Like its stablemate, the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is an electric car that dares to be different. Unlike the Kia, the Hyundai uses straight lines, tight angles and bold creases to create its own strong identity. Overall, it’s a much more boxy and boxy look than its Korean counterpart, but it’s just as eye-catching.
It is also, despite its family sedan look, enormous. For comparison, the distance between the front and rear axles is comparable to that of the Audi A8 – three meters – and, therefore, the passenger space is more than generous. Overall, the 4600mm length and 1600mm height are roughly equivalent to the Q5.
It may come from the same stable, but the Hyundai EV6 – along with the VW ID.4, Skodda Enyaq and Tesla Model 3 – is also competing for the same buyers, so the Ioniq 5 faces fierce competition. It doesn’t benefit from any government EV subsidies and it’s not a budget EV so you can expect to shell out a fair amount of money, but it offers a decent range of around 300 miles and fast charging.
You can choose from two battery sizes, front or four-wheel drive, three trim levels plus a number of additional options designed to make owning an electric car a less daunting proposition.
It looks like the piece then, the Ioniq 5, and the specs suggest that on paper it has what it takes to compete with a slew of talented rivals, but what does it look like in the world real ? Let’s find out.
Climb up and you’ll find you’re sitting quite high, almost like an SUV. As a result, you get a commanding view of the road ahead, while the large windows and exterior mirrors also contribute to all-round visibility. Ultimate versions are equipped with an ingenious monitoring system that uses cameras to transmit the blind spot view to a screen in the dashboard.
Speaking of the dash, it’s basically a pair of 12-inch (more or less) LCD panels – one for displaying driving data and the other for infotainment – which have the all look very modern and clean but, yes, there is a but, depending on your driving position, you might find that the top of the steering wheel can obscure some graphics.
And, speaking of the graphics, the ones displayed here are crisp and clear, although some of them are small and a bit difficult to use on the go. The good news is that the screen reacts quickly to inputs so you don’t find yourself looking away from the road to prod, prod and prod again.
The menu layout is reasonably simple and intuitive to use and there are some handy shortcut buttons below the screen, simple controls on the steering wheel – complemented by voice control – which combine to make access to some of the functions the most commonly used quick and simple.
Apple CarPlay and its Android Auto equivalent are both included, as is wireless phone charging, across the range as standard. Ultimate trip is equipped with a premium Bose sound system and a head-up display that adds augmented reality – the projection of real-time information, such as sat nav directions, is projected onto the windshield – to the mixture.
Regular readers will know how much I appreciate analog controls for commonly used functions like, say, air conditioning. Sadly, the EV6 doesn’t offer such luxury, and instead the controls are touch-sensitive, which is more of a distraction while driving than ideal. They are, at least, in a separate panel below the touchscreen.
Strangely, for a sedan, there is no rear wiper. That might not sound so bad and it is not, not when traveling at high speeds when the airflow is designed to wick water away from the windshield, but when trying to park on the move rear in the rain, this presents a small problem. Help comes in the form of a rear-view camera that’s standard on all trims, but the lack of a windscreen wiper remains a strange omission.
Material quality could be better, with some plastics, especially on the passenger side of the dash and doors, flexing under light pressure.
Considering it’s a big car, you’d probably expect a substantial amount of interior space and there is. Headroom and legroom are generous up front, but it’s when you get in the back that you realize just how cavernous the cabin is. We’re talking limo-like levels of legroom. Even with passengers over 6 feet up front, there’s still room for anyone in the back to stretch out.
The flat floor means even someone sitting in the middle of the backseat doesn’t get anything rough.
Rear headroom isn’t quite as generous, but most passengers will be able to sit comfortably without the irritation of their fluffy hair constantly brushing the headliner.
Storage is also impressive, with plenty of cubbies scattered around and you can slide the center console back and forth to change the position of the armrest.
There are three powertrain configurations to choose from. The entry-level version, called RWD 170, has a 54 kWh battery and a 168 hp motor which, as the name suggests, sends power to the rear wheels. It will hit 62 mph from a standing start in 8.5 seconds,
The next is the RWD 217. It has a 70 kWh battery and a 215 hp battery. It also sends power to the rear wheels but cuts the 0-62mph time to a pretty impressive 7 seconds.
Finally, there’s the AWD 305, which sits at the top of the range. It uses the same 7 okWh battery but, you guessed it, sends power to all four wheels. In this version, the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes only 5.2 seconds.
So it’s fast, but unlike its brother the EV6, it doesn’t handle with real finesse. The supple suspension setup means it can feel a little unresponsive, a little sluggish, when you ask it to change direction quickly. The front end is slow to turn, and when it does, there’s a significant amount of body lean that can sap confidence when driving on a narrow, winding country road.
The flip side of opting for a softer suspension setup is, potentially, a more comfortable and accommodating ride and the Ioniq 5 delivers generously in that regard. It smooths out most bumps and imperfections with very little fuss and, indeed, it’s only at higher speeds on undulating roads that the ride can get a bit bouncy.
There’s little road noise from the 19-inch tires and wind noise is almost non-existent as well. The only real intrusion is the occasional thump from the suspension.
The Ioniq 5 range depends on the version you choose. The official RWD 170 range is quoted at 238 miles, the RWD at 298, and the AWD 305 285, but you should expect a shortfall of 20-30 miles at least in the real world.
The rear seats fold into a 60/40 split configuration that doesn’t offer the same degree of flexibility as the plus 40/20/40 configuration. However, the rear seat slides forwards and backwards and can be tilted.
The top-of-the-line Ultimate trim includes Premium relaxation seats among the options. These recline into an almost flat position with a leg rest that extends as you lean the chair back so you can literally put your feet up while you wait for the battery to charge.
The boot is a good size – although some of its rivals enjoy a reasonable advantage in this area – with a capacity of 527 liters with the rear seats in place, rising to 1,587 with the seats stowed flat.
There is little storage space under the hood and just enough space under the floor in the trunk to carry a charging cable.
The looks alone are probably enough to secure a few sales, but there are plenty of other reasons to invest in an Ioniq 5. Yes, the handling is a little loose in the corners and there are some question marks over the interior quality, but the ride is good and refinement excellent no matter how fast you go. You also get cavernous passenger space and lightning-fast charging speeds (where available).
Hyundai IONIQ 5 Ultimate 73kWh AWD + Eco Pack & Tech Pack
OTR price (from): £51,900
Battery Type: 73kWh
Transmission: Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive
Maximum power (PS): 305
Max torque: 605Nm
Maximum speed: 115mph
3 pin emergency (95%): 30:45
7kW single phase (100%): 10:53
10.5 kW three-phase (100%): 6h 9min
50kW CCS (80%): 56 min 30 sec
For more information, visit www.hyundai.co.uk