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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 First Drive: Style Plus Substance

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Derek Boshouwers
Here’s hoping we won’t see three-year wait times for this seductive new all-electric sedan
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Profile
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Profile
Photo: D.Boshouwers

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6.

•    This EV is in essence a sedan version of the Ioniq 5 crossover.

•    If it can deliver the model in quantity, the automaker gets to bring an excellent model into a relatively open segment, that of the all-electric sedan.

Vancouver, BC - We figure it’s, all things considered, a nice problem for an automaker to have when the biggest complaint about a brand-new model is that the demand is such there could be serious waiting times awaiting potential buyers.

By the same token, Hyundai has work to do with the new Ioniq 6 if it wants to avoid irritating customers like has happened in some cases with the very popular Ioniq 5. The next few months will show if it can deliver on its target of delivering between 2,000 and 3,000 units in Canada this year.

The Ioniq 6 goes on sale this month, so we should start seeing at least some models on the road before too long. Meantime, here’s what we took away from our first contact, on a beautiful early-spring day in and around Vancouver.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Exterior design
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Exterior design
Photo: D.Boshouwers

The exterior
The very existence of an all-new sedan is refreshing, and true to its recent track record, Hyundai has produced a design that’s much more hit than miss. The rounded front and back ends clearly indicate a desire to maximize aerodynamics (more on that in a bit), but the balanced proportions are really what make the car a visual treat.

The car leads with LED parametric pixel headlights and a streamlined front bumper, which features active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics. The profile is very rounded and creates the feel of a serious road-hugger; two-tone moulding creates a bit of extra flair. The power door handles are recessed, flat with the vehicle body, and are touch-sensitive.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Rear
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers

The back end features a hatch door on which sits a discrete diffuser, and more LED paramteric pixel lighting.

As for dimensions, the Ioniq 6 is 220 mm longer than the Ioniq 5, but has a slightly shorter wheelbase; it’s not as tall as that model either. All of which means interior space is not as great.

Overall, it’s an aesthetic winner in our eyes, and that was corroborated by several people we encountered on the day.

Strong points

  • Well-balance proportions
  • Front- and back-end designs
  • Rear LED lighting

Weak points

  • Coupe-like silhouette not for everyone
  • Shape does impact overall space
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Interior
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Interior
Photo: D.Boshouwers

The interior
The interior takes a lot of elements from its crossover counterpart, the Ioniq 5. Which means the space is open, airy and streamlined. The rounded roof does mean headspace is a little constrained in the back row. But seating is comfortable in both rows, and the quality of finish feels properly premium, as per Hyundai’s recent history.

Notable elements include a flat-bottomed steering-wheel with lighting that changes when you switch drive mode. On that steering wheel is where you find the lever for shifting gears, which is not immediately intuitive, plus the view of the lever can be slightly obstructed depending on the driver’s height and seating position.

The dash contains twin, 12.3-inch screens, one for driver data and the other a multimedia touchscreen. Not surprisingly, designers put as many of the commands as possible on that screen, though there are still physical buttons for the most essential stuff, such as audio volume and climate control. The result is an open lower console with space for cups and smartphones.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Dashboard
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Dashboard
Photo: D.Boshouwers

As you can guess from looking at the thing from the outside, there’s slightly less head- and leg-room than in the Ioniq 5, and slightly less overall volume. In the cargo area, meanwhile, you have 316 litres, or less than half of that you get from the 5. Clearly, if you plan on lugging stuff regularly, the crossover is simply more practical than this sedan – but you probably knew that already!

Strong points

  • Modern, comfortable
  • Lots of tech, and fairly user-friendly
  • Quality of construction
  • Ambient lighting, other nice touches

Weak points

  • Still a fair amount of plastic
  • Gear shifter placement not ideal
  • Not much cargo space
  • Commands for windows on the central console

Technology and safety
Hyundai has made it its business in recent years to be both technologically innovative and equip its models generously for the price exacted, and this is no different. In a nutshell, what’s in the Ioniq 5 is here in terms of drive-assist systems and safety functions, assembled in the Smartsense suite of systems, included standard in all versions. 

There’s an updated highway drive assist system that inches the car a little bit closer to autonomous driving. For example, the system allows for keeping a set distance from the vehicle in front, will assist in lane changes, and edge itself away from any cars drifting towards it from the other lane. Your charging needs can be full managed via your smartphone using Bluelink.

One new function for Hyundai is the capacity for over-the-air updates, which is welcome.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Front
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Front
Photo: D.Boshouwers

The powertrain
The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 comes in a rear-wheel-drive base version with 18-inch wheels. Output is pegged in that format at 225 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque from the 77-4-kWh battery pack supplying a single 168-kW motor. None of those are the memorable numbers, though. The one that is, is the whopping 581 km of official range this configuration delivers. Now we’re talking!

To get AWD, you’ll have to do with less range, of course. For the AWD model, thus with a 74-kW motor on the front axle and a 165-kW motor on the back, you get a still very impressive 509 km. The only caveat here is that to obtain that you have to be rolling on 18-inch wheels. Opting for the 20-inch wheels will cut range to 435 km, right about where many current new electric crossovers sit.

All versions give you four drive modes to play with, Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow, along with a custom mode.

The Ioniq 6 and its 800-volt architecture has a 350-kW charging capacity on a rapid DC charger. Find one of those, and you can in principle return 100 km of range to your car in 5 minutes, or boost your charge from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes. On a residential Level 2 charge, count on just over 7 hours to fully charge the battery (from 10 percent).

Specifications sheet of 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Preferred RWD Long Range

Specifications sheet of 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Preferred AWD Long Range 

Specifications sheet of 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Preferred AWD Long Range w/ultimage Pkg

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - On the road
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - On the road
Photo: D.Boshouwers

On the road
Say what you will about the silhouette of the Ioniq 6, the result is amazing aerodynamics. Drag coefficiency is a remarkably efficient .22. The first benefit of that is the range we mentioned, superior to that of the Ioniq 5. But, when combined with the placement of the battery pack under the floor of the car, giving it a low, balanced centre of gravity, it also means this 6 is as road-hugging in practice as it is in appearance.

As we hummed along on highways and winding secondary roads with fluctuating elevations, this car provides a seamless experience with a mix of solid handling, instant and strong acceleration, road grip and braking. Note that the effective regenerative braking system includes the highest setting called i-Pedal, which will bring the vehicle to a complete halt. You really can cover long stretches of road, both in and out of traffic, without ever touching the brake pedal.

Its ideal context might be highway cruising over distance, but this is a fun car to handle when you’re in the mood for it.

Strong points

  • Great acceleration
  • Nimble on winding roads
  • Smooth, quiet ride
  • i-Pedal regen braking
  • Aerodynamics = increased range

Weak points

  • Steering is a bit on the disconnected side
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Headlights
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Headlights
Photo: D.Boshouwers

The final word
It’s difficult to find any big flaws with the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. It doesn’t provide the practicality of its crossover sibling in some respects (RE rear seat headroom, cargo space), but in return it’s more aerodynamic and thus delivers improved range. It delivers a pleasurable driving experience in a variety of road contexts, serving equally well as a Sunday country-road driver and a highway cruiser.

Pricing for the model starts at $54,999 for the Preferred RWD model plus $1,925 in fees, with AWD increasing the cost to $57,999, before fees. The Preferred AWD with Ultimate Package, which is what we drove on this day, lists at $63,999. The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 is eligible for the federal EV discount and provincial discounts where applicable.

Here are a few of your questions regarding the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6:

Is the Hyundai Ioniq 6 eligible for the federal EV discount?
The pricing structure of the new Ioniq 6 makes it eligible for the discount offered under the iZev program, yes.

Will there be a long wait to get the Hyundai Ioniq 6 once I’ve reserved?
That there is THE question. Many buyers of the Ioniq 5 have reported multi-year waits to take delivery of their EV, and Hyundai is understandably reluctant to make any promises this time around. Realistically, expect a few months of waiting. The company says it hopes to deliver between 2,000 and 3,000 units in Canada this year.

The competition

Polestar 2
Tesla Model 3

EVALUATION

82%
Performance
9/10
Design
8/10
Space on board
7/10
Technology/safety
8/10
Energy efficiency
9/10
Overall value
8/10
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Three-quarters rear
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - Three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Boshouwers

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Photos:D.Boshouwers
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 pictures
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists