Some say the future of cars is electric, whereas others believe that hydrogen is the best solution for ‘green’ transportation. Hyundai is ready for both, with the hydrogen part, which is also the most costly and much less popular of the two, at least for now, covered by the Nexo.
It is a front-wheel drive fuel cell SUV that runs purely on hydrogen and emits nothing more than water vapors.
The Nexo uses a 161 hp (163 PS / 120 kW) and 291 lb-ft (394 Nm) powertrain and goes to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a respectable 9.5 seconds. According to Hyundai, it can be driven for up to 380 miles (612 km) before needing a refill.
With a $58,300 starting price in California, the Nexo isn’t what you’d call affordable. In fact, it’s more expensive than a base Audi Q7, which can be had from $53,550. Of course, the Q7 doesn’t run on hydrogen, but it is larger and has an all-wheel drive system. Factor in the fact that it costs about $80 to refuel the Nexo, and you’ll quickly realize that there’s still some way to go before hydrogen-powered cars become viable.
There are some obvious advantages to owning the Nexo, though, such as the fact that it drives pretty much like an EV, that is silently – and, according to Consumer Reports, offers a comfortable ride and quite responsive handling.
Except for a few gimmicks, such as the push-button gear selector which wasn’t appreciated by the reviewer, the rest of the cabin is pretty straightforward. Space at the back is comparable to other compact SUVs and the equipment range is more than satisfactory. The Nexo is even fitted with a remote parking feature, which doesn’t require a driver to be present behind the wheel in order to squeeze into a parking space.