We road test the award-winning electric vehicle that instantly dates just about every other car on the road…
It’s difficult to know where to start with a car like the acclaimed Hyundai Ioniq 5. Already the winner of various Car of the Year titles, this futuristically styled EV features state-of-the-art technology and looks like nothing else on the road.
Hyundai may not thank me for it, but I’m going to start by pointing out that the Ioniq 5 shares its Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) with its Korean cousins, the Kia EV6 and the upcoming Genesis GV60.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’d say the retro cool Ioniq 5 is easily the most distinctive of the trio. Park it next to any other competitor car (eg Volkswagen ID.4, Jaguar I-Pace or Ford Mustang Mach-E) and they look instantly dated.
Bigger in the metal than I’d expected, it looks like it should be about the size of a VW Golf from the pictures, but it’s actually closer to a Skoda Enyaq iV.
Hyundai markets it as a “midsize CUV”, which is automotive industry speak for a Crossover Utility Vehicle – a blend of hatchback and SUV, for want of a better definition.
Competitively priced from £37,545, there’s a range of battery and motor options available, plus rear or all-wheel drive. Packed with technology and equally futuristic inside, it’s a revelation.
Able to charge from 10-80% (via an ultra rapid 350kW chargepoint) in as little as 18 minutes and travel up to 298 miles on a charge, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds.
We tested the top-of-the range Ioniq 5 with twin-motor all-wheel drive and the largest battery size available (72.6kWh). Just shy of £50,000, it boasts a combined 301bhp and 446lb ft of torque.
The flush door handles pop out as you walk up to the Ioniq 5. Once inside, the benefits of the car’s larger dimensions and flat floor are obvious – it’s bathed in space and light.
It’s ultra-modern and minimalist up front, thanks to a two-spoke steering wheel and panoramic twin-screen infotainment and driver’s display set-up.
There’s a sliding centre console incorporating cupholders, small storage areas and a wireless phone charger, while the versatile front seats can be fully reclined.
Comfort is subjective, and though the seats were nicely padded with plenty of adjustment, I just couldn’t get the perfect driving position. Such is the huge amount of cabin space, I felt perched and almost marooned at times.
The bonus of such a high driving style is that there are no complaints in the visibility department, but ultimately the Ioniq 5 may be fast, but doesn’t feel so sporty.
There’s ample room for rear passengers, while the shallow boot still has a decent 527-litre capacity, expanding to 1,587 litres with the rear seated flipped. You can also store the charging cables in a space under the bonnet.
All versions are loaded with kit. Even the entry-level SE Connect model comes with the dual 12.3-inch screens, the impressive rapid charging capability, wireless smartphone charging, 19-inch alloy wheels and highway drive assist (an advanced version of adaptive cruise control).
Move up to Premium for LED headlights, an electric driver’s seat, an electric boot, heated front seats and blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance.
Ultimate adds a head-up display, 20-inch alloys, Bose sound system, rear privacy glass and ventilated front seats.
To get moving, simply choose a gear (the shift stalk is mounted low right on the steering column) and you’re away – and it’s properly quick.
You can also select Eco, Normal or Sport drive modes and adjust the brake regeneration. The ‘one-pedal’ option enables you to slow down to a halt just by lifting off the accelerator. It’s useful in town, but a little jarring on faster roads, where it’s easier to use the paddles behind the steering wheel for extra regen.
Frankly, Normal will do just fine. Eco is OK for cruising on a motorway or A-road, but a little lifeless otherwise, while Sport is fun for short, battery-draining bursts of fun.
If you’re looking for a comfortable ride, then the Ioniq 5 is the car for you. However, more spirited drivers might find it a little too floaty with rather too much body roll in faster corners.
That said, there’s plenty of grip and the steering is light and easy, while the brakes are unusually responsive for an EV.
No car is perfect and the Ioniq is no exception. It’s not as dynamic to drive as some rivals, and some of the interior materials could be classier.
The lack of a rear wiper is a bigger issue than it might sound too, especially when it’s raining. I finally lost patience on one motorway journey, stopping the car at a service station to clean the rear window. Also, the steering wheel obscured some of the driver display behind with my set-up.
I tested the car in the winter so the 267-mile range (the AWD in top spec Ultimate trim with 20-inch wheels is 30 miles down on the RWD) was never on, but I’d say up to 240 miles is realistic in those conditions.
Thankfully, advanced charging ability is the Ioniq 5’s party piece. In theory, it can add 62 miles of range in just five minutes, because it’s one of the few EVs on the market to support both 400V and 800V charging.
Using a more common 50kW charger, you’ll get up to 80% in 50 minutes, while a complete charge on a wall box at home is best done overnight.
Unless you need all-wheel drive, I suspect the sweet spot in the range is the cheaper 72.6kWh single motor version (RWD) with a potential range closer to the claimed 298 miles.
Verdict: The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is smooth, spacious, comfortable and easy to drive. Loaded with state-of-the art technology, it’s a competitively priced family EV that oozes kerb appeal.