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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The world has plenty of normal hatchbacks pretending to be SUVs. The Ioniq 5 is the opposite. This is a commanding driving position in a car that looks like a chunky hatchback. You sit eye-to-eye with van drivers.

But don’t let the headline figure of 321bhp deceive you. Emphatically, this is not a hot hatch. So if it’s those kinds of thrills you’re after then you’ll need to wait for the Ioniq 5 N and its mooted 641bhp.

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No, this is a deeply unsporty car: throw it into a corner and the front end bobs about like a small boat moored up at a harbour. It tolerates tight turns but doesn’t revel in them, preferring to get on with its day. The suspension comes from the old school of soaking up bumps, not keeping the car as flat as possible in a bend.

Remind me of the powertrains again?

They are threefold: the entry-level car gets a 58kWh battery and a sensible rear motor capable of 168bhp, achieving 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. Not slow nor fast, merely fine. Step up to the 77kWh battery and the motor jumps accordingly to 225bhp, enough for the same sprint in 7.3s. Finally you can spec an AWD version with 321bhp, with that second, front-mounted motor propelling it to 62mph from a standstill in 5.1s.

Sure it’s fast, but it tails off at about 80mph. There’s no discernible motor whine, and though Hyundai initially went for old-school mirrors (top-spec versions now come with Shrek-eared wing cameras), wind noise is well-hushed. It steers quickly, to imbue a sense of agility, but here the weight and general unsportyness catches up with the Ioniq 5.

Sounds underwhelming…

Instead, you marvel at touches like a rear-view camera view popping up on the digi-dash whenever you indicate, to expose any hidden cyclists in your blind spot. You lope along and let the Ioniq 5 waft, as a big premium German SUV might, except without the bolshiness and sense of disdain from other motorists. 

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How’s the range?

Not bad, but not groundbreaking. The entry-level car promises 238 miles from a full charge of its 58kWh battery, while the 77kWh unit claims up to 315 miles: be warned that going for more power and AWD comes with a cost. Figuratively and literally.

We managed to eke efficiency of 3.6mi/kWh out of the most powerful all-wheel drive model, suggesting 279 miles of range against a claim of… 282. Pretty good. The caveats here are little time on the motorway and warm test conditions (EVs dislike cruising at speed and being cold). So maybe count on two-thirds of the official figures in the winter. Bear in mind also that the most efficient electric cars will peak at 5.0mi/kWh in the summer months. Maybe that sharp jaw needs chamfering…

Is the Ioniq 5 easy to use?

The drive selector control is a bit of a fiddle, hidden low and to the right of the slender steering wheel. Twist it this way and that for Drive and Reverse. The paddleshifters intuitively add and remove regen braking. Slowing up for a roundabout by clicking them – instead of tapping the brake pedal – quickly becomes the Ioniq 5’s in-built game. 

Brake pedal feel itself is better than you’ll find in a Mercedes EQA: more progressive and reassuring. As you’d expect for a car that’s quicker from 0-62mph than a Golf GTI in top-spec guise, this grunt shrugs off the Ioniq’s 2,020kg kerbweight and makes this car a serious piece of A-road overtaking kit.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Hyundai Ioniq 5 239KW Premium 77 KWH 5DR AWD Auto
  • 0-625.1s
  • CO2
  • BHP325
  • MPG
  • Price£46,235

the cheapest

Hyundai Ioniq 5 125kW SE Connect 58 kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-628.5s
  • CO2
  • BHP170
  • MPG
  • Price£36,940

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