Hyundai introduces their first electric vehicle built on a dedicated EV platform. Called the IONIQ 5, not to be confused with Hyundai's smaller Ioniq hatchback, this new vehicle is a 4-door wagon that seats five and has an EPA-estimated range of up to 300 miles. In addition, it is capable of segment-leading DC fast charge rates. Current competitors include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, similar Kia EV6, Subaru Solterra, Toyota bZ4X and Volvo C40 Recharge.
IONIQ 5 is offered in four trim levels: SE Standard Range, SE, SEL, and Limited. The SE Standard Range is available only with rear-wheel drive. All other trims are offered with rear- or all-wheel drive. Rear-drive trims get a 225-horsepower/258 lb-ft electric motor (168 horsepower in SE Standard Range). All-wheel-drive trims add an electric motor to the front axle for a combined total output of 320 horsepower and 446 lg-ft of torque.
Two battery sizes are offered. SE Standard Range gets a 58-kWh capacity battery that yields an EPA range estimate of 220 miles. All others use a 77.4-kWh battery that provides between 256 and 303 miles of EPA estimated range.
Prices range from $41,000 to $53,000. Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision warning with brake intervention and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assist. Other standard features include LED headlights, DC fast-charging capability (350 kW), keyless entry and puss-button start, heated front seats, navigation system and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
Hyundai is slowly rolling out the IONIQ 5 across the US. Currently only AWD versions are available in the Chicago area, which is probably a good thing as they come with the larger battery and are better suited for winter driving. So configured, the IONIQ 5 can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in about 5 seconds. Slightly quicker than a Tesla Model Y and ahead of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. As is the case with nearly all electric vehicles, initial acceleration is great and around-town passing punch exceptional. Highway passing power is somewhat diminished, but still above average.
The IONIQ 5 offers true one-pedal driving, if you so choose. It allows for maximum regenerative braking when drivers lift off the accelerator. Though there is a learning curve, this maximizes vehicle range and saves wear-and-tear on the friction brakes.
The all-wheel-drive system is through-the-road, meaning there is no actual connection between the front and rear wheels. The two electric motors work in concert with each other and the anti-lock braking sensors to minimize wheel spin on slippery roads and provide the best possible traction. This system is not designed for extreme off-road use.
The IONIQ 5 carries an EPA rating of between 98 and 114 MPGe. It is the EPA's equivalent for traditional MPG ratings and can be used to compare EV. For example the MPGe of the Mustang Mach-E is between 82 and 103 and the Tesla Model Y gets and MPGe rating range of 111-129. For most owners, range is the most important measurement. Here the IONIQ 5 manages between 256 and 303 miles, depending on model.
As with any vehicle, energy efficiency varies greatly depending on driving style, weather conditions, and load. Given an experienced EV driver, minimal highway miles, ideal weather and a light load, the IONIQ 5 can match the EPA estimates, but don't expect to get close to those estimates if you frequently travel on the highway or carry a lot of passengers. Throw in lower efficiency in extremely hot or cold weather and range can drop by as much as 40%.
On the flip side, the IONIQ 5 (and it's Kia twin) is the fastest charging mainstream vehicle on the market. When connected to a 350-kW DC fast charger, Hyundai claims the IONIQ 5 can charge from 10-80% in just 18 minutes. In addition, the IONIQ 5 can reverse-power electronics and power tools.
Though IONIQ may look like a smartly styled crossover, there are two key differences that make it have slightly different handling characteristics a traditional crossover. First, it has an extremely long wheelbase. At 118.1 inches, the wheelbase is longer than the significantly larger Hyundai Palisade (114.2). In addition, between those wheels, located very low in the chassis, is the heavy battery pack. These two factors give the IONIQ 5 a very stable platform and sedan-like handling characteristics. They also create a wide turning radius and make it susceptible to somewhat exaggerated secondary body motions in quick transitions.
Compared to most others large EVs, the IONIQ 5 has a supple and absorbent ride that's on-par with a traditional crossover. Vehicles like the Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y have a very firm ride, that some may find harsh. The IONIQ 5's suspension does a good job of minimizing impacts and reducing secondary motions. Conversely, the IONIQ 5 isn't quite as agile as some competitors and doesn't respond to drive input as quickly.
The steering has a natural feeling and tracks true on the highway. Brakes also have good feel, with no noticeable transition between regenerative braking and friction braking. However, one-pedal driving is really the future. Though a bit off-putting at first, your brain quickly becomes rewired and smooth drama-free stops become the norm.
With no engine or exhaust noise the IONIQ 5 is a very quiet vehicle around town. There is a hint of motor whine under acceleration, but nothing but mild tire and wind noise at speed. Even on the highway the IONIQ 5 is one of the quietest vehicles on the road.
IONIQ 5 bridges a gap between a traditional and concept-car interior. The overall layout is familiar, but things seem to be missing, but in a good way. Longitudinal lines and rectangular shapes dominate and materials, though price appropriate are mostly plastic. Initially off-putting, controls are somewhat different than a conventional car, but still simple and intuitive. Capacitive buttons for the HVAC system, for example, could use more feedback. Thankfully there are traditional stalk-mounted controls for the wiper, lights and drive selector.
The front seats are Barcalounger comfortable, offering great support, plenty of cushioning and ample head and leg room. Also available is a lay-down feature with footrests for maximum comfort when waiting at charging stations. Given the long wheelbase, the rear seat is also extremely roomy. Seats are comfortable and have an adjustable backrest.
Extry/exit is quite easy thanks to the tall door and the modest step in. Because the battery is under the floor, it's a bit strange not to step over the door sill, but still not off-putting. Outward visibility is a mixed bag. There is great visibility to the front and sides, but thick pillars and the small and sloping rear window create blind spots. Note that the SE Standard Range does not come with a heat pump. This is a necessary feature in cold-weather climates as it more efficiently heats the cabin and better maintains battery temperature.
From a tech standpoint, IONIQ 5 is loaded with all of the features you would expect. A couple of unexpected features include Driving Assist 2, which is Hyundai's enhanced cruise control that basically lane centers and speed checks for the driver. It does require that the driver keep a hand on the wheel, however. There is also Hyundai's Blueline app, which allows drivers to control several the car's functions remotely. The infotainment screen itself is quite large and zippy but make better use of the real estate for additional functionality.
Though IONIQ 5 has a longish wheelbase, much of that length is utilized for passenger space. That means it trails others in the class for overall storage. Rear seats up there is 27.2 cubic feet of storage space - more than a midsize sedan, but not as roomy as some hatchbacks. Rear seats down IONIQ 5 offers 59.3 cubic feet. There's a small compartment under the hood that is perfect for storing the portable charge cable, though not much else. Interior storage is fantastic with lots of cubbies and bins. The center console also slides fore and aft on uplevel models.
Bottom Line -- IONIQ 5 is a surprisingly complete EV that can serve as a complete replacement for a traditional ICE-powered crossover -- provided your lifestyle permits. It is just different enough to stand out, but not so different that you must re-learn how to drive, making it the perfect transition EV. Passenger space is generous, and the ride is quite good. When people talk about the coming EV revolution in the future, many may point to the IONIQ 5 and trin Kia EV6 as the tipping point.