2020 Hyundai Ioniq with Lane Follow and Highway Drive Assist

Self Driving and Driver Assist Technology

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the 2020 Ioniq in the US, as it will have some nice driver assist features not found in the 2019 models. The vehicle will be a model year refresh, rather than a completely revised model. There will be a few cosmetic changes and a larger batter for the all electric version.  Hyundai refers to its driver assist features as SmartSense.

The most important change I’m interested in testing out is the lane follow assist feature. While the lane keep assist on the previous model Ioniq is supposed to be pretty good, the cars really need the better lane follow assist, to allow for better driver assist features.

Most Lane keep assist systems work by waiting until you approach the lane marker to gently nudge the vehicle back into the lane. This leads to a ping pong effect and does not work to steer the car around even gentle curves.

Lane follow assist, or lane centering as Subaru calls it, will view both lane markers and try to keep the vehicle in the center. Also, many systems will also track the vehicle in front of you. My understanding is the system will then “follow” the path of the vehicle in front of you, greatly improving the path your car will take. I’m still trying to gather more information on how the various systems accomplish this and try to compare how effective each system is.

Hyundai vehicles with lane follow assist at this time seem to include the 2020 Kona EV (not the phev or hybrid) and the Palisade, but not all trim versions.

For the 2020 Ioniq, only the SEL and Limited models (hev, phev, and ev) have lane follow assist. The Limited models also add “highway drive assist”. The details are scant at this point, but based on experiences with the Palisade, there seem to be two main features of the Highway Drive Assist. The most useful is in stop and go traffic. Apparently the standard adaptive cruise control will disengage if the vehicle is stopped for 3 seconds, requiring the driver to hit the resume button or the gas peddle to resume moving. With Highway Drive Assist, the car will resume ager much longer than a 3 second stop without intervention, such as 30 seconds. The other feature is the car can be set to automatically adjust top speed to match the speed limit. Unfortunately, current models do not allow any adjustment above the speed limit which makes the feature pretty useless, at least in the US. They should allow an option to be 5, 7, or 10mph over the speed limit, but maybe they feel they can’t for liability reasons. It is a feature that shows what they are capable of doing, but there doesn’t seem to be a need as it is programmed. I’m not sure I would find enough value from those features to justify the Highway Drive assist over just having lane follow assist, but perhaps there are other features in Highway Drive Assist not yet noticed by others.

The 2020 Ioniq also adds some other nice safety features such as forward collision avoidance assist on all models and lane keep assist on all models (different from the lane follow assist I described above). Also, on the SEL and Limited trim they added pedestrian detection. I’m not sure how much better that works or under what conditions, but it sounds like a worthwhile feature to me.

I’ll be eagerly awaiting to test drive the 2020 once available and I’m looking for examples of these features provided by others. I’ll try to add those in the comments as I come across them. I haven’t found a great description, even with the vehicle being released in other countries for a few months now.

Full details on the official changes for the US 2020 Ioniq can be found by following this link. 

Any other feedback or experiences are most welcome.

<Update 1/9/20>
I test drove a 2020 Ioniq hybrid Limited trim.  It is possibly the configuration that I would buy – not sure I’d get the SEL or the Limited.  I really could care less about leather seats and an upgraded stereo.  I would probably enjoy the larger screen (10.25 vs 8 inch) and the Highway Drive assist may be an advantage.  Unfortunately, I did not notice if the Highway Drive assist recognized the highway where I did a test drive.  It did not say anything about the speed being above, below, or matching the highway speed, but I could have missed pushing the button to engage highway drive.  I did test out the adaptive cruise control along with the lane following.  Well, the adaptive cruise didn’t get much testing as there was not a lot of traffic, so I wasn’t following another vehicle close enough most of the time.  That also may hinder my ability to evaluate the lane following, as I believe the Hyundai system does take into account the position of the car ahead in determining where you would follow.  I’m not 100% certain of that, but the salesman said that is the case.  Unfortunately, I’ve encountered plenty of salesman who know far less than I do about the cars.  This salesman seemed much more up to speed than others lately.

As for my experience driving the car, it did seem sluggish compared to my current sluggish Subaru Legacy.  That doesn’t really bother me, as I drove a Prius for about 6 years and never felt concerned about that lack of acceleration.  As to the automated features, the lane following worked very well when I was on the highway.  It did not do much nagging to keep my hands on the wheel, surprisingly.  It seemed like maybe 30 seconds before a prompt to hold the steering wheel would come up.  There were some two lane roads I drove on and I wouldn’t trust the lane following to keep my in the lane.  Several areas did not have good lane markings on the curb side, yet the car was able to continue steering for me.  Unfortunately, the car seemed to like to hug the curb side and I did not feel it was well centered in the lane.  I don’t fault the car as I was clearly using it in a place that was probably not the intended location to be using lane following.  Perhaps the car would have done better if I were directly behind another car.

So, I left a bit disappointed as I was hoping to experience much better self-driving when I was not on the highway.  I didn’t love it enough to feel like I needed to have the car, so my car exploration will continue.  Currently, I’m thinking maybe something like a Prius with Open Pilot would be the best way to go, short of shelling out the money for a Tesla.