Hyundai Ioniq 6 initial review: Electric saloon style

Hyundai did a cracking job with the Ioniq 5, its first fully electric model to make use of the E-GMP architecture. The platform has been designed to act as the basis for a growing range of EVs from the carmaker and now the second model has arrived in the shape of the Hyundai Ioniq 6. This is a very different car compared to the Ioniq 5 too, with a saloon style design and lots of aerodynamic curves, which is in marked contrast to the former’s angular edginess.

This is an interesting move for Hyundai too, given the current hunger by many moving over to EVs to plump for one in the SUV category. Head to somewhere like Hyundai’s domestic market and there are seemingly just as many saloons on the roads as there are SUVs. However, in other markets the demand for all-electric SUVs doesn’t appear to be diminishing. So, is Hyundai on to something with its premium electric saloon? 

New design approach

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is quite a hefty car, weighing in at nearly two tonnes, but it doesn’t actually look bulky. Much of that is down to the styling, with Hyundai designers taking a different tack to what they did with the much more angular Ioniq 5. This time out, there are curves instead of sharp corners and a long, low stance that sweeps up from the nose and down to the back. Along the way, Hyundai’s design team have even managed to cram in an almost Porsche 911-flavoured integrated rear spoiler, which adds a neat little fun factor.

Also helping matters is a range of cool new colours, 12 exterior shades in all including Gravity Gold Matte, Abyss Black Pearl, Serenity White Pearl, Curated Silver Metallic, Nocturne Gray Metallic, Nocturne Gray Matte, Transmission Blue Pearl, Biophilic Blue Pearl, Ultimate Red Metallic, Digital Green Pearl, Digital Green Matte as well as Byte Blue. Meanwhile, there are four interior trim colour options, including dark grey with light grey, dark olive green with light grey, black with pale brown and black. 

The other very noticeable thing with the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is just how well it’s been built. The fit and finish all round is excellent, with a range of premium materials in evidence. There’s also a nod to sustainability with eco-process leather, the use of recycled PET fabric and, curiously, interior carpets that have been fashioned in part from recycled fishing nets.

A familiar interior

Anyone who has seen the dashboard setup in the Ioniq 5 will quickly find that there’s a lot of very familiar stuff inside the cockpit of the Ioniq 6. That’s no bad thing though, seeing as it worked so well on the earlier car. You get the twin 12-inch digital displays, with one forming a cluster in front of the steering wheel and the other providing the basis for the more central infotainment system. 

A big difference this time though is the pair of digital screens that sit at each end of the dashboard. These provide the view from the digital door mirrors and, while the effect is really good if you’re looking towards the passenger side, glancing at the screen closest to the steering wheel takes a little bit of getting used to. However, Hyundai has plans for making the Ioniq 6 available with standard mirrors if preferred.

The drivetrain controls are much the same as those seen in the Ioniq 5 too, while the Relaxation Comfort Seats offered by Hyundai take a similar route to the ones that worked so well in the other car. Granted, the feel of the seating is quite firm, but there’s plenty of support offered. This is complimented by the snug way the centre console falls nicely under your arm, making the overall feel in the front seats impressive. 

Meanwhile, taller occupants who are sitting in the rear might find the shallow floorpan a little less appealing. If you're 6 foot or over the result of this might mean your knees are a tad higher up than you’d like. Anyone less statuesque though will find the rear cockpit pleasingly simple and straightforward. The seats are again quite firm, but comfortable and the slope of the roofline doesn't actually encroach on headroom as much as you think it might do.

collection: Ioniq 6 interior

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 also comes with some cool ambient lighting effects on tap, all of which can be tweaked via the infotainment screen. There are 64-colour and six pre-selected theme options, while the Speed Sync Lighting Mode even lets you set the lighting so that it changes depending on the speed you're going. 

An intriguing drive

Although there are many similarities with the interior dashboard and controls layout that is reminiscent of the Ioniq 5, the new car is certainly different to drive. While the E-GMP platform provides a solid base from which to start, the driving position feels a little more immersive - snug almost. Perhaps it’s the sleek shape too, but the Ioniq 6 oozes a neat, hunkered down feel that makes it intriguing to drive.

Set off down the road and there are more similarities, but the car feels a little more poised and ready for business than the Ioniq 5. Some criticisms of that car have been that it lacks a little feel on the road, whereas the Ioniq 6 delivers some thrills as you go. Granted, the really good stuff starts to happen if you select Sport mode, which provides a more aggressive delivery of the power. The setup of the car feels great though, with both the 18 and 20-inch wheel versions offering plenty of grip.

You will experience a bit of a jolt if you hit anything untoward, mind. Case in point was an admittedly large pothole, which felt like it had probably caused some wheel damage. Thankfully it hadn't and this was a bit of an extreme example. Nevertheless, the Ioniq 6 does feel less happy on unpredictable surfaces. It should be pointed out though that we were driving cars prepped for the domestic Korean market. Doubtless, those sensible engineers at Hyundai will tweak and fine-tune suspension, wheel and tyre options to suit our horrible UK roads.

Range and charging

If you’re an enthusiastic driver then the four-wheel drive, dual motor Ioniq 6 is going to be the one to go for. You’ll sacrifice a tiny bit of range - it’s still 362 miles, but the performance is thrilling. You’ll get most of the fun with the car set in Sport mode, which delivers a 0-62 mph time of just 5.2 seconds. The way the car handles is good enough to let you get the most of this acceleration too, with an agile feel that makes the Ioniq 6 great fun in non-highway situations.

However, the rear-wheel drive model, with 20-inch rims instead of 18s will offer up around 338 miles of range with the same battery pack and might provide a little bit more fun. If you’re less worried about range though, there’s a 53 kWh battery edition of the car. Shod with 18-inch tyres, this one should deliver around 266 miles, which is still a respectable enough figure.

What’s more, because the Ioniq 6 uses the same setup as the Ioniq 5, you get the benefit of the E-GMP platform 800-V charging. If you can find a 350 kW charger, that means the Ioniq 6 can be replenished from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes. 

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