Over the past several years, the market has become flooded with SUVs, but the Hyundai Nexo is no ordinary crossover. The Nexo is distinguished from the vast the sea of SUVs by its hydrogen-fuel cell electric powertrain. Instead of needing to be plugged in like most EVs, the Nexo—like its nearest rival, the Toyota Mirai—powers its electric motors using hydrogen, with its tanks taking around just five minutes to top off. This provides up to 380 miles of emissions-free driving between refills, and those fueling stops are far quicker than recharging an EV. But the Nexo is held back by a nearly nonexistent infrastructure, with hydrogen fueling stations hard if not impossible to find outside of California. This means that the Golden State is the only place in America where Hyundai sells the Nexo, keeping it a relatively niche product.
What’s New for 2023?
After adding a standard 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster for 2022, the Nexo is carried over to 2023 completely unchanged. The Nexo has received few updates since debuting in 2019, but bigger changes are expected for 2024.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
There are no factory options on the Nexo. The main difference between the two trims is that the Limited offers more luxuries, including a hands-free power liftgate, an extra-large sunroof, ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, Hyundai’s blind-spot view monitor, a 360-degree camera, a remote parking feature, and an upgraded Krell audio system. In our view, these amenities justify the extra cost for the Limited.
EV Motor, Power, and Performance
The Hyundai Nexo’s 95-kW fuel-cell stack and 40-kWh battery pack power an electric motor rated at 161 horsepower with 291 pound-feet of torque. The motor drives the front wheels through a single-speed gearbox; all-wheel drive is not available. In our testing, the Nexo delivered a zero-to-60-mph result of 8.4 seconds, quicker than the Mirai. This acceleration figure also puts the hydrogen-fueled Hyundai in step with conventional, gasoline-powered compact crossovers. As with its fuel-cell brethren, the Nexo really isn’t thrilling to drive. Still, its electrically assisted steering is appropriately tuned—on the light side but with a steady feel. And in our testing, the Nexo stopped from 70 mph in 169 feet, which is much better than the Mirai.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
Cruising range varies by trim, and the base Nexo Blue has an estimated range of 380 miles. With its added equipment and 19-inch wheels (versus the Blue’s 17s), the heavier Limited has a lower range estimate of 354 miles.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA’s MPGe ratings are slightly different between the two Nexo trims. The Blue has a combined rating of 61 MPGe (65 city/58 highway), while the Nexo Limited is rated at 57 MPGe (59 city/54 highway). Once you find a hydrogen station, refueling takes about five minutes. Anyone who buys or leases a Nexo receives complimentary hydrogen fuel for the first three years or $13,000 worth of fuel (whichever comes first). For more information about the Nexo’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Interior space in the five-passenger 2023 Hyundai Nexo is on par with other small crossovers. Adults will fit comfortably up front or in the back seat. There’s a useful 30 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat, and folding the rear seats flat nets 57 cubic feet, which is close to what the Hyundai Tucson offers. The rest of the Hyundai lineup’s interiors have evolved to be closer in design to Nexo’s, with broad digital instrument-and-infotainment screens, and push-button transmission controls. The front seats offer only basic power adjustments and are upholstered in vinyl. Overall, it’s a pleasant, airy place to be, especially with the larger sunroof of the Limited.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
A 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment interface is standard in the Nexo, and it includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Additional connected features are available with Hyundai’s Blue Link app, which offers remote engine starting (with seat preheating or pre-cooling) and a hydrogen-fuel station locator. Blue Link is complimentary for the first three years. There are two USB charge ports (though only one supports data transfer) and a wireless smartphone-charging pad.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A suite of driver-assistance features is standard on every Nexo and includes a forward-collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. The Limited adds the blind-spot camera display in the instrument panel. For more information about the Nexo’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard adaptive cruise control
- Standard blind-spot monitoring
- Standard lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Warranty coverage is a bit better than on the Toyota Mirai, as their fuel-cell components are guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles. Hyundai’s usual 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty applies to the Nexo. The company also now offers complimentary scheduled maintenance that bests mainstream rivals such as Toyota.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance covers three years or 36,000 miles
2019 Hyundai Nexo Limited
front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$62,845 (base price: $62,845)
Induction AC, 161 hp, 291 lb-ft; 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
proton-exchange membrane, 95 kW
1-speed direct drive
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.6-in vented disc/11.9-in disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy Tour A/S, 245/45R-19 98W M+S
Wheelbase: 109.8 in
Length: 183.9 in
Width: 73.2 in
Height: 64.2 in
Passenger volume: 101 cu ft
Trunk volume: 30 cu ft
Curb weight: 4059 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 8.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 44.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.5 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.8 sec @ 79 mph
Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 105 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 57/59/54 MPGe
Range: 354 mi
More Features and Specs