4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Latest electric car from Hyundai looks like a gamechanger

Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV (21 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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PROS

  • Fantastic concept car looks
  • Good fun to drive
  • Long-range version available

CONS

  • Hyundai calls it an SUV – we're not so sure
  • We were hoping for hoping for a longer range
  • Ride comfort trails the Skoda Enyaq iV

Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV rivals

Written by Jake Groves on

Is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 any good?

Hyundai has spent many years developing a range of electric cars, and if the Ioniq 5 is anything to go by, the opposition is about to be left behind. The company's new generation of electric cars starts with the new Ioniq 5 family hatchback, designed to rival the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, as well as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi Q4 E-Tron.

We've driven a pre-production prototype to find out just how good it is. Let’s start with the looks. Hyundai says the look has been inspired by the 1970s Pony but, unlike so many car brands looking to its past to guide its future, design-wise, this is no direct copy. It’s an eye-popping piece of design, shaped as a family hatch, with pixelated lighting front and rear and super-crisp lines.

But Hyundai hasn’t overloaded the car with technology or gone for the ultra-minimalist approach like a Tesla Model 3 – there’s a balance between large, useful screens, touch panels and physical switchgear and solid materials on all your regular touch points. The shift stalk, for example, is on the steering column, with a chunky twist action and the door inlays – complete with eco-friendly paper inserts – all feel solid with a tactile thunk when you pull the door handles.

What's it like inside?

The cabin itself feels huge once you’re inside, with loads of room for rear passengers, too. The rear bench can slide forward and back and, even with an above-average height driver at the wheel, there’s tonnes of legroom. The boot is rather shallow, but has depth end to end, and properly usable width. You don’t even need to store your cables here – there’s a handy storage box under the bonnet for that.

Then there’s all the available tech on board. Along with adaptive cruise control, you can have Hyundai’s Blind Spot View Monitor (that shows you the view of the door mirror camera when you flick the indicator) and an augmented-reality head-up display.

What's it like to drive?

There are single- and dual-motor set-ups, and it's the latter we've so far driven. Walk on up to it and flush doorhandles pop out, ready for the drive ahead. Once you’re rolling, the 5’s interesting details don’t instantly reveal themselves – it's quiet, inoffensive and smooth when you’re nipping around town.

And quick – Eco mode dulls the accelerator pedal response while, at the other end of the drive mode scale, the dials glare red in Sport and response is incredible. The steering is responsive and well-weighted – no dead-spots off-centre and tremendously fluid when you wind the lock off after a turn. The turning circle is tight, too; not London Taxi or Honda e tight, but not far off.

Then there are the brakes. unlike many electric cars, the Ioniq 5 has plenty of solid, accurate feel regardless of regeneration level.

Handling

You can really have fun with this car on a back road – something not often said this side of a Porsche Taycan, which is hugely expensive in comparison. Adding up the solid mid-range pulling power, sharp steering and responsive brakes is already good enough, but there’s real balance to the chassis, too. This doesn’t feel leaden or recalcitrant when you want some zippy thrills going the fun way home.

There’s a touch of body roll, but the way the suspension handles the Ioniq’s weight is really something to be commended – it’s a hoot. We even got some time on the motorway. Hyundai told us that not all of the production-spec soundproofing is on this prototype we've driven but, if that’s the case, we’ve driven plenty of family in-production family cars that riding on 20-inch wheels that have worse refinement.

Tyre noise is well within an acceptable level and wind noise is minor. Couple this with balanced ride quality – not to jittery, but not water bed wallowy either – and it’s a very promising position to be in.

What models and trims are available?

Single-motor rear- and dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrains are offered, with the Ioniq 5 giving you a choice of a standard-range 58kWh or long-range 73kWh battery packs. And, along with a three-pin plug socket in the car, there’s ‘vehicle to load’ – the ability to use the car as a rolling power bank, allowing you to plug in (via an adaptor on the charging port plug) almost anything externally, like a lawn mower, e-scooter or even another EV.

The range starts at £36,995 and three models are available – SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate. The entry-level Ioniq 5 SE Connect gets a 58kWh battery, single motor and rear-wheel drive. But it's well equipped, with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB digital radio. The Premium adds heated front seats, blind-spot warning and an automatic lane-changing feature for the adaptive cruise control.

The Ultimate edition gets leather seats, tinted windows, extra chrome and black gloss exterior trim, and an uprated Bose stereo. It also comes with a head-up display. If you want the larger 73kWh battery and dual-motor four-wheel drive, you can pay extra for it on the Premium and Ultimate models.

What else should I know?

It might look like a mid-sized family hatchback like a Volkswagen ID.3 or Nissan Leaf from the images, but the Ioniq 5 is closer in size to the Volkswagen ID.4. That's both terms of its wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) and height, as it's about 40mm taller than a Jaguar I-Pace.

It’s also has as many charging options as a Porsche Taycan, allowing for both 400 or 800-volt available. That means (on the fastest available 350kW chargers, of course) the ability to zap from 10 to 80% charge in just 18 minutes. Hyundai claims 296 miles in the Ioniq’s thriftiest setting (larger battery, rear-wheel drive), but you can expect an ID.3 rivalling 260-plus from the all-wheel drive variant.

Should you buy a Hyundai Ioniq 5? Click on our verdict to find out what we think

Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV rivals