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First Drive: Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Ioniq 5 impresses with its space and design, find Martyn Collins.

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SECTOR Electric Crossover PRICE £36,940-£48,090 CHARGING 7.4kW AC / 220 kW DC RANGE 287-300 MILES

Think Ioniq and the first model that will come to mind is the hatchback range that is available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric versions and that launched back in 2016.

Hyundai will be hoping you’re not thinking of those cars in relation to the new Ioniq 5, despite the fact that the old models still remain on sale. No, Ioniq now relates to a new range of electric-only models, the first being this Ioniq 5.

The first model to be built on Hyundai’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), this dedicated battery electric vehicle is designed to enable faster charging, offer increased driving range, have more interior space and deliver an all-round better drive.

Outside, the Ioniq 5 looks like no other Hyundai model before – no bad thing. Best described as an interesting mix of retro and modern, highlights include the multi-slotted front panel – with the distinctive headlights that are made up of 256 LED cubes – the sharp surface detailing at the side and more distinctive LED lights at the back.

Designed to take on rivals such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Škoda Enyaq iV and Volkswagen ID.4, this hatchback design hides its size well. It is only when you get inside the Ioniq 5, you appreciate the masses of interior space. Generous is the best word to describe the head and legroom; in fact rear space surely must rival some limousines. Boot space is still generous too at 540 litres and there’s the extra practicality of a 60/40 split rear seat, should you need more.

Once you get past the space, you appreciate the classy interior with futuristic details, such as the two conjoined 12.5-inch screens for the instruments and infotainment.

We had the range-topping Ultimate version priced at £48,090, but SE Connect and Premium versions are also available. Our model was powered by the largest 73kWh battery, which an extra motor mounted on the front axle, delivering four-wheel drive, 306hp and a 287-mile range. However, there’s also a two-wheel drive version of the 73kWh version, with a 300-mile range. Plus, a 58kWh version with 170hp and up to 240 miles of range, depending on version.

The range is comparable to rivals, nothing more, but it’s when it comes to recharging, that the Hyundai comes into its own – as the Ioniq 5’s 800V battery system can add 62 miles of range in just five minutes. It supports charging at up to 220kW at a DC ultra-fast charging station too – charging from 10-80% in less than 18 minutes. These chargers are rare at the moment though.

On the road, the Ioniq 5 is fast and responsive. Yet, it feels much smaller to drive than its size and weight would suggest – this is all thanks to the responsive steering and low centre of gravity. It’s not sporty though, and we’d advise against the 20-inch wheels as they make the ride feel horribly choppy and unsettled. Also, despite the slippery shape, there’s more wind noise than you might expect at speed.

The Verdict
Stylish, impressive interior space and it’s capable of super-fast charging speeds. The Ioniq 5 will change perceptions of the Hyundai brand.

The Lowdown
Key Fleet Model: Ioniq 5 58kWh SE Connect
Strengths: Design, spacious interior, charging, good to drive
Weaknesses: Unremarkable range, unsettled ride.

Fleet World Star Rating
4/5

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Martyn Collins

Martyn has 18 years experience as a motoring journalist, working across a wide selection of B2B and consumer titles. A car enthusiast since his early years, Martyn has a particular interest in the latest models and technology and in his spare time enjoys driving his own Minis.