Car reviews - Hyundai - Ioniq 6
It’s good, really good. But does the Ioniq 6 have the chops to take on Tesla’s Model 3?
31 Mar 2023
By TONY O'KANE
THOUGH the under-the-skin similarities are significant, Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 is a dramatically different thing to the Ioniq 5 that kicked off Hyundai’s thrust into the realm of pure-EVs back in 2021.
Where the 5 is all facets and edges, the 6 is smooth radiuses and curves. While the 5 flaunts an assertive two-box profile, the 6’s silhouette is almost a single graceful arc from nose to tail. The 5, a tall SUV. The 6, a longer and lower sedan. So on, so forth.
Yet the pricing differential between the two is small – at the bottom end, just $2000 separates the $74,000 Ioniq 6 Dynamiq from its Ioniq 5 brother, while at the top end the Ioniq 6 Epiq is a mere $3000 more than the equivalent 5.
It’s obvious that the Ioniq 6 is positioned to capture buyers who can’t gel with the 5’s adventurous design or who simply want something in a slicker form factor, but what else separates Hyundai’s two battery-electrics? And does the Ioniq 6 have what it takes to challenge the current crown-wearer in its segment, the Tesla Model 3?
We hopped over to the Ioniq 6’s local launch in Albury to find out.
The Ioniq 6’s cabin layout should feel very familiar to anyone who’s been in an Ioniq 5, with the same twist-knob gearshifter, two-spoke steering wheel, pull-out glovebox drawer and twin-12.3-inch LCD displays dominating the dashboard.
However, it differs by offering a fixed centre console with a sizable floor-level storage shelf that’s arguably a far more useful configuration than the Ioniq 5’s sliding console, while the door cards have been slimmed down dramatically by moving the window and mirror switch blocks from the doors to the console.
The other crucial difference between the Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 5 is in the back half of the cabin – headroom is significantly crimped down in the 6 thanks to that arching roofline, and watch your noggin while getting in and out. Legroom is just as substantial in the 5, but even for medium-sized adults there’s an uncomfortable proximity to the rooflining when sitting in the back.
There’s a large percentage of recycled and eco-friendly materials in the cabin, with everything from reprocessed fishing nets, bio-paints for interior plastics and leather upholstery that’s tanned without the use of harmful chemicals.
It all looks fresh and futuristic, with pleasing textures and colours (four cabin colour configurations can be chosen), but some of the soft-upholstered surfaces on the doors and console do have a downmarket feel to them.
The seats, at least, offer generous levels of space and comfort, with loads of legroom front and rear and the ability for the front seats to fully recline into an almost-flat bed – perfect for catching a quick nap at a charging station.
Prod the starter button and twist the drive selector to ‘D’, and the Ioniq 6 boots up quickly and silently. Regardless of whether you select the single-motor RWD Dynamiq or the dual-motor AWD Techniq or Epiq, around-town tractability in Normal mode feels roughly similar until you stomp the accelerator from standstill, whereupon the dual-motor’s 239kW/605Nm output makes itself felt.
That’s not to say that the single motor’s 168kW/350Nm offering is inadequate – it’s simply less assertive in a straight line.
On the flipside, the single motor has got substantially longer legs. Though it uses the same 77.4kWh battery pack as the dual-motor, the Ioniq 6 single motor can travel for up to 614km on a single charge (WLTP) – 95km more than what the dual-motor models can achieve.
Furthermore, that’s a big step up on what the Ioniq 5 – which uses the same battery and motors as the 6 – is able to deliver, with the Ioniq 5 Dynamiq only claiming a 507km max range. Chalk that up to the 6’s slick shape, which boasts an ultra-slippery coefficient of drag of 0.217.
The official claim is an average energy consumption of 14.3kWh/100km for the single motor, and 16.9kW/100km for the dual-motor. That would make the single-motor Ioniq 6 more efficient than the Model 3 RWD, which has a WLTP claim of 14.9kWh/100km and a maximum range of 491km. Unfortunately, with high-speed country B-roads comprising the bulk of the launch route, we couldn’t get a realistic real-world economy number to compare the claims to.
But what we could validate was how the Ioniq 6 took in those Aussie country roads. Versus the plush and soft Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 feels markedly more tied-down, its tauter suspension tune making it fun to hustle around corners, with good control of pitch and roll despite the car’s circa-2000kg kerb weight.
The only issue is the steering and brakes feel inert and a good deal slacker than the suspension – this is still a machine that’s better suited to cruising, though at least this can at least tackle a set of undulations without provoking seasickness, unlike the Ioniq 5.
The base Dynamiq grade rolls on 18-inch alloys with chubby 225/55R18 tyres, either Nexen or Hankooks. The dual-motor Techniq and Epiq take 20-inch alloys with 245/40R20 Pirelli P-Zeros that definitely grip harder, but don’t seem to trade too much in ride comfort considering their sizing. Though sharp impacts are more obvious, they aren’t jarring at all. In fact, the Nissan Qashqai ST-L I drove home from the launch had a harsher ride.
In some ways the Ioniq 6 feels like a clever rebody of the Ioniq 5, while in other respects – primarily its ride and handling – it feels rather distinct. What’s good for Hyundai is that its EV portfolio now has a greater element of diversity to it, with two cars that should appeal to different people for different reasons: the Ioniq 5 for pragmatic types, the Ioniq 6 for those who are allergic to SUVs and/or desire the maximum range possible.
Will the Ioniq 6 steal market share from Tesla? Perhaps, though it doesn’t feel quite as spacious as Tesla’s notoriously minimalist mid-sizer, and the Hyundai’s design certainly polarises.
However, the Ioniq 6 is able to extract some impressive range numbers from its battery and for some – especially those who may find themselves wanting to take an EV out of the city every once in a while – that’s a pretty good USP.
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