- New electric midsize sedan that takes some design cues from Ioniq 5
- Shares the Ioniq 5's battery packs and electric motor configurations
- Maximum range will likely be over 300 miles
- Introduces the first Ioniq 6 generation for 2024
Hyundai made a splash this year with the retro-inspired Ioniq 5, the automaker's first vehicle designed to be an electric vehicle from its inception. We're huge fans of the Ioniq 5 — it currently sits at the top of our rankings of the best luxury electric SUVs. Even though the Ioniq 5 is pretty new, its overall excellence made us wonder what's next for the burgeoning Ioniq sub-brand.
Thankfully, we won't have to wait much longer. Hyundai just unveiled its next electric vehicle, aptly named the Hyundai Ioniq 6, and it's due early next year. The Ioniq 6 is an ultrasleek sedan built on the same Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that underpins the Ioniq 5. It also uses some of the same design elements that give the Ioniq 5 its unique looks — namely the pixelated headlight and taillight clusters — before really going off in its own direction.
There's really no getting around the fact that the Ioniq 6 looks strange. Its exterior is an amalgamation of styling cues from other cars. The front end looks like a Polestar 2 with a slim grille and first-generation Ford Focus headlights. The profile and pinched rear evoke the Mercedes CLA and CLS, and Infiniti J30, with a Prius-like mid-window spoiler thrown in for good measure.
It's not terribly cohesive, but we suppose some sacrifices had to be made to achieve the Ioniq 6's ultra-low 0.21 drag coefficient. For reference, that would make the Ioniq 6 only slightly bulkier than the world's most aerodynamic production car, the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
The Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 share a platform, so it's no surprise that the two also draw from the same set of powertrains. Like its smaller SUV stablemate, the Ioniq 6 comes standard with a short-range battery pack and rear-wheel drive — though it does have a smaller capacity of 53 kWh compared to the Ioniq 5's 58-kWh pack. Hyundai hasn't released power output specs, but we surmise that they'll hew closely to the Ioniq 5's 168 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
This new EV should feel more alive when you opt for the 77.4-kWh pack. Not only does it have more range than the base model, but we expect — based on the Ioniq 5 lineup — that it will replace the rear motor with a 225-horsepower unit as well. Selecting all-wheel drive adds another motor up front, with a combined 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque from both sources. Hyundai says this top-spec model can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, but we think it will be even quicker than that, based on our 4.7-second run in an AWD Ioniq 5.
We're not sure what the Ioniq 6's range is just yet, but the vehicle's more aerodynamic shape should translate to improved range compared to the Ioniq 5. Hyundai says the long-range battery/RWD combo is good for roughly 380 miles per the more generous European WLTP standard — that's 65 miles better than the Ioniq 5's best WLTP range number. For reference, the Ioniq 5's EPA-estimated range is 220 miles with the standard pack, 303 miles with rear-wheel drive and the long-range battery, and 256 miles with the AWD powertrain.
As you'd expect, the slipperier Ioniq 6 is said to be more energy-efficient, too — Hyundai's estimate of about 22.5 kWh/100 miles would put the most efficient Ioniq 6 variant (smaller battery, RWD, 18-inch wheels) near the top of the charts among current EVs.
As with its crossover counterpart, the Ioniq 6 sedan's 800-volt architecture allows it to use the speediest DC fast-charging equipment on the market. When plugged into one of the growing number of 350-kW ultrafast chargers, the Ioniq 6 can recharge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes — just enough time to grab coffee from Starbucks at rush hour. A vehicle-to-load function (or V2L) means that you can power external devices while camping or working away from home.
The Ioniq 6's cabin is more muted than the bodywork. In fact, it's not too dissimilar to the Ioniq 5's interior. The steering wheel looks essentially the same, as do the dual 12-inch digital instrument panel and central touchscreen that share a single housing. However, the air vents in the middle and in front of the passenger now lie on a single plane, in contrast to the bulging center area on the Ioniq 5.
A key change in the Ioniq 6 comes in the form of less rear headroom, an unavoidable consequence of its tapering roofline relative to the squared-off Ioniq 5. Our 6-foot-1 man on the ground in Korea reported that his head was smooshed into the rear headliner when he sat up straight, although a 6-foot-2 colleague from another publication sat next to him without issue. On the bright side, the quality of materials seemed impressive in both rows, thanks to an interesting variety of textures and soft-touch surfaces.
While Hyundai hasn't released a full set of Ioniq 6 features, in general the Ioniq 6 should offer everything that the Ioniq 5 does, plus a few extras. Indeed, we've already seen the Ioniq 6's new ambient lighting strips that give the interior an elegant look. You can choose between 64 colors, and the system offers a dual-color split so you can tailor the cabin environment to your liking. There's even a Speed Sync Lighting mode that increases the brightness of the ambient lighting as you dig into the accelerator. You can also look forward to synthetic sound profiles that provide auditory feedback as you accelerate — just in case you find the full EV experience a little too silent.
The advanced driving aids available on the Ioniq 5 are available here as well. Expect to see gettable features like adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert with braking, and evasive steering assist when changing lanes.
Push past the somewhat challenging design, and the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 looks to have the tools necessary to be a compelling Tesla rival.