2020 Hyundai Nexo review: This hydrogen fuel-cell SUV deserves your attention

Victoria D. Doty

2020 Hyundai Nexo

The Nexo is the best-on the lookout hydrogen-powered car or truck out there.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

We’ve been listening to for decades that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles would be the upcoming, but it is really never seriously took place. Sure, there have been some minimal-run generation vehicles like the Honda FCX, as very well as heaps of ideas and prototypes. But appropriate now, and only if you are living in California, there are just 3 hydrogen-powered vehicles you can acquire: the Honda ClarityToyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. Immediately after spending a week with a Nexo I can safely say that it is really the best of the bunch. And if you can make hydrogen life get the job done for you, it is really a wonderful all-about crossover to boot. 


  • Superb inside styling
  • Particularly silent and composed trip
  • Very long driving vary
  • Tons of tech onboard

Will not Like

  • Gradual acceleration and no AWD
  • Filling up can be a pain
  • Only obtainable in California

First, a brief primer of how the Nexo truly performs. The hydrogen fuel is saved in a tank beneath the flooring of the car or truck. That hydrogen gets sent to the fuel-cell stack, where it is really mixed with oxygen from the air intakes in an electrochemical reaction, building electric power and water. A single motor on the Nexo’s front axle uses that electric power to drive the front wheels, manufacturing 161 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. The water is dumped out underneath the car or truck, which you can also do on command at the press of a button (I’m not precisely sure why).

The EPA suggests the foundation Nexo Blue has a vary of 380 miles, with the Nexo Constrained (like my test car or truck) finding a 354-mile vary since of its larger sized wheels. That bests the vary of every EV this side of a Tesla Model S, and it is really even far better than the overall vary of several fuel-powered vehicles. I come across the Nexo’s vary readout to be very exact if not truly pessimistic at situations immediately after 260 miles of driving I nevertheless have about a third of a tank left, with the Nexo expressing I have about a hundred and twenty miles of vary. And as opposed to an electric powered car or truck, refueling the Nexo at a hydrogen station can take just five minutes, like filling up a regular car or truck with fuel, even though hydrogen is a lot more highly-priced.

Driving the Nexo is fairly considerably like driving any other electric powered car or truck. Hyundai suggests the Nexo will speed up to 60 mph in nine.five seconds but it feels faster than that, and you get the familiar, satisfying punch of quick EV torque off the line. The steering just isn’t as well light, a challenge that a great deal of EVs have, and the Nexo is truly fairly enjoyable to chuck into a corner.

The Nexo has regenerative braking, which has 3 adjustable depth configurations or can be turned off fully. When I’m generally satisfied to have regen and the Nexo’s procedure performs very well, I would like the car or truck experienced accurate one particular-pedal driving capabilities, like an EV. The Nexo will gradual way down in the most rigorous regen setting, but even at reduce speeds you nevertheless want to hit the brakes to occur to a entire quit.

2020 Hyundai Nexo

There’s no frunk beneath the hood.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Without having any hyperbole, the Nexo is one particular of the quietest and comfiest vehicles this side of a Mercedes-Benz S-Course. The suspension damping is elegant, even with the 19-inch wheels, and it is really not unsettled by even the largest potholes and bumps. A minimal bit of wind sound and tire sound tends to make its way into the cabin, but in any other case the Nexo is useless silent. It’s an particularly calming car or truck both equally to drive and be pushed in, and even immediately after very long journeys I get out feeling refreshed.

A hydrogen car or truck that’s handsome

Contrary to the, shall we say, divisive Mirai and Clarity, the Nexo’s handsome layout won’t shout, “Hey, I’m a bizarre car or truck powered by a thing upcoming-ish.” I think that’s a superior matter. Sure, the Nexo does search a bit like a notion car or truck with bizarre layout quirks like its waterfall grille, flush door handles and triangular LED lights, but largely it just blends in. If you happen to be likely to get a Nexo, I implore you to decide on the rose gold paint colour, at minimum.

The Nexo’s inside is the genuine star here, primarily in the two-tone Stone Grey colour scheme of my test car or truck. All of the upholstery is vegan leatherette that feels fantastic, but strangely the steering wheel is wrapped in genuine leather-based. A horizontal fake-steel strip that contains the air vents operates across the duration of the dash, and comparable trim is discovered on the door panels. The significant, elevated middle console is one particular of the best parts of the inside, with a bunch of analog buttons and knobs that give it a 1990’s hello-fi stereo vibe. I never even intellect the thrust-button shifter controls, and I primarily appreciate the fab two-spoke steering wheel.

2020 Hyundai Nexo

The Nexo has one particular of the coolest interiors about.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Interior place and cargo home are about on par with the outgoing Hyundai Tucson, but the Nexo has the gain of a flat flooring inside. There’s heaps of storage place beneath the middle console, such as USB ports and a wi-fi charging pad, but I would like there was a lot more than one particular cupholder obtainable for the driver. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and I appreciate the cloth trim and orange accents all over. The 60/40-break up rear bench is fantastic, as well, and it folds practically totally flat. (There’s no frunk even though, as the place beneath the hood is taken up by all types of powertrain components.)

A 7-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch central screen are normal, with the major infotainment show managed through contact or a knob on the console. The gauge cluster can show things like nav information, vacation details or my personalized favorite, an vitality movement graphic showing precisely what the powertrain is undertaking. The infotainment procedure is mainly the exact same card-centered setup you may come across in other new Hyundais like the Sonata, but the Nexo gets some distinct characteristics. The navigation displays the closest hydrogen filling stations and can even give the fuel charges, and if you input a location that’s farther than your existing vary the procedure will improve the route so you hit a station alongside the way. There’s also a screen to display the standing of the hydrogen tank and fuel cells, as very well as comprehensive eco driving details.

An fascinating worth proposition

As it is really a Hyundai, there should be no shock that the Nexo packs a ton of characteristics in as normal. There’s LED exterior lights all about, 17-inch wheels, powered and heated front seats, Android Vehicle and Apple CarPlay, wi-fi cell phone charging, proximity vital and keyless entry. Common basic safety tech features adaptive cruise handle with quit and go, automated crisis braking, blind-spot warning and collision aid, lane-departure warning with lane-trying to keep aid and rear cross-visitors aid.

2020 Hyundai Nexo

A 12.3-inch infotainment screen displays comprehensive hydrogen station information.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Leaping up to the Constrained design like this test car or truck provides the 19-inch wheels, a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a wonderful Krell audio procedure, a power liftgate, parking sensors, a 360-degree digital camera procedure and Hyundai’s Smart Park automated parking aspect. The Constrained also gets Hyundai’s blind-spot cameras that show in the digital gauge cluster, which I appreciate.

There are a number of omissions from the aspect list, even though. The sunroof is a single pane earlier mentioned the front seats and not a panoramic device like I might choose. Only the front windows are vehicle up/down, with the rears not finding vehicle functionality at all. A head-up show just isn’t obtainable. But worst of all, primarily for this sort of a very well-designed cabin in 2020, there’s no inside ambient lights.

The foundation Nexo Blue begins at $fifty nine,910 such as location, with the Constrained costing $3,450. To me, the Nexo feels very well worth the cost. And I haven’t even gotten to the superior things but. Not only is the Nexo qualified for a federal tax credit rating of up to $eight,000, it is really also qualified for a California rebate of up to $four,500. Anyone who buys or leases a Nexo also gets a complimentary fuel card worth $15,000 (or 3 many years) of fuel, as very well 7 days of free of charge rentals a yr from Organization above the course of 3 many years. Oh, and you can drive the Nexo in California’s HOV lanes.

2020 Hyundai Nexo

Just about every Nexo gets bizarre LED lights and pop-out door handles.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

It’s difficult to speak about competition for the Nexo. Obviously there’s the Honda Clarity and the Toyota Mirai, the only two other hydrogen vehicles on the current market, but both equally of people have on sedan bodies and never really feel nearly as plush as the Nexo. Then you have got luxurious EV crossovers like the Audi E-Tron, which has a lot more power and all-wheel drive but a considerably reduce all round vary and a increased cost (primarily if you happen to be leasing). So the Nexo is a bit of a one of a kind proposition, and that’s aspect of why I come across it so desirable.

At this time there are fewer than 60 hydrogen stations in California, most of which are located in Los Angeles or the Bay Region, so it is really more durable to take the Nexo on a very long highway vacation than it would be with an regular fuel car or truck or even an EV. Filling up at a station can nevertheless be difficult, as well, with busted pumps or other problems not an uncommon sight.

But with a redesigned (and considerably a lot more desirable) Toyota Mirai about to be released, new stations popping up all over the point out, and a lot more hydrogen-powered professional automobiles and notion vehicles currently being released all the time, who is aware of — maybe the hydrogen renaissance is lastly, lastly on the horizon. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be on the forefront of it? If you can are living with the caveats that occur with a hydrogen car or truck, the Nexo shouldn’t be disregarded.

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