Allow me to confess that I’m not yet a proponent of EVs. It’s my opinion that the infrastructure for them is still a few years away. And being a veteran sanctioned drag racer from the 60s, I savor the sound of a supercharged V8s whine and headers that rumble and pop.
Insofar as EVs are concerned, Hyundai has an AWD crossover that for those who are about to invest in an EV, should consider it instead of a Tesla who doesn’t have a nationwide dealer network that can maintain their vehicles as Hyundai does.
Hyundai’s first EV entry is their Ionic 5. We tested the Limited AWD sedan. It has stunning, concept car-like looks that grabbed a lot of eyes. And according to Hyundai, it’s capable of up to 303 miles of range on a full charge.
Before getting into the description of the Ionic 5, let’s get the charging situation out of the way. There are two charging stations near my house. One is Electrify America that’s about three miles away from my home and a Volta that’s eight miles away. The Volta requires an app that I wasn’t about to get so I opted for the closer Electrify America (owned by VW) site that has four chargers.
When arriving, all but one charger was open and it was the 150w charger whereas the other three were 350w chargers. Since I was at 25 percent, I had no choice but to use the slower charger. After 40 minutes and $12.94 cost, the Ionic 5 was 90 percent charged. Another Ionic 5 was next to me and its owner from New Jersey told me it’s recommended to only go to 90 percent instead of 100 percent charge because it shortens battery life. So the cost of charging was considerably less than I’d pay for a fill-up across the street at a Sunoco gasoline station. But I could have been filled-up and up out the Sunoco in five minutes. Instead, I was sitting and waiting for a charge when I could be home painting, cutting my lawn or writing this review.
Charging the Ionic 5 is a learning experience, and I did pick up a few tips from the NJ gent next to me. He pointed out that if you take a walk or shop and the charge is complete, the time will keep running and you’ll incur added charges if not disconnecting. As for the latter, a voice comes from the dash that says a charge is complete and to disconnect the charging cord.
Ionic 5 is capable of using a fast 800-volt charger (as well as a 400-volt), so either would cut down the charging time.
Now for the Ionic 5 itself.
As said, Ionic 5 is a real looker with its squint pixel-style headlights, sculpted side panels and its striking Parametric Pixel wheel design. Those really grabbed admirers’ eyes.
Upon entering the interior, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the dual 12.3-inch displays that at first glance, appear as one 25-inch long display. The left one is the driver information display while the right is the infotainment system display.
You won’t find a console mounted gear selector. Instead, there’s merely a stubby lever protruding from the steering wheel column for rotary selections of D, N, R gearing, and a P for park that’s engaged via a push button on the end cap. When in reverse, a faint beeping sound comes on similar to what service vehicles emit.
Included on the sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel is a mode selector switch for Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow modes. As for Sport mode, using it too frequently uses-up more electrical power so the battery will deplete faster. And similarly like a cell phone, the more times it’s charged, the shorter the battery life.
The infotainment display serves a multitude of functions and features such as climate selection, Bluelink, left and right-side cameras plus rearview/360-degree camera, voice memo’s, weather reports, 3D navigation, and percentage of charge remaining in the battery. The 3D nav is really nifty as it shows actual homes, buildings and vehicles that helps picking out landmarks when trying to locate an address.
Aside from vehicle speed, the gauge cluster shows gear and mode selections, alerts and features.
A flat console allows stowing small items and houses a wireless phone charger.
Heated/cooled front seats, with under-thigh extension, are nicely supportive and amply padded. The test car had white perforated leatherette seats with red stiping around all edges. Back seats are the same with a low 17-inch step-in. They slide fore/aft 5.5 inches for increased cargo space or for added leg room.
The cargo area, with a low 29-inch lift over, is exceptionally spacious. With the rear seat backs upright, there’s 27.2 cubic feet of space that measures 39 inches deep, 48 wide and 30 high. Flip the seat backs and space expands to 56.2 cubic feet for 69 inches of cargo loading depth. The only demerit here is that the liftgate window needs a rear windshield wiper. Can’t believe Hyundai missed that flaw.
Beneath the cargo floor is a shallow bin that houses the charging cord and a tire mobility kit in place of a spare tire.
There’s also another storage bin under the hood where the engine would be. It’s large enough for several small items.
Driving the Ionic 5 is eerie in that it’s quiet. All that is heard is the subtle whine of the electric motors. And in Drive, it’s quick from a standing stop. Select Sport and full throttle can give whiplash to unsuspecting riders. Super quick acceleration pushes the torso hard into the seatbacks.
In the AWD version, Ionic 5 has two electric motors that drive the front/rear wheels with a total output equivalent to 320-hp and 446 lb/ft of torque. So powered, Ionic 5 is EPA rated at 110 city, 87-highway MPGe mileage.
When slowing, regenerative braking helps recharge the battery. And when selecting the maximum amount of regen, Ionic 5 can come to a slow stop without braking. That’s an uncanny feeling that has to be acquired. It’s similar in operation to an electric golf cart.
Shod with 20-inch Michelin tires, Ionic is a smooth rider and, expectedly, a quiet ride. There’s only a tad of body lean in sharp turns taken at too high a speed but it’s a balanced and pleasing ride.
With a Hyundai attachment, Ionic 5 can turn into a generator to charge cell phones, laptops or another Ionic 5.
In our Limited trim test car, it came standard with an exceptionally long list of standard safety features and a panoramic sunroof. Safety items included forward collision assist, blind spot collision avoidance w/high beam assist, lane keep/following assist, rear cross traffic alert, parking collision avoidance, driver attention warning, rear occupant safe exit alert, tire pressure monitoring and much more.
The only extra cost options were for carpeted floor mats ($195) and delivery ($1,225) that took the bottom line to $55,920 after a base of $54,500. A base SE with RWD can be had starting at $43,650 or with AWD and two motors at $47,140.
Ionic 5 comes with Hyundai’s generous coverages of 5 year/60K mile new vehicle warranty, 10/100K powertrain, 10/100K electric vehicle system, 7/Unlimited anti-perforation, 3/36K complimentary maintenance and 5/Unlimited roadside assistance warranties.
Insofar as EV’s are concerned, Hyundai has a competitive winner. It’s certain more Hyundai EV models with be forthcoming, maybe even for their Santa Cruz compact pickup. If so, please make the cargo bed a foot longer.