► Production-spec Ioniq 6 driven in the UK
► Slippery shape boosts range
► Lower and longer than an Ioniq 5
Like it or not, the all electric Hyundai Ioniq 6 certainly proves the Korean manufacturer is done with derivative designs and Russian doll model line-ups. Whether you want to call this electric car a swoopily styled four-door a saloon or coupe, it’s as curvy as the Ioniq 5 is boxy.
Inspired in part by streamliners of the 1930s, the Ioniq 6’s drag coefficient of as low as .21 absolutely destroys the 5’s .29 figure. This helps explain why the former manages a maximum of 338 miles per charge in UK specification, compared to the latter’s 315 miles. You’ll need a rear-wheel drive model for those figures, though. It’s impressive, but not up there with some of the longest range EVs you can buy in 2023.
We’ve already driven pre-production cars in South Korea and the UK, but we’ve now got our hands on the finished article in full UK specification. Time to find out if Hyundai has delivered on the early promise.
The Ioniq 6 rides on the Hyundai Kia group’s E-GMP platform, just like the Ioniq 5 and its Kia EV6 cousin. It features clever-clogs 800-volt charging so you can top-up super-fast at up to 350kW, at which point 10-80 per cent top-up is done in a scant 18 minutes. If you can find such a rapid-charging mythical beast in the sparsely equipped UK wilds, of course…
Measuring 2950mm between the axles, the 6’s wheelbase is 50mm shorter than the Ioniq 5, but the overall length of 4855mm makes the ‘electric streamliner’ a significant 220mm longer. Like its boxier cousin, there’s MacPherson strut suspension at the front, a multi-link set-up at the rear.
While some markets get a small battery 53kWh rear-wheel drive model with a meagre 149bhp, there’s a minimum of 225bhp in the UK.
Talk UK specs to me
All UK-spec 6 EVs will come with the long-range 77.4kWh battery and 20-inch alloys, with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. The latter increases power to 321bhp thanks to one electric motor per axle. Thus equipped, 0-62mph is done in a Porsche-worrying 5.1sec with a quoted range of 322 miles.
Because of the decision to fit 20in rims on all UK models, the longest range dips from the global best figure of 381 miles – to 338 miles on the big-batteried rear-wheel drive model fitted with the optional digital side-view mirrors that add just under one mile of extra range.
We found these tricky – the screen is inboard of the usual position for mirrors, which makes the transition from glancing in the ‘mirror’ to a quick double-check over your shoulder too pronounced. The mirrors are a £995 option in the UK and we wouldn’t bother.
We have sampled two Ioniq 6 models now: a bells-and-whistles long-range AWD riding on 20-inch alloys in full production spec in the UK, that would cost £53,745. We’ve also tried a pre-production two-wheel drive model costing £51,190.
What do you think of the design?
Not as convincing in the metal as it is in press pics. There are strong shades of Mercedes CLS, even echoes of Porsche 911 and SAAB 900 to the rear end, and the short overhangs (especially the front) certainly flaunt the lack of an internal combustion engine. The elements individually are striking, but don’t quite gel as a cohesive design.
In fairness this must be a tricky thing to package, with a large sandwich battery between the front and rear axles, a roof that arcs like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and an interior that must leave space for tall adults to lounge about inside – it looks like it wants to be lower and wider. More like the original 2020 Hyundai Prophecy concept car, come to think of it…
So what’s the Hyundai Ioniq 6 like inside?
This bit is very successful. The seats are superlatively comfortable and there’s a real sense of space – six-footers have plenty of headroom, there’s an unusual amount of kneeroom due to concave door casings and the floating centre console adds to the sense of airiness. There’s also more storage space, charging ports and cubbies than you’ll know what to do with
You can nit-pick over some prominently placed and pretty hard plastics (especially the awful key!), or a driver’s seat that doesn’t go as low as the passenger’s, but the Ioniq 6’s cabin looks smart and modern with its twin 12-inch screens (one the touchscreen, the other the digital instrument binnacle in front of you) plus gloss-black trim, a mix of capacitive and aluminium-look buttons.
It’s extremely spacious and relaxing in the back, too, with the flat floor and vast gap to the front seats quite striking. Headroom drops a little, of course, but still accommodates taller with an inch or two’s gap between a six footer’s head and the roof lining. One gripe is the lack of space under the front seats for your feet (but they’re so far away, it is unlikely to be a major bugbear).
The Ioniq 6 boot (below) is generous enough, but the shape of the bodywork makes entry to it a little tighter. We measured a depth of 108cm and 105cm wide. The rear seats split 60:40 via some handy boot-mounted levers and the bootlid is powered. Up front, the ‘frunk’ under the bonnet is tiny and only suitable for charging cables.
Note that AWD models get barely a cubbyhole worth of stowage under the bonnet in the frunk; RWD models are more generous because there’s no bulky front motor to package.
What’s it like to drive?
Decent. Hyundai and Kia do a fine job integrating EV powertrains, so the way power comes in as you accelerate and how the regen kicks in when you lift is all very natural, plus you can play around with that in different drive settings (Eco, Normal and very sparky Sport) and by adjusting the force of the re-gen on the knobbly-backed, metallic ‘gearshift’ paddles fixed to the steering wheel.
Thankfully you can also adjust the sound effects – the futuristic soundtrack can be OTT in its louder settings. We just knocked it off and enjoyed the eerie EV silence.
Performance specs are as follows:
- Ioniq 6 RWD 7.4sec 0-62mph, 115mph max, 225bhp/258lb ft
- Ioniq 6 AWD 5.1sec 0-62mph, 115mph max, 321bhp/446lb ft
The steering has a chunkily precise feel, the primary ride balances a long-legged stride with more control than an Ioniq 5, the cabin is nicely refined at speed and while performance doesn’t go full ludicrous, it’s generous and perfectly eager enough in either model. Driven more sedately, we averaged an easy 3.0 miles per kilowatt hour.
The Ioniq 6’s secondary ride is a little less impressive, with the 20-inch wheels generating some fidget over poorly surfaced roads. It’s reminiscent of how a Kia EV6 gets down a road – not perfect but certainly good enough in this class.
It was unlikely such a long and relatively tall car would handle like a sports car, and the Ioniq 6 doesn’t bring any surprises. Grip is strong even on a streaming wet day, while well-judged electronic assistants do a great job of maintaining traction.
You can get into a satisfying rhythm on a B-road, although it’s not as much fun as a Tesla Model 3. No doubt we’ll have to wait for Hyundai’s N division for a truly entertaining drive. Euro NCAP has awarded the Ioniq 6 a maximum five-star safety rating for its crashworthiness and protection.
Hyundai Ioniq 6 review: verdict
While stylish and strikingly different, the Ioniq 6 sadly doesn’t have quite the wow factor of the 5, so a lot will depend on how willing customers are to sacrifice some of that car’s retro cool for the 6’s extra range – a point that applies equally to choosing a 6 over its competition from Tesla and Polestar.
But there’s much to like with the new 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6, including a spacious and relaxing cabin, well integrated EV powertrain and the nice balance between rolling refinement and handling dexterity.
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Specs are for a Hyundai Ioniq 6 Long Range AWD