The electric vehicle revolution continues evolving at a dizzying pace generating loads of interest in search of competent answers. For those new to EVing, lots of variables need digesting. However, once behind the steering wheel, the muscle memory required to pilot just about every new EV remains identical to vehicles sporting internal combustion engines (ICE) with more than enough horsepower in reserve. Driving remains thrilling, pleasurable and eerily quiet.
South Korean Automaker Hyundai’s strong entry into this growth segment centers around relatively lower cost, compact-sized offerings. Hyundai’s Ioniq sub brand launched in 2016 eased into the alternative-power segment by offering three distinct motive offerings: a conventional, self-charging gas-electric hybrid, a plug-in hybrid electric hybrid and lastly an all-electric version. In 2022, during its second-generation redo, Ioniq went all electric all the time with the Ioniq5 crossover, retiring both hybrid versions.
Now for the 2023 model year, Ioniq debuts a second body style donning the Ioniq6 label, an eye-popping, compact four-door sedan. In my humble opinion, its low-slung design creates a superior-looking choice when parked next to a taller-standing Ioniq5 crossover.
It’s all inspired by Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) upon which the Ioniq6 rests and many future EV counterparts will share including future products from Kia and Genesis, both Hyundai Motor Group properties. Resembling a low-to-the-ground skateboard layout, individual battery cells combine into modules and then into a long pack residing below the load floor between front and rear axles. This flexible structure can be scaled up to accommodate future mid-size and larger EV offerings.
Hyundai describes its Ioniq6 as an ‘electrified streamliner.’ Four side doors indicate sedan but sleek overtones, aerodynamic outline, rear spoiler and dimpled headlight/taillight structure hint at a coupe personality. Other extended family vehicles, such as the compact Genesis GV70 Electrified hatchback, take a different, more conservative design approach.
Three 2023 trim levels include SE, SEL and Limited. During Ioniq6’s upcoming 2024 sophomore model year, content for all three trims remains unchanged and virtually identical. Few stand-alone options or packages are available as each trim builds upon the level below. All include lower active air grills up front to help regulate battery pack temperatures.
The stylish Ioniq6 comes with the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive depending upon if ordering a single traction/electric motor or dual-motor functioning. Select rear-wheel drive and a single traction/electric motor drives the rear axle. Dual-motor EVs place a traction/electric motor on each axle creating an all-wheel drive effect.
Hyundai’s newest EV is one of a handful of all-electric vehicles available in 2023 with the choice of two-different sized direct current battery packs delivering two power level outputs providing Ioniq6 with several mix-and-match opportunities with varying degrees of all-electric range and horsepower output. Regardless, EVs enjoy peppy starts from standing stops thanks to healthy low-end torque numbers with a comfort-type drive personality not always found in competing electric vehicles often opting for a firmer feel.
A standard range battery pack delivering 53-kilowatt hours is solely available in the entry SE trim with rear-wheel drive; it’s also the least expensive at $41,600. The tradeoff is an electric range of 240 miles, far superior to what the first-generation Nissan Leaf offered in 2010 (a mere 80 miles of travel before recharge), but below the 2023 industry average. Keep in mind the SE’s 240-mile range for 2023 almost doubles the range found in the first-generation all-electric Ioniq.
For those seeking longer travel between plug-ins, a 1,000-pound, 77-kilowatt hour battery pack juices all other trim combinations. This pack powers a majority Hyundai Motor Group products including all three Genesis EV products. The SE trim also offers the larger 77-kilowatt hour battery pack in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive formats. Both SEL and Limited trims exclusively feature the long-range battery in both rear-wheel (single motor) and all-wheel drive (dual motor) formats.
Our 2023 Limited, long-range, all-wheel drive Ioniq6 tester with larger 20-inch wheels started at $56,100. The only extra, $210 worth of floor mats coupled with a $1,115 destination charge brought the bottom line to $57,425, representing the top-of-the-line choice. With a 74-kilowatt front motor and 165-kilowatt rear motor, expect 320 horsepower and a quick 446 lb.-ft. or torque. The approximate range of this combo plater reaches 270 miles.
The Ioniq6 providing the longest range comes in the rear-wheel drive (one traction/electric motor) SE trim with 18-inch wheels delivering a 361-mile range and 225 horsepower. Need more thrills? The three-spoke steering wheel includes a button in the lower left area marked Boost. This added value of horsepower a 10-second boost of horsepower when called upon via a push. If all works in concert, Hyundai promises a zero-to-60 time of 5.1 seconds.
Automakers tend to undersell range estimates due in part to regenerative braking, technology aboard all EVs allowing kinetic energy created during the braking process to be captured and restored for later use. The recycling effect kicks into a higher degree during slower, stop-and-go city travel when brake usage peaks and extending electric range. The ioniq6 includes multiple levels of regenerative braking resistance.
Hyundai aims to keep interest in Ioniq 5 and 6 relevant and, to that effect, has dropped starting pricing for a base SE by about $4,000 for the upcoming 2024 model year bringing pricing evercloser to Tesla’s lowest cost entry sedan. Higher trims reduce pricing between $2,500 to $3,000. It’s a bit of information important to know when negotiating pricing for 2023 Ioniqs.
Adding more confusion to pricing volatility, the Federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in 2023 benefiting EVs assembled in North America, granting an incentive up to $7,500.
The sole Hyundai Motor Group EV currently built in the United States is the Genesis GV70 Electrified crossover. It’s assembled in Montgomery, Alabama next on the same line churning out the gas-version of the luxury divisions most popular vehicle. In early 2023, HMG announced a sizeable investment near Savanna, Georgia earmarked not just for EV production, but lithium-ion battery assembly as well. No official word yet if Ioniq6 (currently built in South Korea) will call Georgia’s coastal gem its U.S. production home, but ocean vibes signal a strong possibility.
Prior to the IRA’s 2023 arrival, the Ioniq 5 crossover checked in as one of the top selling EVs in the U.S without Tesla badging. Even without the benefit of the $7,500 incentive, both 2023 Ioniq5 and Ioniq6 make strong value statements.
Case in point, Ioniq6 gained a nod of well-deserved notoriety from the influential, Chicago-based Midwest Automotive Media Association, earning honors as the organization’s ‘favorite plug-in vehicle’ during this past Spring’s 2023 Road Rally at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
All Ioniq 5, and 6s include generous warranty coverage featuring a five-year/$60,000-mile new vehicle warranty and a just-as-generous 10-year 100,000-mile electric vehicle system warranty.
Our top-line Limited exclusively includes a sunroof, premium audio, heated steering wheel and a visually helpful blind-spot view monitor feeding a live, color, video stream of blind spot activity directly into the instrument panel, assisting drivers with extra visuals when switching lanes. Video feeds start when activating the turn signal stalks and continue until completion of the maneuver.
In back, two rows of sugar-cubed size LCD bulbs travel left to right. Two rows of nine bulbs on each end cap serve primarily as red turn signal indicators when called upon with two rows of 50 small squares in between running the length of the trunk lid. The exterior also includes narrow, flush mounded, popsicle-stick-like side door openers that teeter out on the right side when power doors unlock allowing easy opening.
Inside, Power window and lock controls reside between supportive front bucket seats, not mated to the side doors. Ahead resides dual inline beverage holders and far forward, a flat, wireless Smartphone charger. This center caddie area includes an airy under area increasing storage options and made possible with the elimination of the traditional transmission hump running vertically along the center floor. Electric vehicles retain an eerily quiet ambiance, so much so Ioniq6 added three synthetic engine noises selections to ease the transition to emissions-free travel.
The stalk-like shifter for selecting drive and reverse is found on the steering column below a second stalk monitoring front windshield wipers. Park enacts when pushing the stalk’s end cap. To select reverse, twist down; the forward ‘drive’ mode engages when twisting the end cap upward. The selected gear highlights with a red litght indicator. Most EVs utilize a single-speed, reduction-gear transmission rather than six, seven or eight forward gears.
The only twist dial found on the dash or between front seats is an on/off volume orb. All other functions remain touch sensitive, tab type or button-like. At night, thin, glowing pen-light highlights add an elegant touch to the white interior with glowing effects running through side doors.
Can’t miss the thin, rectangular flat screen jetting up from the mid-dash combining the 12.3-inch left-portion animated instrument panel readout and 12.3-inch multi-function infotainment touch screen.
Row two includes a better-than average amount of leg room for a compact-sized sedan thanks in part to a large interior provided by a dedicated EV platform, and the elimination of the vertical transmission hump traversing the center floor. Headroom bumps up against the dynamically curved roof structure, a fashion over function choice. Three adults fit in a pinch. Both USB-C and A ports intersperse through both rows. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility comes standard as does Bluetooth interface.
Seatbacks fold down with a 60/40 split once trunk-located pull tabs get manually yanked. The comparatively diminutive 11.0 cubic foot trunk includes shock-absorber-like hinges conveniently outside the cargo area. Another storage option EVs now afford is up front under the hood. This region lovingly deemed the ‘frunk’ (word play combining trunk and front), now sans an internal combustion engine includes room to wiggle, although Ioniq 6’s frunk includes an assortment of fluid ports with very limited frunk storage (a stingy 0.5 cubic feet).
A Trip to the Wisconsin Dells from central DuPage County dials in at about 200 miles, a good road test for an EV promising 270 miles of all-electric range. The Ioniq6 got topped off to a 90 percent state of charge at an EVGo-branded DC 800 volt/350-kilowatt Fast Charger at Glen Ellyn’s Baker Hill Shopping Center ($19.00) allowing an uninterrupted, non-stop drive up Interstate 90/39. Once reaching our Dells destination though, recharging Ioniq6 was not as quick or easy.
Unlike the Chicago Metro area where a bevy of publicly available, higher-speed chargers dot the landscape, Sauk County Wisconsin employees a limited number of DC (Direct Current) CCS-type Fast Chargers. Of the two available at the Ho Chunk Casino parking lot in Baraboo, one was out of order. No visible signage posted at the self-serve port indicated thus, but a quick call to a posted 1-800 number confirmed the suspicion. Eventually our Ioniq6 got re-zapped to 84 percent, but we had to wait our turn patiently behind another EV family currently filling their all- electric Rivian crossover with charged electrons.
Currently Hyundai relies upon a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug design when recharging away from home. That changes in the fall of 2024 when all Hyundai Motor Group EVs adopt to the North American Charging Standard (NACS) utilized by Tesla-branded vehicles.
What does this mean for consumers? Basically, more charging locations and less time waiting for open slots. Tesla boasts 12,000 Superchargers across North America: almost double that of CCS availability. Other automakers including General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota also announced in late 2023 the switch from CCS to Tesla’s NACS which could eventually become the industry standard by default.
Hyundai claims a very tidy time frame when utilizing DC fast charger rated at 350 kilowatts (800 volts). Not all DC fast chargers are rated identical as kilowatt ranges at these outlets fall between 50 and 350 kilowatts. Keep in mind not all EVs are rated to accept 350 kilowatts (800 volts) and instead settle for a lessor capacity resulting in slower charge times. To date, the 350-kilowatt capacity that Ioniq6 allows, is one of the most generous offered, significantly shortening the time needed to re-energize when utilizing a commercially available DC fast charger.
Locate a publicly available, 350 kilowatt rated DC fast charger and Ioniq6 potentially charges from zero to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes. By contrast, a publicly available DC fast charger rated at 50 kilowatts would require approximately 73 minutes to reach an 80 percent charge.
An EV purchase necessitates investment in a 240-volt (also known as Level 2) wall-mounted charging unit assisting at-home refills. Automakers, including Hyundai periodically offer promotions and incentives to minimize investment costs and accompanying labor charges for these plug ports. For those residing in apartments or garage-less abodes, at-home power sourcing provides additional challenges.
Currently all EVs include a Level 1 portable charging cord which easily plugs into a conventional 120-volt (12 amp) wall socket. Using a Level 1 connector, also known as a trickle charger, takes an inordinate amount of time to charge an EV with conventional household current. Each hour of plug time results in about 3 electric miles of travel. Doing quick calculations, the Level 1 cord would require three solid days of plug time before fully charged.
The Ioniq6’s 10.9-kilowatt onboard charging module (OBC) plays a key role with both level 1 and 2 charging converting household AC current into DC current which stores in the DC battery back. If charging at home with a Level 2 (240 volts rated at 48-amps) wall unit, expect a full charge in less than 10 hours from a depleted state at costs significantly less than DC Fast Chargers. Commercially available DC fast chargers bypass the OBC (which acts like a gatekeeper and choke point), allowing for quicker charge times. 2023 Hyundai Ioniq6 Limited AWD
Price as tested: $57,425
Battery: 77-Kilowatt Lithium-Ion
All Electric Range: 270 miles
Horsepower: 320 horsepower
Wheelbase: 116.1 inches
Overall Length: 191.1 inches
Overall Width:74.0 inches
Overall Height: 58.9 inches
Curb Weight: 4,616 pounds