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2020 Hyundai Nexo evaluate: This hydrogen fuel-cell SUV deserves your consideration


The Nexo is the best-looking hydrogen-powered automotive on the market.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

We have been listening to for many years that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles can be the long run, nevertheless it’s by no means actually occurred. Certain, there have been some limited-run manufacturing vehicles just like the Honda FCX, in addition to a number of ideas and prototypes. However proper now, and provided that you reside in California, there are simply three hydrogen-powered vehicles you should buy: the Honda Readability, Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. After spending every week with a Nexo I can safely say that it is the better of the bunch. And if you can also make hydrogen life be just right for you, it is a unbelievable all-around crossover besides. 

LikeFantastic inside stylingExtremely quiet and composed rideLong driving rangeTons of tech onboard

Do not LikeSlow acceleration and no AWDFilling up could be a painOnly accessible in California

First, a fast primer of how the Nexo really works. The hydrogen gasoline is saved in a tank below the ground of the automotive. That hydrogen will get despatched to the fuel-cell stack, the place it is mixed with oxygen from the air intakes in an electrochemical response, creating electrical energy and water. A single motor on the Nexo’s entrance axle makes use of that electrical energy to drive the entrance wheels, producing 161 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. The water is dumped out beneath the automotive, which you too can do on command on the press of a button (I am not precisely certain why).

2020 Hyundai Nexo is a good-looking, concept-like hydrogen crossover
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The EPA says the bottom Nexo Blue has a spread of 380 miles, with the Nexo Restricted (like my check automotive) getting a 354-mile vary due to its bigger wheels. That bests the vary of each EV this facet of a Tesla Mannequin S, and it is even higher than the whole vary of many gas-powered vehicles. I discover the Nexo’s vary readout to be very correct if not really pessimistic at occasions; after 260 miles of driving I nonetheless have a few third of a tank left, with the Nexo saying I’ve round 120 miles of vary. And in contrast to an electrical automotive, refueling the Nexo at a hydrogen station takes simply 5 minutes, like filling up a standard automotive with fuel, although hydrogen is dearer.

Driving the Nexo is just about like driving another electrical automotive. Hyundai says the Nexo will speed up to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds nevertheless it feels faster than that, and also you get the acquainted, satisfying punch of on the spot EV torque off the road. The steering is not too gentle, an issue that numerous EVs have, and the Nexo is definitely fairly enjoyable to chuck right into a nook.

The Nexo has regenerative braking, which has three adjustable depth settings or might be turned off solely. Whereas I am all the time glad to have regen and the Nexo’s system works nicely, I want the automotive had true one-pedal driving capabilities, like an EV. The Nexo will sluggish approach down in essentially the most intense regen setting, however even at decrease speeds you continue to have to hit the brakes to come back to a whole cease.

There is no frunk below the hood.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

With none hyperbole, the Nexo is likely one of the quietest and comfiest vehicles this facet of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The suspension damping is classy, even with the 19-inch wheels, and it isn’t unsettled by even the most important potholes and bumps. A bit little bit of wind noise and tire noise makes its approach into the cabin, however in any other case the Nexo is useless silent. It is a particularly calming automotive each to drive and be pushed in, and even after lengthy journeys I get out feeling refreshed.

A hydrogen automotive that is good-looking

Not like the, let’s say, divisive Mirai and Readability, the Nexo’s good-looking design does not shout, “Hey, I am a bizarre automotive powered by one thing future-ish.” I believe that is a great factor. Certain, the Nexo does look a bit like an idea automotive with unusual design quirks like its waterfall grille, flush door handles and triangular LED lights, however principally it simply blends in. If you are going to get a Nexo, I implore you to decide on the rose gold paint shade, at the very least.

The Nexo’s inside is the true star right here, particularly within the two-tone Stone Grey shade scheme of my check automotive. All the upholstery is vegan leatherette that feels nice, however unusually the steering wheel is wrapped in actual leather-based. A horizontal faux-metal strip that comprises the air vents runs throughout the size of the sprint, and comparable trim is discovered on the door panels. The massive, raised heart console is likely one of the greatest elements of the inside, with a bunch of analog buttons and knobs that give it a 1990’s hi-fi stereo vibe. I do not even thoughts the push-button shifter controls, and I particularly love the fab two-spoke steering wheel.

The Nexo has one of many coolest interiors round.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Inside area and cargo room are about on par with the outgoing Hyundai Tucson, however the Nexo has the advantage of a flat ground inside. There’s a number of space for storing below the middle console, together with USB ports and a wi-fi charging pad, however I want there was a couple of cupholder accessible for the motive force. The entrance seats are comfy and supportive, and I like the material trim and orange accents all through. The 60/40-split rear bench is nice, too, and it folds nearly fully flat. (There is no frunk although, because the area below the hood is taken up by all types of powertrain {hardware}.)

A 7-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch central display screen are customary, with the principle infotainment show managed by way of contact or a knob on the console. The gauge cluster can show issues like nav information, journey information or my private favourite, an power move graphic displaying precisely what the powertrain is doing. The infotainment system is basically the identical card-based setup you will discover in different new Hyundais just like the Sonata, however the Nexo will get some particular options. The navigation reveals the closest hydrogen filling stations and might even give the gasoline costs, and when you enter a vacation spot that is farther than your present vary the system will change the route so that you hit a station alongside the way in which. There’s additionally a display screen to point out the standing of the hydrogen tank and gasoline cells, in addition to detailed eco driving information.

An fascinating worth proposition

As it is a Hyundai, there must be no shock that the Nexo packs a ton of options in as customary. There’s LED exterior lights throughout, 17-inch wheels, powered and heated entrance seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wi-fi cellphone charging, proximity key and keyless entry. Customary security tech contains adaptive cruise management with cease and go, automated emergency braking, blind-spot warning and collision help, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping help and rear cross-traffic help.

A 12.3-inch infotainment display screen reveals detailed hydrogen station information.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Leaping as much as the Restricted mannequin like this check automotive provides the 19-inch wheels, an influence sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated entrance seats and a heated steering wheel, a unbelievable Krell sound system, an influence liftgate, parking sensors, a 360-degree digital camera system and Hyundai’s Sensible Park automated parking function. The Restricted additionally will get Hyundai’s blind-spot cameras that show within the digital gauge cluster, which I like.

There are a couple of omissions from the function record, although. The sunroof is a single pane above the entrance seats and never a panoramic unit like I would favor. Solely the entrance home windows are auto up/down, with the rears not getting auto performance in any respect. A head-up show is not accessible. However worst of all, particularly for such a well-designed cabin in 2020, there is no inside ambient lighting.

The bottom Nexo Blue begins at $59,910 together with vacation spot, with the Restricted costing $3,450. To me, the Nexo feels nicely definitely worth the worth. And I have not even gotten to the great things but. Not solely is the Nexo eligible for a federal tax credit score of as much as $8,000, it is also eligible for a California rebate of as much as $4,500. Anybody who purchases or leases a Nexo additionally will get a complimentary gasoline card value $15,000 (or Three years) of gasoline, as nicely 7 days of free leases a yr from Enterprise over the course of three years. Oh, and you’ll drive the Nexo in California’s HOV lanes.

Each Nexo will get unusual LED lights and pop-out door handles.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

It is laborious to speak about competitors for the Nexo. Clearly there’s the Honda Readability and the Toyota Mirai, the one two different hydrogen vehicles available on the market, however each of these put on sedan our bodies and do not feel practically as plush because the Nexo. Then you definately’ve bought luxurious EV crossovers just like the Audi E-Tron, which has extra energy and all-wheel drive however a a lot decrease general vary and the next worth (particularly when you’re leasing). So the Nexo is a little bit of a singular proposition, and that is a part of why I discover it so interesting.

Right now there are fewer than 60 hydrogen stations in California, most of that are situated in Los Angeles or the Bay Space, so it is more durable to take the Nexo on an extended highway journey than it could be with an conventional fuel automotive and even an EV. Filling up at a station can nonetheless be tough, too, with busted pumps or different points not an unusual sight.

However with a redesigned (and way more interesting) Toyota Mirai about to be launched, new stations popping up all through the state, and extra hydrogen-powered business autos and idea vehicles being launched on a regular basis, who is aware of — perhaps the hydrogen renaissance is lastly, lastly on the horizon. Would not or not it’s cool to be on the forefront of it? Should you can reside with the caveats that include a hydrogen automotive, the Nexo should not be neglected.

About the author: SubSellKaro

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