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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 First Drive: As Great to Drive as It Is to Look At

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 First Drive: As Great to Drive as It Is to Look At

Hyundai's first from-the-ground-up EV to hit U.S. shores is a home run

  • All-new small electric SUV
  • Built on dedicated EV architecture
  • Choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • EPA-estimated range of up to 300 miles

What is the Ioniq 5?

You might be familiar with the Hyundai Ioniq, a small Prius-like hatchback that comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV variants. But now Hyundai is using the Ioniq name as a springboard for several electric vehicles. The first of these is the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, a small SUV with the interior room of a midsizer.

The five-passenger Ioniq 5 is the first vehicle to use Hyundai's new Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, designed solely to underpin electric vehicles. Many current EVs — including the Hyundai Ioniq and Hyundai Kona Electric — are designed to support both engine and electric applications, which causes some packaging issues when converted for EV use.

The Ioniq 5's EV-only platform means that these concerns can be ironed out from the get-go and help drive space efficiencies. Hyundai lists the Ioniq 5's length at 182.5 inches. That's about the same as a Honda CR-V. But the Ioniq 5's wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is more than a foot longer than a CR-V's. That long wheelbase, along with short front and rear overhangs and a fastback-style rear hatch, helps give the Ioniq 5 lots of interior room as well as a sporty profile.

What's powering the Ioniq 5?

The Ioniq 5 comes with one of two battery packs: a 58-kWh pack (delayed availability) or a 77.4-kWh pack. The smaller battery standard range trim will serve as the base model for the Ioniq 5 range, and it will come with one electric motor that drives the rear wheels. Should you opt for the bigger battery, you also get to choose between rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (one motor for both the front and rear).

With the 77.4-kWh-battery pack, rear-drive Ioniq 5s are rated at 225 horsepower. Opting for AWD bumps power to 320 horsepower thanks to that second, front-mounted electric motor.

How does the Ioniq 5 drive?

For our first taste of the Ioniq 5, Hyundai sent us off in a Limited trim with AWD. Around town, the Ioniq 5 is like most of the EVs in its class: restrained and easy to get the hang of. The accelerator pedal has a lot of travel (i.e., there's a long way to go before your foot is in the carpet). But that means it's easy to control how much power you want from the two electric motors whether you're easing your way through city traffic or zooming away from a red light.

And zoom it will. We've done our initial testing on the Ioniq 5. Our test vehicle accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, making the Ioniq 5 a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph than the Long Range Tesla Model Y. That's more than enough punch to zip around the city and makes merging onto freeways easy.

For most of our city driving we set the brake regen to auto. Brake regeneration attempts to recoup some of the energy lost during braking and feed it back into the battery to extend the car's range. The auto setting in the Ioniq 5 uses the cameras and radar mounted behind the rearview mirror to monitor the distance between the Ioniq 5 and the car in front and adjust the regen accordingly. The further the car ahead, the less regen you get and vice versa.

Auto regen is a system that does its best to maintain small gaps in traffic, but it's not like adaptive cruise control — your right foot is still in charge of the acceleration. The changes between heavy regen and soft regen are done subtly and smoothly.

There are other modes for the car's regenerative braking, too. Levels One through Three up the amount of regen you get and slow the car down quicker and more abruptly each level up. And there is i-Pedal, Hyundai's name for the Ioniq 5's one-pedal driving mode that will bring the car to a complete stop if your foot isn't on the accelerator. It also brings with it the most aggressive regen profile. It's good for schlepping around town, but we found we still preferred the auto setting and its smoother transitions.

The Ioniq 5 is surprisingly capable on curvy roads, too. We stuck it in Sport mode to see what would happen when the going got twisty. Much to our surprise, the Ioniq 5 handled the roads with aplomb.

Sport mode sharpens up the responsiveness of the accelerator pedal and makes power from the motors nearly instantaneous. The braking system combines regenerative braking and traditional friction braking so well you simply cannot notice it. Even the steering does a good job of communicating grip levels to the driver and where the front wheels are pointed. Body roll is kept to a minimum no matter how hard you fling the Ioniq 5 around a turn. In essence, the Ioniq 5 isn't just a comfy city cruiser, and it has more than enough talent to hustle down a back road.

How comfortable is the Ioniq 5?

Put simply, the Ioniq 5 is plush. The excellent body control we mentioned earlier doesn't come at the expense of ride quality, and it handles almost anything any road could throw at it with aplomb. Big impacts from potholes are smoothed right over, and rutted nasty roads don't even make an impression on the Ioniq 5.

The seats and the cabin are just as well sorted out as the ride. The front seats might be trimmed in simulated leather, but it's soft to the touch. And after more than five straight hours in them, our lower backs and behinds had no complaints. There's a number of ways to adjust them, plus the seats are both heated and ventilated in top-spec models.

It's easy to find a seating position that suits you in the Ioniq 5. And despite the SUV's chunky design, there are big windows and the view out of the front is expansive. We do wish the rear roof pillars were a bit smaller to mitigate its blind spot, but luckily our test car came with blind-spot monitoring that worked without fault. All in all, the Ioniq 5 is so comfortable that we struggle to think of another non-luxury compact SUV — EV or otherwise — that is as comfortable to drive as this.

How's the Ioniq 5's interior?

The Ioniq 5 has a techy vibe thanks to its two 12.3-inch display screens on the dash. The left screen displays all your pertinent driving information such as range, state of charge, speed, and driver aids that are active. It even changes its whole look based on if you're in Eco, Normal or Sport mode. The head-up display, which is standard on the Limited trim, rests just above the left screen and integrates information from the blind-spot monitoring and lane keeping assist systems too.

To the right sits another 12.3-inch infotainment display. It handles nearly all of the Ioniq's other functions. The system, while full of menus that can be tricky to dig through at first, is crisp and super responsive to driver inputs.

Excellent cabin ergonomics and a mix of physical buttons and (slightly less excellent) touch-sensitive ones mean the primary controls are easy to reach and get the hang of. Some EVs present steep learning curves because they're supposed to be “from the future.” The Ioniq 5 takes a more conventional approach, and it's all the more approachable and usable as a result.

The Ioniq's floor is flat, and thanks to its long wheelbase, there is a ton of room in the back when you consider this is technically a compact crossover SUV. The backrest of the rear seats reclines, which allows rear passengers to lounge around and chill out in near silence as they're ferried along.

How's the Ioniq 5's tech?

Aside from all the neat features hidden in its infotainment display, the Ioniq 5's party piece is what Hyundai is calling Vehicle-to-Load or V2L. Essentially, you'll be able to use your Ioniq 5 as its own electrical power source. Hyundai offers an optional connector that you can use to power items outside of the vehicle; it connects to the vehicle's main charge port. The Limited trim features a household-style power outlet between the rear seats.

Using V2L you can recharge devices and power things like household appliances and gear for tailgating or camping. Hyundai even says you can use V2L to provide an emergency charge for fellow EV drivers (albeit at a relatively slow recharging rate for an EV).

As for driver aids, Hyundai's packing them in like a squirrel collecting nuts for the winter. Forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist are among the many features you'll find on the Ioniq 5 that can help minimize the chance of a collision and reduce driver fatigue. Also available is a new head-up display that can project an augmented reality overlay on the windshield for real-time navigation prompts.

How's the Ioniq 5's storage?

The Ioniq 5 can hold up to 27.2 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats. With those seats folded flat, that capacity grows to 59.3 cubes. Those figures are rather small for an SUV of this size, but the space should easily handle the typical grocery run or a longer weekend away. The Mach-E offers a hair more free space at 29.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and the Volkswagen ID.4 is larger still with 30.3 cubes of free air to work with behind the second row.

A storage compartment under the hood should be suitable for a charge cable but isn't nearly as roomy as the Tesla Model Y's frunk. Like most SUVs of this size, the Ioniq 5 offers a max towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, which is enough for something like a small utility trailer but not much else.

How much range does the Ioniq 5 have?

The standard-range model is the only version of the Ioniq 5 to use the smaller 58-kWh battery pack and will come with a single rear-mounted electric motor. Its 220 miles of range is plenty if you just want to poodle around town, but that number could prove inconvenient for longer trips.

Step up to the SE, SEL or Limited trim and you get access to the larger 77.4-kWh pack. The result is 303 miles of EPA-estimated range in RWD and 256 miles of range if you opt for AWD. Both figures are generally comparable to those from the Mustang Mach-E and VW ID.4. Keep in mind, however, that Edmunds does its own range testing on every EV that makes its way to the Edmunds garage. Once we have the Ioniq 5 in for full testing we'll have a better understanding on how much range the vehicle has in real-world driving. Stay tuned.

The Ioniq 5's electrical architecture is compatible with the latest high-powered DC fast-charging stations. Connecting to a 350-kW charger, for instance, would allow you to recharge your Ioniq 5 from 10% battery charge to 80% in just 18 minutes, Hyundai says. If you're pinched for time, the Ioniq 5 can recoup up to 68 miles in only five minutes using these ultra-fast chargers. To sweeten the deal, Hyundai is partnering with Electrify America to bring complimentary fast charging to Ioniq 5 owners. The costs of 30-minute charging sessions will be free to Ioniq 5 drivers for the first two years of ownership.

What are the Ioniq 5's trim levels?

The Ioniq 5 will be available in three trims: SE, SEL and Limited. Each one can be had with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Note that this information is preliminary and might change as the vehicle gets closer to production.

Standard feature highlights for the base SE trim include:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • DC fast-charging capabilities (up to 350 kW max)
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display
  • Navigation system
  • Remote monitoring and control via a smartphone app
  • Heated front seats
  • Hyundai's Smart Sense suite of advanced safety features:
    • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
    • Lane keeping assist (steers the Ioniq 5 back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker)
    • Drowsy driver monitor

The midrange SEL trim adds:

  • Flush-mounted door handles
  • Hands-free liftgate
  • Simulated leather upholstery
  • Hyundai's Highway Driving Assist 2 system:
    • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Ioniq 5 and the car in front)
    • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)

The top Limited trim finishes off the features list with:

  • 20-inch wheels
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Head-up display with augmented reality navigation prompts
  • Bose premium audio
  • Surround-view camera system
  • Blind-spot camera system
  • Remote and automated parking assist

Edmunds says

The 2022 Ioniq 5 might be the perfect EV for people who want something fun to drive, interesting to look at, and easy to wrap their head around. It presents no compromises and doesn't chuck in a steep EV learning curve just for the sake of being futuristic. It's a well-rounded EV that does everything we'd want from an EV crossover and more. Now, can it fend off competition from the Ford Mach-E and Tesla Model Y? Stay tuned to find out.

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