One essential feature makes it the EV to beat
2021 is year when electric cars became widespread.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 are tough, attainable electric cars. They have personality. They are fascinating. And, above all, they are Ordinary.
Rather than early adopters and eco-warriors, ordinary people are starting to buy electric vehicles in droves, and the conversion from internal combustion to electric is in full swing.
Why the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is different
2022 may also be the year of the electric vehicle, but 2021 isn’t quite over with us just yet. Last week I got to test drive the new Hyundai Ioniq 5, and it’s my favorite of the new generation of electric cars.
It is the first to run on Hyundai’s specially designed E-GMP platform. This platform is designed to maximize interior space and allows for designs that are not possible with a traditional internal combustion engine.
The Ioniq 5 has the longest wheelbase of any Hyundai, including the gigantic three-row palisade. The wheels are pushed far towards the corners of the car, and the resulting transformation of the interior is astonishing. Hyundai swears that the Ioniq 5, the first in a growing family of Hyundai Ioniq vehicles (the old Ioniq electric car was discontinued, although the hybrid version continues, which is confusing), is a compact SUV, but rather, it is a large hatchback.
But thanks to the smart packaging and proportions of the E-GMP platform, the Ioniq 5 feels a lot more spacious when you slip inside. A full-size floating dashboard contains two large screens, one for the instrument cluster and the second for infotainment. Below these are manually operated vents, which is sort of a feature now, as Tesla and Rivian, among others, have moved to digitally sighted ducts.
Below the displays is an actual volume knob and a selection of dedicated climate and radio buttons. There is, however, no physical button for the heated seats. Instead, you have to dive into the menus, following several steps if you’re using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Hopefully this will be fixed in an update since the Ioniq 5 is capable of live updates and Hyundai plans to introduce new features over time.
But below it’s wide open, with roomy legs and tons of space. Between the front seats is a sliding console that can move rearward to give more floor space for a bag or purse, or it can slide forward to provide more room for legs at the back (and make the armrest functional).
The seats support and do the job, but the driver’s seat has a fantastic function where it can transform into a recliner with legrest. It is very comfortable and will make stopping to charge on a road trip almost relaxing. But you won’t have much time to relax, we’ll talk about that in a few moments.
The steering wheel is fine, although it does look a bit odd. It is a two-spoke design, slightly flattened at the bottom without any logo in the center of the wheel. There is a circular drive mode controller at the bottom left of the wheel that I had a bit of trouble locating even though he was looking me in the face. The change between Eco and Normal and Sport modes resulted in a very different driving experience.
If you have the dual AWD Ioniq 5 motor, the car will switch off one of the motors in Eco mode to improve range at the cost of some performance. All versions of the Ioniq 5 have a 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery. You can choose between a zippy twin-engine AWD setup that makes a total of 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque or a slower (but not sluggish) single-engine RWD unit that produces 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
Fast charge and autonomy
The AWD unit may seem like the obvious choice, but not so quickly. The rear-drive configuration gets an EPA estimated range of 303 miles, while the dual-engine AWD version only gets 256 miles. Both versions get a top speed of 115 mph and 2,000 pounds of towing capability, but no word on what hauling a ton of extra weight does to the range.
A feature that kills – But the most exciting part of the Ioniq 5 is its unbelievably fast charge. Using a 350-kilowatt rapid charger, the car can cover up to 68 miles of range in five minutes or charge 10-80% in 18 minutes.
It’s not just a hype either. I saw it coming, and Hyundai has published a video of it in timelapse and real time formats. If you want to watch an Ioniq 5 charge for 18 minutes, you can do that.
Speed is due to the 800-volt battery system, a more advanced setup than the Mustang Mach-E or Volkswagen ID. 4. It’s the same type that Porsche uses in the Taycan, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m so excited about the new generation of electric cars from Hyundai and Kia.
The Ioniq 5 is fun to drive, like so many EVs, and the packaging and design are exquisite. But the experience of fast charging will be life changing for electric vehicle owners. We tested some Electrify America charging stations, and the Ioniq 5 quickly charged well above the maximum charging speed of Ford and Volkswagen electric vehicles.
The in-car navigation system includes real-time calculations to show how far you can go with a charge, and it can find charging stations along your route. To encourage fast charging, Hyundai has partnered with Electrify America to include unlimited 30-minute charging sessions for two years with every Ioniq 5.
Ioniq 5 includes the latest version of Hyundai’s excellent SmartSense driver assistance system, with an even better auto-centering system. Adaptive Cruise Control is even more adaptive, using machine learning to mimic the driver’s tendencies for acceleration and spacing with the vehicle ahead. If you’re a tailgating freak, the car will learn from you, I guess.
Also worth mentioning is the heads-up display, which includes an augmented reality system for navigation. The arrows will float in your field of vision and enlarge as you approach your tower. It’s hard to explain, but great to use. It’s a much better version of the augmented reality floating arrows in the Cadillac Escalade, but it’s actually beneficial because it’s in your direct line of sight.
The Ioniq 5 starts at $ 44,875 before any single engine tax credit, while the dual engine starts at $ 48,375. They’re showing up at Hyundai dealerships already, so if you hurry up you might even be able to grab one before everyone realizes how amazing it is.
Hyundai provided accommodation to examine this car on site, as is common practice in the automotive industry. Automobile manufacturers or their subsidiaries have no oversight when it comes to Reverse editorial content, which remains completely independent and of the brain of our extremely opinionated automotive analyst and critic, Jordan Golson.