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Driving

What is it like to drive?

As we said in the overview it’s a car where the driving manners match the job description. And it’s a job description entirely suited to electric power: to be as smooth, quiet and comfortable on long journeys as possible. But we know what you’re thinking: surely this applies to all electric cars?

Well, yes, but the sticky spot they often get into is that your inputs aren’t perfectly reflected in the car’s outputs. Maybe the steering is slightly sticky; the brakes too vague then too grabby; the ride lumpy. The Ioniq 6 is a very well developed car – markedly better than the 5 in fact, which does come across as wallowy and out of sorts if you get even mildly enthusiastic with it.

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So are you saying this is fun to drive?

No, because that’s not what it’s about. We’re saying it’s satisfying, that it responds naturally and relatively precisely and has the ability to up the pace without stumbling. It’s actually very fluent across the ground. The ride isn’t Citroen soft, it’s better supported and shorter travel than that, but nor is it harsh or easily deflected. It slips along placidly and calmly.

How fast is it?

That’s basically irrelevant, because this is not a car that encourages you to clog it about. 5.1 seconds to 62mph is the claim. We were never tempted to even bother testing it out. It had the torque and pace to do everything we needed without reaching the end of the throttle’s travel. Therefore it’s quick enough. This was the 320bhp twin-motor version, and it’s unlikely we’ll be saying the same of the 225bhp rear-drive car. That’s the version where you’ll be looking more keenly at how to spare the electrons.

What we did test was its cornering, and it was good news. The Ioniq 6 has good body control and if you nail it out of tight corners you can actually feel some mechanical systems at work as power is fed to the rear and the cornering angle changes. It’s mildly engaging.

But essentially it’s a streamliner, right?

We don’t quite know where this whole streamliner thing comes from – it was better applied to trains in the 1930s than cars. Anyway, the most interesting and distinctive ability it has is when you wind it up to speed, lift off (regen off) and realise that it barely loses any momentum at all. The last car that gave us this feeling was the Bentley Continental GT and you only get it from cars that are heavy, slippery and have little mechanical drivetrain drag. And this was on the larger, wider 20s. On 18s it should be downright astonishing.

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So the way you find yourself driving the 6 is to indulge this ability, leave the regen braking off and allow it to surf to lose speed. Pull a paddle to increase regen when you need to. There’s very little noise intrusion from suspension or tyres, and the only wind issue is the slightest rustle from the optional digital wing mirrors.

Digi wing mirrors, eh?

Yeah, and again we’re not convinced. Apparently the efficiency gain is pretty negligible, and not a fitting swap for the reduced visibility and viewing angle. Also, why are they so blocky rather than following the streamlined shape of the rest of the car?

How’s the efficiency though?

Impressive. It’s rare for an EV in this class to achieve much more than 3.5 miles from each kilowatt of battery power in general driving, yet in the 6 we were regularly getting well over 4 mi/kWh, and 5 on long trips, matching Hyundai’s range promises. This car, incidentally, promises 325 miles of range. It’s the single motor that gets you over 380 miles.

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