Way back in the Summer of 1988, working for a driving schools publication, I had the opportunity to drive a Hyundai, the Pony Gold Medal. This was a special edition Pony, launched to coincide with that year’s Seoul Olympics. Powered by a 1.5 litre petrol engine, the Pony cost under £7,000 & was the Korean giants first real foray into the UK car market. Over time, each Hyundai that arrived in Europe took the brand closer to it’s European competitors & I drove the Accent, the Getz & finally the i20, which brings us right up to date. It wasn’t these model’s per se, that have evolved into the brands latest offering, the electric IONIQ 5, but I like to think that every Hyundai car has contributed in some way.
What is it ?
The IONIQ 5 is the first model of Hyundai’s new electric range, which will be followed shortly by the IONIQ 6. The odd numbers will represent new Hyundai electric SUV’s, whilst the even numbers, hatchbacks or saloons.
Model choice & battery range
A 58kW battery drives a single 168bhp motor offering a 240 mile range. The 73kW version is comes with 214bhp & a 280 mile range. And finally, you can opt for the most powerful 301bhp version, with a dual motor set-up & 4WD, which comes with a 267 mile range. The IONIQ also supports 800v charging, so you can top up where offered from 10-80% in just 18 minutes.
Trims & equipment
Three trims, SE Connect, Premium & Ultimate. SE Connect comes with 19″ alloy wheels, cloth upholstery from ‘naturally derived polyester resin’, a 12.3″ infotainment display, SatNav, wireless phone charging, a rear view camera Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Premium adds a powered driver’s seat, front seat heating, LED projector headlights & a powered boot. As with our Premium test car, you can also add the ‘Vehicle 2 Load’ (V2L) pack, which makes it possible to power or charge external devices using the car as an electricity source.
Ultimate spec is only available with the 73kW battery & takes the alloys up to 20″, adds leather upholstery, privacy glass, black exterior trim, electrically adjustable & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a Bose sound system, a head-up display, alloy pedals, V2L as standard & a sliding centre console.
Safety equipment increases by trim as well. So SE Connect gets adaptive cruise control & lane keep assist. Premium adds a surround view mirror, Blind Spot & junction collision avoidance, as well as Highway Drive Assist Level 2, which enables the car to change lanes autonomously.
This is not a shrinking violet. It’s the boldest car design yet to emerge from Korea. The front features rectangular LED lights, located behind a dark glass strip, the rear, a strip of LED lights that run right across the back. It looks smooth & buffed all over. The look is further enhanced by our test cars Matt grey paint finish.
The interior is a Terence Conran dream. Subtle greys, blacks & chrome in soft touch plastic & fabric exude a calm. The highlight is the 12.3″ drivers TFT display instrument cluster & alongside the 12.3″ touchscreen SatNav & media centre, that stretch right across the minimalist dash top. Separate heating controls sit underneath function buttons for the DAB Radio, Media, SatNav, Map & volume controls. You also get three USB connections & a 12v socket. In the rear, there’s two more USB’s, a fold down armrest & the air vents are neatly located in the door pillars, rather than down below. At 1,890mm wide, the interior feels spacious.
Even the glove box has been designed with style, sliding out horizontally like a drawer & it’s large as well. Twin centre cup holders, a movable front armrest with space underneath, a cubby for your keys & medium sized door pockets, all offer useful storage. The boot comes with 527 litres of space, 1,587 litres with the rear seats folded.You also get a flat folding floor, with space underneath for hiding the charging cables. The rear seats will sit three adults comfortably & each moves separately back & forth to create more or less leg room. At 1,890mm wide it’s wider than the competition which makes the interior feel airy.
Driving & regenerative braking
In common with other EV’s, the IONIQ 5 offers drivers a choice of regenerative braking. Utilised using the paddles behind the steering wheel, there are in effect five available. Zero kicks thing off & is really no-regen driving, which is good for progress on the motorway. By pulling the left paddle back, you then move up through 1, 2 & 3 & for the maximum level, iPedal, which brings the car to almost a complete stop. Although iPedal regen does feel quite strong, compared to similar systems on other EV’s that we’ve tried, which can actually make your right foot tired, it’s actually quite light.
We were testing the IONIQ 5 Premium 73kWh RWD, which weighs in at just over 2000kg. The battery weight definitely contributes to the cars drivability. It’s unsurprisingly, a little stodgy, but again, compared to other large battery electric cars, such as the Audi e-tron & Mercedes-Benz EQC, it’s not that noticeable & is more akin to the ride you’ll get from a Volkswagen ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq iV. We liked it.
What it isn’t though is slow, with a 0-60 mph time of just 5.2 seconds achieved in Sport mode; you can also choose from Normal or Eco, & a top speed of 115mph. There’s excellent mid-range acceleration as well. Motorway cruising is a doddle, urban progress calm & quiet & the on board tech all works well. The white backed 12.3″ infotainment is crystal clear & AppleCar Play syncs your iPhone superbly.
Economy & charging
Hyundai claims an average energy consumption of 3.7miles/kWh for both the 58kW & rear-wheel drive 73kW car, with a slight drop to 3.5miles/kWh for the AWD 73kW version. We had the car for five days in September, drove approximately 200 miles, on a mix of local urban roads & the M56 & M60. We drove almost exclusively in Eco mode, utilised the iPedal when taking short journeys & averaged 3.2miles/kWh. Multiply that by the 73kW battery & you’re looking at a range of 233 miles, which is 37 miles under the claimed, but in our opinion, a more accurate result.
The IONIQ 5 looks fantastic, both inside & out. The interiors spacious, it’s very well equipped & the on board tech is some of the best out there. Factor in a real world 230 mile range & 1% BIK & company car drivers should be taking a long hard look.
And the bad
Some cheap plastic has been used on the door pockets. The matte black door finish which we liked, does have a tendency to smudge. We’re struggling…
Whilst we really liked both the Volkswagen ID.4 & Skoda Enya iV, alongside, they pale in comparison to stylish IONIQ 5. It really is a stunner. From a company car perspective, 1% BIK rising to 2% in 2022 makes it an attractive proposition. Model wise, company car drivers will be more than happy with the smaller 53kW version in SE Connect spec, which will still offer drivers a 200 mile range & not least, because it has a P11D value of £36,940. The highest praise that we can give in Autumn 2021, is that the IONIQ 5 is the first electric car that we’ve driven, that is tempting enough to consider as our very own company car.
Enough said 4.75/5
Model tested: IONIQ 5 Premium 73kWh RWD
Extras: Matt paint, Vehicle 2 Load option.
Battery type: 73kWh
Transmission: Single motor RWD
Max power: 217PS / 160kW
Max torque: 350 / 258
10.5kWh 3 phase on board charger (OBC)
CCS Combo Rapid Charge Port: (50kW)
Charging Cable: 7 Pin Type 2
Charging Cable: Emergency 3 pin Connector (ICCB)