Auto123 reviews the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 all-electric crossover - in the dead of winter.
After Ford’s much ballyhooed Mustang Mach-E, and after Volkswagen’s ID.4, here comes another of the entries into the affordable all-electric crossover segment that many predict will be ground zero in the battle for the growing number of consumers readying to dip their toes into the EV waters.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 frankly blew us and many other folks away with its retro-futuristic looks and minimalist interior when it did the auto show circuit a couple of years ago as a concept.
But the true test, as always, would come on the road. And that’s where we are. In the dead of winter, no less, in the midst of a prolonged stretch of cold weather. Perfect for testing out a new EV’s real-world abilities.
We mentioned here last week that we had observed a substantial reduction in range and charging speeds of electric vehicles we were testing when the temperature dipped to double-digit minus levels. Sure enough, when I picked up the Ioniq 5 Preferred Long-Range edition at the frigid start of my frigid-to-be week, the estimated range that accompanied the figure stating ‘98-percent charged’ was 340 km. A quick look at the spec sheet confirmed a number I’d already looked up previously: 414, or the official range in km of this two-motor, AWD variant. That’s a loss of about 13 percent, which is actually not much given the extreme cold. But then, it may have been recharged indoors, I thought. My week with the 2022 Ioniq 5 Preferred w/Ultimate Package would instruct me further on this question.
First, though, a word about the looks of the Ioniq 5. These may not be for everyone, though I don’t know who those contrarians might be. This is a seriously gorgeous piece of design, one not afraid to have cuts, edges and straight lines (in the right places). Anyways for those it leaves cold, know that the Kia EV6 is on the way this coming spring, and that it offers a radically different exterior design beneath which sits essentially the same vehicle as the Ioniq.
For my part, I was smitten by the styling of this vehicle from my first encounter with it, and I’m glad to report that the production version retains enough of the concept’s vervy pizzazz that it looks downright fantastic on the road. Really, Hyundai’s designers got things very, very right with the Ioniq 5.
Especially striking is the styling approach at the two ends, which feature original (yet somehow inspired by a Hyundai concept dating from 1974!) designs, nice elements like the clamshell hood and above all great lighting (I never tired of checking out those parametric pixel headlamps and rear lamps). I was so seduced by the lighting at each end of the car, it took me two days to even notice there was a rear spoiler sitting atop the back end!
From the side, meanwhile, you get to enjoy the sharp wheel design (parametric pixel geometry is at work there too, says Hyundai), and the well-placed cuts on the side panels, which could easily have gone sideways but don’t. Plus you can marvel at the long, long wheelbase.
Inside, the focus is on roominess and simplicity, and while you can kvetch about the latter, no one’s going to complain about having tons of space for legs and shoulders and heads and bags and such. The flat floor an EV allows for makes for a grand rear-seat environment, easy to slide into and out of and very comfortable once you’re installed. The second row is sliding, by the way, and that’s standard across the range. With that panoramic sunroof, what is roomy is also bathed in light.
Did I mention the wheelbase of this compact crossover? It is actually longer than that of the Palisade midsize SUV. Which is amazing, and it’s thanks to the rear wheels being so far back they’re almost behind the vehicle. The result is fantastic for occupants.
I also happened to like the simplicity of the cabin design just fine. Two large 12.3-inch screens (the right-side multimedia one is touch-operated) span a good portion of the top of the dash, and both are in good view of the driver (there’s also a head-up display to help keep eyes looking straight ahead). Use of the infotainment system is fairly straightforward and it’s all well-presented, though there are a few commands I’d have preferred buttons for, for example the seat heating commands.
By the right elbow of the driver, the central console features a large open space that you can use for the purposes of your choice, and it slides to and fro on a hidden rail.
I found the seating comfortable and adjustable enough to find my sweet spot fairly easily, and took particular pleasure in the steering wheel, flat-bottomed and perfectly designed for a comfy grip.
Cargo space is generous, though the shape of the hatchback does eat a tiny bit into the volume available. With seats in place you get 770 litres of space to play with, which is fine, though the Mustang Mach-E and VW’s ID.4 beat it with 841 and 858 litres, respectively. In front, open the hood and you see a lid. Lift the lid, and you’ll find a teeny-weeny extra storage space – a mini-frunk! It’s good for placing those two scoops of raisins you couldn’t fit anywhere else, but not much more. Not sure any owner will ever really use that space…
That misstep aside, inside and out, the Ioniq 5 is replete with nifty little innovations relating to design and features. For instance, though it took me a couple of strolls around the car before I located the charging port door (hey, it was covered in snow!), once I did I couldn’t help but marvel at its shape, the way to open it, the process of it opening, the display you see once the cover is up, etc. etc. I was like a kid plopped down into a sci-fi movie set years in the future! Oh, and there’s bi-directional charging from the battery pack, which means you can use your EV to charge or power tools and coffee makers and such. And oh, there’s a remote parking assist system (backward or forwards), included with the Ultimate Package.
I should mention as well that many of the materials used for the interior are of the sustainable kind, for instance recycled plastic for the armrests and seats, recycled fibres for the door garnishes and materials recycled from sugar cane for the carpets and headliner.
On the road
It’s become a trope that every EV, having immediate access to all torque right off the line, is dynamic and sporty. That’s actually not the case, there are some that are more, not sluggish but sedate, than others. But the Ioniq 5 acquits itself very well. The version I drove, with AWD, the 77-kWh battery pack beneath you and the two motors, has a total output of 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque and can do the 0-100 km/h officially in 5.1 seconds. Now, the middle of a cold snap with snow and ice all over the place is not the time to attempt that, but everything I did attempt inspired confidence.
By which I mean, initial acceleration is more than impressive, steering is nimble if pretty light in the hand (don’t expect a lot of intimate conversations with the road), and the car handles well on curves. Know that the Ioniq 5 offers four drive modes (ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SNOW) and comes equipped with four levels of regenerative braking, ranging from none at all to iPedal, which basically allows for one-pedal driving. There’s an adjustment period for any driver not used to this system, which serves to give back a little love to the battery pack when you’re driving in high-braking situations, but it’s worth the time and trouble (and the slight nausea you might feel initially). Once you have the hang of it, it quickly feels natural.
As for the drive modes, I rarely used ECO, if only because I feared it would cut off my precious ambient and seat heating and leave me defenseless against the extreme cold! Normal is the obvious default mode, though switching to Sport whilst moving at around 60 km/h brought on a noticeable jolt of extra energy. According to Hyundai, that mode doesn’t just jolt you, it delivers tighter steering and more nimbleness on winding roads.
The winter effect
Now, about the range and charging questions. At home, a big-battery boy like this is not worth the trouble it takes to plug it into a regular 120V outlet, particularly in winter. You can leave it plugged in for 12 hours and find it’s regained a hearty 5 percent of charge.
Buyers of course will buy an at-home station, which makes things more practical. On those, and on basic Level 2 public stations, officially, it takes 6.7 hours to complete a charge; in really cold temperatures, maybe double that. The faster charging stations (25 kW, 50 kW or even 100 kW) are not yet a dime a dozen, but the 800-volt architecture of the Ioniq 5 will allow you a really fast recharge if you can find one in your area. The pack can be recharged from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes, again in ideal conditions. Officially, a complete recharge can be got in 40 minutes or so. On a 50kW station, I gained back about 40-percent charge in an hour, on a very cold day.
In really cold weather, take all the official data and throw it in the fireplace, because experience will tell you what the reality is.
As for range, my 340 km at the starting line was my high-water mark. My second full charge, as average temperatures hovered at -15 daytime and below – 20 at night, gave me an estimated 312 km of range. The third? 280 km. Go figure.
The final word
Expectations were high prior to this first extended encounter with the brand-new EV from Hyundai, and it was expectations met or surpassed by the time I, reluctantly, gave back the fob. The Ioniq 5 delivers a sprightly, engaging drive, is really big and quite comfortable inside, and has innovative and just plain cool little touches coming out of its sharp-looking ears. The HTRAC all-wheel drive system is able and present, if you choose it that is – and I recommend that you do, being in Canada and all. My tester rode on 20-inch wheels (come with the Ultimate Package) and still felt very comfortable on the road.
The promised range was dented by the extreme conditions it was driven in, but to be fair no EV is going to escape that. One niggling question I retained is whether Hyundai will be able to crank out enough units of the Ioniq 5 in its first year to meet demand or at least come close to it. Because Tesla continues to crank out its Model 3s and Ys and if Hyundai can’t do better than Volkswagen and others in getting fobs into the hands of desirous buyers, it won’t be a factor in this developing battle royale between electric compact crossovers. The next few months will tell the tale…
Stylish, original exterior look
Quick and agile on the road
Big “Vision” panoramic sunroof (w/Ultimate Package)
Strong roster of safety systems (Hyundai Smartsense suite)
Many details that are innovative and just plain fun
We like less
Steering a bit on the light side
No rear window wiper, can lead to zero visibility in winter
Range takes a real hit in winter
Finding the seat heating controls on the screen is too convoluted
Storage space in the frunk is crazy small