The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has won award after award, but is it as good as people make out? Charlie Atkinson gets behind the wheel to find out.
From the moment the Hyundai Ioniq 5 was unveiled to the world, people fell in love with it. It had a design like no other, had a picturesque interior and a class-leading range was promised, too. It seemed to deliver on that expectation, winning a number of ‘Car of the Year’ awards in 2021.
But is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Let’s find out…
Inside and out
The biggest talking point when it comes to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is its design. With a face like RoboCop and a pixelated rear end with steep, sharp creases at the side, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is exactly what people thought EVs would look like in the future. In the best possible way, it is as if a nine-year-old designed the car, just with less rockets and machine guns.
The Ioniq 5 is based off of Hyundai’s Concept 45 EV, which is the manufacturer’s best guess as to how all electric vehicles will look further down the line, and it does feel like a concept drawing that has been brought to life. Even stood next to it, it almost doesn’t look real. It’s deceptive; it is still a big, bulky SUV-crossover, but it is also sleek and regal. With every look and glance, you discover another interesting detail, from the unique wheel design of the 20” alloys to the parametric light bar at the rear.
Many EVs have been criticised for being too conventional and boring, but Hyundai has ripped up the rulebook and produced a truly stunning design.
It’s more of the same inside, too. The Ioniq 5 has been built from the ground up, and the manufacturer has prioritised space and comfort.
In order to achieve a sense of luxury, you are greeted with four-way adjustable leather lumbar seats and a catalogue of expensive feeling materials. There is no transmission tunnel so there is plenty of room around your feet, and there is ample storage as well. There are 64 customisable options for mood lighting to help you create the perfect level of ambience for you, as well as other handy features such as heated steering wheel and seats, and the ability to recline your seat to a complete horizontal if you want to have a quick snooze whilst charging.
There’s also plenty of room in the back, with lots of headroom and legroom, and there are nice little touches such as your own air vent on the door pillar and two USB charging ports. The boot offers 527L which is at the larger end for electric vehicles of this class, although it is quite shallow meaning you will have to retract the parcel shelf if you’re looking to squeeze in any larger items.
Unfortunately for the Ioniq 5, the technology inside is where it loses a few points. First of all, you have two 12.3” displays up front, one for your drivers’ display and the other for your media centre. These are crisp and responsive, and the Hyundai operating system is OK, however, for a car as futuristic as this, you shouldn’t need a USB cable to connect Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Even when using a USB cable, setting it up is a massive pain in the…
There is also a million and one options and icons to play around with on the media centre. On the plus side, there is lots on offer and you’re in control of pretty much everything, but it can be tricky to navigate the different screens, especially when the icons are quite small on the long, thin screen.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 also prides itself on its safety features, but in this, it’s almost safety gone mad. There are so many warning lights and beeps that it can be infuriating to drive this car at times, especially in a busy town centre. It beeps at you for being ever so slightly over the speed limit, even if just for a fleeting second, and for being too close to the kerb, to the car in front, or anything at all seemingly.
All this detracts from a beautiful interior and removes some of the comfort and luxury that you are supposed to get from being inside the Ioniq 5.
Out on the road
Thankfully, when the car stops telling you off, you can actually enjoy a really nice drive. It’s not the quickest, despite our Ultimate version boasting a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds. Although it may feel quite sluggish compared to some of its competitors, as I said at the start of this review, the Ioniq 5 prioritises comfort and practicality, so it doesn’t really need to be lightning quick. It is still an electric car, however, so you will be able to enjoy the instant acceleration, even on some of the entry level versions.
For a car of this size, I was surprised by the ride of the Ioniq 5. You would expect it to glide over bumps and potholes like most SUVs, but instead you are jolted about quite harshly. As well as this, when weaving down country lanes, there is a lot of lean in the body and you do feel as though you are sliding about all over the place.
Although it can be a bit uncomfortable at times, this car comes into its own on the motorway. It’s tremendously quiet, with minimal road and wind noise, and once you’ve activated lane assist and adaptive cruise control, you can really make the most of the luxurious interior. If you can get over all the beeps and warnings, it’s a similar experience in town, too.
How much does it cost?
So, if you wanted to buy a Hyundai Ioniq 5, what are your options? Entry versions of the Ioniq 5 start from £37,420, and they feature a 225kW battery which can do 0-60 in 8.5 seconds with a range of up to 240 miles.
You also have a couple of premium options which go up to £44,000 and a range that goes up to 300 miles with enhanced performance. And then you have this Ultimate version, which will let you go from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, and there’s a whole host of features and options available too. In terms of charging, the Ioniq 5 can charge up to 150kW which will let you recoup up to 275 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes.
You can see why the Hyundai Ioniq 5 earned rave reviews when it was first released. It has one of the best designs of any electric vehicle, it has a truly premium interior, and it is nice and practical with a decent real-world range.
It’s not perfect, though, with a few annoying details, such as the beeping and the bumps, which detract from what is a really, really good car. So, it turns out the Hyundai Ioniq 5 really is as good as people say.