ioniq Electric for sale

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New 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Limited
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric: Which Is Better? - Autotrader