What Is It?
It’s the 2022 UK Car of the Year. It also won a hat-trick of gongs at the 2022 World Car of the Year awards, including the prestigious and much-coveted overall title. OK, so it ‘only’ came 3rd in the 2022 European Car of the Year (ECotY) competition, but it was narrowly beaten to the victory by its Korean cousin, which is essentially the same machine with a different top hat on.
Yep, it’s the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Asian company’s retro-futuristic zero-emissions masterpiece. Having laid the groundwork for an assault on the electric vehicle (EV) marketplace with the excellent Kona Electric and, confusingly, the specific fastback model which was just called the Ioniq (which came as a full Electric, as well as in Plug-In Hybrid and plainer Hybrid forms), the ‘5’ is basically at the vanguard of Hyundai’s bespoke EV sub-brand, all of which will carry the Ioniq name going forwards. We’ve already seen the next model up the ramp, for example, in the form of the Ioniq 6, an unusual 4-door machine with ‘streamliner’ styling.
However, what we’re concentrating on here is the Ioniq 5, which is available with 2 battery sizes (58-and 73kWh) and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive (AWD), depending on whether you want 1 electric motor in your Hyundai EV or 2. A rival to the Kia EV6, the very car which pipped the Ioniq 5 (and the all-new Renault Megane E-Tech, which landed 2nd place) to the ECotY title, the Hyundai is nevertheless picking up awards left, right and centre. And deservedly so, because – as you will come to see in this review – there’s precious little in the world of midsized electric family cars which can touch it right now. And we’re including the varied likes of the Cupra Born, Volkswagen ID.3, Polestar 2 and even the Tesla Model 3 in those competitor ranks, as well.
Tested here is the range-topping AWD 73kWh model in Ultimate trim with the Eco and Tech Packs both fitted. An expensive way into Ioniq 5 ownership, then, but one that is most definitely worth your serious consideration. And probably, in the end, your monthly leasing outlay too, if you want the best of the best when it comes to present-day EVs.
What’s Good About It?
Pretty much everything, including (crucially) the way it drives and the way it can charge itself back up, but we’ll simply stick to the aesthetics here. On the outside, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is about spot on. OK, so its angular, deliberately retro styling won’t please everyone, and it’s not exactly the most aerodynamic shape with which to cut through the air in order to maximise its battery’s potential (the EV6 has its measure in this regard), but because it looks like a fugitive from Ready Player One, we think it’s tremendous on the outside. A bold and daring design that doesn’t follow the automotive EV norm of making them look gawky and smooth-faced, the Ioniq is defined by its pixellated light clusters fore and aft, by its vaguely Lancia Delta Integrale-ish profile shape, and by a riot of sharp, angular lines and creases over its bodywork. It looks fantastic in whatever colour and spec you want to finish it, so top marks to the exterior.
Ditto the interior. Some aren’t fans of the white surrounds of the 2 huge digital display screens which make up the Ioniq 5’s human-machine interface (HMI), especially set against the black background of the rest of the cabin, but we couldn’t say it bothered us at all. Instead, we were agog at the sheer quality of the fixtures and fittings, the comfiness of the seats, the clever blend of touchscreen technology and intuitive switchgear, the neat touches like making the shift lever a column stalk to free up space, the crispness of all the graphics on the screens, the usefulness of the augmented-reality Head-Up Display… this is easily Hyundai’s best interior so far, and by some margin too. Also, it makes the interiors of the rival Volkswagen ID range look terribly half-baked and dull in comparison.
What Could Be Better?
Well, despite having a 73kWh battery pack option, the maximum range of the Ioniq 5 family is 300 miles. Now this is a perfectly acceptable figure in the main, but the minute you put bigger alloys on it and start adding extra motors, the range begins to tumble; our Ultimate AWD test car shod in 20-inch wheels resulted in a 268-mile maximum, which – in reality – will translate to around 200 miles or so. The bigger 77kWh battery pack of the EV6 is slated for the Ioniq 5, which should help matters, but we suppose the Hyundai’s range limitations are about its one weakness. Even if 300 miles is still a great headline figure for an EV in 2022.
Perhaps the other downside is that while it looks like a hatchback, a lot of people call the Ioniq 5 a crossover-SUV because it’s so flippin’ massive on the outside. At more than 4.6 metres long, almost 1.9 metres wide, 1.6 metres tall and possessed of a gargantuan 3-metre wheelbase, the on-paper dims of the Hyundai are undeniably SUV-esque. Which perhaps goes some way to mitigating the fact that it weighs in excess of 2 tonnes as an AWD (which only comes with the 73kWh battery pack). Ahem. Anyway, just bear in mind that if you’re interested in the Ioniq 5, it’s a big car to attempt to squish into a standard residential garage, if that’s where you’re planning to store it overnight.
What’s It Like To Drive?
The base RWD 58kWh model has 170hp, while the larger battery with a single motor ups power to 217hp but doesn’t increase the torque at all, from a peak of 350Nm. Both are perfectly acceptable and brisk to drive, as we sampled a 217hp version not long before we had this AWD in for a week of evaluation.
That said, it’s the AWD we’d unquestionably recommend. By virtue of having twin motors, the power increases again – to 305hp – but the torque nigh-on doubles, to a huge 605Nm. This is enough to punch the Ioniq 5 from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, and it also makes the Hyundai feel urgent and rapid for both step-off and roll-on acceleration. In short, it’s this flagship Ioniq 5 which best performs that breathtakingly instant increase of speed that makes big-output EVs so intoxicating to drive.
However, we’re not advocating the Ioniq 5 because it’s fast. We’re advocating it because it is absolutely brilliant to drive, especially in terms of ride comfort and refinement. Like any EV, the absence of engine noise does a huge amount to make the Hyundai come across as cultured and discreet, but there’s more to it than that. The supple suspension soaks up the lumps and bumps of craggy town tarmac just as well as it eases the car along on an even keel when you’re travelling at A-roads pace, while excellent suppression of tyre chatter, wind noise and the workings of the suspension mean the interior is a highly civilised place to be.
The Ioniq 5 is also good fun in the corners, to a degree. It doesn’t roll noticeably, despite its height, and with nicely judged steering, an abundance of grip from the chassis and loads of clean traction from the AWD, it feels capable and limber in corners in a way that belies its 2100kg kerb weight. We’re not saying it’s an out-and-out thrilling thing to steer, the Hyundai EV, but it handles in such a fashion that you’ll soon forget those whisperings of it being like an SUV. And as there’s reputedly an Ioniq 5N on the way with an outrageous 585hp powertrain, then we’ll leave the sharp handling manners to that car. In truth, the way the AWD 73kWh has been geared to drive is just about perfect for its primary family-EV purposes.
How Practical Is It?
It’s immensely practical. Due to its large exterior body, massive wheelbase (that’s as long as that on a Land Rover Defender) and EV underpinnings which mean there’s no chunky transmission tunnel, what you end up with in the Ioniq 5 is a car that has the sort of leg- and headroom in the rear to take 3 adults with consummate ease. There’s also a large 527-litre boot at the back, rising to 1587 litres if you fold the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, plus another 24-litre storage box under what would be the bonnet on any traditional hatchback; that enlarges to 52 litres if you specify a Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) Ioniq 5, as opposed to our twin-motor AWD model.
There are further helpful design features within the interior, like a ‘walk-through’ front area with a flat floor between the seats and underneath the central storage console, which is more useful than you think because that aforementioned console unit can be slid back and forth in its entirety, as you require. Beyond that, huge door pockets, well-placed cupholders and various storage cubbies make the Ioniq 5 family-friendly, while the high-set driving position and large glasshouse ensures visibility out of the car is good in all directions – save through a rear windscreen that has no wiper, no matter which spec you go for. It’s supposed to clean itself via aerodynamic flow over the glass, but it does become quite grubby in poor conditions. Tsk.
There’s another practicality plus point in terms of its construction, though. Unlike almost every other EV on sale right now, save for the far pricier Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT models (and, of course, the Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 cars which use the same technology as the Hyundai), the Ioniq 5 has 800-volt architecture, rather than 400-volt. This means that, despite its large 73kWh battery pack, if you can find a 350kW ultra-rapid charger, it will juice itself back up from 10- to 80% battery in a mere 18 minutes. Meaning you’ll spend less time kicking your heels with a coffee if you’re on a long journey where you have to charge it once or twice en route.
How Much Will It Cost Me?
Although the UK pricing of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is in the £40,000-£53,000 bracket (yes, 53 grand…), we can get you into this quite brilliant Korean EV from around £410pcm on one of our lease deals. Then you also benefit from the tax breaks and low running costs that driving an electric car brings with it, to further mitigate the Ioniq 5’s expense, while it also comes with a 5-year, unlimited-mileage warranty on the vehicle and an 8-year, 100,000-mile level of cover on the lithium-ion battery pack too.
Then there’s the equipment. All models are generously equipped but an Ultimate plus Eco and Tech Packs like our test car is utterly crammed with toys. So, deep breath now (and this is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s just some of the key highlights), but you get… 20-inch alloy wheels, 64-colour ambient interior lighting, electric front seats with heating and ventilation functions, a heated steering wheel, heated seats in the outer-rear positions, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, LED lights everywhere on the outside with Smart High Beam technology, laminated glazing all round, solar glass in the front and privacy glass in the rear, an acoustic film on the windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree camera functionality, Smart Park Assist (automated parking technology), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, a Smart Electric Tailgate with a hands-free opening function, keyless entry and go, Vehicle-To-Load capability, the twin 12.3-inch screens with satellite navigation built in, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a Head-Up Display with Augmented Reality capability, a 7-speaker plus 1 subwoofer Bose Premium Audio system, wireless smartphone charging… and then there’s safety gear like Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot View Monitor, Lane Follow Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (Junction Turning and Crossing), Highway Drive Assist Level 2, Parking Collision Avoidance Assist (Reverse), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist… honestly, we could go on. And on. But we think you get the picture. Loads and loads of equipment for your cash, basically.
Anything Else I Should Know?
If you spotted Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) in the list above, this means the Ioniq 5 is fitted with an onboard converter that provides up to 3.6kW of power. That means you can plug other electrical devices into the Hyundai to power them – provided you’ve got battery reserves left, of course – or you can even charge another EV from the Hyundai. Quite incredible!
What Alternatives Should I Look At?
Newest VW Group EV looks smart outside and has good range, but not as big or roomy as the Ioniq 5.
The direct alternative, if you don’t fancy a Genesis GV60. The EV6 is as equally brilliant as the Hyundai.
The one everyone wants, but frankly the Ioniq 5 looks better, has a finer interior and is more generously equipped.
The Vanarama Verdict: 9/10
"It’s the 2022 UK Car of the Year. It also won a hat-trick of gongs at the 2022 World Car of the Year awards, including the prestigious and much-coveted overall title."
Three Things To Remember About The Hyundai Ioniq 5:
Fabulously distinctive exterior
It’s absolutely massive inside
Good range, great driving refinement