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The big test

The most comprehensive
new product test in fleet

The Ioniq 5 is the first car from Hyundai’s EV-dedicated brand, and it’s tasked with attracting drivers who usually gravitate to premium models

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - Gallery Image 9

On the road

The Ioniq 5 is one of the most dramatic arrivals among the new breed of electric vehicles.

Hyundai is kicking off a whole new sub-brand for its full electric cars under the Ioniq label, and has started with a deceptively large hatchback that’s aimed squarely at ruffling some feathers among the premium brand offerings.

It’s certainly striking, although the Ioniq 5 garnered a surprisingly mixed bag of reactions during our time with the car, with styling that somehow manages to be retro, cutting edge and vaguely sci-fi all at the same time, especially so in our car’s matt grey finish, which gave it an almost robotic appearance.

The Ioniq 5 comes with two battery options, the 58kWh unit that’s coupled with a 170hp electric motor on the rear axle, and the 73kWh battery that has either rear-drive 217hp or four-wheel drive 305hp alternatives.

The smaller battery leads to a 238-mile official range figure across the Connect and Premium trim levels it’s offered with, while the Premium rear-drive with the larger battery is the range king at 298 miles, dropped by 13 miles with the addition of all-wheel drive, and also dropping by 18 miles in the step up to the larger alloys of the top-spec Ultimate trim.

The cabin instantly makes it clear that the Ioniq 5 is a level above that expected of even modern Hyundais, which have come a long way themselves in terms of quality. But in this case there’s a variety of high-quality soft-touch materials across the interior space, matched by a large number of stowage spots.

The two 12.3-inch screens are the dominant feature of the interior, and the infotainment system is easy to navigate and offers plenty of information; indeed, the only info missing from the nearby public charger search function is that of the charger’s power. It’s also nice to note that the climate controls are kept off the touchscreen, with separate buttons making it all much easier to use on the move. The expansive screens also emphasise the width of the cabin.

The only let-down is that the three stalks, one of which houses the drive selector, don’t feel quite as high-quality as the rest of the cabin. It’s also a car that loves a good beep, from the seatbelt warning as soon as you press the ignition button to the very active lane-keep assist system, plus others in between. The good news on the LKA system is that there’s a button to disengage it within thumb reach on the steering wheel because, like most of its ilk, it’s far too intrusive on smaller roads in particular.

The door handles are the only other minor complaint. Sitting flush to the car when not in use, they pop out when the car senses a key approaching, but not quite fast enough to prevent a very slight pause when you want to get into the car. On top of that, they also don’t feel as sturdy as they actually are.

Test Notes

1. Having the climate controls separate to the touchscreen is appreciated, but it’s a shame the heated seats and steering wheel buttons are within the touchscreen system. 

2. The gear selection rotator stalk has Drive and Reverse the wrong way round. It’s forward to go forward and back to go reverse, but that’s counter-intuitive compared to a normal transmission lever layout.

3. It’s a deceptively large car, dwarfing hatchbacks.

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - Gallery Image 11

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Context

The Ioniq 5 is the beginning of a new sub-brand for Hyundai, with the Ioniq 6 saloon and Ioniq 7 SUV coming across the next couple of years.

But it’s not a name unfamiliar to the UK market, with the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback model having been sold since late 2016. Indeed, the Ioniq was a trailblazer by being the first car to be sold with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric powertrains across the same model.

It’s a car that Hyundai has enjoyed a good degree of fleet success with, and it’s the reigning Company Car Today CCT100 PHEV of the Year, having scooped the title for the third time this year.

But the Ioniq name now adorns the electric sub-brand that’s aimed at a more premium-brand audience than Hyundai traditionally attracts.

The manufacturer is aiming to pass 1m EV sales by 2025, more than half of which are expected to be Ioniq, across the three models, plus any more that are in the longer-term pipeline.

Next up, due in 2022, is the Ioniq 6 saloon, based on the Hyundai Prophecy concept car (pictured) unveiled last year, and the Ioniq 7 mid-sized SUV is due to follow in 2024.

What they said

“Hyundai is at the forefront of zero-emission vehicle technology and is recognised as a leader in producing highly efficient electric vehicles.”

“With Ioniq 5, we’ve taken this and combined it with the highest level of progressive design to produce what has already become one of the most desirable models in our history. Ioniq 5 doesn’t change the game; it moves our EV offering on to a whole new level.”

Iain Montgomery, director of fleet and remarketing, Fiat UK

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - Ashley Andrew, managing director, Hyundai UK

Comparatively speaking

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - Comparatively Speaking Chart

Need to know

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - Need To Know Chart

Like/dislike

...and one we don't

The Big Test - 2021 - Hyundai Ioniq 5 - And One Thing We Don't Like - The door handles don’t pop out quite quickly enough, and feel a touch on the flimsy side
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The door handles don’t pop out quite quickly enough, and feel a touch on the flimsy side

Verdict

Verdict

DRIVE  8/10

The top-spec Ioniq 5 is instantly rapid, and has almost zero body roll when cornering.

 

EFFICIENCY  8/10

Efficiency hovers just above or just below 4.0 miles per kWh depending on model, which is reasonable rather than leading.

 

PRACTICALITY  9/10

Loads of interior space and a decent boot, as well as ample stowage space of various shapes and sizes up-front.

 

EQUIPMENT  9/10

The Ioniq 5 comes with a hefty price tag, but the kit levels certainly match that.

 

LOOKS  8/10

Surprisingly divided public opinion more than expected during our test, but it certainly grabs attention, especially in the virtual matt grey of our car.

COMFORT AND REFINEMENT  8/10

The ride quality is on the hard side, with every bump felt in the cabin, and road noise from the 19-inch wheels is amplified by the absence of engine noise.

CABIN  9/10

Mainly of impressive quality, with plenty of soft-touch materials across the cabin, and excellent stowage spots. Only the stalks in particular feel a touch flimsy.

INFOTAINMENT  9/10

Two huge screens house all the information that could be required, accessed in a logical and easy-to-use way.

WHOLE-LIFE COSTS  8/10

Running costs are better than the premium brands Hyundai is now hoping to compete with, although it is a high price for top-end cars.

CCT OPINION  9/10

Striking looks that combine cutting edge and retro, a great interior and good range figures.

VERDICT 84%

Hyundai wants the Ioniq models to be seen as premium rivals, and it has done everything in its power to make that a success with the appealing Ioniq 5.

Gallery