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Hyundai Ioniq 5 engines, drive and performance

2021 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.6 out of 54.6

Written by Keith Adams Published: 19 January 2023 Updated: 10 October 2023

  • High-power 305hp option
  • Rear- or four-wheel drive
  • Standard model sufficiently brisk

What power options are there?

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a pretty broad spread of electric motor choices, from a basic 170hp rear-drive version to a really quite powerful 325hp, four-wheel-drive, twin-motor setup. The best option is probably the middle one — a 228hp single-motor rear-drive model, which with the largest battery option gives you a potential 315-mile range on a full charge (in Premium trim). With a 7.3-second 0-62mph sprint time, it’s certainly brisk enough for most purposes, and feels nicely balanced with the Ioniq 5’s weight and size.

The smaller 170hp motor is hardly disgraced, mind. It actually has the same 350Nm of torque as the more powerful model, so low-down acceleration is almost identical, and its 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds is hardly a disgrace. The limitation is that this motor is only offered with the smallest battery option, limiting you to a maximum 238-mile range. That’ll be plenty enough for many drivers, but it does limit your journey options somewhat.

The top-spec 305hp version uses two motors, with an extra 255Nm of torque coming from the front motor. That’s enough to shove the Hyundai Ioniq 5 77kWh All Wheel Drive model to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds, but of course there’s a penalty in terms of range — you can get a maximum 298 miles from the bigger battery (in Premium spec).

What’s it like to drive?

  • Quiet and refined experience
  • Good turning circle
  • Really fun to drive

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 instant and impressive.

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, although there’s less progression and feel than the set-up you get in a Skoda Enyaq iV.

You can really have fun with this car on a back road – something not often said about a family-sized electric car. 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. Electric cars are by design, heavy – and the Ioniq 5 is no exception, but despite that you can enjoy yourself taking the long route home.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review (2023)
Hyundai Ioniq 5 review (2023)

There’s a touch of bodyroll, but the way the suspension handles the Ioniq’s weight is really something to be commended. Despite riding on huge 20-inch wheels, refinement levels are good, with near-zero motor noise, and only a little wind and tyre noise.

Couple this with balanced ride quality – not too jittery, but not waterbed wallowy either – and it’s a very promising position to be in. The final point also worth saying is that sharp ridges in the road surface, such as expansion joints and potholes, are dealt with better than all of its rivals – they thump through, but you don’t get much in the way of reverberation through the seats.

The only thing to be wary of is the size — the Ioniq 5 is 2.1 metres across its mirrors, which means that on a tight back road it feels really big, and that can give you some heart-in-mouth moments when there’s a tractor coming the other way…