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Hyundai Ioniq 5 Review: Nodding to Past While Pushing Toward E.V. Future


An Audi-esque clamshell hood drapes elegantly over front fenders. Signature, pixelated lighting flashes blocks of LEDs from headlamps and taillamps, recalling Tetris and other vintage eight-bit video games. Optional 20-inch alloy wheels in a kaleidoscope pattern are pulled to the corners, muscular visual bookends for a massive 118-inch wheelbase. That wheelbase stretches four inches beyond that of Hyundai’s largest S.U.V., the three-row Palisade, aiding an absorbent ride and roomy back seat.

The 39.4 inches of rear legroom is within an inch of the class-leading Tesla’s, despite the Hyundai’s being four inches shorter overall, and nearly three more inches than a fossil-fueled Mercedes-Benz GLC S.U.V. While we’re back there, the Hyundai’s most glaring omission is a rear wiper for its steeply canted rear glass.

Compared with the bravura exterior, the interior hews closer to familiar E.V. tropes. But it’s still a nice place to be, thanks to Hyundai’s usual overachieving in materials, well-considered details and unexpected features. The brand’s first head-up display integrates augmented reality directional guides.

A pair of 12-inch screens perch like desktop monitors above a slim dashboard, flashing sharply rendered, configurable driver displays and a fine navigation system with intuitive voice controls. Hyundai’s semiautonomous, driver-assistance tech, including adaptive cruise control, can steer the Ioniq 5 down its lane with luxury-level confidence, easing stress in long drives or traffic snarls. That system integrates machine learning that studies a driver’s behavior to adjust acceleration and distance from other cars.

The Ioniq is the first of up to 23 global models on Hyundai’s new Electric Global Modular Platform through 2025. They include the Kia EV6 S.U.V., which is already on sale, and a sleek Genesis GV60 later this year. That skateboard layout packages its entire 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery between the axles for more-planted performance. And the Ioniq 5’s hushed cabin, supple ride and charming road manners offered a hopeful taste of what’s to come. I drove a top-shelf Ioniq 5 Limited AWD priced at $55,725, or $48,225 after a $7,500 federal credit.

A rear-drive Ioniq 5 squeezes 303 miles of range and a frugal 114 m.p.g.e. from a 225-horsepower electric motor, for $44,875 to start. A $3,500 upcharge boosts traction and velocity with dual-motor all-wheel drive. After tax breaks, those A.W.D. versions can be had for around $41,000 to $43,000, well below the current average new-car price of about $47,000.

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