Hyundai’s latest electric model supports eye-catching style with an impressive range and decent performance at a competitive price
In the few weeks that storms swept across the country, like many people, we suffered a series of power outages that left us without power for hours
Such a lack of power was a novelty at first until realization dawned that these cuts weren’t the usual 30-second blips, but something far more serious, and the need for light, warmth, and the vital charging of phones became ever more pressing. In the gloom, call for flashlights and battery booster packs, and boiling water pans on the gas stove to brew supportive cups of tea.
Had we had the Hyundai Ioniq 5 in the driveway this nonsense wouldn’t have been necessary, but of course it popped up in the short window between big weather events. This meant we never had the chance to take advantage of the EV’s rather clever ‘Vehicle to Load’ (V2L) feature, which would have allowed us to plug in the kettle, lights, chargers and even the TV via a simple adapter power the car’s traction battery at the charging port or in the cabin.
V2L is one of the very smart features of the E-GMP platform on which the Ioniq 5 is based, which sets it apart from previous Hyundai EVs. There’s also the latest driver assistance features and the 800V architecture, which allows for some of the fastest charging of any EV on the planet – more on that later.
The Ioniq 5 is also immediately recognizable for its stunning looks. One reviewer told me it was the ugliest thing they’ve seen in years, but I absolutely love the design. Maybe it’s because I’m a kid of the ’80s when the Delorean DMC-12 was the coolest thing on four wheels, but its angular retro-futuristic styling with sharp creases and square pixel-style lights just looks absolutely brilliant .
What is particularly clever is that it largely disguises the size of the car. It’s hard to tell from pictures, but the Ioniq 5 is about the same size as a mid-2000s family SUV, but even in the metal its hatchback styling fools the eye into thinking it’s smaller than it really is is.
Diese großen Außenmaße bedeuten viel Platz im Inneren. Der Ioniq 5 fühlt sich besonders breit an, mit viel Platz zwischen den Vordersitzen, aber auch in der Kabine ist viel Länge, mit großzügiger Beinfreiheit selbst hinter einem großen Fahrer. Frustrierend für eine fünfköpfige Familie, während die Rückbank leicht breit genug für drei Personen ist, ist der mittlere Sitz eine schmale Sitzstange, die zwischen den weitaus größeren und geformten äußeren Bänken eingezwängt ist.
Ohne Getriebetunnel konnte Hyundai mit dem Innenraum machen, was er wollte. Am Ende blieb man bei der Idee einer großen Mittelkonsole mit Getränkehaltern, Ablagefach und USB-Steckdosen. Aber dank der Flexibilität der Plattform ist die Konsole offener und weniger imposant als in einem ICE-Wagen, und es gibt immer noch ein Gefühl von Geräumigkeit um sie herum.
As with the rest of the cabin, the center console design has been kept fairly simple and the overall interior feels slightly stripped down, without much embellishment, except on the dashboard, where the dual 12.3-inch infotainment/instrument screen cluster is surrounded by glossy finishes white plastic for another touch of 80’s nostalgia. Beneath the central screen are a handful of shortcut keys and a frustrating array of touchscreen-style glass-enclosed climate controls. They’re better than hiding functions behind a menu, but still less intuitive and less easy to use than proper physical switches.
Hyundai recently announced a slew of updates to the Ioniq 5, including camera-based wing mirrors (bad idea) and a larger battery (good idea). While our car came fitted with a 73kWh unit, cars ordered from this spring will come with a 77kWh package, which should offer a range increase, although the exact increase is yet to be confirmed.
Even with the older “big” package (there’s a 58kWh option too), the Ioniq 5’s claimed range is 5,298 miles. As with all electric vehicles, the weather and where and how you drive can have a big impact. Over a week I saw consumption fluctuate between 2.8 and 3.3 miles per kWh, while the long-term record showed an average of 3.1, not as good as something like the comparably priced Skoda Enyaq but better than the more expensive one Audi Q4 e-tron.
What helps the Ioniq 5’s case as a practical long-haul machine is that it comes standard with 350kW charging, meaning it can take advantage of ultra-fast chargers. On the rare 350kW units it can go from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes, on the more common 150kW units it can still do an impressive 70% boost (roughly 200 miles) in 22 minutes.
On the road, the Ioniq 5 shows what appears to be an evolving pattern in mainstream electric vehicles, with a focus on commendable driveability and refinement at the expense of driving pleasure. Acceleration is razor-sharp and linear, and there’s plenty of stability and grip thanks to the low-lying battery, but it’s not a particularly fun car to drive.
Ditto for most SUVs, electric or otherwise, so this is hardly a major failing of the Ioniq 5. In fact, this electric Hyundai has no major failings. Little things like the lack of a rear wiper and heated seat controls buried in a touchscreen menu are annoying but relatively insignificant and don’t unduly detract from what is an impressive, practical, and stylish family car.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Premium 73kWh RWD
Price: £41,690; Motor: Single synchronous motor; Battery: 73kWh; Power: 214 hp; Torque: 258 lb feet; Transmission: single-speed, rear-wheel drive; Top speed: 115 km/h; 0-100km/h: 7.4 seconds; WLTP range: 298 miles; Consumption: 3.7 miles/kWh; Charging: Up to 350kW