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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 first drive review: Sci-fi style meets practical performance

Hyundai's stylish EV stands apart from the crowd, matching a bold, angular design with practicality, tech and value that's easy to like.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD
The Ioniq 5's boasts proportions like no other Hyundai and looks like nothing else on the road.
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is an electric SUV, but the hunkered-down proportions are more large hatchback than small crossover. Whatever you call it, the striking geometric design looks fantastic from almost every angle. Now it's time to hit the road and find out if there's substance to back up that style.

The Ioniq 5 is built on the Hyundai Motor Group's new E-GMP dedicated electric vehicle platform which allows the company to pull off some pretty neat tricks with the vehicle's design and proportions. Hyundai pushed the wheels way out to the corners of the Ioniq 5's 182.5-inch long footprint -- around the same length as a Tucson -- resulting in a 118.1-inch wheelbase that's longer than the three-row Palisade's. This, combined with the flat floor and wide chassis, frees up more interior volume (106.5 cubic feet) for passengers than the competing Ford Mustang Mach-E or Volkswagen ID 4. However, the steeply raked backlight costs the Hyundai a bit of cargo volume, leaving it a few cubes short of the competition at 27.2 cubic feet.

Two powertrain configurations

At launch, the Ioniq 5 will be available in single- or dual-motor configurations, both powered by a 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack. With a single motor sending 258 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, the 225-horsepower Ioniq 5 will hustle from 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds and boasts up to 303 miles of EPA-estimated range.

Adding a second motor to the front axle boosts the system total to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque. This all-wheel-drive version is the quickest configuration so far, sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds. However, powering that second motor takes a toll on the range, dropping down to a 256-mile estimate -- still respectable, but also short of the Mach-E Extended AWD's 270-mile claim and the Tesla Model Y's 316 miles.

The Ioniq 5's front motor features a clutch that can mechanically disconnect it from the wheels to maximize efficiency depending on the driver's behavior and the selected drive mode. Sport and Snow modes use both motors at all times, Normal disengages when not needed and Eco mostly locks the powertrain into rear-wheel drive. Hyundai says that because the EPA range tests are conducted in Normal mode, the average driver could easily do better than the 256-mile estimate using Eco mode and a light touch. On a cold, rainy day driving mostly in Sport mode, I managed slightly worse.

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EV road test

Starting my test with an 80% charge and around 200 miles of indicated range, I drove a total of 135 miles before returning to base with 20% battery and 52 remaining miles on the computer – around 5% below the estimate. In fairness, my day came with the complications of filming, spirited evaluative driving and running the heater to keep my producer happy, so it makes sense I skewed a touch low.

The Ioniq 5's ride and handling are tuned for comfort, feeling a touch more supple than the firm-riding Kia EV6 I drove earlier this year, but without sacrificing control or composure over bumps and around bends. The steering is light, but not vague. The generous electric torque feels great off the line -- not overwhelmingly powerful, but more than quick enough for most drivers' needs -- and retains its responsiveness around town and on the highway. Overall, I'm pleased with the Ioniq 5's performance.

In addition to the four drive modes, there are five regenerative braking settings selectable via paddles on the steering wheel. There are three levels of regeneration and deceleration as well as an Auto mode that varies based on the battery's state, driver intent and other factors. There's also an I-Pedal mode that allows the driver to slow and stop without using the friction brakes or pedal, but the Ioniq won't stay in this mode, reverting to levels 1, 2, 3 or Auto at the beginning of every trip. This is mildly annoying, but I imagine less stubborn drivers will just leave it in Auto and enjoy the ride.

Only the long-range battery will be offered at launch, returning between 256 to 303 miles depending on the configuration.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Bidirectional charging

The Ioniq 5's battery is capable of accepting up to 235-kilowatt charging speeds when connected to a DC fast-charging station. At its quickest replenish rate, you're looking at a 10% to 80% burst in about 18 minutes. At a more common 240-volt public or home charge point, the Ioniq 5 accepts up to 10.9 kW, charging from 10% to full in just under seven hours.

I wasn't able to test the 5's vehicle-to-load (V2L) feature. With an optional adapter, small camping and tailgating appliances can be plugged in and powered from the EV's battery via the charging port. You could even charge another EV via this 120-volt outlet; just don't expect more than a trickle charge with just a 1.9-kW maximum draw. Users can also set a V2L limit via an onscreen menu to reserve enough juice to get back home.

Interior design and tech

The interior's design is minimalist, bordering on sparse. Fans of a clean look will dig the flat dashboard with its dual 12.3-inch screens and simple capacitive climate controls. Personally, I think it could use a few more buttons -- for example, dedicated switches for the seat heaters rather than the cryptic "warmer" button that pulls up a touchscreen menu -- but, at least there's a knob for volume.

The infotainment has a clean, white theme and new menus for monitoring EV efficiency and scheduling charges. This will also be the first over-the-air update capable version of Hyundai's dashboard software with the first major updates rolling out around spring 2022. I hope the first update comes with a dark theme for night driving. The bright white UI persists after the sun goes down and interferes with my night vision, even at the lowest brightness level. I understand why the screens have to be so bright -- thanks to their hoodless design, they need to outshine the sun -- but an option for a dark background in the evening would improve comfort and, more importantly, safety. 

The interior is so minimal there's not even a Hyundai badge on the wheel -- just four simple squares.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Hyundai's standard digital key feature allows drivers to unlock, start and drive the Ioniq 5 using an Android phone in place of the fob. Once aboard, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, but neither supports wireless connectivity. Annoyingly, the only USB port that connects to the infotainment for media playback or app mirroring is the one way down beneath the dashboard near my feet -- the four USB ports on the sliding center console are for charging only -- which means that's also where your phone has to go to avoid cables splayed across the cabin.

The center console is nice and features a wireless charging pad and an open storage area big enough for a purse or small bag. Grabbing a hidden handle allows the whole package to slide a little over a foot rearward, granting rear passengers access to the storage or making room for the driver to slide over from the passenger side, if their door is obstructed. You probably won't do that every day, but it's handy when you need it. I also like that the front seats recline to a nearly horizontal position and feature retractable leg rests so you can relax or nap while waiting for a charge.

Machine learning safety tech

Hyundai's SmartSense driver aid suite is standard, rolling in blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, pedestrian and cyclist detection and the newest generation forward-collision avoidance braking tech. The Ioniq 5 can now brake to avoid oncoming traffic during a left-hand turn, and new front-corner radar sensors can detect 90-degree traffic when crossing an intersection, braking to avoid T-bone collisions. 

There's a shallow storage bin under the hood, but I'm not sure if even the charging cable will fit in there.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Adaptive cruise control now responds more smoothly to vehicle cut-ins during low-speed traffic and features machine learning that customizes acceleration, braking and spacing tendencies based on the behavior of the human driver. If you're a relaxed driver that leaves space for others to merge, Smart Cruise Control will mimic that over time. If you drive more aggressively, then SCC will, too, up to a point. Ideally, it should never drive like a complete jerk, regardless of the maniac behind the wheel.

Hyundai's Highway Driving Assist II comes online at the SEL trim level, adding lane-centering steering assist that can adjust the vehicle's position within the lane if an adjacent car gets too close or crosses the line -- a Hyundai staffer calls the feature "lane scooching assist." The hands-on steering assist can also change lanes automatically when the turn signal is activated and features assistance for lane change collision avoidance and evasive maneuvers.

The Limited trim level steps up to a 360-degree camera system and the automaker's blind-spot camera that activates with the turn signal. The top spec is also where you'll find Hyundai's Remote Smart Parking Assist, which lets you move the SUV straight backward or forward into tight spots from the curbside, and a massive head-up display with augmented reality tech not unlike what you'll find on the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS.

The Ioniq 5 looks like a sci-fi prop or concept car, but it's surprisingly practical and a solid value.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Pricing and competition

At launch, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 starts at $44,875 including a $1,225 destination charge for the long-range, rear-drive SE spec. The Limited AWD model tops the lineup at $55,725, as tested, and that's before you can get up to $7,500 in potential federal tax credits. In late 2022, a third configuration will be added to the mix, stepping down to a smaller 58.2-kWh battery with 168 hp from its single rear motor and 220 miles of EPA estimated range. This entry-level, standard range Ioniq 5 SE will be the most affordable spec, starting at $40,925.

Its excellent range and lower price makes the Ioniq 5 a compelling angular alternative to the curvaceous Model Y. The performance, features and value offered also put the Hyundai in a particularly competitive position against Ford's Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID 4. The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is anything but anonymous and -- despite a few nits -- is already one of my favorite picks in this rapidly growing class.

Editors' note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow's staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.