I really like my Ioniq, however I’d by no means purchase one other Hyundai

Nick Mokey / Digital Traits

In some ways, my 2019 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV is likely one of the finest purchases I’ve ever made.

Due to its 27-mile EV vary, my spouse and I can drive it for months on finish round city with out utilizing any fuel. Or we are able to drop the whole lot and drive 10 hours to San Francisco with out vary anxiousness, getting 45 miles per gallon the entire means. It has heated leather-based seats, room for every week’s price of baggage and a 100-pound canine within the again, and Apple CarPlay, a characteristic I by no means needed and now can’t dwell with out. The Little Plug-In That Might is absolutely the excellent automobile for us in each regard, aside from one little factor.

Typically it simply doesn’t begin.

Small drawback, large inconvenience

We found this, inconveniently sufficient, on a tenting journey when it was barely a yr previous. AAA saved the day after a brief hike to cell service, nevertheless it was not, as I hoped, a fluke. The truth is, it has now occurred so many instances I’ve misplaced rely, and after buying a Noco Enhance Plus GB40 leap pack that lives below the passenger seat, I now race my very own finest jump-start instances like the dad altering a tire in A Christmas Story. I’ve it below a minute.

The author's 2019 Hyundai Ioniq sits in a grass field, where it has failed to start.
That is simply one of many places my Ioniq has stranded me. Nick Mokey / Digital Traits

The trigger, a horde of disgruntled Hyundai house owners on Reddit have speculated, is a parasitic drain attributable to Hyundai’s Bluelink software program. It telephones dwelling a bit an excessive amount of, and if you’re out of cell vary, it will probably attempt aggressively sufficient to kill your automobile’s 12-volt battery in a single day.

However Redditors appear to have unearthed what Hyundai engineers can not, as a result of a go to to my seller for the still-under-warranty automobile yielded no assist in any way. The technician couldn’t recreate the issue, so regardless of my insistence, they shrugged and handed it again. I’m nonetheless driving a “new” automobile that randomly doesn’t begin if you press the button. Tales abound on Hyundai boards and remark threads of different house owners with the very same concern.

What good is a 100,000-mile guarantee if the backing firm can merely decline to honor it as a result of they will’t discover the issue?

Nevertheless it will get worse

If this all sounds acquainted, that’s as a result of 1000’s of different Hyundai and Kia house owners are experiencing their very own nightmare within the type of simply bypassed safety measures that make sure fashions really easy to steal that it grew to become a TikTok development. Theft of Hyundais and Kias soared 2,500% in some cities. And for months, Hyundai folded its arms and insisted there was no drawback. Solely after a class-action lawsuit did Hyundai comply with pay out $200 million to troubled house owners and concern a firmware replace in February 2023 that allegedly resolves the difficulty.

Automotive thefts in U.S. surging, Kia and Hyundai dealing with federal lawsuits

If solely it ended there. About 2 million different Hyundais undergo from failing engines that devour oil, to which Hyundai has responded with its now well-practiced shrug. Lawrence Hodge over at Jalopnik owns one of many affected autos and managed to get the faulty engine changed, however solely after two years of wrestling with Hyundai company. Naturally, class-action lawsuits have bubbled up round that one, too.

With out a military of legal professionals or the arm twist of a state lawyer common, I maintain no such hope for a decision to my very own concern. Nevertheless it shouldn’t take a class-action lawsuit to make you maintain your clients. All automobiles will ultimately have issues, particularly with the delicate in-car leisure programs, security options, and electrical drivetrains that we demand in trendy autos. Stuff occurs. However Hyundai has persistently demonstrated it’s not the kind of firm to wash up its personal messes.

It doesn’t should be this fashion

Aren’t all automobile firms like this? Possibly not. My boss lately skilled a nightmare situation together with his Rivian R1S, which fully died on a freeway on-ramp when his spouse was driving with their children within the automobile. They safely rolled to the shoulder, however the truck was fully immobilized.

Rivian needs to be mortified. And right here’s the factor: It’s mortified. Assist picked up the telephone instantly when his spouse referred to as, apologized profusely, supplied them an Uber to get them dwelling, and took the truck in to resolve it. Apparently, it’s a flaw within the newest firmware, which they’ll be pushing an replace to rectify. Different Rivian house owners have reported equally sterling customer support. The corporate even went as far as shopping for a truck again at full worth when the proprietor (justifiably) wasn’t happy with its efficiency after 24,000 miles.

People and a dog standing in front of a Rivian R1T electric pickup truck.
Rivian / Rivian

Apologies and guarantees don’t make up for a probably life-threatening flaw, however they do present the kind of firm Rivian is, or is at the very least attempting to be. Accountable. Nimble. Fast to behave. As a startup, they haven’t any selection: They’re held below the microscope by a car-buying public that isn’t but satisfied of their reliability, and an $80,000 automobile that simply dies with out warning isn’t an choice for the corporate. Rivian doesn’t have the posh of Hyundai’s monolithic stonewalling, and it reveals.

Hyundai appears to be taking a cue from the tech business, which has developed legendary indifference with regards to customer support. Ask anyone who has been locked out of a Fb account what it’s prefer to attempt to speak to a human at Meta. Or ask fellow house owners of my Vizio soundbar, which as soon as obtained a firmware replace that successfully broke it, to which Vizio responded with … effectively, nothing. It nonetheless doesn’t work for lots of people. As shoppers, we’re much more fixated on the most popular new factor than whether or not the most popular new factor from 5 years in the past nonetheless works.

Ioniq 5 N rear

I’m going to CES 2024 this yr, and I can’t wait to see what Hyundai brings. The corporate makes thrilling automobiles. The Ioniq 5 has been nearly universally lauded as the very best new automobile of the previous couple of years, and Hyundai’s aggressive EV adoption makes Toyota’s efforts look downright embarrassing. I need to love Hyundai.

However each time I’ve to pop the hood to jump-start my Ioniq, it’s onerous to really feel a lot loyalty to the blame-shifting company weasels who made it. And if I had to purchase a brand new automobile tomorrow, there’s no means I may make it one other Hyundai.

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