2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 First Drive — The EV Revolution Might Not Suck

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Ostensibly, I was at a private racetrack north of Atlanta to test out some new compact sedan hotness — the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. But when an opportunity to do a mini-test of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq5 EV presented itself, I jumped. Figuratively speaking.

To be clear, this won’t be the most in-depth review you’ve ever seen on this site — I only got about 15 minutes of wheel time, almost exclusively on fairly pristine two-lane blacktop in rural Georgia, not far from the home of “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” No stop-and-go, almost no around-town driving, no freeway wheeling.

So this will be of the short and sweet variety. Sort of like my drive in the Ioniq5.

(Full disclosure: Hyundai flew me to Atlanta, Georgia, and fed and housed me for two nights so I could drive the Ioniq5, the Elantra N, and several other Hyundai models. I did not take the offered gift, which appeared to be an organizer of some sorts.)

As a reminder, the Ioniq5 is an EV with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with standard or extended range. Standard range models with rear-wheel drive have 168 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Standard range is 220 miles, and that trim level is listed as SE Standard Range.

Extend your range on a SE/SEL/Limited rear-wheel-drive Ioniq5 and you get 225 hp and the same 258 lb-ft of torque and 303 miles of range.

AWD cars come with the same SE/SEL/Limited trim choices and 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, with a range of 256 miles.

The rear-drive setup uses a rear-mounted electric motor, while the all-wheel-drive car has a dual-motor (front and rear, 74 kW + 165 kW) setup. The battery pack’s capacity is 77.4 kWh.

Hyundai had two Limiteds with AWD on hand.

My first thought as I hopped in and activated the electric motor was that the Ioniq5 is yet another EV that overcomplicates the act of putting the vehicle into gear — which is, by the way, a single-speed reduction gear. The shifter is mounted on the column, to the right of and down from the steering wheel, and you twist forward for drive.

Once in gear and on the road, however, I warmed up to the Ioniq5. All that torque being instantly available played a big part in that. It also helped that it could be summoned in silence.

You’d think the lack of engine noise from most EVs would mean that wind/tire/road noise intrudes, but other than a mild bit of wind noise from the A-pillars at higher speeds, the Ioniq5 was luxury-car quiet.

The ride was compliant without being soft, though I had no chance to hit up harsher pavement. The car glided through gentle sweeping corners with ease and minimal body roll, though the artificial steering felt distant.

Like a lot of EVs, the Ionig5 offers regenerative-braking paddles, and simply lifting the accelerator slows you down fairly quickly, though I can’t find the phrase “one-pedal braking” in the press materials. The conventional brakes worked just fine, if unremarkably.

I didn’t play much with the all-digital gauge and infotainment cluster, given my short time behind the wheel, but it did like a bit intimidating and confusing at first glance. It looks like one of those systems that has a learning curve for the newbie but it is easily understood once one has logged some significant seat time. I will say the clean, minimalist interior design mostly works here, and I had no issue finding the most important controls quickly. The controls also seemed to work better than they did in the Volkwagen ID.4’s I’ve driven. There’s none of the haptic-touch BS — the most important HVAC and audio controls are knobs and buttons.

Outside, I am less enamored of the Ionig5’s quirky looks. I don’t find it ugly, exactly, but the word “sexy” doesn’t come to mind, at least for me (I think I’ve seen others praise its design on the socials. Styling is subjective, after all). It’s not even handsome in a bland way, a la the ID.4.

The Ioniq5 comes across, at least at first glance, as a well-packaged crossover EV that blends futuristic looks and tech together without going off the haptic-touch control deep end while also combining power, handling, and a luxury ride. The downsides appear to be overly complex digital menus and gauges and a range sacrifice if you want AWD and the associated extra power. I’d also like to see how the Ioniq5 deals with cracked roads and the open freeway.

Pricing starts at $39,700, and a Limited AWD will cost y0u $54,500. Destination adds $1,245.

Hyundai has a solid competitor to other EV crossovers with the Ioniq5, and it’s interesting enough that it might get some ICE owners to consider EV adoption. My first take is fairly positive — I only hope, for Hyundai’s sake, that my initial take remains so after more time and miles.

[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • PJmacgee PJmacgee on Mar 28, 2022

    "The conventional brakes worked just fine, if unremarkably." Minor nit: I'd be surprised if you used the conventional brakes *at all*, if that's what you meant, unless you engaged ABS(?). 99% of braking/slowing-down in an EV is regenerative. Regardless of what silly paddles or "one-pedal" modes might be available, the "brake" pedal is also a regen pedal. For example my Bolt with 70k miles, rotors/pads have virtually no wear on them. I think the rear brakes are used lightly during normal slowing (for dynamic stability), and the fronts maybe in steep downhill maneuvering at parking lot speeds. (Consequently, driving like an a-hole in city traffic is the most "eco" way to do it, because the more frequently and harder you stop the more juice you get back, woohoo!)

    • See 1 previous
    • PJmacgee PJmacgee on Mar 28, 2022

      @ToolGuy Sure, if you must let reality be a wet blanket on my tongue-in-cheek "eco" comment... But 70% regen in stop light grand prix is still much less of a guilty pleasure compared to: 1) any stop-and-go with any ICE, where everything is totally wasted (fuel and brake pads) 2) EV flat highway cruising, where EVs don't get to recapture much energy and wind drag steals more energy anyway

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Apr 04, 2022

    Why is everybody saying this thing is so big? I checked one out at my local dealer sitting sandwiched between a Sante Fe and Tucson and the weird looking Ioniq definitely sits lower to the ground and is shorter and is far more like a hatchback than a crossover! It's interior was also a major turn off for me along with the styling and the near 50K price tag had my jay dropped considering it lacked a moonroof and leather and it's range was so poor. I'll pass

  • Safeblonde You mean Reagan-era in story?
  • Bd2 Just imagine if in 5 decades the Telluride name were to be used on a new line of sporty 2 seater supersonic hovercraft.
  • The Oracle This is a proper plastic turd that has a wee bit ‘o performance.
  • Jalop1991 "Now, it’s an electric crossover wearing a Ford badge that utilizes Volkswagen’s MEB platform...." You misspelled "crossdresser".
  • The Oracle Been a good read so far.