Motoring and Property Editor
3:00 AM 12th March 2022
Hyundai Ioniq 5 – UK Car Of The Year On Test
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has just been crowned UK Car of the Year. Now into its sixth year, the awards are designed specifically for the UK car-buying public. It is the calibre of the 29 professional journalist judges that cover the whole industry that lends UKCOTY a gravitas hitherto unrivalled.
The managing director of the award, John Callen said:
“The Hyundai Ioniq 5 feels like the future of motoring, only it’s here today.”
And by a stroke of luck, a top spec Ultimate edition of that car has just been collected from me, bringing to an end an interesting week.
The Ioniq 5 can be had with either a 58kWh or long range 73kWh battery, my test car being fitted with the latter. It is also the first car in the new EV exclusive Ioniq sub-brand and the first Hyundai to be built on a dedicated battery electric platform.
Ioniq 5 joins an increasingly crowded sector and will need to do battle with the established Jaguar I-PACE, the Audi Q4 e-Tron and the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 amongst others. There is also the new Mustang Mach E from Ford and sister company Kia’s EV6.
It’s a striking design and much bigger close up than will be apparent form the pictures. Hyundai says the look was inspired by its 1970s Pony and the family resemblance is clear.
I don’t claim to be an expert on car design, but I find the shape appealing with crisp lines and distinctive lighting front and rear.
Prices start from £37,600 for an entry-level SE Connect model with a 58kWh battery and a single motor powering the rear wheels. My test car however came in Ultimate guise with the long-range 73kWh battery and single motor rear-wheel drive. Price, £46,090. All-wheel drive is available.
All models are well equipped though you’ll need the Ultimate if you want leather upholstery, tinted windows and a useful head-up display.
Walk up to the car and the flush door handles pop out, the car already prepared for the drive ahead. Most noticeable once you are underway is how hushed the cabin is and this sense of peace continues even at motorway speeds.
There are various drive modes with the ‘Sport’ setting giving the Ioniq 5 an impressive turn of speed. For those more mindful of eking out the maximum range, ‘Eco’ mode dulls the accelerator response, fine for town work.
Well-weighted and responsive steering clearly helps place the car with some accuracy, but the chassis feel is balanced. Yes, there is a little body roll, but if that’s the price to be paid for a fairly comfortable ride, then that suits me just fine. Some may find it a tad on the firm side, especially on badly pockmarked tarmac.
Worthy of praise are the brakes which feel nicely progressive and of course there is the ability to vary the level of regeneration. Set at its maximum, the Ioniq 5 can be more or less driven using only the accelerator.
The generous exterior dimensions have allowed Hyundai to create a truly spacious cabin. The light-coloured leather in the test car certainly added to the airy feel, but there is ample space front and rear for all aboard to spread out.
The rear seats can be slid forward to maximise boot space if required, as with the batteries under the floor, the space is a tad shallow. Up front, a smaller compartment acts as a storage bay for the charging cables.
Hyundai has been making high quality interiors for many a year and the fit, finish and texture of the materials used will impress.
The screens ahead of the driver are clearly presented and the infotainment screen is relatively straightforward to use. There are some shortcut buttons, and the climate control gets its own smaller screen for ease of use.
Range and charging are the two issues that most interest the new electric car buyer and Hyundai appears to have this covered. The Ioniq 5 can use the very fastest 350kW chargers and connected to one, the battery can be boosted from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes.
It is to be hoped that this type of public charger will soon become the norm, but we are some way off that at the moment.
Hyundai quotes 238 to 298 miles of range for its new electric baby, depending on the model chosen, and this will likely be accurate and ample for most driver’s needs.
However, the test period coincided with some extremely cold weather, and this reduced the displayed range when fully charged to a somewhat disappointing 225 miles.
So, how to sum up the new Ioniq 5? Distinctive looks, a spacious and comfortable cabin, refined driving characteristics and a decent range should pique your interest. The future of motoring is looking bright.
Fast Facts (as tested)
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Ultimate 73KWH RWD
350 Nm torque
Top speed 115mph
Range 238 to 298 (model dependant)
Emissions – 0g/km CO2