The Hyundai IONIQ 5 offers striking styling, a 298 mile range in 73kWh rear-wheel drive form, and a refined and comfortable driving experience.
Hyundai gave us the Kona Electric, which was one of our favourite electric cars, offering a 300-mile range for a price that was initially closer to £30,000 than £40,000. It also gave us the IONIQ. Between them, the Kona and IONIQ were available with a range of engine options including petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric. Hyundai has now given us the IONIQ 5, which is electric-only. So is this a giant step forward?
The Kona and IONIQ were both front-wheel drive. With the IONIQ 5, Hyundai has developed an all-new platform that has moved from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The IONIQ 5 has also been designed solely as an EV rather than as a car that can be petrol or electric, so it’s less of a compromise, especially in terms of packaging.
The IONIQ 5 has also adopted a striking exterior styling, along with a modern, spacious, airy lounge feel inside; there’s even a glove box that opens like a drawer towards the front seat passenger. All design is subjective, and the boldness is applauded, but we’re thinking that the Stealth Fighter looks may work even better on a sporty off-roader.
Our test car had a 73kWh battery and a single electric motor at the rear, giving rear-wheel drive. A smaller 58kW battery is also available, as is all-wheel drive.
The IONIQ 5 has lots of space – the car is bigger than it looks – and there’s a good amount of storage between the front seats and a large 527-litre boot. The rear seats are also flexible in terms of how they can be moved.
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The headline is that the IONIQ 5 feels very premium to drive, being quiet and refined with a comfortable ride. The long wheelbase helps with the ride quality – it’s the opposite to the bouncy ride you get in a car with a short wheelbase such as a Fiat 500.
Like most EVs, thanks to the battery being in the floor, it has a low centre of gravity, so it goes round corners with minimal roll.
All the above means that the IONIQ 5 is a very capable and stable long distance motorway companion.
Although we’ve driven the all-wheel drive version on the IONIQ 5’s launch, our week-long test car was rear-wheel drive. For an electric car with 350Nm of torque, rear-wheel drive is so much better than front-wheel drive. Interestingly, the front-wheel drive Hyundai Kona Electric has even more torque (395Nm) and the result is lots of wheelspin under enthusiastic acceleration in the wet.
The rear-wheel drive IONIQ 5 doesn’t have any such dramas, it handles the torque in a very controlled way, proving that rear-wheel drive rather than front-wheel drive is the way to go with EVs. However you can’t describe the IONIQ 5 as a driver’s car; the handling is generally very neutral unless you really push it on a greasy, wet corner (there’s a button to switch off the traction control).
Performance is good, although the 0-60mph time of 7.4 seconds is slower than the rapid 5.2 seconds of the all-wheel drive model, and the kerb weight of 1,910kg doesn’t help with agile performance.
The steering is possibly the weakest link – it’s not the most engaging or rewarding of systems.
There’s a drive mode button on the steering wheel – a location normally reserved for more exotic machinery. This gives you the options of Eco, Normal and Sport – and you can press and hold it for Snow. If you press the button it changes drive mode quickly, unlike some EVs where there’s a delay.
The gear selector is located on the bottom right-hand side of the steering column, which is a strange and not very clear place for it (although the BMW i3 has a gear selector in a similar position). There’s no ‘B’ setting, but there are steering-wheel mounted paddles to change the amount of brake regeneration, with five levels.
The dashboard features two large screens, one in the centre of the car, and one in front of the driver, with very modern-looking graphics. There are infotainment shortcut buttons as well as buttons for climate and ventilation, which is much better than having to delve into the touchscreen to look for these controls when you’re driving. However the arrows to adjust the cabin temperature are very small and fiddly.
The satnav map had a black background with dark roads during the week we had the car, as though it was on night setting, but it seems that was just the normal setting, which wasn’t very clear. The reversing camera however was very clear (although there’s no rear windscreen wiper), and when you indicate, the view of the road to the front left or front right appears in the instrument display.
You can easily switch off the lane departure warning system using a button on the steering wheel, which is good.
One area for improvement is to engineer the steering wheel to provide greater reach adjustment, as the driving position isn’t perfect.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 Premium 73kWh RWD has an official WLTP combined electric driving range of 298 miles. During a week with the car, including driving from Manchester to Wetherby to the Lake District on one charge (with two miles of range left on arrival), we averaged 265 – 283 miles in the real world, which is impressive. We’ve achieved over 300 miles in a Hyundai Kona Electric and in a Kia e-Niro before, so we would imagine that 300 miles would be possible in the IONIQ 5 with careful driving.
The all-wheel drive model loses 11 miles of range, resulting in 287 miles. There’s also a 58kW battery version with a range of 240 miles.
Hyundai claims an average energy consumption of 3.7mls/kWh for both the 58kW and rear-wheel drive 73kW car, with a slight drop to 3.5mls/kWh for the all-wheel drive 73kW version.
A full charge will take 9 hours on a 7kW home wallbox. At a 50kW public rapid charger, an 80 per cent charge will take 56 minutes. The IONIQ 5 also supports 350kW charging, potentially giving an 80 per cent charge in 17 minutes.
To charge the car you press the charging cover to get it to open, but it didn’t seem to like doing this; you press a button that automatically closes the charging cover, which works better.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 Premium 73kWh RWD costs £41,945. Our test car had options of matt paint and vehicle to load (V2L) pack. The V2L pack is an option on the Premium spec, and standard on the Ultimate spec. The V2L adapter plugs into the charging socket and has a 3 pin / 240v socket on the opposite end. You can use this to charge another EV from the IONIQ 5 using a charging cable with a 3 pin plug. The V2L pack also gives you a 240v socket which is located under the middle rear seat, to allow you to plug in electronic products with a plug, such as a laptop.
The IONIQ 5 model range consists of three models: 58 kWh RWD 170PS, 73 kWh RWD 217PS and 73 kWh AWD 305PS.
Prices start at £36,995 for the SE Connect 58kW model but Hyundai expects that 90 per cent of buyers will go for the Premium 73kW rear-wheel drive car at £41,945.
The IONIQ 5 is a very impressive all-round car. It has a refined, premium feel, distinctive looks, it’s spacious, and it has a range of almost 300 miles. It’s also more affordable than many rivals. The rear-wheel drive of our test car is better than the Kona’s front-wheel drive, but if you want more performance, you’ll have to go for the all-wheel drive model. So to answer our initial question, is the IONIQ 5 a giant step forward compared to the Kona Electric? In terms of packaging, refinement, driving experience and technology, yes. However, strangely, the driving range has actually gone backwards by two miles. Despite this, the IONIQ 5 gains a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.