On Tuesday morning in Korea, Hyundai premiered its newest battery electric vehicle. The company has resisted the temptation to start off with a bombastic SUV like General Motors’ reborn GMC Hummer or a handsome sedan like the Porsche Taycan, although those are both in the pipeline. Instead, the Ioniq brand will launch with that most in-demand of automobiles, the midsize crossover. In this case, a keenly styled crossover called the Ioniq 5, which will also be the first BEV to use Hyundai’s new E-GMP architecture.
The production Ioniq 5 looks remarkably similar to the concept car that preceded it, the 45. At first glance, it appears to be channeling the boxy good looks of late-1980s hot hatches. But don’t be fooled by the proportions; it’s roughly the same size as Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 crossover. The big 20-inch wheels and short front and rear overhangs conceal a 118-inch (3,000mm) wheelbase that translates to acres of interior room for the occupants.
Beyond plenty of space and a flat floor, the interior has another surprise. The center console can slide, moving back by up to 5.5 inches (140mm). This gives the front occupants the option of leaving out the other side of the car, as well as giving rear passengers access to the console’s storage, USB ports, and wireless charging pad.
The front seats will recline as needed, including popping out a foot rest, although obviously the driver’s seat won’t do that while the car is in motion. And Hyundai says its made those front seats 30-percent thinner than its normal seats, again to increase room in the back. The rear seats move fore and aft too, sliding forward by 5.2 inches (135mm) to increase cargo capacity.
As is becoming the trend, there’s extensive use of sustainable materials like recycled PET bottles and natural fibers used in the interior.
Two battery packs, two powertrains
We’ve gotten used to new BEVs packing massive batteries, but the Ioniq 5’s powertrain specs speak to Hyundai’s confidence when it comes to engineering electric range efficiency. There are two pack sizes—58kWh or 77.4kWh (72.6kWh in regions other than the US). And there are two drivetrain options: rear-wheel drive, with a single 160kW (215hp), 350Nm (258lb-ft) motor; or all-wheel drive, with a total power output of 173kW (231hp) with the smaller capacity battery or 225kW (301hp) with the bigger pack. Regardless of pack size, the AWD Ioniq 5 produces 605Nm (446lb-ft).
Consequently, performance should be brisk rather than breathtaking, with 0-62mph (100km/h) ranging between 5.2 seconds and 8.5 seconds depending on the configuration. Hyundai has only given us a range estimate for the RWD plus the 72.6kWh config, which it says should achieve 292-298 miles (470-480km) under the WLTP testing regime.
Like the aforementioned BEVs from GMC and Porsche, the Ioniq 5 uses an 800V electrical architecture, that among other things means it’s capable of extremely rapid charging—from 10 to 80 percent state of charge in just 18 minutes when connected to a 350kW DC fast charger. Four hundred-volt DC chargers are more common, but some clever tech on the Ioniq 5 means it can use these, too—the motor and inverter handle doubling the voltage to satisfy the battery pack.
And while vehicle-to-grid functions aren’t supported yet (either by vehicles or the grid), the Ioniq 5 does feature vehicle-to-load, also known as the ability to operate as a remote AC power source at up to 3.6kW, either through the external charging port or a V2L port located under the back seats.
The Ioniq 5 goes into production this year, with US deliveries slated to begin in the fall. It will be followed by the Ioniq 6 sedan (based on the stunning Prophecy concept car) and then by the Ioniq 7, a large electric SUV.
Listing image by Hyundai