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Hyundai is launching its next generation of electric cars, starting with the Ioniq 5, and looking upmarket. Time to hold off on those Tesla orders?
Front seat height adjustment, sliding rear seat adjustment, interior mood lighting, 12.3in LCD audio, visual and navigation system with DAB, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, LCD driver's instrument cluster, wireless phone charging, rear view camera, LED headlamps, LED rear lights, rear parking sensors, electric parking brake, navigation based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Highway Drive Assist (HDA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Lane Keep Assist with Lane Following Assist (LKAS + LFA), driver attention alert and 'frunk' storage under bonnet.
170hp 58kWh, 217hp 73kWh, 305hp 73kWh AWD
SE Connect, Premium, Ultimate
With Hyundai's recent form, the launch of a new generation of electric cars should be enough for the entire automotive industry to pay attention.
It had already caused a stir in 2016 when the Ioniq hatchback (cousin of the Kia Niro) launched as the first model to be available as a full hybrid, electric, and later a plug-in hybrid model.
The Kona later broke new ground as it launched initially with petrol and diesel engines, and followed up with electric and full hybrid versions.
But tides are turning against vehicles that can accommodate one of multiple power options. The UK is not the only state heading towards a deadline to end sales of pure internal combustion engine (ICE) propulsion cars.
Within a decade, the majority of new cars will be only electric and so Hyundai is using a new, dedicated EV platform for a new family of Ioniq models. The first one, the Ioniq 5, is now available to order and it looks good on paper.
Its design deliberately has some styling cues from the 1970s Hyundai Pony hatchback, which perhaps is meant to signify the Ioniq 5 as a reboot of the brand.
Its proportions look similar to the old hatchback, but, because its EV platform allows extra flexibility, the Ioniq 5 is actually much larger in the metal than you might expect. While it might appear similar to perhaps an Audi A3 in pictures, in reality, interior space is closer to an Audi A8.
There are a number of different versions available, with 58kWh and 73kWh battery options, with the latter offered in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration.
The 58kWh version has 170hp and 350Nm of torque, with a maximum range on the WLTP combined cycle of 240 miles. The 73kWh battery version produces 217hp and the same 350Nm of torque as the entry-level version, but manages the 0-62mph sprint in 7.4 seconds versus the 170hp car's 8.5 seconds. An all-wheel drive version, producing 305hp and 605Nm of torque is also available, shortening the time to cover the acceleration benchmark to 5.2 seconds.
The rear-wheel drive model can reach around 300 miles on the WLTP combined cycle (although the heavier Ultimate specification has a slightly lower rating of 281 miles), while the more powerful AWD version has to sacrifice a little range in favour of performance.
All are capable of accommodating a 350kW public charger, and at these facilities can be charged up to 80% of capacity in less than 20 minutes, or can add a 60-mile 'splash and dash' in five minutes. The car also comes with a year's subscription to the Ionity charging network.
The car's clean styling extends to the interior, where space really is more generous than it looks from the outside. The Ioniq 5 has expansive width and length in the cabin. It can even accommodate a very practical drawer-style opening for the glove compartment.
Like the hydrogen-fuelled Hyundai Nexo, the Ioniq 5 has rear-facing cameras that show the relevant side of the car on part of the digital instrument display when indicating to turn or change lanes, which perhaps isn't as courageous as the Honda E's camera-only set-up. But there will be many new-to-EV customers coming to the Ioniq 5, so perhaps this incremental approach will help prevent some worries about too many features to spend time getting used to.
Performance is strong, and the car steers and brakes with precision, offering sharp responses and good body control. It might well be riding on oversized wheels, however, as the ride is a touch on the jarring side when catching potholes in the road.
Perhaps a by-product of the rest of the driving experience being so quiet, we also noticed a little too much road noise intrusion in the cabin.
These probably won't matter to most drivers, as the Ioniq 5 catapults Hyundai - already a manufacturer with strong EV credentials - toward the top of the class, even among some very talented rivals, such as the Skoda Enyaq iV and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
We think the car is deserving of any success it achieves, and it really does whet the appetite with anticipation for future additions to the Ioniq family.