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Ioniq 5: an EV packed with style

Hyundai Ioniq 5

If you’re finding car design lumpy, bland and timid these days, stand back and take notice of the Hyundai Ioniq 5. It’s so innovative even architects like it.

  The creases and angles reference origami. Shadows and contrasting paint colours create illusions and play tricks with dimension and perspective. 

  A wide band across the front is the stylish home for the headlights and calls up the image of a scrappy Belted Kingfisher.

  Finally, a new car that’s fun to describe.

  Inside the vibe is cool and uncluttered like a home profiled in Architectural Digest where the owners don’t own a lamp a book or any window coverings. Nor do they appear to eat.

  On top of all that it’s all electric. The unplug and go lifestyle is yours if you’re willing to relate months to get one.

  There are five trim levels of the Ioniq 5 with driving range spanning 354 km to 488 km determined by two available battery sizes.

  My test vehicle was the Ioniq 5 Preferred Long Range with AWD and the Ultimate options package. The bigger battery and extended range, and the addition of the many Ultimate features including remote parking assist, sliding centre console, and advanced Heads-Up Display with augmented reality. It was $61,824 when I tested it in May.

  The Ioniq 5 has been a smash hit for Hyundai, selling out whenever a new allotment is released. People will pay for dazzle when it includes practicality and good performance.

  Inside that hipster cool interior is abundant space.  Though described as a compact SUV, the interior is airy and bright as a conservatory, with generous headroom, good visibility and a useful amount of storage space. A clever feature allows the backseat to move on fixed to rails so it can be pushed forward to accommodate extra cargo.

  The seating position is high which will please those who like an SUV’s ergonomics. Front seats also recline and a footrest pops out for times when one might need a meditative break.

  In the back passengers are treated to lavish space and light. The roomy real estate is not surprising since the Ioniq 5 has a longer wheelbase than the big 3-row Hyundai Palisade.

  The super-decluttered dashboard functions well but I missed a knob to control heating and cooling. The single knob on the dash is for volume control, but otherwise one uses touch screen controls for most functions.

  While driving, performance can be altered by choosing Eco, Normal or Sport modes. I found Normal to be the best position. Horsepower ranges from 168 to a top speed of 320 depending on the model chosen.  As with all electric cars, power is instantaneous and torque rich, propelling the Ioniq 5 from 0 to 100 km in 5.1 seconds.

  The smooth ride and balanced handling are welcome particularly with spotty road maintenance in so many places. Steering was crisp but rather clinical.

  By driving sensibly and mindfully, using brake regeneration to recharge the battery, one could likely get by on one charge a week in an urban setting. I don’t have any way to charge at home so instead used a free public charger and left the Ioniq 5 overnight to top up to full range. The Level 2 charger found in most public locations will charge the vehicle in about 6 hours and 40 minutes. The rare and super expensive Level 3 fast charger does the job in a mind boggling 17 minutes.

  The Ioniq 5 is not without its oddities. The flush door handles while adding to the aerodynamic pizzazz of the Ioniq 5 were awkward to use. The omission of rear window wipers is puzzling and a potential annoyance for winter driving.

  Most places I stopped people admired the bold looks of the Ioniq 5 but asked how long the battery would last. Hyundai covers the battery under an 8 year, 160,000 warranty and expects no more than a 70 percent degradation of the battery during the warranty period.

So, the buzz about the award winning Ioniq 5 is electric. But customers will just have to be patient as demand is high and supply is short.

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