Hyundai Ioniq 5 review: why spending less is more with this retro-futuristic electric car

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The boot is shallow, but wide and long, and its space can be enhanced by sliding those rear seats forward; there’s a false floor, too, beneath which you’ll find the Ioniq 5’s charging cables, but if you remove these you get a useful bit of extra luggage room. 

The overall volume isn’t quite as good as the best in this class, but much better than that you’ll find in the worst, and you get a diminutive compartment under the bonnet too. It might only be big enough for a packet of biscuits, but you never know when you might fancy a custard cream.  

There’s a proper ‘start/stop’ button to turn on the Ioniq 5; you don’t just hop in, slot it into drive and go, like a Tesla (or, for that matter, an ID.4). This has advantages and disadvantages, but it’s certainly nice to be sure it’s running before you set off, and turned off properly before you leave the car at the end of a drive.

You get a proper lever for the electronic handbrake, too, so you can activate it yourself rather than having to flick the car into Park at traffic lights, and deactivate it before you pull away if you so choose. Yet more of that common sense approach, in other words.

Vision impaired

That common sense, however, doesn’t quite run to a rear wiper. Hyundai says the airflow through the spoiler will keep the screen clean, but 30 miles of wintry British roads is enough to prove that that claim was so much hogwash. Which, incidentally, the window will look like it’s covered in after that time, thus rendering the rear-view mirror all but useless.

You select Drive by twiddling an odd bullet-shaped gear selector that sticks out from the steering column, though this is far enough away from the indicator and wiper stalks so as not to be mistaken for one of them. 

The Ioniq 5 is smooth and easy to drive, though with relatively heavy steering. This will make it less easy to twirl the wheel around town, but it also lends the Ioniq 5 a sturdy, substantial feel, as does the way it glosses over most of the bumps in the road unperturbed. 

True, the suspension in this Premium model is still taut, but the smaller diameter wheels and higher-profile tyres take much of the sting out of the bumps; indeed, this is a far more comfortable car than the Ultimate version we tried last year, and hard to unsettle even over deep potholes. Only on occasional stretches of poorly surfaced rural Tarmac do you get a vibration that becomes more intrusive, as though the car were driving over corrugated steel sheeting. 

Performance

This top-spec version is plenty quick enough for most people’s needs, even if it can’t quite match the blistering pace of the Polestar. What’s more, as with other Hyundai and Kia EVs, you can adjust the amount of regenerative braking you get when you lift off the accelerator, using the paddles behind the steering wheel. The regenerative and friction brakes are well integrated, which means the brake pedal feels natural to use. 

Push the Ioniq 5 harder on an undulating back road and you get a sense of its softness. Vertical body control is rather slack, with the result that the car bounds over crests and wallows into compressions, which can be somewhat disconcerting if you happen to encounter either of these features mid-corner.

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