It’s almost impossible to keep up with the number of awards won by the Hyundai Ioniq 5, but is this distinctive electric car really that good?
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 won the treble at the prestigious 2022 World Car Awards after being named overall World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle of the Year and World Car Design of the Year.
Since its launch, it has won numerous other accolades, including German Car of the Year, UK Car of the Year, Auto Express’s Car of the Year and Auto Bild’s Electric Car of the Year.
From the pictures I’d seen of this futuristically styled EV, I expected it to be about the size of a Volkswagen Golf hatchback. The reality is that its dimensions are closer to a Toyota RAV4 SUV.
Hyundai markets it as a “midsize CUV”, which is car industry speak for a Crossover Utility Vehicle – a blend of hatchback and SUV, for want of a better definition.
With a radical design that combines futuristic and retro styling elements, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 has huge kerb appeal and instantly dates just about every other car on the road.
There are various battery and motor options available, plus rear or all-wheel drive.
First up is the entry-level car with a 58kWh battery and single 167bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels. It has a claimed range of up to 238 miles and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds.
Step up to the 73kWh battery and range improves (up to 298 miles), while power is also upped to 215bhp, cutting the 0-62mph time to 7.3 seconds. Alternatively, this battery is also available with dual motors (which means all-wheel drive), 301bhp on tap, a range of up to 285 miles and a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds.
The Ioniq 5 is one of the first production vehicles with an 800-volt battery system allowing it to be charged at ultra rapid 350kW public chargers. In other words, you can charge your car from 10-80% in as little as 18 minutes.
Obviously, you can also charge overnight at home if you have a wallbox fitted, or use public chargers (AC and DC). For the record, a 10-80% charge using a fast 100kW public connection should take around 35 minutes, while a more common 50kW charger will get you up to 80% in some 50 minutes.
I tested the top-of-the range Ioniq 5 with twin electric motors, all-wheel drive and the largest battery size available, boasting 446lb ft (605Nm) of torque, plus a rear-wheel drive, single motor version with the same battery.
As you walk up to the car, the flush door handles pop out. Once inside, the benefits of the Ioniq 5’s size and flat floor are obvious – there’s stacks of space and it’s bathed in light.
It’s super modern and minimalist up front with a 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.
The seats are comfortable, but the driving position is on the high side for me. What’s more, thanks to the huge amount of cabin space, I felt perched and almost marooned at times. Also, the steering wheel obscured some of the driver’s display behind with my set-up.
That said, there is ample room for rear passengers, while the shallow boot still has a decent 527-litre capacity, expanding to 1,587 litres with the back seats folded. You can also store the charging cables in a space under the bonnet – or ‘frunk’.
The bonus of the commanding seating position is that there are no complaints in the visibility department, but ultimately the Ioniq 5 may be fast, but isn’t as sporty as it looks.
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 in a straight line.
You can 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 best 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-roads, but a little lifeless otherwise, while Sport is fun for short, battery-draining bursts of fun.
The ride is comfortable, but more spirited drivers might find it a little floaty with a tad too much body roll in faster corners.
On the plus side, there’s plenty of grip and the steering is light and easy, while the brakes are unusually responsive for an EV.
All versions of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are well equipped. Even the entry-level SE Connect model comes with the dual 12.3-inch screens, the impressive rapid charging capability, wireless smartphone charging, highway drive assist (an advanced version of adaptive cruise control) and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Move up to Premium for LED headlights, an electric driver’s seat, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance and an electric boot.
Ultimate adds a head-up display, a Bose sound system, rear privacy glass, ventilated front seats and 20-inch alloys.
However, no car is perfect and the Ioniq 5 is no exception. It’s not as dynamic to drive as some rivals, and the interior materials could be classier.
The lack of a rear wiper is a bigger issue than it might sound initially, especially on filthy wet motorway runs.
I tested the car in the winter so the 267-mile range (the AWD in top spec Ultimate trim with 20-inch wheels is already down on the regular RWD) was never on, but I’d say up to 240 miles is realistic on colder days.
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. Just beware of flooring it in slippery conditions – there’s a lot of power going through those rear wheels.
Perhaps the Ioniq 5’s most obvious rival is the Kia EV6. It shares its underpinnings with both the Kia and the more upmarket Genesis GV60 (another Hyundai-owned brand).
Other competitors include the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV, Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Finally, here are two more reasons why you consider the Ioniq 5. 1) It’s one of the safest cars on the roads, thanks to its full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. 2) It benefits from Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty, plus an eight-year battery warranty.