When I first saw it I loved it, but there was something vaguely familiar about the design. Then I worked it out. Hyundai say it’s a tribute to their Pony, one of their first cars from 70’s.
To me it just said, 2020 interpretation of the infamous Lancia Delta rally car, one of my all-time favourite cars, and car designs. How could I not like the shape of the new INONQ 5? Now, in 2023 its received it’s first minor updates and very little has changed.
The designers need to be congratulated for the bold, unfiltered statement they made with this car, and now having the courage to leave it alone!
IONIQ is the electric brand from Hyundai, the company that has jumped over many other brands in sales of ICE cars in the last 20 years. From origins with the Pony and Excel, to the introduction of the premium Genesis Brand and now the all-electric IONIQ brand, sales peaked for Hyundai in Australia in 2015 with over 100,000 units per annum.
It’s about the same size on the outside as a VW Tiguan, arguably a similar car from the old world to compare to. It’s an optical illusion because it looks smaller in the pictures, that’s what happens when you increase the size of the wheels and move them toward each corner.
But it’s angular stance that suggests it’s about to take off!
A good thing, with lots of style lines which have never been seen on a car body before, exciting some, including us!
But unlike the Tiguan, this is more like an iphone than a blackberry. Like it belongs in the future. Square LED’s abound on the outside, functional, some, but mostly decorative – all are designed to say IONIQ.
You still get a lot of detailing around the sides, wheel arches, front and back to add sparkle to the wedged shape. For many it’s one design step too far, and interestingly the IONIQ 6 , the follow up model, takes a completely different direction, albeit on the same platform.
EV wheels just get bigger and bigger, 19’s on the lower level cars and 20’s on the higher spec. EV’s have really given wheel designers a new lease of creativity.
The flush aero look with stylised trim are very stylish and integrate well with the profile design of the car. But not all agree with this new Aero theme.
Unfortunately, for the 2023 models, the new wheel design on the lower spec. models is not, in my opinion, not as complementary as the launch models.
There’s lots of sculpted elements all over the car just say, I’m new, I’m electric. The more subtle elements are all in keeping with IONIQ’s pixel design, incorporating small square’s all over the car – subtly in the sinister front headlights and everywhere in the friendly tail lights.
Overall, I’m a fan because it’s distinctively EV. Take a close look at the lines below, a totally new design language.
With the IONIQ 5, designers looked to the future, while at the same time paying tribute to the past.
Not trying to be minimalist on the inside, it naturally achieves it through the use of light, off-white fabrics and finishes on seats, dash and doors.
If you like your car like an old gentleman’s library, this is not the car for you. This is more post modern apartment, white walls and concrete floor. The Ionic 5 is definitely trying to attract a younger audience.
It feels like there is a ton of room, and there is. Wheels in each to each corner when you take out the IC Engine, the 4 wheel drive train and fuel tank!
There are three spec levels for the car overall, and the differentiation is mostly on the inside; more motors, more power, better interior trim levels.
The basic models are very utilitarian on the inside. Sorry, no sky roof on the entry level models. A flat floor across the drivers area extends through to the rear, having not hump just seems to add so space.
So with split folding rear seats, there’s plenty of room for family, dog, camping equipment, in the back and in the more than adequate boot area – a lot more than it looks from the outside.
In fact, there is so much room where the centre console usually floats down from the dashboard down between the front seats, you almost miss it. Instead you get a cup holder Unit, a deep tray for bits and pieces then an overhanging arm rest.
Infotainment screens comprise two 12-inch displays, both really for the driver – Nav, in the centre. The white screen background and bezel gives a fresh face look. Notably, for many not ready for a full touch screen experience the Air Con is controlled by actual buttons just below the centre screen.
The Hyundai Infotainment system in use is good, not as good as the best. Many use Apple Car Play or Android Auto as the display interface as an option instead.
The Hyundai system is not leaps ahead here, those familiar with Hyundai ICE car systems will find it familiar – but the basic system and navigation works well. One big plus, the sound system sounds amazing, pretty much the only noise you’ll hear in the very quiet cabin.
And yes, there is a small Frunk (Froot) up front.
It was touted by many when it was released as “Tesla Killer” and won numerous Car of the Year Awards because it represented what many thought a futuristic EV should be. Edgy design, tons of room inside, excellent display screen and great to drive! Perhaps the only thing stopping that is Hyundai themselves, with the limited supply and lacking the culture Tesla has created. It’s a polarising car, you either like it or you don’t. And I do like it. But unlike Tesla, there are not enough people who have bought it to spread the good word.
There is so much room and its really fun to drive around town or out on the open road. Electric power gives you instant go. You don’t have to use, in fact to conserve power it’s best if you don’t because this is more of a family cruiser, not a sports car. It is the ideal car for commuting, the Sat morning sports runs and the occasional weekend away – normal life.
Despite the digital display, you almost feel like it’s the 70’s. The relatively high driving position on uncomplicated seat and plenty of glass means you can actually see out, more upright and higher like an SUV, but not quite.
This makes it really easy to get in and out of for a daily driver.
Tesla buyers are not going to buy this car. If you are a Tesla fan, Hyundai, even with ultra- modern design and 2023 build quality is unlikely to convert you.
Some argue this is the best EV in the world, and it might have been when it was released but to be successful you need sales, and at the moment Hyundai have not kept up with demand. With a short buying window and limited numbers for each “release” it’s just not available to everyone who wants it, or should have it.
Sadly, it remains a rarity on Australian roads, pity, because I do love seeing it, it still looks like a glimpse into the future of cars.
“Whatever it is, it can be done by the person who thinks they can do it. The success or failure of any work depends on the mindset and attitude of the person doing the work”.