I distinctly remember being at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, when Hyundai showcased their Vision 45 concept car. Featuring a design that I would definitely call as radical for the brand, the 45 was a car that reflected back on Hyundai’s history, paying a homage to their first ever passenger car, the Pony. And when I mean radical, I mean it in a totally positive way, the sharp lines and the elegant details of the 45’s design left me rather impressed. However, what I did not know when was that a couple of years after the show, we would see the 45 in production form, largely unchanged, looking radical as ever and retaining the gorgeous 20-inch wheels, as well as one of the few matt paint jobs which I think look elegant.
Now, of course, the 45 or rather as it’s called in production form – the Ioniq 5 – is available in India, and that too only as an EV. We got a chance to spend a few hours with the car in Goa, test its range, sample its driving experience and overall appeal and here’s what I think of it.
I have to say, I really think highly of the Ioniq 5’s design, and the team at Hyundai has really pulled off a cracker with this car. Starting the gorgeous head and taillight design – the pixel LED’s look rather good – to the beautiful proportions, the Ioniq is a looker alright. With its wheel at each corner stance, the car looks smaller than it is, which makes the space in its cabin a delightful surprise. The sharp front, which almost looks like someone squinting –with no need for a large front grille on an EV, Hyundai’s designers have taken a slimmed down front approach – gives the Ioniq a unique identity, while the sides get a unique look with the flush door handles and with a diagonal line cutting across the doors to give them an almost origami style look.
The contrast of finishes between the body colour, silver, black and chrome elements means the detailing of the Ioniq 5 is fantastic and gives the design a lot of character. And like I said earlier, I absolutely love the complex design of the 20-inch dual-tone wheels. Sure, they’ll be a pain to clean meticulously, but that’s a small price to pay for their beauty. The rear of the Ioniq 5 though remains my favourite aspect of the car’s design, with the sharply cut-off design, paired with the beautifully detailed taillights and the large badging making it look absolutely fantastic. In all, while it may be inspired by the original Pony, the Ioniq 5 is visually unique in Hyundai’s range and should please virtually everyone.
Adapting to the future
This transformation continues once you get inside the Ioniq 5 and marvel at its cabin, and it’s a cabin which is totally unique, if you’re familiar with Hyundai’s. Right from the quality, which is top-notch, to the design, it’s another beautifully executed effort. The first thing you’ll notice are the clean design touches, such as the floating door pad, which has space built into it to make the pad itself function as a handle, without the need for another one. Then there are the materials, the soft touch dashboard and the doorpad are constructed partly from biodegradable materials, while the seats feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, both terrific touches to work on our carbon footprint. The seats themselves are large and rather comfortable, and the front seats even feature long underleg support bolsters that can be raised and lowered electrically. And while I won’t advise using them for the driver, especially when driving, the ones on the passenger side are something that would be genuinely comfortable on a long commute.
There are also other touches to increase space, the gearlever has been moved next to the steering and that means the centre console is used to provide a vast storage space which can also be moved back and forth. Both the front and rear seats benefit from the flat floor of the Ioniq 5 – using a dedicated skateboard chassis gives you this advantage – and with the maximisation of available space, 5 adults can fit in without an issue. The rear seats are also adjustable, not just for legroom, but also for recline, and the legroom adjustment is also electrically powered. And the Ioniq has massive storage spaces, right from the frunk which can accommodate a soft bag, to a pretty decent sized boot, but the real headline is the space with the second row folded, which gives it about 1,587 litres of space.
When it comes to technology, the large screens on the Ioniq 5 look gorgeous in their floating panel and are very high resolution. They offer different display choices and the graphic design and user interface has been very slickly designed. The standard fit Bose audio sounds very good, no doubt helped by the lower NVH due to the absence of engine noise. And while the Ioniq 5 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, I’m a tad disappointed that they are only in wired form, at its price point, I would’ve preferred wireless. You also get connected functionality, and via the app, you can check the charge status of your Ioniq, find the nearest charging centre and many other connected features. One important point – the sunroof on the Ioniq 5 is just a fixed panel, and doesn’t open, which might not be a bad thing since it means people won’t be able to open it and stand with their head out of the roof in a moving vehicle. If there is a concern that I have about the interiors, it is that the seats and the door pads are finished in a very light silverish white shade, and in our conditions keeping them clean is going to be a nightmare.
Powered by a 72.6kWh battery, the Ioniq 5 is based on the Hyundai Group’s custom built E-GMP modular platform. But, unlike its cousin, the Ioniq 5 is offered only in the single motor configuration – which means its rear-wheel drive – and offers 215bhp and 350Nm of torque. While in the age of supercharged power figures from EVs that might sound a bit low, but with its size and weight, it’s more than enough for most drivers. For instance, 0-100 comes up in 7.6 seconds, and that’s plenty quick. And interestingly, the power delivery of the Ioniq 5 is rather linear, and doesn’t give you a surprise wallop if you mash the throttle, which means that it will be easier for most drivers to adapt to its power delivery, which is not always the case in EVs.
The suspension on the Ioniq 5 is a tad on the stiff size – those 20-inch wheels also contribute to this – and on broken roads you’ll have to be a bit careful, but at the same time, as high speeds the stability is excellent. And since it’s rear-wheel drive, you can actually drift the Ioniq 5 quite easily, but it has quite a bit of body roll that gets exposed if you do so. Largely though, both in urban commutes and fast driving the Ioniq 5 is smooth, very quiet, quick to accelerate, and does the job very well. If there is a fly in the ointment for me regarding the driving experience of the Ioniq 5, it would have to be the steering. While most of Hyundai’s products have seen massive changes in how the steering responds and the steering feel is, in the Ioniq 5, it is still not good enough. The steering has little to no feel, and doesn’t offer much in the way of communication about what the front wheels are doing. You can increase the heft of the steering by selecting sport mode, but it just makes the effort heavier without adding anything to the feel aspect.
On the larger question of range of the Ioniq 5, I think the ARAI certified figure of 631kms is a bit too optimistic or their testing procedure a tad lenient. From what we saw over our few hours of driving, expected real world range of the Ioniq 5 would be around the 400kms mark, give or take 10 percent difference, depending on your driving style. But, 400kms is still a significant number that should suit the purpose of most commuters, especially in urban conditions. And when it comes to charging, the Ioniq 5 can use fast chargers up to 350kW. While using a 350kW charger, going from 10-80% takes 18 minutes, using a 150kW charger, 10-80% is done in 21 minutes. Of course, all of this, both range and charging times are also depending on the weather, so do factor in those conditions both in the hot and cold months.
Do we like it?
Well, to be honest, there are many things going for the Ioniq 5, starting with the design, which I think is stunning. It’s unique enough to stand out, and yet not much to make people think it looks a bit weird. I personally think it looks super cool. I also love the interior and equipment available – it even gets a physical volume knob, yay! – and the interior feels better than any Hyundai ever and certainly very upmarket. The only gripe is the white shade, which will have to be cleaned quite frequently. It also offers a lot of practicality when it comes to space, is the perfect size for urban driving and range is a boon. Sure, the steering is not as good, but at a price where it has no real direct competition, the Ioniq 5 offers a compelling package that is hard to look away from. And the fact that it is considerably cheaper than its cousin while offer similar breadth of abilities makes it one hell of a deal. Hyundai already has over 650 bookings, so if you’re looking to buy one, I suggest you move quickly.
- Hyundai IONIQ 5
Motor: 1 Permanent-Magnet Motor
Battery: Liquid-Cooled Lithium-ion, 72.6kWh
Transmission: Rear-Wheel Drive, 1-Speed
Charging: 10 to 80% - 50kW - 57mins, 350kW - 18mins
Range: 631kms (Claimed according to ARAI testing)
Price: ₹45.95 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: With its looks, comfort, practicality and range, the Ioniq 5 makes for a rather compelling EV!
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