Hyundai’s sub-brand that won’t be reveals all-new Ioniq 5 EV
You have to wonder precisely what lies in a model range’s nomenclature, states Iain Robertson, when Hyundai joins Volkswagen (and its ID range) in naming its EV line-up separately from the current ICE alternative and will reversion therapy be needed?
Having motored along most contentedly with Golf, Passat, Tiguan and Galaxy for the best part of a few decades, all judiciously protected brand names worth their weight in gold in most respects, as the electric revolution commenced in earnest, an entirely new model naming process was deemed essential. Firstly, the ID.3 was announced and has been followed more recently by the larger ID.4 but how much purchase will any of this largely non-descript naming style retain, once the more familiar brand names slip into the annals of automotive history?
Are you going to boast of your new ID, with as much self-satisfaction as you might have done with its predecessor? No. I did not think so. Those hard-won product names are likely to be rushed back in, as speedily as a trusted pair of old Levi-Strauss boot flare jeans. ID.3’s lustre (or complete lack of it) will soon revert to more familiar territory, at least I hope so, unless the motor industry just gives up on brand pride altogether, as part of its subsuming progress into the character-free zone of electrification.
Hyundai has only recently nominated its electrified division as Ioniq, with an ‘appropriate’ model number attached to differentiate one from t’other, hence Ioniq 5. To be frank, I cannot see it lasting too long in the South Korean camp either. However, as that is what is being levied on the consumer, we have to live with it for the meantime.
Much like its Teutonic ‘cousin’, the latest fully-electric Hyundai, sorry, Ioniq, is a crisply angular but intriguingly attractive alternative to the more organically styled ICE i30. Look a little closer and you might comprehend its appeal. Hunkered closely to the road, riding on large diameter and fussily designed wheel-rims, the stylised ‘H’ marque logo is still in evidence on both bonnet and tailgate but a strangely retrospective series of horizontal strakes are now in evidence around the lower sections of the bodywork. They offset the sharp arrow creases in the car’s flanks and have the effect of reducing potential slabbiness. However, even on a pale blue metallic finished example, applications of silver to the wheelarches and a platform separating black line demonstrate that careful applications of colour are essential to developing model character.
Naturally, Hyundai exercises its descriptive might by suggesting that the retro elements link the 5 directly to its original Pony model, which I think personally is poppycock. Still, it is built upon Hyundai Motor Group’s dedicated battery electric vehicle architecture that the company calls its ‘Electric-Global Modular Platform’ (E-GMP), which allows it to possess unique proportions on an elongated wheelbase that is perfect for greater space utilisation.
With E-GMP, the Ioniq 5 offers a slightly different interior design, with eco-friendly materials applied in several key touchpoints. Yet, the package offers a strong performance mated with ultra-fast charging, as well as advanced connectivity and driver assistance features that will offer one of the most up-to-date in-car experiences, while ensuring an optimised level of ADAS-enhanced safety.
The powertrain offers the consumer a choice of four battery and drive options that commence with a 58kWh rear-wheel drive, with a combined range of up to 240mls, and include a 73kWh rear-wheel drive set-up, with a combined range of up to 300mls, or a 73kWh all-wheel drive with a range of up to 287mls. The 5 features 800V recharging capability as standard, which, when combined with a 350kW ultra-rapid charger, will provide an 80% charge in a mere 18 minutes, or a 62mls driving range in just five minutes. The flexible system also supports both domestic wall box charging and mainstream public 400V high-speed charging, using the motor and the inverter to convert the voltage from 400V to 800V for optimised charge times whenever allowable.
Three familiar specification levels, SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate, join the comprehensively equipped special launch edition ‘Project 45’ model, which reflects on the name of the earlier concept car. While a price tag starting from £36,995 is still in what I believe to be ‘rip-off’ territory, the Ioniq 5 SE Connect 58kWh rear-wheel drive delivers on Hyundai’s much vaunted ‘comprehensive standard specification’ levels by including 19.0-inch diameter alloy wheels, fabric upholstery (that is produced using naturally derived polyester resin), driver and front passenger seat height adjustment, sliding rear seat adjustment, interior mood lighting, 12.3-inch LCD audio, visual and navigation system, complete with DAB, Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
It continues with an LCD driver’s instrument cluster, wireless phone charging for compatible devices, rear-view camera, LED Multi-Faceted Reflector headlamps, LED stop, tail and turn lamps, rear parking sensors and an inevitable electric parking brake. Navigation based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC) is standard, which can adjust the car’s speed automatically to stay within the speed limit and also adjust speed to cater for road layouts. Highway Drive Assist (HDA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Lane Keep Assist with Lane Following Assist (LKAS + LFA), Driver Attention Alert and ‘frunk’ storage below the signature clamshell bonnet.
Culminating in the £48,145 Ultimate AWD version, the proposition can work out rather expensive, supplemented by a limited run of optional extras that can soon whack the price up to well over £50k. Woah! Mind you, in that form it is pretty quick, despatching the 0-60mph sprint in an immodest 4.9s, with around 300bhp on tap; not bad for a two-tonner. While the top speed of 115mph is common across all motor options, even the base model reaches 60mph in just 8.2s.
Naturally, I do not want you to think that I am warming to EVs, although I can perceive the benefits inherent to the Ioniq 5. I actually quite like it and the longer range and faster charge options go a long way towards enhancing that appeal. However, while reversion therapy may not be on the list of requisites, rest assured that more familiar badges will start to reappear in due course.