An electric vehicle ahead of its time

Doctor on the Road: Hyundai Ioniq 5

Great design and value make this good-looker impossible not to recommend, says Independent Practitioner Today’s motoring correspondent Dr Tony Rimmer.

To keep up with the latest medical advances, we rely on expert advice and opinions from our peers to utilise modern technology. They give us a steer on how best to use new and unfamiliar equipment and treatments. 

And it is also little different when choosing a new car, particularly if we are entering the emerging technological world of all-electric vehicles.

There have been many new EVs launched over the last year and professional motoring journalists have been eagerly awaiting their arrival on the manufacturers’ press fleets, ready for appraisal. 

Some of them have been more impressive than others, but there is one car that has received universal acclaim from all quarters; the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Is it as impressive as they say? I aimed to find out with my own thorough review.

The South Korean brand has, along with its sister company Kia, been electrifying many of their cars over the last few years with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and some all-electric vehicles. 

However, the Ioniq 5 sits on their first ground-up design electric platform. Its KIA sister model, the EV6, sits on the same platform. 

It is available with a 58kWh battery and single electric motor or a 72kWh battery with a choice of one or two electric motors. Claimed range is between 238 and 298 miles depending on the model. 

Best value

Trim options include the Connect, Premium and Ultimate. The Premium has all the features you would ever really need and represents the best value. My test car was the 72kWh rear-wheel drive Premium version which, at £43,090 and a range of 298 miles, would suit most of us medics most of the time. 

The first thing to note is its striking external design. Its appearance is thoroughly modern and somewhat ahead of its time. It looks like an electric car from the future and Tesla, among others, could learn a few tricks from Hyundai. 

Sharp lines on all panels and special LED lighting features makes the Hyundai stand out in a sea of bland SUVs. It looks best in light colours such as the metallic silver of my test car. 

What is a surprise when you see the Ioniq 5 in the flesh is that a car that looks VW Golf-sized in photos is bigger – the same size as an ID4.

Quality materials

Inside the cabin, the modern themes continue. A very open-plan dashboard is dominated by two large landscape-shaped information screens and physical switchgear is kept to a minimum. 

I would say that the quality of materials used, such as the plastics and seat materials, is high; better than the usual Ford, Peugeot or Citroen level. The drive selector is located on the steering column like in VW’s ID models and this frees up space in the front footwells for extra storage features. 

The three rear passenger seats also benefit from the electric platform: the available legroom and headroom is really impressive and the seats can either slide forward to increase boot space or recline for extra comfort. Boot space is generous, but the floor is a bit high: but at least the re-charging cables can be stored below. 

Driving the Ioniq 5 delivers the typical EV attributes of linear power delivery, silence and the feeling of being pushed along by a large velvet-gloved fist. 

All-round visibility is great but the lack of a rear screen wiper is a significant omission. 

This model, with 215bhp, feels plenty swift enough – particularly since the handling is set up with soft suspension to give an excellent ride. Fast cornering is not this Hyundai’s best attribute; it is best on ‘A’ roads and motorways. 

Stick to the 19-inch wheels of the Premium model too; the larger 20-inch alloys of the Ultimate look great but worsen the ride. Regenerative braking power is easily altered between four settings by paddles behind the steering wheel and on its strongest setting allows one-pedal driving. 

Rivals at this price point include the VW ID4 and the Skoda Enyaq. But the Ioniq 5 has more of a premium feel and really competes with the BMW iX3 and Volvo XC40 Recharge; both a good £15-£20k more expensive. 

Tesla’s long-awaited small SUV Model Y costs upwards of £55k and even my current favourite EV, the Audi Q4, cost £10k more. 

This is one of the reasons that the Hyundai is so well loved by the motoring press. I was very impressed too. With its great design and great value, it is impossible not to recommend.

Dr Tony Rimmer (right) is a former NHS GP practising in Guildford, Surrey