Digging into the Design of Hyundai’s IONIQ 5

From a striking silhouette to an all-digital dash, the attributes that define the new electric vehicle

Hyundai continues to be a brand to watch, and in the words of renowned car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it’s also a brand that will become the one to follow. The automaker recently amassed attention when it unveiled its IONIQ 6 RN22E and Giugiaro-inspired N VISION 74 concept vehicles. Their designs were spectacular, offering a daring take on the future of the performance vehicle and seamlessly blending style cues from different eras into two distinct packages. While we may not know if we’ll ever be able to sample one of those wild cars, we can get close with the company’s IONIQ 5 EV. It takes the highlights of those aforementioned concepts—bold design and a future-forward electric powertrain—and puts them into an intelligent crossover you can go out and buy today.

Hyundai proudly admits that the striking profile of the IONIQ 5 is inspired by the Hyundai Pony originally penned by a young Giugiaro back in the 1970s. Lighting takes on an ‘80s cyberpunk vibe, with dot-matrix-inspired Parametric Pixel lighting in the rear, squared-off headlamp accents and a light-up “mustache” grille. There’s also influence from the industrial streamlined designs of the 1930s, most notably in the heavy use of repeated, decorative horizontal lines, radial accent lines spiraling out from the wheel arches and contrasting silver accent panels. Written out, it sounds like a clashing, hodgepodge mix of design languages, but somehow the Hyundai IONIQ 5 makes it all work.

Inside, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 doesn’t feel as avant-garde as its electrified siblings from Kia or Genesis, but it still delivers in terms of design and comfort. As is typical for this segment, the dash is all-digital, with a high-resolution screen taking the place of a conventional gauge binnacle, and a second 12.1-inch touchscreen display handling the bulk of control duties. A combination of real buttons and haptic controls that reside under the touchscreen display, and on the steering wheel, make it easy to adjust simpler things—like audio volume or cabin temperature—by touch, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

Outside of that dash, there’s nothing about the IONIQ 5’s cabin that screams “future.” This is a vehicle designed with the mass market in mind and doesn’t require one to relearn how to perform basic operations. As with other EVs in Hyundai Motors’ portfolio, the IONIQ 5 rides on the E-GMP platform, whose skateboard-like layout allows for plenty of interior room. Head, leg and shoulder room is ample for passengers front and rear, and the space aft of the rear seats can carry a decent amount of cargo. Furthering the IONIQ 5’s message of sustainability, interior materials are sourced from  recycled plastic bottles and plant-based plastics to natural yarns. Even some of the interior bio-paints include plant extracts.

From a power perspective, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is nearly identical to its Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 siblings, all of which share the same electrified architecture. Our test model featured electric motors front and rear for all-wheel drive capability, boasting a combined total power output of 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai claims that this AWD IONIQ 5 has a 256-mile range and can go from 0-60 in less than five seconds.

Charging remains quick and effortless, provided you can find an ultra-fast charger which allows the IONIQ 5 to go from a 10% charge to 80% in just 18 minutes. If you don’t demand outright speed from your EV, the single-motor, rear-wheel drive IONIQ 5 offers the same fast charging capabilities and an extended range of up to 303 miles.

If you’ve driven any EV you’ll know how the Hyundai IONIQ 5 drives, which is to say smoothly and effortlessly. It’s driving on easy mode, the selectable one-pedal driving feature that allows one to ignore the brake pedal almost completely, where the electric steering providing just enough feedback to feel accurate. If you’re a driving enthusiast, the IONIQ 5 won’t give you “the fizz” the way a Porsche 911 will—but if you’re looking to commute with ease, this is your ride.

Other EVs, both from startups and legacy manufacturers, may get more press than the Hyundai IONIQ 5, but few are able to match the Hyundai’s total package. Spec-for-spec, the IONIQ 5 stands effortlessly next to the best EVs the world has to offer. And when you factor in its starting MSRP of $39,350, with top-of-the-line models starting at $51,100, it’s hard to find an EV that offers better value for the money. The Hyundai IONIQ 5 really is the total package, making this the EV that all others should be watching.

Images courtesy of Hyundai