Make: Hyundai
Model: Ioniq 5
Variant: Techniq AWD
Engine/Transmission: Liquid cooled lithium-ion battery (225kw/605Nm)
Range: about 420km
Price: $77500 plus on road costs

First impressions:

I predict that as EV sales continue to climb, they will quickly fall into one of two categories: cheap and cheerful commuter transport and tech ladened celebrations of innovation. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, especially in fully loaded Techinq AWD configuration, is most certainly for the latter camp. It’s not cheap, at $80k. Snobs will lament that it wears a Korean badge instead of a stylised ‘T’. This is a horrible shame because the Ioniq 5 is most definitely a car that you can be proud of and shower with love and attention. It’s a car-lovers EV.

Tech inside:

Hyundai have really thrown the kitchen sink at the Techniq spec 5. Apart from an extra motor and two extra drive wheels, the Techniq sports 12 way adjustable, heated and cooled front seats that include cute little leg supports to aid comfort while you a waiting for the battery to charge. Hyundai are calling this ‘Zero-Gravity Seating’, placing your arms and legs in a position of perfect comfort, replicating the feeling of being in space. In practice, it’s a bit more Smokey Dawson than NASA but it’s bloody comfy.

Speaking of comfort, Hyundai has thrown out the traditional play book with the Ioniq 5’s interior. Praise be! Most EVs can be designed with a flat floor so why do so many manufacturers continue with a more traditional cabin? Surely anyone buying an EV knows that normal mechanical packaging rules don’t apply! Why do I have to work around a transmission humped shape when it doesn’t have a traditional transmission hump! Likewise, the column mounted gear change is a masterstroke, freeing up valuable space around the centre console. This feeling of spaciousness is mirrored by the two huge flat screen displays that function as dash/entertainment/HVAC control as well as Nav and Speed displays. I still prefer old fashioned buttons, but as far as touch screens go it works well.

Common to both levels of Ioniq 5 iPedal one-pedal driving, Vehicle to Load connections (allowing you to use the car’s battery to charge items at home), active cruise with Stop&Go function, a cracking Bose branded sound system with wireless charging and wireless CarPlay, acoustic glass all around, augmented turn by turn Nav display, and brilliantly silent and icy air conditioning.

Unlike other EVs that we’ve had a home lately, charging to full overnight won’t be part of your Ioniq 5 experience. The standard charging time on your home plug will be around 30 hours. The upside is that while ultra fast chargers aren’t exactly on every street corner, promises have been made that they will become more and more available, allowing owners to tap into a Ioniq 5 party trick – charging up to 80% capacity in only 18 minutes. It’s a great feature. For comparison, the same charge at the much more common 50kw charge station will take about an hour.

Most impressive:

Easily the most impressive aspect of the Ioniq 5 range is the way that it is a design that a car-lover can be proud of – an important consideration as brands race to make an EV to suit all people. For me, Tesla fails to have the depth of experience as a car company to give me enough confidence to sign on the dotted line. I want my car to be a car first and any tech, including fancy drivetrains, to be very much secondary. Similarly, I struggle to see the point of cheaper EVs, such as a BYD or MG. They simply aren’t cheap enough to justify their purchase over either cheaper or better ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered runabouts.

In order to make the jump to an EV I need a point of difference in design, like a Tesla, but with the heritage of a legacy brand, like Hyundai. Hyundai manages to combine the basis of a good car with enough flair and difference to make the expense and occasional inconvenience of EV life worth it.

It really is a car I struggled to hand back.

Least impressive:

Other than price, I struggle to find a single aspect of the Ioniq 5 that I don’t like. It really is one of my favourite EVs. Could it be faster? Of course. As far as EVs go, its acceleration is on the slow side (the 80kph to 120kph takes just 3.8 seconds – other EVs do it quicker), but more power would mean bigger motors and even more expense. Speaking of expense, could it be cheaper? Well, I guess it could be but compared to a somewhat similarly priced Polestar, for example, the Ioniq 5 is LOADED with kit. Could it have more badge appeal? Maybe, but I’ve never really given much weight to the badge on the grill. I’d rather judge each model on its merits. Tesla as a brand, for example, has appeal to a lot of people but other than some of their very expensive top-end grades, I find their products underwhelming.

On a test drive:

On paper, the Ioniq 5 in Techniq spec compares with a dual motor Polestar 2 or a Tesla Model 3 Long Range. Both of these competitors are worth a close look. Away from the EV space though it gets much harder to find a competitor with the style and point of difference that the Ioniq 5 presents. Perhaps a Mazda 3 X20 Astina for a cut price alternative or a Mercedes A250e hybrid to keep the electric vibe going.