Hyundai Ioniq 6 review
Hyundai’s Tesla Model 3 rival boasts impressive rapid charging speeds, interior design and range, though you’ll sacrifice some practicality for the striking, coupe-esque looks
- Styling and cabin
- Ultra-rapid charging
- Boot space
- Rivals even offer more range
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|77.4kWh RWD||338 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||18mins (10-80%, 233kW)|
|77.4kWh AWD||322 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||18mins (10-80%, 233kW)|
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is one of our favourite electric cars on sale today as it combines sci-fi styling, a comfortable cabin and boatloads of technology to create an outstanding, practical family car. So naturally, Hyundai's answer to the BMW i4, Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 is one of the hottest EVs arriving this year.
Where the Ioniq 5 took design inspiration from the boxy hatchbacks of the 70s and 80s, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 looks to 1930s streamliner cars. The result is an extremely aerodynamic and striking, coupe-esque silhouette that’s just as eye-catching as the Ioniq 5, if not more so. Other unique styling cues include a ducktail spoiler, square pixel lights and very short overhangs at the front and rear, all of which featured on Hyundai’s Prophecy concept car that paved the way for the Ioniq 6.
Underneath the svelte bodywork are the E-GMP underpinnings we’re now familiar with from our time in the Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60. It’s also the platform that will be used for the seven-seater Ioniq 7 and Kia EV9, but all in good time. The platform’s 800V electrics mean the Ioniq 6 can charge at speeds of up to 233kW and perform a 10-80% top-up in 18 minutes.
We get two versions of the Ioniq 6 in the UK; entry-level models are fitted with a 77.4kWh battery and single electric motor producing 225bhp, which can propel it from 0-62mph in a relatively modest 7.4 seconds. According to Hyundai, this version can cover up to 338 miles on a single charge – a respectable figure, but short of what the i4 and Model 3 are capable of in long-range form.
Then there’s the all-wheel-drive model. It uses the same 77.4kWh battery, but adds another electric motor on the front axle for a combined 316bhp and 605Nm of torque; enough to go from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds and a 322-mile range. This is the most potent Ioniq 6 currently available, until a hot Ioniq 6 N inevitably arrives down the line.
So the Ioniq 6 only gets a range boost of 25 miles or so over the Ioniq 5, and the cabin design is very similar, but things have been turned up a notch for the saloon. Pull the flush fitting door handles and you’re greeted with a dashboard dominated by two 12.3-inch screens – one central infotainment screen, and another in front of the driver. The materials also feel a bit more premium throughout, and spotting harsher, more easily scratched plastics is a little harder here.
Some of the more subtle changes in the Ioniq 6 include the bezels surrounding each screen being black rather than white now, and the displays for the optional digital door mirrors are housed in wings that sweep up from the dashboard – compared to the Ioniq 5 which uses two screens tacked onto the doors that look like afterthoughts.
Fit and finish is mostly superb, and Hyundai’s intuitive infotainment system is one of the best on the market - albeit with the occasional fiddly sub-menu. It’s quick to respond, has crisp, clear graphics and features clever touches like the blind-spot displays in the instruments and speed-sensitive ambient lighting.
One drawback of the Ioniq 6’s sloping roofline is headroom. Anyone over six feet tall might find themselves brushing against the headliner, especially in the rear, though we found this was an issue even in the driver’s seat, too. Legroom on the other hand is extremely generous all around, thanks to the electric saloon’s 2.95-metre wheelbase, which is roughly the same as that of a BMW 5 Series.
Then there’s the boot. Unlike a BMW i4 or Polestar 2, the Ioniq 6 doesn’t feature a hatchback-style tailgate, instead you get a somewhat oddly shaped opening. The 401-litre luggage capability is decent enough, and there’s a 41-litre frunk under the bonnet in rear-drive models – handy for your charging cables. However, if you go for the all-wheel drive version that’s reduced to a mere 12 litres, and overall the Ioniq 6’s rivals have much more cargo space, especially the Model 3.
Our first drive of the Ioniq 6 revealed it to be an evolution of the Ioniq 5 on the road as well, with the Hyundai engineers seemingly able to unlock another level of refinement here. It was hard to detect much electric motor noise at all, even under hard acceleration, though the fact our test car was a rear-wheel drive example might have helped with that.
The 225bhp on tap doesn’t deliver the same eye-widening acceleration as a Tesla, but the instant torque delivery makes the car feel pretty swift. When we drove a dual-motor model last year, its official 5.1-second 0-62mph time felt very conservative to us; acceleration was effortless thanks to the enormous amount of torque on tap. Progress isn’t as urgent once you’re at motorway speeds, but there's still plenty of poke for overtaking.
Even the calibration of the brake pedal feels as though it's been tweaked. The transition between energy recuperation and the physical brakes, which is something other brands have yet to perfect, is nicely judged in the Ioniq 6. You get five levels for the regenerative braking, including the i-Pedal one-pedal driving mode.
The ride feels firm but well-damped, which balances comfort and body control, compared to the unashamedly soft Ioniq 5. The Ioniq 6 does handle better as a result, but the car never quite settles and some road imperfections are picked up through the chassis. The BMW i4 might be the more exciting EV to drive, and the Hyundai’s considerable heft can put a strain on the tyres when attacking some corners, but overall the Ioniq 6 feels planted with the majority of its mass well contained.
The long wheelbase makes the car feel especially stable when cruising, while the steering is well-weighted and accurate, allowing you to track precisely between the white lines and taking some of the stress out of longer drives.
There are just two trim levels to choose from – Premium and Ultimate – with prices starting from £46,690 for the base rear-wheel drive variant. The more powerful dual-motor variant adds exactly £3,500 to the price tag, as does a trim level upgrade.
Premium cars get 20-inch alloy wheels, electrically-operated, heated front and rear seats, plus dual-zone climate control and dual 12.3-inch screens with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Every car comes with a heat pump and keyless entry, plus a suite of safety kit that helped the Ioniq 6 achieve its five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.
Opting for Ultimate trim adds leather-faced ‘relaxation’ seats, with ventilation, plus a memory function for the driver’s seat. There’s also a tilt and slide sunroof, head-up display and a Bose stereo, as well as additional safety features. You’ll have to step up to Ultimate specification if you want digital door mirrors, which are an extra £995.
For context, the Tesla Model 3 now starts at £42,990, while the dual-motor Long Range edition comes in at £50,990, placing the Ioniq 6 squarely in the middle of the two in terms of both price and range.
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 isn’t perfect, especially if practicality is a priority for you. But the electric streamliner’s competitive range, ultra-rapid charging capabilities, elegant styling and fabulous interior are more than enough to give the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4 a serious run for their money.