The Hyundai Ioniq 6 looks like nothing else on the road. Dubbed a ‘streamliner’ by its South Korean makers, its design is inspired by various products and some of the most aerodynamic trains, planes and automobiles of the pre- and post-war period.
Just like some of those iconic 20th Century creations, the Ioniq 6 divides opinion.
For me, this retro-mod, low-slung EV is a breath of fresh air in an automotive world packed with lookalike SUVs.
Yes, that swooping, banana-shaped aesthetic is brave but get up close and personal and it absolutely works.
Clearly, others agree because it was crowned overall World Car of the Year 2023, plus it won the World Electric Vehicle and World Car Design of the Year categories.
Hyundai is also especially proud of the Ioniq 6’s distinctive ‘Parametric Pixels’ – 700 in total. You can find them in the headlights, rear lights, front sensors, air damper trim, centre console indicator and third brake light (and check out the unique rear wing light signature when braking).
Sharing its underpinnings with the angular Hyundai Ioniq 5 crossover, the 6’s slippery shape and aero aids, such as an active air flap results in an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.21.
Just as importantly, its aerodynamic lines boost performance and optimise efficiency.
Initially only available with a long-range 77.4kWh battery, the Ioniq 6 has a driving range of up to 338-miles (rear-wheel drive version) or 322 miles (all-wheel drive).
The single-motor RWD develops 226bhp and 258 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, while the twin-motor AWD delivers 320bhp and 446 lb-ft, resulting in a faster 5.1sec 0-62mph sprint.
Customers can choose from two generously-equipped trim levels (Premium and Ultimate). There were also First Edition models at launch but these quickly sold out.
All models feature an impressive 800v charging system providing 350kW compatibility, meaning it can be used at the fastest chargers currently available.
I’d expect the Ioniq 6 to charge to 80% in around 20 minutes when connected to a 350kW rapid charger. If you have a home wall box, you’ll be able to charge overnight while a boost to 80% via a more common 50kW public charger will take one hour and 13 minutes.
The Ioniq 6 is futuristic inside too, with twin 12.3-inch screens – a driver’s digital instrument panel and a central infotainment display.
Thankfully a few dials and switches have survived the minimalist purge sweeping through interior car design. For instance, there are small touch-sensitive icons for the climate controls in a separate panel beneath the touchscreen. These are a bit fiddly but infinitely better than having to swipe through menus.
Overall, the quality of the interior is a step up from the Ioniq 5 with comfortable seats and plenty of soft-touch surfaces.
There’s plenty of space inside front and rear, though taller rear passengers (6ft and over) might struggle for headroom, thanks to that sweeping roofline. There’s also limited space for your feet if the driver’s seat in front is fully lowered.
The 401-litre boot capacity is very useful, too. Maybe a liftback wouldn’t have been more practical, but you can flip the back seats to transport longer objects.
I got behind the wheel of a Premium spec model with all-wheel drive.
If you’re used to SUVs, the seating position will seem low, but believe me, it’s much more involving once you glide off.
The first impression is one of serenity. The whole cabin experience is smooth and refined. Not only does the Ioniq float over all but the worst potholes but it’s whisper-quiet, too.
It was tanking down during the test, so the extra grip and assurance provided by the 4×4 system was more than welcome.
Over a day of mixed driving, the Ioniq 6 was never anything other than effortless and felt totally planted.
At its best cruising along, it is also surprisingly agile when you pick up the pace on more twisty country roads.
Body lean was well controlled, while the steering was nicely weighted with ample driver feedback.
There are three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport. As ever, Normal is just fine. And if you want extra regenerative braking, then flick one of the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
Based on a day of driving, the claimed ranges are realistic if you drive sensibly, with the usual caveats of air temperature and terrain.
As with just about every new tech-laden EV these days, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 was awarded a maximum of five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP.
What’s more, it’s also fitted with Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2), which is Level 2 autonomous driving. The system helps to maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead when driving on a motorway and helps to centre the vehicle in the lane while driving. It can even overtake the vehicle in front.
So, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a genuinely impressive car, and in my eyes, a worthy winner of its World Car of the Year award.
ev.tips is your independent and authoritative site for the best electric vehicle news and reviews in the UK
Get the latest EV news direct to your inbox every week