Ostensibly, I was at a private racetrack north of Atlanta to test out some new compact sedan hotness — the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. But when an opportunity to do a mini-test of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq5 EV presented itself, I jumped. Figuratively speaking.
To be clear, this won’t be the most in-depth review you’ve ever seen on this site — I only got about 15 minutes of wheel time, almost exclusively on fairly pristine two-lane blacktop in rural Georgia, not far from the home of “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” No stop-and-go, almost no around-town driving, no freeway wheeling.
So this will be of the short and sweet variety. Sort of like my drive in the Ioniq5.
(Full disclosure: Hyundai flew me to Atlanta, Georgia, and fed and housed me for two nights so I could drive the Ioniq5, the Elantra N, and several other Hyundai models. I did not take the offered gift, which appeared to be an organizer of some sorts.)
As a reminder, the Ioniq5 is an EV with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with standard or extended range. Standard range models with rear-wheel drive have 168 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Standard range is 220 miles, and that trim level is listed as SE Standard Range.
Extend your range on a SE/SEL/Limited rear-wheel-drive Ioniq5 and you get 225 hp and the same 258 lb-ft of torque and 303 miles of range.
AWD cars come with the same SE/SEL/Limited trim choices and 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, with a range of 256 miles.
The rear-drive setup uses a rear-mounted electric motor, while the all-wheel-drive car has a dual-motor (front and rear, 74 kW + 165 kW) setup. The battery pack’s capacity is 77.4 kWh.
Hyundai had two Limiteds with AWD on hand.
My first thought as I hopped in and activated the electric motor was that the Ioniq5 is yet another EV that overcomplicates the act of putting the vehicle into gear — which is, by the way, a single-speed reduction gear. The shifter is mounted on the column, to the right of and down from the steering wheel, and you twist forward for drive.
Once in gear and on the road, however, I warmed up to the Ioniq5. All that torque being instantly available played a big part in that. It also helped that it could be summoned in silence.
You’d think the lack of engine noise from most EVs would mean that wind/tire/road noise intrudes, but other than a mild bit of wind noise from the A-pillars at higher speeds, the Ioniq5 was luxury-car quiet.
The ride was compliant without being soft, though I had no chance to hit up harsher pavement. The car glided through gentle sweeping corners with ease and minimal body roll, though the artificial steering felt distant.
Like a lot of EVs, the Ionig5 offers regenerative-braking paddles, and simply lifting the accelerator slows you down fairly quickly, though I can’t find the phrase “one-pedal braking” in the press materials. The conventional brakes worked just fine, if unremarkably.
I didn’t play much with the all-digital gauge and infotainment cluster, given my short time behind the wheel, but it did like a bit intimidating and confusing at first glance. It looks like one of those systems that has a learning curve for the newbie but it is easily understood once one has logged some significant seat time. I will say the clean, minimalist interior design mostly works here, and I had no issue finding the most important controls quickly. The controls also seemed to work better than they did in the Volkwagen ID.4’s I’ve driven. There’s none of the haptic-touch BS — the most important HVAC and audio controls are knobs and buttons.
Outside, I am less enamored of the Ionig5’s quirky looks. I don’t find it ugly, exactly, but the word “sexy” doesn’t come to mind, at least for me (I think I’ve seen others praise its design on the socials. Styling is subjective, after all). It’s not even handsome in a bland way, a la the ID.4.
The Ioniq5 comes across, at least at first glance, as a well-packaged crossover EV that blends futuristic looks and tech together without going off the haptic-touch control deep end while also combining power, handling, and a luxury ride. The downsides appear to be overly complex digital menus and gauges and a range sacrifice if you want AWD and the associated extra power. I’d also like to see how the Ioniq5 deals with cracked roads and the open freeway.
Pricing starts at $39,700, and a Limited AWD will cost y0u $54,500. Destination adds $1,245.
Hyundai has a solid competitor to other EV crossovers with the Ioniq5, and it’s interesting enough that it might get some ICE owners to consider EV adoption. My first take is fairly positive — I only hope, for Hyundai’s sake, that my initial take remains so after more time and miles.
[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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