The retro-modern Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a supremely talented all-electric family car that’s hard to fault. It arrives in showrooms shortly and we’ve had a close look and drive of both RWD and AWD versions.
Over recent years, Hyundai, along with its subsidiary brand Kia, has been at the forefront of producing well-built, practical electrified family cars. Mild- or plug-in hybrid tech is offered on models such as the Ioniq, while both the Ioniq and Kona, are also available with the benefits of zero-emission, all-electric drive.
But, pioneering and innovative automakers must continue to push things forward, or risk falling into EV obscurity, and that is exactly what Hyundai has done with its latest Ioniq 5 hatchback/crossover. In a move away from the architecture used so far across its electric, hybrid and combustion-engined models, the Ioniq 5 is Hyundai’s first car to use its new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and, as a foundation for the company’s next-level EV tech, it’s mightily impressive.
On launch in Australia, the Ioniq 5 is offered, initially, with one 72.6kWh battery and the choice of either rear or all-wheel drive. The entry-level $71,900 (before on-road costs) model has a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle, with 160kW and 350Nm of torque. It has a maximum range of 451km and a 0–100km/h time of 7.4 seconds.
The range-topping model ($75,900) features the same battery pack, but an extra electric motor on the front axle which gives the Ioniq 5 all-wheel drive and an output of 225kW and 605Nm of torque. The extra grunt slashes the EV’s 0–100km/h time to 5.2 seconds, although its maximum range figure takes a slight hit at 430km. Both cars feature the exact same equipment beyond the driveline.
Inside, buyers get electrically adjustable seats with memory function and heating/ventilation, sunroof, eco-friendly leather upholstery, 12.3-inch digital cluster for the driver, 12.3-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight-speaker Bose sound system, heated steering wheel, and a powered tailgate.
Extra equipment for the two Launch Editions are 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and cool pop-out door handles. A rather flash matte gold paint is a $1000 option on either front or all-wheel drive speciation vehicle.
The Ioniq 5 sits on the manufacturer’s first dedicated BEV platform called E-GMP, and the new tech will also underpin production of smaller and larger models. Despite showcasing the company’s latest EV architecture, the Ioniq 5 still incurs the typical weight penalty that comes from housing big, heavy batteries, although its design does allow for the cells to be placed under the floor to help deliver a low centre of gravity.
Hyundai’s all-electric hatchback weighs around two tonnes, but performance remains solid, with fierce acceleration off the line in the 225kW top-spec model if you decide to stamp on the pedal. Otherwise, the power delivery is all very relaxed, with the 5 easy to pilot around town.
We wouldn’t say the Ioniq 5 is an especially fun car to drive around twisty lanes, as it majors on providing great levels of comfort rather than B-road thrills – a brief it fulfills impressively well. The 20-inch alloy wheels provide a little more shuffle over slow-speed lumps and bumps than you’d perhaps like, but overall the 5 offers a composed ride, with limited body roll and the light steering well suited to the car’s set-up.
A real boon for Ioniq 5 owners is the car’s ability to support 800V charging, which means you can top-up from 10 to 80 percent in around 18 minutes. Making longer journeys shouldn’t be too much of a chore with the Ioniq 5. During our own test we plugged into a new 350kW charging station which took an almost empty battery to 50 per cent range in under 10 minutes.
The stunning Concept 45 car, revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, gave us an insight into Hyundai’s thinking around how an Ioniq 5 production model might look. Fortunately, the subtle-cool design remains largely untouched from that original vision, and the 5 certainly stands out from a growing list of EV rivals.
The retro-modern style works well and it will appeal to those who appreciate a minimalist approach, although a standout feature is the LED headlight design which is made up from 256 individual ‘pixels’. Once inside, the driver is faced with a pair of 12.3-inch digital screens – one a colour touchscreen covering the infotainment and sat-nav systems, while the other displays information for the driver.
Hyundai’s infotainment set-up is superb – the twin displays remind us of high-end Mercedes interiors, with two 12.3-inch screens side-by-side. One provides digital dials, the second is a touchscreen for other functions – but there are still real climate controls.
It’s easy to use, works well with smartphone functions, is responsive and the graphics look sleek. The menus are well laid-out, too, so there’s very little to complain about in the Hyundai – except perhaps that only one of the front USB ports works with the smartphone link.
Hyundai has designed the Ioniq 5 with a focus very much on comfort and ease of use, although at first sight you may be slightly taken aback by the oversized hatchback’s dimensions. Make no mistake, the 5 is a big family car, but this does bring the advantage of plenty of interior space for the driver and passengers.
The Ioniq 5’s king-sized cabin is vast and, with the battery pack mounted beneath the floor, occupants benefit from a flat floor space which really opens up the interior, while the large windows add to the bright and airy feel.
Useful details that help make day-to-day family life slightly easier include under bonnet storage, sliding rear seats, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control, while top-spec versions add electrically-adjustable front seats that recline almost fully flat, a sliding centre console and an automatic tailgate. A couple of downsides to note, though, are that the rear doors are very big, and could be awkward to use in tight parking spaces, while Hyundai, in its infinite wisdom, has decided not to fit a rear wash wiper.
The Ioniq 5 is 4635mm in length, which is 420mm longer than the Hyundai Kona Electric and 172mm longer than the Mercedes-Benz EQA. By way of further comparison, the 5 is longer and wider than its Tucson mid-size SUV sibling – though it doesn’t stand as tall.
As mentioned above, the 5’s rear seats have a sliding function to help maximise legroom or boot space, as required. The completely flat floor is a welcome feature, particularly for those in the back, while the long wheelbase gives a limo-like feel inside.
The rear boot is wide and provides easy access, although it’s quite shallow and you’ll need to retract the parcel shelf to accommodate larger items. There’s 527 litres of space on offer, and this grows to a huge 1587 litres with the rear seats folded.
The Ioniq 5 hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but Hyundai will be expecting nothing less than a full five stars for safety locally by ANCAP. Standard kit includes a Forward Collision Avoidance Assist function, Highway Drive Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, along with Lane Follow and Lane Keep Assist systems. Other passive features include a total of seven airbags.
The Ioniq 5 family hatchback represents a real shift forward in Hyundai’s ability to chase down premium electric rivals, helping to persuade EV buyers who are motivated by stylish design, great on-board tech and practical range and charging speeds, to invest in the Korean brand.
With stunning looks and a sense of cool that sets it apart from the pack, Hyundai has added to the Ioniq 5’s strong kerb appeal with competitive pricing, a very good electric drivetrain, generous standard kit and advanced active safety systems.