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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 First Drive Review: More of the Same, But Different

The Ioniq 6 takes everything great about the Ioniq 5 and adds some unique touches, as well as some extra efficiency.

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Andrew Krok
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The Hyundai Ioniq 5 won accolades the world over. It hit the ground running with a unique design, but more importantly, it proved to be an impressive electric car by any stretch, offering good efficiency and excellent driving characteristics. That sets the bar pretty high for anything that follows, so you'll be pleased to discover that its slick sedan sibling, the 2023 Ioniq 6, is every bit as excellent as the 5.

The same…

As I start winding through dense traffic on my way out of Seoul, the first thing I notice about the Ioniq 6 is that it drives just as nicely as the Ioniq 5. But that shouldn't come as a surprise -- the two are nearly mechanically identical.

The Ioniq 6 rides on the same E-GMP scalable electric platform as the Ioniq 5, and it'll be offered in similar variants. While my tester relies on the larger 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery and an electric motor on each axle producing a net 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque, less powerful single-motor trims will be available, as will a smaller 53kWh battery.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Is Funky and Fun

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Korea's traffic is ever-present, and with seemingly thousands of speed cameras dotting side roads and highways, the Ioniq 6's electric motors provide more than enough motive force for the task at hand, bordering on overkill. Once I'm up to speed, I'm met with a delightful lack of wind noise, thanks in part to the sedan's impressive 0.21 drag coefficient, keeping cabin noise quite low overall.

The Ioniq 6 has no problem shedding any of the speed I pick up, which is good, because those speed cameras are liable to pop up just about anywhere. While the car's friction brakes are more than grabby enough, I prefer to rely entirely on the multimode regenerative braking, which I leave in its strongest setting. This enables smooth, controlled one-pedal driving that really makes the most of the battery.

While I'm not behind the wheel long enough to need juice, charging the Ioniq 6 should be just as easy as the Ioniq 5. An 11-kilowatt onboard charger will replenish the battery overnight when plugged into a 220-volt Level 2 outlet, but the car's 800-volt architecture enables DC fast charging in excess of 200kW, taking the battery from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

Is it just me, or is there a little Porsche 911 influence in that deck-lid spoiler?

Hyundai

As I depart the urban landscape and dive deeper into the forests surrounding Seoul, there's a bit of room to let the Ioniq 6 stretch its legs. Having most of its weight down low makes the Ioniq 6 feel nice and secure underfoot, with enough compliance in the fixed suspension to soak up bad roads without sending too much of that into the cabin, even on the larger 20-inch alloy wheels; swapping to the 18s and their thicker tire sidewalls will undoubtedly soften the ride even further. Like the Ioniq 5, the 6's steering feels direct and nicely weighted.

A pair of 12.3-inch screens rise up from the dash, running the same infotainment system found on the Ioniq 5. It's easy to get used to, and it's even easier to grab the most pertinent information with just a glance. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are built in, and charging should be dummy simple, thanks to a bevy of USB-C ports front and rear -- smartphone mirroring still goes through the single USB-A port in the center console, though.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

The Ioniq 6 may not have the 5's trick sliding center console, but I think I like this fixed version more.

Hyundai

…But different

For all the similarities the 2023 Ioniq 6 shares with the Ioniq 5, the two look nothing alike at a distance. The 6's slinky form factor is definitely a bit more polarizing, as the sedan's fastback shape and rear spoiler setup bears more of a resemblance to the current Hyundai Sonata. However, the now-traditional Ioniq hallmarks are here, like the pixelated lighting elements that I absolutely adore. The rear deck-lid spoiler gives some mild Porsche 911 vibes, and I love how Hyundai incorporated the center brake light. My tester's 20-inch wheels are endlessly cool, too.

Even though the powertrain is largely unchanged, that 0.21 drag coefficient means the Ioniq 6 carries some serious range. With the big battery, rear-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels, Hyundai estimates an all-electric range of 381 miles. Adding all-wheel drive drops the range estimate to 322 miles, which is still impressive. The EPA has yet to chime in with US-specific figures, but they should exceed the Ioniq 5's figures by a not-insignificant amount.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

The rear seats are roomy, although taller passengers may want to try a little harder to sit shotgun.

Hyundai

Despite the seemingly sharp rake of the rear roofline, cabin space isn't exactly at a premium. At 6 feet tall, I still fit in the back seats, although my hair does begin to graze the headliner when I correct my posture. The front row is nice and airy, though; moving most of the vehicle controls to the fixed center console lets the door panels stay nice and thin. Forward visibility is great, and there's a surprising amount of rear visibility, as well; some fastbacks practically eliminate the rear glass, but thankfully that isn't the case here.

While the US won't be privy to them, this test car also carries a pair of digital side-view mirrors, its cameras feeding to a pair of displays at the edges of the dashboard. Honestly, I think that's for the best. While I think the newfangled "mirrors" look cool, screen quality is on the low side; a low refresh rate means every set of LED headlights in view will dance like a Las Vegas marquee sign. Standard mirrors will have a very mild drag penalty, thus affecting total range, but I still think older is better in this instance.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

Hyundai's digital side-mirror execution is great, but every other car on the road with LED running lights will create a Vegas sideshow in the display as they drive past.

Hyundai

Practicality plays a large part in the Ioniq 6's cabin. Storage space abounds, between the center console's large undertray and the door pockets that are large enough to house a water bottle or two. The interior's plastics are a little on the hard side, but everything is zhuzhed up a fair bit with knurling and other interesting contours, and overall fit and finish are excellent. Multizone ambient lighting adds more character, and I like that it can be connected to certain vehicle systems; for example, the cabin can flash red when I exceed the speed limit, which is a neat touch.

Hyundai also beefed up its complement of active and passive safety systems. All the major players are still here, like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. But the Ioniq 6 also picks up Highway Driving Assist II, which combines the aforementioned systems to hold the vehicle in its lane and keep pace with traffic. Automated lane changes are now part of the experience, as well as in-lane adjustments, in case other cars start venturing over the dashed white lines.

Down to brass tacks

Even with my limited time behind the wheel, I am quite impressed with the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. It takes everything that I love about the Ioniq 5 and wraps it in a cool, new shell that carries actual tangible performance benefits. Look for this sharp little number to make its arrival in the US in early 2023.


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 CNET's staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.

Article updated on October 4, 2022 at 2:00 PM PDT

Our Experts

Written by 
Andrew Krok
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
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