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Why Hyundai’s New Hybrid Could Dethrone the Toyota Prius

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The 2017 IONIQ hybrid electric vehicle.Courtesy of Hyundai

Hyundai’s new line of eco-focused cars are poised to give mainstay producers of hybrid and electric vehicles a little competition in price and efficiency.

The Ioniq model line-up, which includes an all-electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid electric, will start arriving at U.S. dealerships this month.

The base price of the Ioniq hybrid is $23,035, (that includes the freight fee), which is more than $2,500 less than the cheapest Toyota Prius. Hyundai released pricing for its hybrid electric and all-electric models on Tuesday.

But what could give Hyundai an even greater edge in the marketplace is that its hybrid is also more fuel efficient than the Prius, according to the EPA.

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The cheapest Ioniq hybrid—which is the blue trim model—has an EPA-estimated fuel mileage rating of 58 miles per gallon combined city and highway driving. The Toyota Prius has an EPA-estimated fuel mileage rating of 52 miles per gallon combined.

Though the Toyota Prius still has better brand awareness, that might start to matter less as more automakers begin to produce hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and all-electric vehicles.

Hyundai is also producing an all-electric Ioniq model, which is priced $30,335 before federal or state tax incentives. While the all-electric vehicle has less battery range than the new Chevrolet Bolt EV, it’s lower price point could help it attract consumers who just need a city car.

The Ioniq all-electric vehicle was also named greenest vehicle by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The Greenest Vehicles of 2017 list, which the ACEEE released Tuesday, names the 12 most environmentally-friendly nameplates available to consumers this model year. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric earned a “green score of 64 to beat out the BMW i3, Toyota Prius Eco, Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, and Chevy Bolt EV. Scores are from a life-cycle analysis that takes into account emissions from driving, manufacturing, and the eventual recycling of the vehicles.

The hybrid is available now, the all-electric version will be available in April, and the plug-in will be available in the fourth quarter at U.S. dealerships.