Is this the best electric car of the moment?

ElectricDrives takes a first drive in the Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric vehicle (EV) which combines style with practicality

By
Ian Osborne
July 24, 2021
Category:
EV Life

Recently, Hyundai gave Ade Thomas, co-founder of the EV Summit, and I the opportunity to take a first drive in the new Hyundai IONIQ 5. If I am honest, it is a car that had caught my eye in the sea of new electric vehicles (EVs) because of its unique looking exterior. Plus, it had some impressive stats when it comes to range, charge times and performance, but more on that later.

The Outside

Like nearly every car new electric car I see in the flesh, it’s bigger in real life. My first car back in the 1980s was a Mark 1 Golf so I always associate small cars with that. The size of the IONIQ 5 remains relatively small compared to so many other so-called ‘small’ electric cars.

I love the angles on the IONIQ 5. They’re not as harsh as my 80s ride, with all the edges perfectly smoothed and rounded, but they add something special to the external aesthetic. This hatchback feels like it gives a nod to the past yet comes in a modern cloak, and that’s as retro as it gets.

The combination of these smoothed angles and the lines down the sides make this car look fast and fun without going boy racer. I had no problem with the 20-inch buzzsaw-style wheels but Ade said he’d prefer something a little more subtle. The neat banks of LED lights look subtle in the daylight yet light things up perfectly when the day fades.

Moving Inside

Opening the door and climbing inside the IONIQ 5 is a special experience. The light grey and white colour palette offer an instant feeling of relaxation. Strangely, like Doctor Who’s Tardis, it somehow feels much bigger inside than the exterior would have you believe.

This is not all in my head. Without the need to have a combustion engine space has been used wisely. There’s ample room up front and around the footwells. This is combined with huge amounts of legroom in the back. This is thanks to Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) on which the IONIQ 5 is built.

The amount of space inside combined with the light colours feels like you have walked into a large minimalist home. That said, it’s not stark and doesn’t leave you worrying that you might put something down and wreck the chi. The IONIQ 5 is just the opposite. The space and layout are user-friendly.

All the essentials, like coffee cup holders and a large centre console to throw all your essentials in, are all within easy reach. Within seconds I’d given the place a makeover and it felt homely. All of the digital displays are once again finished in light colours and perfectly located. There’s no feeling that things have been squashed in or you’re peering through the steering wheel to read things.

It came as no surprise to find out afterwards that Hyundai brought in a top Korean architect to make the best use of the space. The interior and overall cockpit layout are spot on. This combined with the colours makes driving a chilled and relaxing affair. With the seats easily moved in every direction imaginable, it only takes a few seconds to become part of this stress-free space.

Performance

Driving is a cinch and fun to do. Whatever your driving style, the IONIQ 5 handles the road well and offers a balanced drive making it feel extremely safe. If you want to take things up a notch there is a sport mode. The smooth acceleration will be enough to please even the biggest of boy racers. It certainly put a smile on my face while the handling felt solid and reassuring.

This is all thanks to the twin motor all-wheel-drive set-up that’s powered by a 73kWh battery pack. This delivers 301 brake-horsepower and 605Nm of torque which allows the IONIQ 5 to hit 0-62mph (0-100kph) in just 5.2 seconds, so it’s no slouch.

On a more practical level, the IONIQ 5 features an 800-volt battery that delivers an impressive range of up to 311 miles (500km) from a single charge. Charging is impressive supporting both 400-volt and 800-volt charging infrastructures. The platform offers 800-volt charging capability as standard, along with 400-volt charging, without the need for additional components or adapters.

The IONIQ 5 can charge up to 80 percent in just 18 minutes with a 350-kW charger. It can also be charged to cover 62 miles (100km) in under five minutes with a fast charger making for an easy life on the road. That is fast charging.

Conclusion

There’s something about this car. It hits my nostalgia button with its external looks, yet feeds my present-day love of zero-emissions efficiency. Add the simple and stylish, yet practical interior, with a desirable driver-friendly cockpit and I’m happy even before I’ve even moved an inch.

Once moving life becomes instantly relaxed and makes driving something you want to do rather than suffer. This car will work for a wide range of users from families through to drivers who like a little speed and acceleration in their life.

I have driven a lot of electric cars and most are great, although they usually come with a ‘but’. I have yet to find one with the IONIQ 5. Some might argue the price but that’s not the case. The price is extremely good for a car of this specification. For me, it hits all nails and delivers on everything from my youthful desire for speed and fun, through to my real-world age and need for practicality and a relaxing drive where everything is made easy.

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