Driving into future: Our review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV

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Driving into future: Our review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV (Image: ioniq5.hyundai.co.in)
Driving into future: Our review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV (Image: ioniq5.hyundai.co.in)

Delhi : With the Kona, Hyundai launched its electric vehicle journey in India in 2019. Even though the Korean manufacturer was the first on the scene and the Kona was a quick and entertaining vehicle to drive, Indian car buyers weren't particularly taken with it.

All of this is about to change with the release of Hyundai's ground-breaking Ioniq 5, the brand's first EV built on a platform designed from the start for electric vehicles. The Ioniq 5 is a bold step up for Hyundai, a thoroughly contemporary electric with tonnes of tech, a distinct style, and loads of genuinely unique features. Is it too revolutionary or too much of a step forward? And how closely will it match the preferences of Indian EV buyers? Particularly at a price of Rs 45 lakh ex-showroom.

Hyundai Ioniq 5: exterior

You presume the Ioniq 5 is about the size of a large hatch when you see it in pictures or a video. It makes sense because it has a hatchback-like profile, a stance similar to a hatchback, a glass house, and photographs that show it with short overhangs and a compact form make it appear small.

Nothing is more false than it is. It is built on a massive three-meter-long wheelbase, which is more Mercedes E-Class, and is almost as wide as Mahindra's XUV700.

The Ioniq 5 has a fantastic design as well. The profile is initially a little confusing because it's halfway between a hatchback and a crossover, but once your eyes adjust, you notice the sleek lines, the muscular stance, and the cuts and creases that give the car plenty of definition.

Particularly nice details are those on the nose. A clever optical illusion is created by the staggered LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) and the 'blackened space' between the lights. The wheel arches on the Ioniq 5 have attractive helical cuts as well. The 'C' pillar further back, which resembles a VW Golf or Lancia Delta, is another intriguing feature. Wow, there is a connection. The 1974 Hyundai Pony, which was created by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also created the VW Golf and Lancia Delta, is honoured in the Ioniq 5. Even the rear "parametric" lights are gorgeous. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 won World Design of the Year in 2022.

Hyundai's new born-electric platform, known as e-GMP, is the foundation for the Ioniq 5's razor-sharp exterior. In a slim pack, pouch type cells are cradled by a stiffened skateboard, saving space. The 217 horsepower oil-cooled e-motor drives the rear wheels. A 5-link independent suspension is also included. To prevent the long wheelbase from touching the ground, the Ioniq 5 has also been raised by 20mm. When fully loaded, the vehicle has a 176mm total ground clearance, which is adequate.

Hyundai uses an 800 Volt system for recharging, which enables even faster charging times. A 50kW DC charger can complete 10-80% of the charge in 57 minutes, whereas an 11kW AC charger needs about 7 hours. The same 72.6kWh battery can go from 10-80% in just 18 minutes at 350kW.

Hyundai Ioniq 5: comfort and interior

The interior of the Ioniq 5's cabin, if anything, has been designed with an even greater "open mind," with only new concepts and approaches appearing to have been used. And you expect nothing less from your contemporary EV.

First impressions of the cabin are of a very large, open space. This is not a dream. The cabin has a flat floor in the front and back and is extremely wide and tall. You can 'walk through' the cabin by sliding the centre console back a half-foot, which furthers the impression of space. There is a tonne of shoulder room and legroom up front, and to make it feel more spacious. Even a lot of white has been used by Hyundai's designers. It even has a sizable fixed glass roof that pours light into the cabin.

The fact that the front seats are roomy and comfortable, have air conditioning, and, unusually, have a small ottoman on which you can rest your calves also helps a lot. However, there is no massage feature, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto seem to be missing without explanation.

Hyundai Ioniq 5: performance and ride

Since the Ioniq 5 is a wide vehicle, you should initially pay attention to the width. The fact that it rides so well, though, is a pleasant surprise. It glides over some rough terrain and jagged ridges with ease despite the stiff chassis and 20mm of additional ground clearance. Even more impressive is the apparent good weight control, with hardly any pitching or bobbing apparent. Despite having a long wheelbase, it even passed quite easily over some very large speed breaks. The Ioniq 5 is also quite refined when driven on highways; what little wind and road noise there is seems to be well-contained.

The Ioniq 5 also has nice and direct steering and a neat and tidy way of going around corners, though it does roll a little bit in corners, especially when driven with a fair amount of verve. Even without the ESP, the rear-wheel-drive chassis is fun to drive. Due to all the weight transfer, be sure to do this on a wide open road or in a parking lot that is not busy.

Even the brakes operate flawlessly. The pedal feels very natural, has good bite when you need it, and Hyundai even accomplished a seamless integration of braking performed by the electric generator and the disc brakes.

Ioniq 5 by Hyundai: conclusion

The Ioniq 5 from Hyundai doesn't quite fit inside a box. It's not really necessary. As you go through the checklist, you'll notice that it does very well in almost every category. The first thing that gives it character is the way it looks. The luxuriously furnished and generously equipped cabin has a spacious, plush, and futuristic feel to it. It stands out because it has a tonne of interior features that are genuinely new and refreshing.

The fact that it also manages to ride comfortably and drive with ease sort of caps off this impressive performance. Yes, at Rs 44.95 lakh it is the most expensive Hyundai on sale, and rear seat comfort is only good not great. Still, what Hyundai has managed to deliver is a comfortable, well-built, easy to drive EV that’s characterful, with no real compromise; and that’s huge. Expect to see many on our roads as this car exerts plenty of appeal.