One of the most amazing brand turnarounds have to be Hyundai and its sibling, Kia. What were once inexpensive but durable vehicles that were low on desirability, are now some of the most exciting, interesting and leading edge in the marketplace. And the perfect example is the Ioniq 5 EV. Not only is it a ground breaker for the brand, but it’s also making people think about EV’s who might never have considered one before. How does it do it? Let’s take a look!
Hyundai started by making the Ioniq look like nothing else from the maker before. But don’t take that to mean something George Jetson would drive. (OK, his car flew.). The 5 is really fun to look at – there’s some things that look very 80’s – but in a cool retro way – while others feel state of the art. Hyundai says they wanted to evoke the daring attitude of the Pony, the company’s first production car, as well as their 45-yearjourney to where they are today. Cool.
Starting at the front, you have Hyundai’s first clamshell hood that minimizes gaps and helps aerodynamics. The signature square LED headlamps and daytime running lights look like nothing else on the road, while a grille-less front tips you off this is an EV. We liked the bright finisher on the lower fascia that bend around to the sides to continue the line.
This is a large vehicle that hides it size well – the wheelbase is longer than Hyundai’s 3-row Pallisade SUV! The profile is a handsome 5-door hatchback with a steeply angled C pillar. Access is by slender flip-out door handles. A cool thing, as you walk up to the Ioniq, it senses your remote and flips the handles out from their flush position for easy entry. Fun.
Giving added style are contrasting color wheel wells, while flush-shaped, black 20-inch wheels are massive in height and width and gives off a very sporty vibe. Between the rims, an angled cut-in gives added contour for a muscular look.
At the rear, the pixel-style square taillights are vintage 80’s video game, while IONIQ5 spelled out in bold block letters is modern and crisp. Up top, a slotted rear spoiler aids aerodynamics, while an angled lower fascia gives some added bling, and a trucky, capable look. The finishing touch is the bright and elegant Lucid Blue paint, a perfect way to show off the unique lines.
Pure EV Interior
Open the door, and you know you’re in for something special.
The first impression is of wide-open spaciousness. A long horizontal pair of displays sweeps across the dash, while a flat floor reinforces legroom front and back. The light gray interior keeps things bright, while the massive fixed panoramic roof lets in loads of light.
Settle into the deeply cushioned heated and ventilated front seats and you’re instantly comfortable. Fun fact – push a button and the front seats recline to a “zero-gravity” angle, with footrests that swing up – perfect for grabbing a nap while you’re charging up the vehicle! On Limited models like our tester, the center console can also be slid fore and aft to give more room.
It might be hard to nap, though, because there’s plenty of fun to be had. In front of the driver are two 12-inch displays, with gauges directly in front, plus a touchscreen in the center. After recently testing the Kia Sportage, the Ioniq’s info-tainment system is familiar and easy to use, with a couple of swipes or taps bringing up just about anything you need. Any additional switches you need are in tasteful faux metal or served up in the slim climate control display below the vents.
Also worth noting is the cool “Augmented Reality” head up display that turns the windshield into a display screen.
It’s not only the design, but also the quality of materials that impress. Hyundai went to great lengths to use eco-friendly materials from recycled PET bottles on the seats, headliner, door trim, floor and armrest. Plant-based yarns and natural wool yarns, along with bio paint with plant extracts are also used.
More than eco-friendly, the interior feels plush and expensive, and the design makes you feel that Hyundai really wanted you to have a special experience every time you’re in the Ioniq 5.
Electric Glide in Blue
Driving the Ioniq is as enjoyable as the looks and features.
Hyundai gives you a choice of powertrains, from a single motor rear wheel drive model with 168 hp and an impressive 303-mile range., Our tester’s dual-motor AWD model boasted an impressive 320 hp. Power comes with strong range, too – our tester had an estimated 266 miles on a full charge. (You can go over 300 miles if you’re willing to forgo AWD).
Speaking of charge, the Ioniq’s fast charging is quick – using an ultra-fast 800V DC charger gets you from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes. Level 3 chargers will take you only 25 minutes, and if you use a Level 2 240V 10-100% is about 7 hours – perfect for the overnight.
You’ll be enjoying that range and power, because the Ioniq is a rush to drive. The AWD model easily dispatches 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds, and it feels even faster, since there’s no noise or vibration. It’s seriously fast and you can humble lots of expensive sports machines.
Adding to the fun, you can dial in “one pedal” driving that uses strong regenerative braking and slows the car to a stop just by taking your foot off the accelerator. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s fun once you’ve mastered it – and it also helps you extend your range. A win-win.
Handling is impressive too. AWD, massive tires and all the weight sitting low in the chassis gives athletic handling and loads of grip. The steering is light, but a little numb, still, you can throw the Ioniq around and have a ball doing it. Another plus, we loved the overhead 360-view camera, making it easy to fit the Ioniq into tight parking spots. Ride quality is exceptional and smooth, making the 5 a true Grand Touring machine more than a sports car.
How Much to Get a Charge out of My Drive?
Hyundai gives you a range of prices and choices. The entry-level SE Standard Range comes in at $41,450 with a 220-mile range, that great style and room, it could be all the EV you’ll ever need. At the other end of the spectrum is our Limited AWD tester, with a $56,500 sticker. With carpeted floor mats ($210) and Destination ($1,295), we rang the bell at $58,005. We’re not sure where the Ioniq will land on the new regs on rebates for EV’s, but there may be additional savings.
Competition would include the sibling Kia EV6, which would comp out at $58,695. They both offer a similar drive, but the styling is very different. Choose the one you like. BTW, there is a more expensive 576-hp EV6 model if you feel like hunting Porsches! We also liked the stylish and friendly VW ID4, that would comp out at $56,935. A bit less money, but it’s also a bit slower and more conventional than the Ioniq.
Amazing style, commodious and delightful interior and jaw-dropping performance, the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is our favorite EV!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.