Why Hyundais are a work of art

The Ioniq 5 is striking in appearanceThe Ioniq 5 is striking in appearance
The Ioniq 5 is striking in appearance
So, when did this happen? Hyundai – the last I looked – was a safe and sensible purveyor of affordable cars. Unexcitingly good, the sort of car which might appeal to a conscientious dad who appreciates value for money and dependability.

Now? Well, Hyundais are still sensible, reliable and cost-effective but they have suddenly gained style, as this motoring work of art shows. Just take a look. Are they turning car showrooms into galleries? Now there’s an idea.

This is Ioniq 5, the first model from Hyundai’s Ioniq brand which is exclusively electric. It starts by exploding myths.

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The first – that Hyundai cars are dull – is in smithereens. So, let’s demolish some other fallacies.

The cabinThe cabin
The cabin

Electric vehicle are expensive? Well, this model starts at £36,995. Even the 2023 model due soon is under £40,000, which I admit sounds a lot, But factor in the low running costs of EVs and the fact that no-one but no-one ever pays up front for an EV, and it becomes a plausible option - £5,640 deposit and £438 a month. Compare it to rivals and it suddenly makes sense.

They take a lot of charging? Well, a normal replenish will take hours but for most people in the majority of circumstances, that’s not an issue. Charge it in your driveway and you have 300 miles of range. Enough for a week for many people.

If you’re on a longer journey, worry not. You can zip from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in the time it takes to have an expensive coffee at a service station (18 minutes).

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Hyundais are dull? Well, look at it. It’s like one of those dashing space-age concept cars at motor shows which never see the light of day. Well, while many motor companies seemed daunted by the advent of EV, Hyundai relished it as an opportunity.

So, what exactly is the Ioniq 5? First launched in February 2021, it is the first model based on Hyundai Group’s first dedicated BEV (battery electric vehicle) platform, Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). Ioniq 5 has recently clinched the overall title at the UK Car of The Year Awards, alongside a category win for Best Family Car, adding to a multitude of awards and accolades received since its launch.

Tested here is a Premium grade. It has all you might expect from alloy wheels to heated front seats. It even has flush handles, which might be a gimmick but they give the car a clean, well-polished exterior.

It has a fairly large boot and what Hyundai calls a frunk (a front trunk, a space under the bonnet for storage), plus an electric tailgate and a reversing cameras. The cabin looks like you’re driving a laptop. It’s brilliant.

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This car feels like a plush saloon but Hyundai call it a CUV, not an SUV (sports utility vehicle). The CUV is a crossover utility vehicle.

For 2023, Hyundai has enhanced the car. The updated range will be also available with a new 77.4kWh battery, along with several range enhancements and new features.

Along with the bigger battery, it will be available with video-based digital interior and exterior mirrors. Mounted in the rear spoiler, the Digital Centre Mirror (DCM) optimises visibility by providing an unobstructed, panoramic rear-facing view of the car.

Meanwhile, the new battery heater and conditioning feature is standard across the range and will enable the car to adapt its battery temperature while travelling to support optimal charging conditions when reaching the charging point. This function activates automatically when a high-power charging point is entered into the vehicle’s navigation system.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve never worried too much about battery temperatures until now.

In what Hyundai terms “a range realignment”, there are some changes with the 2023 line-up.

The SE Connect 58 kWh is available from £39,400. With a range of up to 238 miles and a 16.7 kWh/100km efficiency, the SE Connect offers a high level of standard specification including front multi-function reflector and rear LED lamps, 12.3in audio and navigation with Bluelink connectivity, wireless device charging and adaptive cruise control. Vehicle dynamics benefit from the addition of smart frequency dampers to improve the response of front and rear suspension and increase both handling response and ride comfort.

From £41,900 on the road, Premium Ioniq 5 models wil; receive new standard equipment including the Vehicle to Load (V2L) system, previously a cost option.

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This allows you to use the stored energy from the car to recharge an e-bike, or power electrical camping equipment, or some domestic appliances, and this is even possible when the vehicle is turned off.

It also has part leather upholstery, upgraded soft touch interior including 64 colour ambient lighting and sliding centre console. The Premium specification level also gives a standard full display mirror that also uses a camera positioned inside the vehicle spoiler to project a real time display onto the interior mirror, improving the drivers rear view in all conditions, alongside the automatically dimming function.

Premium models are available with both the 58 kWh and new 77.4 kWh pack that delivers an increased range.

Now priced from £48,400, the Ultimate trim now offers the previous cost options of blind view monitor and surround view monitor as standard, which join 20in alloy wheels, privacy glass, heated and ventilated front seats, with heated rear, Bose premium sound system and augmented reality head up display.

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Hyundai claim Ioniq 5 has set the benchmark for both design and real-world electric vehicles. It’s hard to disagree.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 Premium 73kWh RWD + Vehicle 2 Load option

Price: £45,345. From £39,345. The better equipped Ultimate costs from £48,345.

Engine: An electric motor powered by a 77.4 kWh battery delivering 217ps

Performance: Top speed 115mph and 0 to 60mph in 5.2 seconds

Insurance: Group 29E

Emissions: 0

Warranty: Five years’ unlimited mileage and eight years’ battery warranty

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