The styling is much bolder than almost any other electric car you can buy, with pop out door handles like you’d find on a Jaguar I-Pace and LED lighting which is both efficient and good-looking. Thankfully, Hyundai has resisted the urge to tinker with the 2023 model and with the exception of digital side mirrors, which can be specced on the Namsan Edition, it looks identical to the original.
In terms of size the IONIQ 5 is deceptively big. At 4.64 metres long and 1.89 metres wide, the IONIQ 5 is bigger than a Land Rover Discovery Sport and very similar all round to a Jaguar I-Pace. Even inside, Hyundai goes bigger than most competitors. The fact that electric cars are more spacious than conventional vehicles is not new, as the motors and battery can be placed anywhere in the car, giving designers freedom to open up the inside to create room for passengers. It means there is a huge amount of space, even for tall passengers in the rear.
There is also a lot of adaptability. Not only can the rear seat can be moved (electrically if you opt for the range-topping Namsan Edition) to give the best balance between rear legroom and luggage space, but there is also a sliding centre console between the seats which can serve front or rear occupants (standard on Ultimate models and above). The boot is an SUV-sized 527 litres and there is another 100 litres of storage under the bonnet. That boot is quite shallow and flat though, whcih will limit your ability to carry pot plants and sofas back from Ikea.
Hyundai is not only relying on the spectacular design of the IONIQ 5 to make rivals look obsolete though. The car is built from the ground-up as an electric car to make it as efficient and uncompromised as possible. It is already one step further advanced than the likes of VW by having 800 volt running gear.
This allows the car to be more efficient and charge much faster than most electric cars, which rely on 400 volt systems. Only the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT have similar set ups - but cost double the price of the IONIQ 5.
It means the Hyundai really scores at the charging station. Find one of the new generation 350kW rapid chargers which are slowly appearing at service stations and the battery of the IONIQ 5 will fill from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes. A quick ‘get you home’ splash of 60 miles’ worth can be added within five minutes. That’s barely enough time for a splash’n’dash of your own. The new-for-2023 model comes with a new battery preconditioning feature, along with battery heating on all models. The preconditioning feature heats the battery pack when the driver has ‘told’ the navigation system that they are going to a DC rapid charger. By heating the pack pre-charge, the IONIQ 5 can accept charge at maximum speeds. This promises to eliminate the issue many owners had with slow charging in cold weather.
Another neat feature of the IONIQ 5 is its Vehicle to Load, or V2L, system. This allows owners to draw power from the traction battery (not the 12 volt) at a rate of up to 3.6kW. So, if you need to run a fridge at the campsite, cool the beer at the barbecue, run power tools at remote locations or, if necessary, give another electric car a charging boost, the IONIQ 5 can do it.
Hyundai offers the 2023 IONIQ 5 in several configurations with either a single or double electric motor for rear or all-wheel drive. There are two battery size options: 58kWh and a new 77.4kWh pack that replaces the original 72.6kWh battery. The larger pack model can return up to 315 miles of WLTP range (two-wheel drive mode) while the smaller pack can manage up to 238 miles on a full charge.
If you value speed more than efficiency, the twin-motor model will do the 0-62 mph sprint in just over five seconds, but comes with a sub 300 mile WLTP range figure. That’s faster than any family car needs to be, especially since the IONIQ 5 is actually more of a limo than a sportscar. It is very refined and serene inside and not the sort of car which encourages you to go for a drive just for fun. If you prefer your cars to be exciting rather than relaxing, then we'd suggest trying a Kia EV6, which uses the same hardware but different styling and suspension tuning.
But the IONIQ 5 leaves a lasting impression with at least two characteristics: its turning circle is surprisingly compact for the size, because the front wheels can be turned further than you’d expect. Together with the 360 degree camera screen, parking becomes child's play.
And the Koreans have regulated the brake recuperation very well. In addition to the usual steps, which allow either mile-long sailing or a comparatively strong deceleration even without the use of the brake pedal, there is also an automatic mode and i-Pedal mode which is pleasingly close to one-pedal driving.
It’s true that Hyundai is confusing the pecking order among the electric cars with the IONIQ 5. It applies not only to appearance, drive and batteries – but also to the price. With the recent removal of the entry-level SE Connect trim grade (which accounted for fewer than 5% of orders), the entry price fo the IONIQ 5 is now a weighty £43,150. This means it is more expensive than not only Skoda's Enyaq, but also the Volkswagen ID4. It makes it on a level with the Audi Q4 e-tron.