It’s 2022, and it’s about time we saw some stiff competition enter the ring against the dominating Tesla model range.
The Tesla Model 3 has been smashing electric car sales below $100,000 here in Australia, with its competition always pulling up short either in range, efficiency, performance or features.
Hyundai has had enough, and pulled off the gloves and revealed the IONIQ 5. The 5 indicates that we should see models ranging from 1 through to 10, with the 5 being the sweet spot in the range. It’s a large hatchback that’s also being referred to as an electric SUV.
It brings all of the above to the table, and most importantly a chef’s knife sharp price. I personally didn’t think we’d see the IONIQ 5 make it to the road looking like it does, but here we are.
I had the keys to one of the most in demand electric cars launching this year, and truly believe that this is in most ways a genuine, no compromise alternative to the Tesla Model 3.
Build Quality4.4 out of 5.
Tesla certainly loses this round when it comes to build quality. It’s a running Internet meme that it’s not uncommon to find basic quality faults on new Teslas, like missing paint, squeaks, rattles, and misaligned panels.
When asking potential EV (Electric Vehicle) buyers what stops them from buying one, I found that these were slight inhibitors to fully committing their cold hard cash on electric cars with the letter ‘T’ on the bonnet.
That’s where Hyundai comes in. It’s a tried, tested and established auto manufacturer that has the additional funds to avoid any embarrassing quality mishaps. The IONIQ 5 isn’t just a well-built car, it’s Hyundai’s proof of concept to show that they’re committed to building more luxurious cars.
The IONIQ 5’s door feel, latches, panels and paint never caused alarm when looking or interacting with them. The trim pieces all felt solid and looked like they were in place, which helped the IONIQ 5 feel as premium as it looks.
The interior leather and recycled materials were a ‘wow’ factor for the passengers who experienced them during my time with the car. There’s a healthy use of soft-touch materials, responsive touch screens and a distinct lack of obvious cost-cutting applied to this retro-designed EV.
Although, being an EV, small creaks and rattles become a lot more apparent, like the ones I heard emanating from the rear seats (that must’ve been bouncing off the roller for the boot cover). Some rattle was also generated from the BOSE speakers as well as the odd squeak when turning the steering wheel.
I’m going to put those sounds down to this being a very early production car, but I hope it’s not a common theme for future models. Seeing as an EV should be a quiet sanctuary, small rattles and squeaks can erode that sensation quickly.
Value for Money4.6 out of 5.
Starting at $71,900 and $75,900 for the 2WD and AWD model respectively, there’s a tonne of kit you’re getting for the price.
We’re still in the early adopter stage when it comes to affordable EV pricing. Still, compared to what else you can get in the Australian car market, this price - even when compared to a petrol powered alternative - is decent value.
It’s a shame that Australia’s incentives for buying zero-emission vehicles are next to nothing compared to places like Los Angeles, as that would only drive demand for these even higher.
For just a bit less than $80,000, you’re getting every option under the sun. Whether it’s electric seat adjustment for all seats, front and back heated seats, front ventilated seats, a digital driver displays, a 3D surround parking camera, a large panoramic sunroof, a larger battery pack (compared to other markets), or a remote control to move the IONIQ 5 from the outside - you have it all.
There isn't a feature this car is missing in 2022, which really exemplifies why Hyundai is quickly becoming a favorite brand here in Australia. There’s no silly options list, or unexplainable missing options; you have everything you might need for a large hatchback like this.
I do think the absence of smarter in-built navigation systems - like Google Maps - and constant over-the-air updates would go a long way for future IONIQ models.
Maintenance4.5 out of 5.
The IONIQ 5 arrives with a 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty and a 8 year/160,000km warranty for the batteries.
Servicing costs are $220 for the first three visits to the dealership, but the fourth visit will set you back $804. It’s a lot cheaper to service this EV than a fossil fuel-powered alternative. However, it’s more expensive than what you’d expect to pay for a Tesla.
Personally, I’m torn. On the one hand, a regular yearly service is best practice to ensure everything is in working order. However, having to spend money on a service seems redundant unless items - such as air filters, tires, and brake pads - really need replacement.
Overall, it’s a solid offering, and you’ll at least feel covered during your time owning the IONIQ 5 and know you can easily forecast costs for your ownership period.
Noise Level4.8 out of 5.
It’s a little surreal not having an engine and transmission whirring in the background when cruising. Also, when you want to plant your foot deep into the pedal box, there’s nothing but G-Force and your environment to express how fast you’re accelerating.
I admit I have a lead foot, but I only choose to use it at the safest times. When the opportunity presents itself, the last thing I need is the disapproving look of a bystander - or to alert nearby authorities. I'm probably just not cruising with my Nonna in the front seat.
Silent hooning - it’s the best part about the incoming EV takeover. Take full advantage of the power you have, without waking the neighbours.
The isolation from exterior noise has been an obvious inclusion in designing the IONIQ 5. You don’t hear any disturbing wind noise or a loud roar being produced from road resonance. However, any squeaks, rattles and creaks are made very apparent when produced in relative silence.
It’s a relaxing ride, but I hope the creaks and rattles I experienced are ironed out in future models.
Braking4.9 out of 5.
Brakes are going to fade faster than normal in an EV. Weighing in at over 2 tonnes - thanks to a large set of batteries - means that relying purely on the brake pedal might see more frequent replacement of the pads.
There is a way to combat this, and it’s through regenerative braking. This is a braking alternative that allows you to use the rolling resistance of the motors to bring the car to a stop, rather than switching between the accelerator and brake pedal.
The Hyundai Kona Electric lowered my expectations for the regenerative braking system in the IONIQ 5. It was adjustable in terms of how strong you wanted the car to brake after lifting off the accelerator, but it always managed to brake as if a learner driver was at the wheel for the second time in their life.
Tesla has always possessed the leading regenerative braking experience - I think I could count how many times I touched the brake pedal during that review. Oh, how quickly Hyundai have matched Tesla for the claim of one of the best regenerative braking experiences!
The IONIQ 5 has stepped up to the plate to deliver a seemingly smooth, 1-for-1 braking experience when lifting off the accelerator. It’s adjustable, meaning you can turn this feature off completely, however I don’t see why you would.
After stepping out of the IONIQ 5 into a petrol-powered car, it felt almost like a step back to using two pedals again. I’m prone to being lazy, so I really like just using one pedal to drive around when it’s as smooth as the one in this EV.
Acceleration/Power4.2 out of 5.
In Australia, it doesn’t matter if you go for the 2WD or AWD version of the IONIQ 5, as you’re going to get the larger 77.4kWh battery in both cars.
Sending power through a dual motor, AWD set up, you receive a combined output of 255kW and 605Nm. That’s some serious power from a company that is still making engines that produce 115Nm.
The 0-100km/h sprint is a claimed 5.1 seconds, and for most people, that’s beyond what’s needed from their daily driver. It’s a fantastic experience to unleash all 605Nm, seeing as this is an EV with all of its torque immediately available at 0rpms.
You have to instruct your passengers to put their heads against the headrest to avoid any slight whiplash when launching. Once you’re off-the-line, the IONIQ 5 will keep accelerating until it hits its top speed. There are no gear changes or revs to interrupt the exponential surge of power you feel in this EV.
It’s not as quick as some of Tesla’s equivalent offerings (with the Tesla Model 3 hitting 100km/h in 4.4 seconds) but it’s definitely a fast EV when compared to cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV.
Gear Shifting4.7 out of 5.
The funny thing is that there aren’t any gears to move through. There’s just a single gear through which power is sent, and I think I’m a fan.
I’m inspired by the futuristic feeling of never experiencing a gear change while riding that 605Nm wave of torque. It only enhances the ride experience when you’re not interrupted by something other than rollercoaster-like acceleration.
Similar to Tesla, Hyundai have done away with a central gear selector, and have opted for a column-mounted shifter stalk. I personally prefer a column shifter to free up interior space between the front passengers. Although, with ‘D’ requiring you to twist the shifter forwards, rather than towards you (like you would in a traditional automatic car), it requires a slight change to your muscle memory.
Suspension & Handling4.4 out of 5.
Riding on a set of 20-inch aero-style alloy wheels, the IONIQ offered a sublime ride over a variety of surfaces.
I find modern EVs offer a solid ride compared to petrol powered equivalents, and all that weight down low helps dampen any abrupt reactions to imperfections on the road.
Not only does a concentrated amount of weight below the occupants help with ride quality, but it also does a fantastic job of assisting a 2 tonne vehicle through corners. This low centre of gravity will only encourage you to explore the limits of grip this IONIQ 5 has to offer.
Twists and turns were exhilarating with instant torque available, and a capable set of EV-specific Michelin tyres fitted to this car. I assume the EV element of these tyres reduces the rolling resistance of the rubber, but still retains lateral grip for those fast corners.
On top of all that, the dual-motor set-up saved the day a few times, helping correct this weighty EV steer it back on the right path when things started to get a bit wiggly. I need to have a go in the 2WD model to see how playful that is, but I can say the AWD system clawed in all the right places when it was needed.
Fuel Efficiency4.6 out of 5.
The estimated range on the IONIQ 5 is quoted at 430km for this particular model, with the 2WD squeezing in a few 10’s of kms more than that.
We don’t measure litres per kilometre here, rather we’re looking at energy consumption in kWh. Hyundai claims around 18kWh per 100km of driving, which was actually dead on the money for what I was seeing when driving this EV around.
Built on a 800V architecture, this battery pack is one of the most efficient systems you can buy on the EV market now. Tesla and Porsche offer marginally more efficient batteries on top of what’s offered here.
The battery pack translates to an obvious careful consumption of range, compared to the Volvo XC40 Recharge I was driving that same week. Additionally, it only requires 5 minutes to get 100km of range from a fast charger, and can take 18 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% from that same charger.
The IONIQ 5 is noticeably quick to charge when not at a fast charger either. A common 50kW charger manages to provide just under 10% additional charge in less than 15 minutes. I was impressed with just how easy it was to recharge this EV.
I will have to say that no one has yet to trump Tesla with their charging experience, as these third party chargers can be a bit hit and miss. Either with some plugs out of service, are all occupied without you knowing beforehand, or have the incorrect plugs
Interior Design5 out of 5.
Remember seeing those pictures from predictions made in the 1950s as to what sort of cars we’d be driving in the year 2000? Well, it’s 2022 and taking a seat inside the IONIQ 5 would have you believe those predictions were a lot closer than they were in 2021.
There is a lot of light (both artificial and natural), recycled materials, future-appropriate screens and ‘zero-gravity’ seats.
Plenty of light emanates into the cabin thanks to the large glass roof panel, windscreen and side windows. A flat greenhouse effect, thanks to a uniform belt-line around the windows, allows for an excellent view outside the IONIQ 5.
Similar to Tesla, Hyundai have employed a flat dashboard design, only interrupted by the infotainment and driver’s displays.
Hyundai is also proud that almost all the trim inside the IONIQ 5 is sourced from some sort of recycled material (like recycled plastic). It doesn’t feel nasty to touch either, rather, it looks and feels just as premium as you’d expect from any European brand doing the same thing with their eco-friendly, recycled material interiors.
I love the versatility of this cabin in how you can adjust it to fit more (or less) people. First of all, the front seats…holy moly. There’s a lot of electric adjustment here, but the two coolest adjustments include the ability to move a calf rest up to provide relief for those dangling legs. AND, you’re able to tilt the seat on its axis to lift both the seat and back rearwards.
It’s called Relaxation Mode, and it’s meant to be a seat position where you really can do just that. I can tell you it’s the seat feature I’m desperately going to miss in other luxury cars I step into.
Boot Size & Comfort4.6 out of 5.
Rear seats can electronically slide forwards and backwards, for quick adjustment to make more leg room or boot space. This is a feature that’ll come in handy for bigger items that need to be placed back there.
Annoyingly, the higher boot floor means that the cut-back design on the rear of this car restricts taller items being placed near the entrance of this boot. It’s still a practical car, but that’s just one annoying limitation for those used to taller, more square boot shapes.
It’s practical with a capital P in here. There’s a 9.5L glove drawer, not a box, as it pulls out of the dash just like a drawer. There’s a 60/40 split for the rear seats to reveal more internal storage space for two. It’s flat as well, meaning that you could certainly camp in here, as Hyundai would like to suggest from some of their promo materials on this EV.
There is a ‘frunk’ aka front boot, but it’s not all that useful for larger items. It won’t fit a bag, and it gets kinda dirty under the bonnet as it’s not as well finished as some other frunks. It is, however, a great place to store the charger and other small essentials like that!
Finally, there’s a moveable centre console, thanks to the absence of a gear shifter from between the front occupants. You can slide it forwards for more legroom for those in the back, or do just the opposite for those in the front. This is a very quirky and unique feature.
I will add that the seats did seem to cause me a little lower back pain, even after adjustment. This is a shame, seeing as I thought these felt extremely comfortable on short journeys. I think I’d need a bit more time to explore lumbar adjustment, or ask Hyundai for more lateral support in these seats.
Combine the cutting edge driving experience, with a low centre of gravity, a spacious interior and plenty of tech to keep you occupied - the IONIQ 5 offers supreme comfort for the price.
Features5 out of 5.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is feature-packed for the price you pay for a Hyundai IONIQ 5. There’s hardly an option missing, and you don’t have to choose anything but the paint you want on the car.
There is one especially unique feature, called ‘Vehicle-to-Load’. It’s a plug that is designed to hang out from the charge port of the car, and offers a conventional house plug on the other side. Yes, that means you could power items like a microwave, blender, chargers, maybe even a powerboard.
The IONIQ 5 might just be the perfect zero emission camping companion, without having to feel like you’re too far off the grid.
Here’s a full list of equipment you get with Hyundai’s futuristic EV:
- Dual electric motors
- All-wheel drive
- 225kW and 605Nm
- 430km range (claimed)
- 12.3-inch infotainment screen
- 12.3-inch driver display
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- BOSE Speakers
- Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
- Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM)
- Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) - camera and radar type, including:
- Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection
- Junction Turning (FCA-JT) functionality
- High Beam Assist (HBA)
- Lane Keeping Assist - Line (LKA-Line / Road Edge)
- Lane Following Assist (LFA)
- Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA)
- Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
- Smart Cruise control (SCC) with Stop and Go
- Safe Exit Assist (SEA)
- Surround View Monitor (SVM)
- 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds (claimed)
- "i-Pedal" single pedal driving mode
- Drive Modes
- Adjustable regenerative brakes
- Rear heated seats
- Panoramic sunroof
- Keyless entry/exit and start/stop
- Wireless phone charging
- Blind spot cameras
- Heated/cooled seats
- Vehicle to Load converter
- Remote parking via key fob
- External charge acknowledgment announcement
- Flush door handles (automatically open)
- Automatic tailgate
- EV specific Michelin tires
Should you buy one?
Yes, Tesla does the road-trip charging experience better, AND if you want constant over-the-air updates and a quicker car, the Model 3 does all those better than the IONIQ 5.
However, that’s finally it. There’s no longer the argument for Tesla that the Model 3 has a better interior, a better driving experience or is largely more efficient.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is confidently an almost equal competitor to the long-reigning Tesla Model 3. I’d say if you desire reliable build quality, a thoughtful interior design, and an EV that feels next-generation, you should absolutely join that reservation queue. It’ll be worth it.
I just hope that Hyundai can fulfill these orders fast enough, otherwise it won’t be able to captialise on a product as impressive as this. Finally the big names in the automotive industry are building aggressively competitive EV’s that are absolutely worth the asking price.
About the author Cameron is our resident car expert. Aside being a source of knowledge about the automotive industry, he has also driven a wide variety of cars. From Porsche 911 GT2 RS's, through to a 1998 Toyota RAV4, Cameron has not only seen it all, but has most likely driven it.
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|Category||Electric Cars and Midsize / Medium SUVs|
|Drive Type||All Wheel Drive (AWD)|
|Max Power||225 kW|
|Max Torque||605 Nm|
|Boot Capacity||527 L|
|Phone Connectivity||Android Auto (Wired), Apple CarPlay (Wired), Bluetooth and USB|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Telescoping (Electric)|
|Acceleration (0-100km/h)||5.2 seconds|
|Maximum Towing Capacity (braked)||1,600 kg|
|Maximum Towing Capacity (unbraked)||750 kg|
|Battery Capacity (Gross)||72.6 kWh|
|Max DC Charging Power||10.5 kW|
|Range (WLTP)||430 km|
|Manufacturer Warranty||5 year(s)|
|Ignition||Keyless Start/Stop and Remote Start|
|Headlight Features||Auto-Dimming, Automatic On/Off and Delayed Off When Parked|
|Cruise Control||Adaptive (ACC)|
|Parking Sensors||Cross-Traffic Alert (Rear), Front and Rear|
|Hazard Perception||Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Forward Collision Warning|
|Lane Assistance||Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA)|
|Kerb Weight||2,100 kg|
|Ground Clearance||160 mm|
|Built-In Navigation System||Yes|
|Heads Up Display||No|
|Digital Radio (DAB+)||Yes|
|Release date||June 2021|
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