2021 Hyundai IONIQ Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake, electrical, and engine issues are among the top complaints to the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The Hyundai IONIQ is a five-door hatchback model that has been sold as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric variant. It first debuted in 2016, first in South Korea. That same year, it was shown at the New York and Geneva Auto Shows. Production of the standard models ended during the summer of 2022, with the release of the IONIQ 5 crossover. The automaker also has plans for the IONIQ 6 and IONIQ 7.

By the beginning of 2021, IONIQ models had sold about 325,000 units worldwide. A little more than 60,000 of these units were sold in the United States, with the hybrid being the most popular option.

Click on another model year to view more problems:   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

The 2021 Hyundai IONIQ was expected to be a top contender in the hybrid and electric market, but there have been a lot of customer complaints. From electrical system issues to trouble with the service brakes, there have been a lot of defects that affect safety. Additionally, the engine issues combined with other system failures are causing issues.

2021 Hyundai IONIQ Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Unknown Or Other
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Back Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
Electrical System:12v/24v/48v Battery
Electrical System:adas:parking Assist:sensors

Electrical Systems Issues

  • Cruise Control Malfunction: In a newer vehicle, the cruise control should never fail. This system is designed to keep the car moving at a steady speed for optimal safety. However, in the IONIQ, customers have found that the system will turn itself off and the Check Lane Following Assist LFA notice alerts the driver. While it can occur multiple times in the same vehicle, dealerships continue telling drivers there’s nothing wrong.
  • Dashboard Warning Lights Illuminate: On top of the previous warning, other lights have been known to come on. One light that seems to be seen the most is the Auto-Hold warning. Again, dealers aren’t able to find the problem and are even going a step further by having the customers pay for diagnostic fees even though the vehicles are covered by a warranty. These lights are coming on as early as the second day into ownership, although some people have been able to drive around 4,000 miles before it happens.
  • Defective Stereo System: When cruising down the highway or driving to work, IONIQ owners simply want to catch up on the latest news or jam to their favorite tunes. However, many users continue finding issues with the stereo system, interrupting their listening pleasure. In several cases, the speakers needed to be replaced prematurely.

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Brake Problems

  • Electronic Parking Brake Malfunction: Along with the Auto Hold warning light, there’s also a malfunction occurring with the EPB system. Owners need to replace the electronic brake control module, sometimes within just a few months of driving the vehicle. However, this module can take up to six weeks to get at the dealership and it’s not safe to drive the vehicle with this failure.
  • Defective Brake Caliper: In other instances, when the EPB and Auto Hold warning lights came on, it turned out to be caused by a bad brake caliper. Again, the dealerships are having trouble getting these parts in, leaving customers to decide if they can go without driving or not. It’s not a situation that any driver should have to face.

Problems with the Engine

  • Engine Warning Lights: If there aren’t enough lights illuminating on the dash, customers are also dealing with engine warnings. The cause of these warning lights varies, but they are always alarming nonetheless.
  • Dropping Fuel Economy: When first purchased, the IONIQ tends to get decent gas mileage, near its ratings. Customers found that it can achieve 55 to 60 mpg at the beginning. However, in less than a year, it seems to drop down to 40 to 45 mpg, which is a big dip. What’s worse is that dealers can’t offer an answer as to why the fuel economy gets worse.

Other Problems

  • Suspension Failure: As a Hyundai, customers expected that the suspension system would be superior to others. However, they have been sorely disappointed. Owners are complaining of the suspension components failing within the first six months and at fewer than 6,000 miles. Needing shocks this soon is a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right.
  • Failed Transmission: Another part that should never fail early into ownership is the transmission, but that doesn’t appear to be reliable either. Some owners need to get a new transmission installed before 30,000 miles. In the meantime, it could cause a grinding sound, especially during deceleration.
  • Major System Failures: It isn’t just the transmission and suspension system that is failing. Customers are also replacing the fuel injectors before 30,000 miles and a water pump within the first few months. At this point, it’s hard to find a major system that hasn’t been complained about.
  • Body Rattles: The integrity of the Hyundai IONIQ build has come into question. Some customers complain about the rear hatch rattling, despite adjusting the bumpers and removing the cargo cover. Other owners are talking about how easy it is to dent the body because of the thin material being used. Even the splash guard seems to be made of cheesy cardboard-like material.

What to do if your IONIQ is a lemon?

Think you have a lemon? If so, why not sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you? After all, the law makes Hyundai pay lemon law legal fees.

Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you. So, if your Hyundai IONIQ has issues that affect its use, value, or your safety, call the Lemberg Law Helpline. Alternatively, fill in our contact form so we can assess your problems free of charge.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Marc B

    I recently purchased a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid. The dealership (World Hyundai), didn’t transfer the warranty and instead I purchased a warranty for $3,000, which I plan to terminate. I’ve had problems w/ the EPB (emergency parking brake) and the Auto Hold randomly coming on while driving. From reading, this is a common problem w/Ioniq Hybrid owners, what can I do to address this issue?

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