Ioniq will be a new subbrand for Hyundai, marking its EV lineup.
The electric-only platform of the Ioniq 5 means more room in the cabin.
The U.S.-market Ioniq 5 will come in both single- and dual-motor configurations, making 225 and 320 horsepower, respectively. It is slated to go on sale this fall, with other Ioniq models coming in 2022 and 2024.
After first getting an online look at the electric Ioniq 5 in February, we finally got to see it in person. There was no driving yet, but we did get to slide the console back and forth, admire its contemporary hatchback design, and make a smoothie in its cargo area. (That's thanks to the 12-volt outlet in the charging handle that can power anything from an air compressor to our item of choice, a blender.)
The name "Ioniq" will recur. It's a subbrand specifically for electric vehicles, and Hyundai says there are a bunch of those coming, all based on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The Ioniq 5 is the first to be released, a compact SUV intended to compete with fellow electrics from Ford (the Mustang Mach-E) and Volkswagen (the ID.4). Because it’s built on a platform designed solely for electrics, the 5 packs a roomy interior into a relatively small exterior package. The Ioniq measures 182.5 inches in overall length, 6.5 inches longer than the compact Hyundai Tucson, but with a 1.8-inch-shorter overall height, giving it more of a carlike feeling from the outside—it's a very sporty hatchback in profile.
Here's where the dedicated electric platform does its magic. Because the designers don’t have to work around placing an engine in the front or allowing room for a transmission tunnel underneath, the wheelbase and the cabin can stretch out. The 5's wheelbase, at 118.1 inches, is almost four inches longer than that of the much bigger Hyundai Palisade, which should make for a pleasant ride quality. Because the design allows for a totally flat floor, Hyundai can offer more legroom in the middle back seat, and neat features like the sliding console in the front of the top trim Ioniq 5 Limited. Good news for those who carry a bag: there's room in the console, and in front of it, to put a purse or backpack. Bad news for those who didn’t want to go top trim: the sliding console is on the Limited only.
Like many new electric offerings these days, the Ioniq 5 will be available in a single- or dual-motor configuration. The rear-drive single motor generates 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which Hyundai says will propel the 5 from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The all-wheel-drive dual-motor version gets you 320 horses and 446 pound-feet of torque. It’s quicker, too. According to Hyundai, it should be able to hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Oh, but how far can it go and how fast can it charge? Those are the big electric-car questions, right? The Ioniq 5 has an 800-volt operating system, similar to what we've seen from quick-charging luxury electrics like the e-tron GT and the Porsche Taycan. At a compatible charger, the 5 can go from 5 to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes and get you 68 miles of range in just five minutes. You can charge at a slower charger, of course . . . it's just going to take longer. Final numbers for range haven’t been released, but Hyundai is hoping for 300 miles from the RWD version and around 270 from the racy AWD one. We couldn’t test any of that in the studio, but we were able to explore the interior.
The first thing you’ll notice when you step inside is a sense of space. It’s funny how embedded the hump of a transmission tunnel is in our idea of what a car interior will look like. Not seeing it is almost like walking into a formerly cluttered room where someone has removed the excess furniture. The result is a clean and open cockpit with lots of room front and rear. The front seats recline and have a footrest, for maximum napping during your 18 minutes of recharging. The materials in the interior are made from a variety of recycled fabrics, but compared to those in some of Hyundai’s recent gas SUVs, they seem a little bland. There are no cool patterns, no interesting textures. To liven things up, the door panels feature a glowing speaker surround and a floating armrest, and the instrument cluster and infotainment screens stretch across the dash for 24 inches of glowing interactivity. To the left of the gauges, a fun addition: there’s a magnetic square of dash for sticking family photos or parking garage tickets.
When we get to drive the Ioniq 5, we look forward to testing the head-up display with its augmented navigation, which projects directions and distances "into" the real world through the HUD display. The 5 also comes with Hyundai’s Highway Driver Assist 2 (HDA 2) which includes such smart cruise control features as automatic lane changes and junction-crossing.
Before we left the studio, Hyundai suggested we test out the Vehicle 2 Load feature, which is an integrated 12-volt outlet in the charging handle that can power lights, compressors, small refrigerators, or, for our test, a smoothie blender. BYOB (Bring Your Own Blueberries). The Limited trim also has a 12-volt in the cabin.
If you’re excited about the 5 but are wishing it was bigger, or smaller, more sedanlike, or offering a third row, all of that is yet to come. Because the E-GMP platform is so configurable, Hyundai will be able to stretch, shorten, raise, or widen it to fit all manner of upcoming electrics. And there are a lot of them. Hyundai says it's planning 23 new electrics by 2023, and we'll also be seeing versions from Kia, and Genesis. So if the 5 doesn’t charge you up, stay tuned for more, and if it does, we should start seeing them here in the States by fall of 2021.
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