I didn't want to write this review. I love EVs, don't get me wrong—but what I really wanted to drive was the Toyota Supra with its new manual transmission. I plead my case to my editors only to find myself behind the wheel of a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. So, to say that I was a bit apathetic at first would be an understatement.
Let me be the first to tell you just how wrong I was about not wanting to drive this crossover.
Hyundai has come a long way from its '90s reputation as a Bargain Basement brand (that torch has been handed to Nissan, apparently). Between its line of N-branded performance cars, profitable SUVs, and absolutely killer EVs, the automaker has completely shifted its reputation to that of a tech-focused powerhouse. The Ioniq 5 follows Hyundai's revitalized path and gives EV buyers a proper alternative to other mainstream EVs. Believe me when I say that in a world of crossovers, the Ioniq 5 is a breath of fresh air.
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD Review Specs
- Base price (Limited AWD as tested): $41,245 ($55,920)
- Powertrain: dual electric motors | all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 320
- Torque: 446 lb-ft
- Curb weight: 4,662 pounds
- Seating capacity: 5
- Cargo volume: 27.2 cubic feet (59.3 cubic feet with rear seats folded)
- Towing capacity: 2,300 pounds
- Ground clearance: 6.1 inches
- EPA fuel economy: 132 mpge city | 98 highway | 114 combined
- Quick take: The Ioniq 5 is one of the best electric vehicles you can buy on the market today, although some quirks and a rocky public charging infrastructure muddle the ownership experience.
- Score: 9/10
The Ioniq 5 is Hyundai's response to the question every automaker is forced to answer right now: What kind of electric crossover are you building? I know that sounds boring, but hear me out—it's going to happen whether we like it or not. South Korea's contender just happens to be one of the most palatable on the market with simple ingredients. The end result is a finely-sculpted battery-powered crossover just slightly larger than a sedan, packed full of tech, and not at all boring to drive.
One of the best things about the Ioniq 5 is its design. Nearly everything inside and out is so much different than anything else seen roaming the streets today, which gives it a humongous amount of presence. Its blocky sculpting and unique language really call to passersby, which means that the Ioniq 5 receives a huge amount of attention on the road. For better or worse, it simply stood out in a sea of Toyota RAV4s and Honda CR-Vs.
Hyundai's designers worked hard to give the crossover such a unique appearance that really attracts buyers who want something that isn't mundane. Its lines are mixed with a squared-off complexion and its proportions are quite stubby—photos simply don't do its oddly-sized proportions justice. The entire package gives the Ioniq a retro-future-esque design, while certain appointments give a more modern look (see the motion lines around the wheel arches and peppering of geometric "pixel" shapes wherever possible). And at night, the Ioniq 5 is also instantly recognizable thanks to its unique exterior lighting.
Now, make no mistake: the design can be truly polarizing. However, the response that this car consistently received while out and about (or even parked in my driveway) outweighed just about every negative opinion.
Now that we've got our strikingly good looks out of the way, let's move on to where we'll be spending most of our time: the interior.
After taking a seat, you'll realize how truly large the Ioniq 5 feels inside. Its dashboard is pushed far forward, leaving tons of legroom available for the front passengers, and the lack of a full-length center console provides an open feeling across the front row. The rear of the Ioniq is also surprisingly roomy, though at least one six-foot-something adult passenger complained to me about the lack of headroom. Interestingly, this isn't an issue until trying to fully rest your head back because the panoramic glass roof adds a few inches immediately in front of the rear headrests.
The seating is also incredibly comfortable no matter where in the car your butt called home. The driver's seat in particular had one feature I absolutely loved for long stints on the road: a footrest. This isn't new for Hyundai, and it was something I really liked as a passenger in the Kia Carnival's captain chairs. However, for some reason, Hyundai chose to only give one of these footrests to the driver despite its marketing material showing otherwise. I wasn't the only one confused by this, as forums are littered with early Ioniq adopters wondering why their front passenger has no "relaxation" feature. Imagine my surprise when I tried to show my wife how to recline her seat at a charger only to realize it was missing the footrest.
Back to the driver's seat. Controls all feel very natural to the driver, including its column-mounted gear selector and touch controls, which are primarily capacitive. A few physical buttons exist as well, though they mainly serve as shortcuts to specific views in the infotainment system. Speaking of which, the infotainment system is surprisingly well organized. Some menus are buried, but settings are intuitively nested to places that make sense when quickly trying to flip an option. I still miss the feeling of physical buttons, though it would be an absolute nightmare if designers actually did try to dedicate a button to absolutely all of this car's functions and customization settings.
Ironically, my biggest gripe with the Ioniq 5 is actually under the hood, but not in the way you might think. There's an enormous amount of wasted space where you would expect any other EV to implement a frunk. Instead is a large "fake" engine with plastics that doubles as a compartment just large enough for something laptop-sized. I found the best use just to be the storage of the 110-volt charger in case of emergencies.
Driving the Hyundai Ioniq 5
Listen up: this isn't your grandmother's Hyundai. Long gone is the brand's reputation of being something found in the bargain aisle. There are no clunks, no rattles, no strange vibrations that scream "cheap!" in your ear as you're piloting this oddly-proportion attention grabber. It's just a quiet, smooth ride with a rather linear powerband. Let's not call it boring—maybe domesticated is the better word.
That being said, there's still a bit of feral cat living under the hood, and yes, it has claws. This being the dual-motor Ioniq 5, there is a lot of power behind the go-pedal (320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, to be precise). Best of all, it being all-electric means all of that torque is instantly applied the moment you bury the accelerator. Sprinting from a stop to 60 mph? Expect somewhere around 4.4 seconds, which is quicker than a first-gen Acura NSX, or just a tad slower than a modern Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing. Pretty spicy for a grocery-getter, if I may say so.
That being said, don't expect to jump into the Ioniq 5 and feel like you're behind the wheel of a sports car. This crossover's 4,600-pound curb weight makes it a bit of a baby behemoth, so taking a corner hard means really feeling the heft carried around by the chassis. Turning off traction control can be an experience on its own, but again, that's not what this car is meant for and its weight really makes any sort of more-than-spirited driving rather counter-intuitive. This isn't a sports car, but being quick on its feet sure does make driving in a straight line invigorating.
One thing I do want to praise is Hyundai's driver assist system. I'm a huge proponent (and avid user) of Comma AI's OpenPilot in my personal 2021 Honda Accord and let me say that the Ioniq 5's particular flavor of ADAS blows it out of the water. The lane centering works flawlessly with gobs of torque that can be applied to the wheel directly from the car in order to make sweeping turns. The vehicle also offers lane-change assist, which is fantastic for those long highway drives. Now, don't get me wrong—this is no Super Cruise. You still have to keep your hands on the wheel and are ultimately responsible for driving, but Hyundai's offering does offer some great backup for those lengthy drives.
The Highs and Lows
The Ioniq 5 is an absolute godsend for those who love tech-focused daily drivers. Its smart menu system and customizable interior make the car feel lightyears ahead of other EVs on the market. Plus, cool little features like ambient lighting synced to drive modes are gimmicky, but still cool to passengers getting in your car for the first time.
One feature I really did like was Hyundai's "Remote Smart Parking Assist." This gave me the ability to move the car forward or backward from outside of the vehicle using just the fob. It was particularly great for parking along the streets and alleyways of Baltimore where I often found myself parking against a building with the only way to get in or out of the car being someone's small driveway opening. Just exit the vehicle and use the fob to move the car out of range of their driveway. Bam: parking secured.
As I mentioned above, driving this EV was anything but boring ... when you want it to be. It's completely tame as a grocery-getter, but also extremely agile when you need it to be. Whether that be merging, passing, or simply giving it the beans because you can, there is more than enough power to earn yourself a ticket in five seconds or less.
One huge gripe is the lack of wireless Apple CarPlay. The only USB ports for the driver are pushed to the small cubby in the front of the car, and a standard Apple-branded USB cable is stretched when trying to put the phone anywhere out of the way. Believe it or not, this problem is compounded by the lack of storage for oversized water bottles. I wasn't able to fit my 32-ounce CamelBak Chute anywhere except for that same cubby where the USB ports were, and—surprise—placement conflicted with one another.
The last CarPlay-related gripe I have is with Hyundai's implementation of its head-up display's augmented reality features. Sadly, these are only available when using the factory navigation system, which was so laggy when trying to navigate that I just stuck with CarPlay.
Another weird area of contention are the door handles. Like the Tesla Model 3, the Ioniq 5 has pop-out door handles. I really want to like these, but Hyundai's implementation proved to be a bit frustrating, especially because they don't auto-retract when walking away from the vehicle. This means pulling the fob out of your pocket and manually locking the doors in order to get the handles to poke back in and not be an immediate indication that it is unlocked. The handles have also proven to be an issue for those who live in cold climates. Much like the Model 3, the cold weather will win the battle of door handle versus a sheet of ice.
What I'm really not sure of is the after-sales experience. Hyundai has a bit of a reputation for letting consumers hang out in limbo should a warranty issue arise, though it has taken steps to bet.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Features, Options, and Competition
I tested the dual-motor variant of the Ioniq 5 Limited, which is as fully loaded as you can get at around $55,920. As a comparison, the SE Standard Range base trim is the most affordable of the lineup at just $41,450. However, it's fairly flat with only a single motor powering the rear wheels and a smaller 58 kWh battery pack offering a rather dismal 220 miles of range. It also packs just 168 horsepower versus the Limited's 320-hp AWD powertrain.
There are also a ton of premium features offered in the Limited versus the base SE Standard Range. For example: LED projector headlights, power folding mirrors, a hands-free liftgate, automatic door unlocking with pop-out handles, ventilated memory seats, a heated steering wheel, a full color head-up display, second-row HVAC vents, Hyundai's digital key functionality, and a Bose audio system. Whether or not that's worth an additional $14,500 is up to you.
Speaking of which, the Ioniq 5 isn't the only BEV crossover on the market, though it might just be the handsomest.
There is also the Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium (with AWD and extended range battery), as well as the Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S Plus, which are comparatively priced at $67,575 and $55,435, respectively. Both are excellent options to consider, and each offer their own OEM-brewed flavors, though I'd argue neither offers the same value when taking into consideration the features found in the Ioniq 5.
Perhaps a closer comparison is the Ioniq 5's sibling, the award-winning Kia EV6. Both share largely the same tech and features considering they share the same underpinnings and bloodline. However, the EV6 is designed to be more of a sporty car versus the Ioniq 5, which means that if slamming that accelerator constantly is going to be your key deciding factor when shopping for an EV crossover, the EV6 should be on your radar (or perhaps the Ioniq 5 N when it is launched).
And there is, of course, the Tesla comparison to make. The Tesla Model Y outshines the Ioniq 5 in range and efficiency, and with its recent price drop, is actually $3,000 less than the Hyundai. Couple that with Tesla's charging network—which isn't free from its own faults—and it becomes difficult to justify purchasing the Hyundai over the reigning king of EVs.
Range, Charging, and Efficiency
Range is important in any electric car. The Ioniq 5's 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery is rated for around 256 miles with the dual motor setup like I tested, or 303 miles if you opt for the single motor variant. That being said, I had absolutely no issue hitting the advertised range. What I did have an issue with was charging.
Hyundai claims that the car has the ability to charge from 10 to 80% charge in just 18 minutes using a 350-kilowatt charger. In my case, I couldn't find one. In fact, finding any working public DC fast charger when I needed it most (after two hours of highway driving) was problematic. But this wasn't an issue with the Ioniq 5, more so an issue with the public charging infrastructure as a whole. I ended up parking in a garage that offered a no-cost Level 2 ChargePoint charger, which would end up being enough to top me off for the ride back home.
In terms of pollution, EVs are generally "dirtier" up front. It takes a while for any EV to catch up to its gasoline counterpart, but once that threshold is crossed, EVs are substantially more sustainable to the environment. Nevertheless, Hyundai did aim to make the Ioniq 5 as eco-friendly as possible upfront.
The vehicle's leather is eco-friendly, as is the car's headliner and carpet materials, with each Ioniq 5 using about 32 recycled plastic bottles in the makeup of its upholstery. In fact, the dye used to color the leather in the interior is made using flaxseed oil. Hyundai says that even the Ioniq 5's paint is sustainable, as crucial ingredients are extracted from flowers and plants.
As far as heavyweight EVs go, the Ioniq 5 is punching right in its weight class. At 4,662 pounds, it's positioned between the similarly-equipped versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E (4,647 pounds) and the Volkswagen ID.4 (4,665 pounds). That being said, it's not exactly light, and is outshined by the Tesla Model Y at 4,416 pounds.
Value and Verdict
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is one of the best EVs I've driven in a while. It speaks to me as both a tech-focused consumer who loves to have cool, niche features in their daily driver, as well as an automotive enthusiast. Sure, it isn't the sportiest thing on the block, but it isn't meant to be. This is a crossover that just happens to have the legs of a battery-powered cheetah, which makes it incredibly fun to drive.
If you're in the market for a sporty, unique EV, the Ioniq 5 is certainly a contender that's worth exploring. And when you really get into the weeds, it might be a harder choice to choose between the Ioniq 5 and its sporty brother, the Kia EV6. But rest assured, both are quirky choices that will forever ruin the appeal of the boring old beigemobile.
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