- The 2022 Ioniq 5 is Hyundai’s newest and largest electric SUV.
- We were surprised by the sci-fi looks, fast charging and comfortable cabin of the $56,000 version we tested.
- The Ioniq 5 starts at $39,700 for the base model.
At auto shows, and more recently through virtual events, auto companies regularly produce creative, forward-thinking vehicles that rarely mean anything more than a design exercise.
Typically, these wacky, one-off concept cars make some noise, the automotive press wonders if something this cool will actually come out of a factory, and if anything is done, they rarely get the thrill of the original design.
So it was a pleasant surprise that Hyundai’s new electric SUV, the 2022 Ioniq 5, debuted in all its extravagant, audacious design. futuristic concept car from a few years ago.
Launched late last year, the Ioniq 5 has bold, origami-like curves that pierce its sides, “pixelized” headlights and small square taillights, and an overall look that feels, in the best possible way, as if it’s been rolled straight. From a 1980s sci-fi movie.
However, it brings much more to the party than just good looks. The SUV also offers living room comfort, loads of safety tech, and experimental features you won’t find anywhere else.
A few days behind the wheel of the Ioniq 5 earlier this month proved that the SUV is everything it should be, and then some. If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, this vehicle deserves a place at the top of your list.
A first from Hyundai
Hyundai has made electric cars before, but none quite like the Ioniq 5. It sells the Kona Electric, but it’s a gas SUV the company has reworked to run on battery power. The Ioniq 5 is the Korean brand’s first model to be built from the ground up as an EV. Going forward, Ioniq will serve as Hyundai’s electric sub-brand, and its battery platform will support future EVs from Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.
And it demonstrates this clean page approach. From its stunning good looks to its exceptional fast charging capability, you get the feeling that a lot of thought has been put into every little detail in the Ioniq 5.
First, the basics. The Ioniq 5 comes in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. Each can be single-engine and rear-wheel drive or dual-engine and all-wheel drive. The former gives you a better driving range, while the latter offers better power and handling. A cheaper, entry-level model with a smaller battery pack is on the way.
- SE ($39,700 MSRP): The basic, rear-wheel drive version offers 220 miles of range and 168 horsepower, but is not yet available. The lowest-cost model on the market is the SE Long Range, which starts at $43,650 and offers a range of 303 miles.
- SEL ($45,900): Adds ambient lighting, heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, synthetic leather seats, extra safety tech and other features.
- Limited ($50,600): Adds Hyundai’s most advanced driver assistance feature, glass roof, ventilated front seats, head-up display and more.
The fully loaded Ioniq 5 Limited AWD Hyundai lent me came out to $55,920 including a destination charge.
Highlights: A stylish interior that’s bigger than you’d expect
Depending on how you look at it, the Ioniq 5 resembles either a squat SUV or a slightly overblown hatchback. Regardless, it doesn’t sound particularly big. But step inside the compact SUV and the first thing you’ll notice is how uncluttered and roomy it feels.
Thanks to some clever design choices and the beauty of its compact, electric powertrain, the Ioniq 5 has a flat floor, ample space in the driver and passenger footwells, and a large open space for a bag or suitcase in front of the center console. The glossy materials and large glass roof added to the sense of space in the model I tested.
To understand how much room there is for passengers in the Ioniq 5, consider that the wheelbase is longer than Hyundai’s much larger, three-row Palisade SUV.
It’s a bit of fun, albeit a touch of attention: a sliding center console on top-floor Limited models that lets you choose whether you want more space for the rear passengers or the front passengers. Plus, the Ioniq 5’s open-concept floor plan means there’s nothing for your right knee to dig into while driving. Tall people, rejoice!
In addition to all this, the stylish design and comfortable seats of the cabin make it very enjoyable to spend time in it. If you want to get some sleep while it charges, the front seats can be fully reclined and optionally available with a calf-rest.
Hyundai has managed to channel Tesla’s minimalist, tech-heavy aesthetic without making the Ioniq 5 sterile or overly complicated to operate. Fortunately, the SUV includes buttons for climate controls and the radio, rather than cramming every important function into the touchscreen.
Using the Ioniq 5
Rated at 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque, the dual-motor, all-wheel drive Ioniq 5 I packs a serious punch. According to Hyundai, it accelerates to 60 mph in about five seconds, a figure I wholeheartedly believe based on my independently verified but unsuspecting passengers.
Putting the Ioniq 5 in Sport mode puts all that neck-breaking power at your toe, but the driving range drops accordingly. Eco mode disables the front engine, saving energy and providing a smoother driving experience. The Normal setting falls somewhere in the middle. Overall, the Ioniq 5 glides smoothly and quietly on the highway and is undisturbed by bumpy roads.
As exciting as the all-wheel drive model is, there’s a good reason to choose a rear-wheel drive version that’s a little less exciting: range. All-wheel drive models are rated for just a good 256 miles. Prefer rear-wheel drive and Environmental Protection Agency says You will get 303 miles of stars per charge.
On all models, Hyundai has given the Ioniq 5 incredibly fast charging capabilities. Hyundai says the SUV can use 350 kilowatt stations (the most powerful type) to recharge from 10-80% in 18 minutes. even texted video to prove it. The only EVs that can come close to this kind of charging speed are fancy, six-digit cars like the Tesla Model S, Lucid Air, and Porsche Taycan.
Likewise, all Ioniq 5s feature an impressive array of safety technologies, including forward collision avoidance, lane keeping and blind spot monitoring. The limited hardware is equipped with extra features such as extremely useful blind spot cameras that pop up every time you press the turn signal, as well as an augmented reality display on the windshield that shows your speed and blind spot status.
What’s missing: Not much
The five days I tested the Ioniq 5 impressed me overall, but I did notice a few flaws. While I love the SUV’s spacious interior and intuitive tech, some of the design decisions left me scratching my head.
To use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you need to plug your device into a USB port at the feet of the driver. It’s surprising why Hyundai didn’t include wireless functionality or some more convenient ports. Similarly, the wireless charging pad is a nice touch on the Limited model, but it’s in a hard-to-reach spot deep in the center console.
Climate control settings use soft, touch-sensitive buttons that don’t buzz or offer feedback when you tap them, making it hard to tell what you’re doing without looking at them from the road. But such checks are everywhere now, so maybe I should shut up.
From a design standpoint, the Ioniq 5 is a home run. Its immaculate, space-age style draws attention and makes you feel special, while its clean, airy cabin keeps you comfortable as you glide silently to your destination.
More importantly, Hyundai hasn’t compromised on everyday usability, supported by the Ioniq 5’s long driving range, super-fast charging, and terrific indoor use. Fantastic extras like a sliding center console and the ability to act as a giant mobile power bank show that Hyundai is willing to try features people didn’t know they needed yet.
With more excellent options like this, electric cars should have no problem reaching the mainstream.