► First pictures of Hyundai Ioniq 6
► A swooping new EV to join the 5
► ‘Aero streamliner’ style for e-saloon
The new 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 has been unveiled in full, sporting an aerodynamic streamliner wardrobe that’s dramatically different from the cubist modernism of the Ioniq 5. It joins the 5 and forthcoming Ioniq 7 SUV in the Koreans’ burgeoning electric car line-up.
It’s part of what Hyundai design supremo Sangyup Lee calls a ‘chess piece’ family look, where the Ioniq range will extend into brave new styles, casting aside received automotive wisdom of a consistent, ‘cookie-cutter’ design language.
‘There’s nothing wrong with a Russian doll design strategy, but we wanted a chess piece look,’ design director Lee tells CAR. ‘All Ioniq models will look different, but when you see them together, they make sense.’
Hyundai Ioniq 6: inspired by the retro streamliners of the 1950s
The 6 was previewed by 2020’s super-slick Prophecy concept car, a slammed and streamlined four-door like an early Mercedes-Benz CLS on steroids. The original streamliners were trains, planes and automobiles of the 1930s-1950s and stand-out cars from this school of design include the sleek Saab 92.
The Ioniq 6’s bodywork swaps the 5’s angular lines for a swooping, banana-shaped aesthetic. It’s sadly – but inevitably – less dramatic than the Prophecy (below), but the basic ingredients are all there. It’s just a little more high-riding to guarantee the interior space demanded of an electric family car.
Note the full-width ducktail spoiler incorporating the rear lights; there are some Easter egg tricks embedded and the Ioniq 6’s aero addenda pulses with cubic lights on start-up, in a nod to Knight Rider.
The Ioniq 6 hides its technological chops with ease. We find an attractive, low-slung four-door, measuring 4855mm long and 1880mm wide – a footprint shadowing a 4-series’, but with a super-stretchy wheelbase a whisker under 3m for exceptional cabin space. It’s roomy in there, matching Skoda Superb accommodation for legroom in both rows, though the arcing roofline means headroom is merely decent rather than exceptional.
The wardrobe is noticeably different from the striking Ioniq 5’s, yet much of the detailing is retained – with cubic pixel lights and other niceties to lift the overall design.
‘The pixel shape is important,’ says Lee. ‘The light signature is part of our new face. It’s a repeating theme. It riffs on the digital world and people’s love of games like Minecraft. Why? Because Ioniq is about nostalgia, but also futuristic.’
Electric car tech underneath
The 6 will be based on the Hyundai Kia group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that also underpins the Ioniq 5 and inhouse sibling, the Kia EV6. Few technical details are available yet, but this points to a battery size of 58kWh or 77kWh and a range of more than 300 miles in bigger-batteried variants.
It comes with 800-volt rapid charging, two- or all-wheel drive and clever V2L energy management to allow the car to consume or provide electricity. Which is why you’ll find countless journalists and bloggers boiling kettles plugged into their Ioniq 5 on social media. Might seem frivolous today, but smart domestic power broking could become a major selling point for electric cars in an energy-challenged world.
The 5 and 6 share so much tech, yet project a different flavour: the pop-out filing-cabinet glovebox, touchscreens and cool, digital-first vibe are common, but you’ll also spot new (and optional) cameras for door mirrors, ribbed door cards and translucent door pockets, apeing the see-through chic of late 1990s iMacs.
There’s a lot to take in, but passengers’ first impressions are of abundant space and cool, modish design. It’s a classy, feelgood cabin with a progressive personality that treads just the right side of trying too hard.
When can I buy an Ioniq 6? And how much will it cost?
Expect to see the new Ioniq 6 in UK dealerships in winter 2022-23. It’s too early for exact RRP, but CAR understands it will be priced from around £45,000, placing it the next rung up the ladder from the 5.
Hyundai is cleverly positioning its i range of traditional hatchbacks and individually named SUVs as the combustion and hybridised core of its line-up, while Ioniq is marketed as the fully electric offshoot for progressive types ready and enriched to plug in.
It’s a way of ensuring incremental sales to boost the bottom line, hoover up the traditional buyers more cautious about plugging in – and also to reset our expectations of what a modern Hyundai can be. What’s your reaction to the new Ioniq 6? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.
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