Hyundai: how the Ioniq became iconic

Hyundai Ioniq 5Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai Ioniq 5
IF we haven’t started already, we aregoing to have to begin looking afreshat every car we drive. Take this Hyundai. A mid-range model from thisup-and-coming Korean manufacturerwould have been simple to assess atone time

You would have quickly decided that it was

good value, reasonably styled and affordable.

Reliability would not have been in question but

The cabinThe cabin
The cabin

you wouldn’t impress other motorists. As a cynical friend once said, Hyundais are for people

who don’t enjoy driving.

My, how things have changed. Hyundai all

of a sudden is a premium brand which stands

comparison with the best that more renowned

marques have to offer.

A friend who knows a thing or two about

premium models (he’s a BMW fan) enthused

about the Ioniq’s styling, and I couldn’t help

but agree. The crisp lines and bold nose are

admirable. Less so the gimmicky door mirrors

which in fact aren’t mirrors at all but cameras.

You don’t look at a mirror but at a mini-screen

on each door.

To be honest, it works better than I imagined

and the image is clearer, but you do wonder if

it’s worth the effort. It is what car designers call

a “surprise and delight” feature, a talking point

if you will. Just because the creative types

Having said that, I warmed to it. I prefer traditional features (handbrakes, glass mirrors

and the like) but I guess we will have to get used

to door-mounted cameras instead.

Things move pretty swiftly in the car industry these days so we have barely got used to the

Ioniq 5 (it landed here in 2021) than we have a

very big update.

This, by the way, is not a hatchback or an

SUV. Rather it is officially something in between – a CUV or crossover utility vehicle.

That’s Hyundai’s title for it and I’m not sure it

will become an everyday term.

There is a new, slightly larger 77.4kWh battery (up from 72.6kWh) at the upper end of the

range, and a more powerful dual-motor configuration to go along with it – 321bhp, enough

for a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.

We are still getting used to the fact that electric power means cars can be pretty quick, even

family-oriented motors like this.

The trim levels have been improved too with

some notable additions to the kit list if you’re

willing to spend. The previous entry point,

SE Connect, has been dropped, so the line-up

now starts with Premium, priced from £42,665

when it’s equipped with a 58kWh battery and

a single 168bhp motor. It’s also available with

the larger pack, though, along with a more potent rear-mounted motor that now produces

225bhp (up from 214bhp), or the upgraded fourwheel-drive configuration. This vehicle features

vehicle-to-load tech, allowing the Ioniq 5 to

power other devices, along with part-leather

upholstery, upgraded interior trim, 64-colour

ambient lighting and a sliding centre console.

There’s no doubt the cabin is impressively different.

There’s also a proposed solution to one of the

Ioniq 5’s biggest flaws, its lack of a rear wiper,

in the shape of a digital rear-view mirror that

shows an image from a camera in the rear portion of the roof.

Ultimate sits above Premium, but it’s no longer the top of the line-up.

That honour goes to the Namsan Edition –

the model tested here.

It costs from £54,150 and gets a full-length

panoramic roof. It also features a heat pump as

standard; this is optional on some of the other

versions, although all Ioniq 5s now get a battery

warmer, for more predictable charging in cold


You can feel the improvement in the Ioniq 5’s

cabin when you climb into a Namsan. It is still a

really spacious with bags of leg, knee and headroom in the rear seats.

But there’s padded trim in a few more key

areas, and more of the utilitarian grey plastics

have been replaced too, for a more polished


For me, and for most folks, I imagine this car

will be sporty enough. It is quick in a straight

line and comfortable enough on corners. But

if you really want something firmer and faster,

the Ioniq 5 N can now be ordered with prices

starting from £65,000.

It’s the first in what is predicted to be a new

range of ‘N’ electric vehicles, with this version

being a completely overhauled version of the

firm’s Ioniq 5.

It has been completely reworked by Hyundai’s N performance department, however, and

receives a larger battery than the standard car

while power can be as high as 641bhp when the

car is put into ‘N Grin Boost’ mode. As standard, it produces a still-respectable 600bhp.

The brakes have also been fully upgraded

to help combine the regenerative system with

the traditional hydraulic setup as effortlessly

as possible. It also sits 20mm lower than the

standard car and is 80mm longer due to the

large diffuser. The front end is redesigned with

a new air curtain and active flaps for improved

cooling while an exclusive Luminous Orange

colour is used at the bottom of the bumper and

along the side skirts.

Inside, the centre console has been fitted

with both knee and shin pads to help the driver

to brace when cornering heavily, while the N

bucket seats are finished in a combination of

leather and Alcantara. The seat frames themselves are also positioned 20mm lower than in

the standard car to give a sportier driving position.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 Namsan: £53,665. Ioniq 5 starts

at £42,665; 77.4kWh lithium ion polymer battery

offering 228PS; Single speed reduction gear; 295

miles range; Top speed, not given but 0 to 60mph

is 5.1 seconds; Emissions 0; Five years’ unlimited

mileage warra