Efficiency and range, smooth, capable driving characteristics, rear legroom, fit and finish
Exterior design not as successful as Ioniq 5, optional digital door mirrors, miniscule ‘frunk’
What is it?
Two things mainly: a rival to the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 and BMW i4, but more importantly a car with a clear and defined job description: to go a long way as efficiently as possible. So the key stats are as follows: 382-mile range, 5.1 mi/kwh efficiency, 0.21 drag factor.
Others will go further or have even better aero (step forward Merc’s EQS), but need a bigger battery and more weight to do so. The 6 comes in at around 2,000kg and uses the same E-GMP platform that also underpins the Ioniq 5. Yet it can go 100km further per charge.
That depends on the model of course. The one rangeseekers will want is the rear-drive single motor (226bhp/258lb ft) with the big battery (77.4kWh instead of 58) and small wheels (18s instead of 20s). The only one we’ve driven so far is the twin motor (4WD with 320bhp and 446lb ft for 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds) on the big wheels. That’s also the first one that will arrive in Britain and the only one we have a price for. The flagship First Edition will cost £54,995. Prices for lesser versions are likely to start at around £45,000.
Stop with the tech a sec, what do we think of the design?
What do you think of it, that’s what matters isn’t it? Here’s our take though: it’s not as successful as the Ioniq 5. That really conveyed and updated a 70s aesthetic, while this is a design that’s shaped more by windtunnel results. The headlights look rather pinched and plain, the gathering of lines at the rear isn’t that neat.
But. It’s different and distinctive, and that matters. Hyundai is the first manufacturer in the world to move away from the Russian doll model of car design, where carrying through brand values and matched styling cues is all that really matters. SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s design chief talks instead of a chess set approach.
There’s some neat detailing – the pixel lighting is rapidly becoming a Hyundai signature, the use of transparent plastic, and the lower vertical elements at the rear. The interior has some Ioniq 5 carry over, but feels better quality. Head to the Interior tab for more on that.
Do we have the same size surprise here as with the Ioniq 5?
Ah, you’re alluding to the Ioniq 5’s sheer scale: looks like it should be a family hatch, is actually SUV-sized? No, this is as you expect. It’s longer and lower than the 5, not to mention 150mm longer than a Model 3 (plus slightly wider and taller, too). It’s a four-door with a boot. Rear legroom is excellent, boot usability is slightly compromised.
Is the idea that it’s some sort of luxury cruiser?
That’s basically it although, as mentioned, it’s not going to wear an EQS-sized price tag. If the £45,000 start is right it’s pretty much the same price point as the Ioniq 5 (we’re unlikely to get the smaller battery version here), and although we haven’t driven it yet, that’s probably going to be the one you want.
Provided you want it as its designers intended. Even on the 20s wearing broad 245/40 tyres, it barely loses any speed when you lift off and glide. There’s hardly a rustle of wind noise, suspension intrusion is well damped, so too cabin cavitation. It’s a very quiet and refined machine.
Are there driving modes?
Of course, although the only detectable differences between them are the changing screen graphics, steering weight and throttle sensitivity. You choose between Eco, Normal and Sport. In Eco throttle response is off-puttingly sluggish, in Sport the steering is off-puttingly gluey. So leave it in Normal and play with the paddles instead.
What do they do?
Vary the regen over five levels between zero and max, where you can easily one-pedal around. Of course the brake pedal does the same thing: 95 per cent of the time it’s only operating the motors, with the wheel brakes cutting in when that scooter performs a last second lunge at the traffic lights. And there was plenty of that going on where we were: we drove the Ioniq 6 in South Korea. UK cars are expected to arrive in spring next year.
OK, this, the Polestar or the Tesla?
The Polestar is arguably the slight outlier. It’s got markedly less range and less space, but has image and quality on its side. The Tesla definitely doesn’t have quality to boast about, but it does have the supercharger network and that’s still compelling. But we’d have this over the Tesla, not least because we’d trust it more: it’s better engineered and built. Just bear in mind that the Hyundai’s 800 volt architecture and 350kW charging speed (10-80 per cent in 18 minutes) is for naught when the chargers are bust/occupied/peak at 50kW.
What's the verdict?
We’ve been saying how much of a roll Hyundai is on for the last three-to-four years. This is just further evidence of that, with the twist of a different styling vibe. Its performance is entirely in line with how Hyundai is pitching it: this is a comfortable, effortlessly smooth and easy cruiser. To operate, as well as drive. It soaks up miles, uses its charge surprisingly sparingly and does as much as possible to mitigate range anxiety.