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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Test Drive Review
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 delivers on innovation, uniqueness, and approachability in debuting the automaker’s new EV sub-brand.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the automaker’s debut electric vehicle from its new sub-brand that focuses solely on battery electric-powered mobility. The all-new Ioniq 5 is chock full of battery technology, smart car connectivity, advanced safety, and unique design all at a price point that appeals to the masses.
Look and Feel
The first-ever Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a spinoff and not a reboot of the original Ioniq. Different cast, different bones, but regardless of whether you’re based in Las Vegas, Miami, or New Orleans, the theme remains the same: electrified mobility. Some clarification might be needed, though.
The original Hyundai Ioniq is a model that debuted in 2016. It was also the world’s first vehicle to be offered in three electrified variants (full hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric). The vehicle is still in the Hyundai lineup but, for 2022, it’s available in only the two hybrid forms. The Ioniq Electric has been dropped as Hyundai focuses on positioning Ioniq a standalone brand. Much like how Hyundai N represents performance, Hyundai Ioniq will represent EVs—and only EVs. This brings us to the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is the first vehicle of this new lineup. As the sub-brand grows, models will receive numeric names with evens being sedans and odds being crossovers.
At first glance, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 presents a polished exterior appearance. Character lines are minimal; there is no slash and burn of the sheet metal in the “Look at me!” fashion other automakers are guilty of. But, upon closer inspection, the Ioniq 5 is indeed a maddening exercise of exterior design elements that work in some ways but drive you a little bananas in others.
Referred to as Parametric Pixel design, the seemingly innocuous 8-bit box of our Nintendo-based childhood (for older Millennials, anyway) is utilized in such excess that it’s not farfetched to think the Ioniq 5 is a concept car rather than a production car. But it is a production vehicle, and it’s on sale now.
These pixels are used throughout the exterior in all the LEDs and lighting casings. And we mean all of the lights. Headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, integrated turn lights. So. Many. Lights. And pixels. Also, if you think the headlights are large pixel shapes, you’re wrong. They consist of teeny dot-matrices to create the illusion of a box within a box. It’s fascinating and frustrating but also not a Hyundai first. With recent company restomods—the 70s Pony and 80s Grandeur, specifically—the corporate design team took Hyundai heritage cars and hurtled them into a digitized future thanks to what amounts to an infinite supply of LED pixels. And that’s just the lighting details.
Other elements of the Ioniq 5 exterior include aerodynamic wheels that feature a progressively ornamental design which extends into arches within the fender flares. There also are a set of five horizontal lines that create the silver-contrast plastic bits that circumvent the vehicle’s bottom half. If they give you Max Headroom vibes (again, we’re aging ourselves), then you’re not alone.
The cabin, however, does a 180. Instead of low-key frantic design features, the Ioniq 5’s interior is simply low-key. Available in black, gray, and dark green hues, the interior is mellow but not melancholy. Hyundai calls this design theme “Living Space” and it certainly feels like a place where you can relax. In fact, there is a legitimate “Relaxation” mode feature for the driver’s seat. Available only when the vehicle is in park and without a rear passenger buckled in, Relaxation mode reclines the seatback, raises the footrest, and provides you with a zero-gravity resting position.
Beyond being a zero-emissions vehicle, the Ioniq 5 also utilizes sustainable materials. The standard seats are stain-resistant cloth while leatherette upholstery is reserved for higher trims. Recycled fibers are used for the door inserts and plastic bottles are part of the production of the armrests and seats. The carpet, dashboard, door panels, and headliner also incorporate bio-materials such as those derived from bean oil and sugar cane.
And if you’re missing the Parametric Pixel theme, don’t worry. It can be found in the steering wheel, door inserts, and seat upholstery. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. With the Ioniq 5, its styling is not as subtle as you initially think but, hey, some like it hot.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 comes in two drive configurations, three trims, and three powertrains. Available in SE, SEL, and Limited, the Ioniq 5 features rear-wheel drive (RWD) as standard equipment with all-wheel drive (AWD) offered on all trims. The base model is the Ioniq 5 SE Standard Range, which is equipped with a single 128-kW rear-mounted electric motor. Output is 168 horsepower with an offering of 220 miles of range. This SE Standard Range won’t be available until sometime in the spring of 2022.
The extended-range Ioniq 5 lineup is available now. SE, SEL, and Limited RWD variants feature a larger 168-kW rear motor that produces 225 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. Its single-charge range also is the most for the Ioniq 5 at 303 miles. Opting for AWD means swapping the single motor for a dual-motor system with a 74-kW motor in front and a 165-kW box in the rear. The Ioniq 5 AWD’s total power is rated at 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque, but the range does drop down to 256 miles.
Being a midsize crossover, the Ioniq 5 performs as expected for this segment, which is to say middle of the road. The automaker claims that RWD is standard because the drive type provides better dynamics than if it were front-wheel drive. Perhaps, but the Ioniq 5 is not intended to satisfy driving enthusiasts in the way other automakers do. For example, the Polestar 2 and Porsche Taycan are EV sports sedans with 400-plus hp and undeniable performance DNA. But they also offer barely mid-200 miles of range and cost thousands more.
That being said, our test vehicle was an Ioniq 5 in Limited trim with AWD, and it handled elevation-changing canyon roads and highway straightaways of San Diego County with the same amount of composure and control. The Ioniq 5 is equipped with four drive modes of which Sport is included. Sport mode does inject a bit of excitement by re-tuning the torque split and adding weight to the steering wheel fee, but it will alsoyou sap available range as quickly as you go from zero to 60 mph (which is less than 5 seconds for this configuration).
Driving with haste for about 5 miles dropped 20-ish miles from our range. Fun for a quick joy ride as the road allows but unless you know of a fast-charger station nearby, save the (mild) thrill rides for when you’re closer to home.
Paddle shifters are available but are not for changing gears. Like many EVs, because torque is on demand and doesn’t require traveling through a torque band, the Ioniq 5 is equipped with a single-speed transmission. The paddle shifters can be used for adjusting regenerative properties on the fly. There are four levels of regen (L0-L3), automatic, and an i-Pedal setting, which is Hyundai’s term for one-pedal driving. Playing through proved to be more interesting than Sport mode. What even was life before the gamification of things?
With no engine note to drown out conversations or outside noise from penetrating the cabin, Hyundai focused on features that reduced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). The weird wheels are aerodynamic, but their tires are also acoustic, which means they feature an NVH-reducing foam insert. There is further noise absorption thanks to sound-deadening in the carpet, door panels, and even the angle of the rear spoiler. Considering the vehicle’s large greenhouse, including an available panoramic sunroof, the Ioniq 5 was surprisingly quiet, regardless of the road surface.
Form and Function
The Ioniq 5 sits on an all-new platform developed specifically for the Ioniq brand. Known as Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), this dedicated architecture not only improves EV capabilities in charging and range but also offers a longer wheelbase from which to maximize interior space and utility.
It looks like a hatchback, but it's sized like an electric SUV. Case in point, the five-passenger Ioniq 5 has a longer wheelbase than the seven-passenger flagship Palisade. The Ioniq 5 measures 118.1 inches versus the Palisade’s 114.2 inches. The Ioniq 5 is also roomier than its competitive set, which includes the Ford Mustang Mach-E (117.4) and Volkswagen ID.4 (108.9). Yet, in overall length, the Ioniq 5 is shorter than the Ford and only a couple inches longer than the Volkswagen.
The Ioniq 5 offers a total interior volume of 133.7 cubic feet, which also exceeds the overall cabin of both Mustang Mach-E and ID.4. When reading the small print, the ID.4’s 30.3 cu-ft of rear cargo space beats both the Ford (29.7 cu-ft) and Hyundai (27.2 cu-ft). But that just means the Ioniq 5 prefers to spoil its passengers than its parcels. The Ioniq 5 has a measured passenger volume of 106.5 cu-ft while the Mustang Mach-E and ID.4 offer 101.1 and 99.9 cu-ft, respectively.
This, of course, circles back to the “Living Space” theme. There are soft touch points all over. As Plain Jane as the interior may be, it’s comfortable with useable spaces throughout. For example, because the shifter comes in the form of an old-school steering-wheel-mounted stock, there is no need for the center console to extend toward the center stack.
Without this partition, the center armrest and its cubby (which is large enough to store massive mom purses) are built as a moveable island that slides 5.5 inches fore and aft. Oh, and you get a modern take on the retro front bench seat, which allows you to exit and enter the vehicle from either front door! Why is this important? Because maybe traffic is too intense or maybe another vehicle parked too close for comfort. Either way, it’s always good to have multiple exit strategies.
The leatherette seats of our test vehicle were also the comfiest and supportive we’ve experienced in recent memory. The foam wasn’t too plush like a well-worn couch but provided a pleasant cushion for driving and relaxing. For a slim-fit driver, the added bolsters offer snug security. For larger drivers, because of the softness of the seats, the bolsters won’t feel overly tight either.
The technology instilled within the Ioniq 5 is as impressive as it is overwhelming. The new Hyundai EV is powered by a next-generation high-voltage, energy-dense system that also offers vehicle-to-load capabilities. So, not only does the Ioniq 5 have an output of more than 250 kW for ultra-fast charging that allows it to reach 80 percent battery capacity within just 18 minutes, but it can also charge your home, too. Or another EV. Anything with a plug, really.
In fact, the Ioniq 5 can support charging infrastructures up to 800 volts while not requiring additional tools or adapters to accommodate 400-volt stations. This patented technology is a world-first innovation. When utilizing a 350-kW charger, the Ioniq 5 can gain 68 miles of range in 5 minutes. In a real-world test, we depleted the battery and connected the Ioniq 5 to an Electrify America fast-charger. The total time to reach a full charge was 42 minutes and 52 seconds. Apparently, gone are the days of twiddling your thumbs for three hours at a random charging station in the middle of the desert.
You also don’t have to worry about paying for that electric boost. Hyundai has partnered with Electrify America to offer unlimited 30-minute fast-charging sessions for two years. This is available to owners of the battery-electric versions of the 2021 Ioniq and Kona and now extends to the Ioniq 5. Electrify America currently has a nationwide network of 700 stations in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Outside of those speedy surges, the Ioniq 5 will need about 6 hours and 43 minutes to reach 100-percent battery life.
This is just what’s under the floor bed. The Ioniq 5 breaks new ground with multimedia features, including a redesigned Blue Link connected car app that’s Ioniq-brand-specific. Vehicle information has been simplified with a focus on EV charge management, scheduling, and station locations. The Ioniq 5 also offers a digital key, enhanced smartphone pairing, compatibility with virtual assistants, artificial intelligence-powered voice recognition, and over-the-air updates.
Also worth noting are the beautifully designed 12.3-inch screens that make up the instrument cluster and infotainment. Not only are these displays elegant and intuitive, but they’re also finished with an anti-glare coating. Even while wearing polarized sunglasses, we could read the information on either screen with clarity, regardless of where we sat in the vehicle.
The high level of technology extends to the safety systems as well. Hyundai SmartSense is a suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and the Ioniq 5 is equipped with a long list of standard features that includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and front- and rear-collision avoidance, to name a few.
Also included on every Ioniq 5 model is Hyundai Highway Drive Assist I (had). This Level 2 semi-autonomous driving system features machine-learning adaptive cruise control with stop & go. What that means is the more you use the robot that lives within your car, the more said robot will drive like you. Your tendencies to speed up when changing lanes or prefer a certain following distance on curvy roads will be the Ioniq 5’s tendencies as well. The machine learning updates daily so you and the Ioniq 5 will be driver twinsies in no time.
No need to worry about your driving data being transferred to another driver either, as the information is connected to individual Blue Link profiles and not just floating around the ether in your Ioniq 5 living room. Maybe it’s a little creepy at first but in the long run, as the vehicle learns your driving habits, there’ll be fewer surprises (like random acceleration) as you hand over more driving responsibilities to the ADAS.
Speaking of a new world of driving, available for the first time in a Hyundai is a head-up display (HUD) with augmented reality overlays. This feature essentially turns the windshield into a third display screen that delivers information like animated turn-by-turn navigation. While impressive on paper, in actual usage, the HUD was more of a distraction. Because of our seating position, we set the HUD high in order to see the entire display. In AR mode, the additional info ended being in our line of sight and would shift our visual focus. We could reposition the HUD lower but then we’d lose half of the information, which defeats the purpose of the display.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have released crash-safety ratings for the Ioniq 5. However, in the last five years, Hyundai has received more IIHS Top Safety awards than any other brand. Naturally, the Ioniq 5 is expected to earn high marks when safety ratings are announced.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is packed with so much design, technology, and utility that its suggested retail price of $39,700 (excluding $1,225 destination) is startling. The average new car transaction price now exceeds $45,000, and you can be sure that the average new car doesn’t have half of the features offered on the average Ioniq 5.
Hyundai has also simplified the ordering process for the Ioniq 5. There are no package options. What you see listed for a trim level is what you get. Want the massive moonroof and AR-enabled HUD? Check the box for the top-of-the-line Limited. How about hands-free lane changing? That would be the mid-tier SEL. Prefer to have an 800V, 350-kW fast-charging capability? There’s an SE with your name on it (and every other Ioniq 5).
Our Ioniq 5 Limited AWD tester costs $54,500 and is loaded as they come. The Digital Teal hue wasn’t even an extra charge. Weirdly enough, white paint is an additional $400. There’s also a matte gray finish that comes with a $1,000-upcharge. A la carte accessories like carpeted floor mats ($195) and a rear cargo cover ($190) did push our test car to a total MSRP of $56,110. Things are looking pricey, but that’s not its final price.
Qualified buyers can subtract the $7,500 federal rebate. States and municipalities offer their own incentives for electric cars as well. Yet even without those discounts and tax credits, the Ioniq 5 undercuts similarly equipped crossover EVs while also surpassing them on substance. The Ioniq 5 is has a before-destination base price that is less than the Mustang Mach-E ($43,895), ID.4 ($39,995) and even the Kia Niro ($39,900).
The Ioniq 5 doesn’t quite beat the competition on standard range but if you acknowledge that the bread-and-butter volume seller will likely be an extended-range RWD model, then the Ioniq 5 outshines them in performance, power, features, and safety.
Hyundai took to heart all the hurdles that make consumers EV-hesitant and applied solutions that make the Ioniq 5 feel and act more like a conventional gas-powered car. As charging times decrease, accessibility to charging improves, and price parity with gas cars normalizes, vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5—with its added connectivity, safety, and design—will turn EV shunners into EV buyers.
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