Hyundai is one of the firms right at the forefront of electrification, introducing EVs well ahead of many other marques, and really having its breakthrough moment with the 2018 Kona Electric. But whereas that was a battery-powered version of an existing model, Hyundai is now introducing bespoke models, the first being the IONIQ 5.
It’s the first Hyundai to be built on a dedicated electric car platform, which is known as E-GMP. It gives it quite a long wheelbase, with the wheels pushed out to the corners, freeing up interior space as well as improving the way it handles. It’s a properly cool design, too, truly looking like nothing else on the road today, while being deceptively large. In pictures it doesn’t look much bigger than a family hatch, but it’s actually similar in length to a mid-size SUV like a Mercedes GLC.
Also because of that platform, it’s been equipped with a clever electrical system that makes it one of the fastest-charging EVs on the market today. As it can charge at up to 350kW, it means a 10 to 80 per cent charge could take just 18 minutes, less than half the time it takes to top up the batteries of some of its competitors – on paper at least.
Hyundai offers the IONIQ 5 in three forms, depending on how much range and performance you’re looking for.
Starting the range is a rear-wheel-drive version that features a 168bhp electric motor and a 58kWh battery. It’s the most sensible option in the range – managing 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds, while offering an electric range of up to 238 miles.
If you want more range, the mid-spec model is the one to go for, with its 73kWh battery unlocking an electric range of up to 298 miles. It also features a more powerful 214bhp motor (though still driving the rear wheels), which reduces the 0-60mph time to 7.2 seconds.
Right at the top of the range is an all-wheel-drive version featuring twin electric motors that combine to produce a generous 301bhp, resulting in a 0-60mph time of just five seconds. It uses the same 73kWh battery too, though the electric range drops slightly to 285 miles.
Ride and handling
The size of the IONIQ 5 does take some time to adjust to, as it really is considerably larger than a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. However, once you’re tuned in to that, it really is fantastic to drive. We’ve only driven the powerful top-spec model, and the way it can get up to speed is superb – in fact it’s actually quicker than Hyundai’s i30 N hot hatch. Yet despite being quite fun to drive, it remains very comfortable, and ideal for longer motorway runs.
The only real complaint is that there is a bit too much road noise, which is only enhanced due to how quiet the powertrain is. It’s by no means bad, but other electric cars do offer a more hushed experience at higher speeds.
Perhaps the best thing about the IONIQ 5, though, is its interior. It’s immaculately well-packaged, and thanks to its surprisingly large interior, there’s a huge amount of space. The boot, for example, is larger than most SUVs at 588 litres, while adults will have no trouble stretching their legs in the rear seats.
The design is also ultra-modern, thanks to a futuristic two-spoke steering wheel along with twin screens, one for the digital dials and another for the main media system. It’s all quite minimalist, but it only enhances the feeling of space and comfort.
Hyundai offers three trim levels on the IONIQ 5 – SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate.
All versions get loads of kit, though, with SE Connect cars coming with the twin 12.3-inch screens, the impressive rapid charging capability, wireless smartphone charging, 19-inch alloy wheels and highway drive assist, which is an advanced version of adaptive cruise control.
Upgrade to the Premium to get dual LED headlights, an electric driver’s seat, an electric boot, heated front seats and blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance.
Right at the top of the range, the Ultimate has all the bells and whistles. Highlights include ventilated front seats, a head-up display, solar glass, a Bose sound system and rear privacy glass.
Prices for the IONIQ 5 start from £36,995 for the SE Connect car, but you’ll need £39,295 for the mid-spec Premium.
Meanwhile Ultimate models are available from £42,295, but rise to £48,195 if you want the flagship model. A few select options and the IONIQ 5 becomes a £50,000-plus car, which is when it begins to look quite pricey.
Electric cars do have a tendency to feel quite similar, but that’s certainly not an issue with the IONIQ 5. With its incredibly cool styling and refreshing approach to interior design, this is an EV that most certainly stands out from the crowd.
In its most powerful form it’s a lot of fun to drive too, while the long electric range and stand-out rapid charging speeds really put the IONIQ 5 into a league of its own.Enquire on a new Hyundai IONIQ 5