DON’T make the mistake of thinking the Ioniq 5 bears any relation to the existing Ioniq small hatch that’s been on sale since 2018. Despite the similar nomenclature, they are brothers in name only.
And for the Ioniq 5, that’s a good thing. Its platform is entirely unique, in fact, it’s the first of its kind to hit the market, and 240 fortunate Australians have managed to get their hands on one a mere eight months after the Ioniq 5 was revealed in full. As far as journeys to the showroom go, the Ioniq 5 has arrived remarkably swiftly.
For Hyundai, it’s a harbinger of things to come. The Ioniq nameplate no longer represents a model line, but a family of vehicles – all electric, and all sporting the most futuristic interpretation of Hyundai design both inside and out. That all-new platform we mentioned before (dubbed E-GMP) is vital to separating the Ioniq 5 and the incoming Ioniq 6 (a large sedan) and Ioniq 7 (a three-row family SUV) from garden-variety Hyundais, as it liberates those cars from “the old way of doing things”.
So, if the Ioniq 5 is thus divorced from the “old way”, then what’s “the new way”? It’s purely electric, for starters, and unlike the existing Ioniq hatch there will never be a combustion engine found in the Ioniq 5. In Australia, there are few options – two models are available, one rear-wheel drive (RWD) and one all-wheel drive (AWD), with both using the same 72.6kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery.
In Europe a 58kWh battery is available for both drivetrain configurations with lower performance and range, while US-spec Ioniq 5s will be sold exclusively with a 77.4kWh battery pack. Neither are on the cards for Australia just yet, however Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has pledged to monitor customer demand for smaller (and thus cheaper) batteries and respond if necessary. For the time being though, the range structure is small.
And that extends to specification, though with all Australian-market Ioniq 5s being offered in a single very highly-specified grade, that’s no bad thing for the customer. Fully loaded, every Ioniq 5 comes with a huge level of comfort and convenience technology as standard, making the Ioniq 5 experience about a lot more than just all-electric motoring. For Hyundai, this car is the cutting edge – at least until the next-generation Nexo fuel-cell vehicle (FCEV) breaks cover.
Being at the pointy end of technology does come at a price. The opening ask is $71,900 for the “base” rear-wheel drive Ioniq 5 variant, while the AWD derivative comes in at $75,900 – a respectable premium considering that extra $4000 spend nets you a power upgrade from 160kW to 225kW, a torque jump from 350Nm to 605Nm, and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.2 seconds rather than the RWD’s 7.4 seconds.
Pricey, but crucially it manages to fit under the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) threshold of $79,659 for low-emission vehicles.
But the question most will have is what does the Ioniq 5 do differently from Hyundai’s previous battery-electrics, the Ioniq Electric and Kona Electric? A pertinent question, especially considering the Kona Electric Highlander is almost $8000 cheaper than the Ioniq 5 2WD, but it turns out Hyundai’s latest electric arrival is a very different animal.