Hyundai’s approach to EVs has changed over time. When the IONIQ Electric was introduced, the brand adopted a design philosophy emulating the elements of a combustion-engine car. The model resembled a compact family sedan, and the interior was familiar and conventional as well.
With the latest IONIQ line-up, Hyundai has ditched the conformist approach and gone with radically different designs that include the use of the unique and retro-looking Parametric Pixels. From the IONIQ 5 to the IONIQ 6, it became clear that creativity was key.
I drove the sleek IONIQ 6 not too long ago and loved it. This time, I’m driving the IONIQ 5 Inspiration 77kWh from Singapore to Desaru in Malaysia.
TWICE THE MOTORS = TWICE THE FUN!
The drive, however, began with the IONIQ 5 Prestige 77kWh, which is the most powerful single-motor variant of the range. Producing 225bhp and 350Nm of torque, it is noticeably quicker than the milder-mannered 58kWh variant.
The Inspiration 77kWh, the subject of this story, is in another league altogether.
With a good shove of the accelerator, you’ll immediately feel the g-forces as the car picks up speed. While your senses might be fooled by the lack of engine noises, the powerful acceleration becomes obvious as you hear the back of everyone’s head hitting the headrests in that split second.
Built upon the same E-GMP platform as the IONIQ 6, the dual-motor IONIQ 5 has the exact same power output – a healthy 321bhp and 605Nm of torque, bringing it from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds despite weighing 2.1 tonnes.
On clear and empty expressway stretches, it is all too easy to go over the speed limit if you aren’t keeping an eye on the speedometer. When driving on the curvy B-roads, the instantaneous power delivery makes quick work of overtaking manoeuvres and allows you to easily get up to speed whenever you want to.
HELLO, SWEET & CURVY B-ROADS
While sheer power is pretty much all that you need to go fast on straight roads, it takes more than that for a car to do the same on curvy and uneven B-roads.
You’ll want the car to have a low centre of gravity, stiff chassis, damping that is on point and good tyres, along with many other things.
Luckily, the IONIQ 5 Inspiration 77kWh has several things to help it in the handling department. The E-GMP platform, for instance, has all the batteries packed in the floor, giving it a low centre of gravity. It also has excellent torsional rigidity.
The benefits were apparent as I drove the car at high speeds through the bends and curves of Malaysian B-roads. Although the suspension is on the softer side, body roll remains well controlled, and I could feel the chassis’ stiffness as I pushed the car harder.
The Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres complement the car’s HTRAC AWD system, which intelligently allocates power between the front and rear axles.
It also applies braking pressure to the left and right wheels to help maintain optimal traction on various surfaces, for a confidence-inspiring drive, even on subpar roads. It works as Hyundai says because even during aggressive, foot-to-the-floor acceleration, I never heard the tyres screech.
While the car is well-appointed, its hefty weight does show when manoeuvring through tighter bends and when coming to a stop from higher speeds. While generally stable, it isn’t my weapon of choice for blitzing through tight turns on less-than-excellent surfaces.
AN EXCELLENT ROAD TRIP VEHICLE
However, there’s no doubt that the range-topping IONIQ 5 (along with its siblings) is the perfect choice for road trips. Both the Prestige and Inspiration trim levels have similar, high levels of equipment; the main differences on the latter are the larger wheels, and Bose premium audio system that has a subwoofer for better bass.
The E-GMP platform is designed for maximum cabin space, which makes it perfect for road trips. When driving in my normal seating position, there was still plenty of legroom for the rear passenger. Complementing the well-insulated cabin is its excellent build quality – everything was well-assembled and great to operate.
The IONIQ 5 also comes with quite a few nifty design ideas. The glovebox, for instance, is pulled and pushed to open, and it was quickly transformed into a snack drawer.
Hyundai also capitalised on the flat rear floor by placing a movable central universal island (instead of a fixed centre console) between the front seats. By sliding it towards the rear, there was enough space to place my bag beside me while I was driving.
During our drive to Desaru, my colleagues and I also experienced the Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) function – a three-pin socket located beneath the rear seat (not available on the Exclusive 58kWh variant). It came in handy when we needed to charge our equipment on the go.
There is also an external V2L adapter that allows you to power any device that you can think of. So, we brought a kettle and an electric pot to whip up an instant-noodle breakfast by the beach. The IONIQ 5 is not only great for road trips, but a good camping buddy, too.
Another feature that I really enjoyed was the adaptive cruise control system that works together with the lane following and lane assist systems. The ability to drive semi-autonomously helps lighten the load when driving long distances.
FUTURISTIC GOOD LOOKS
The IONIQ 5 with its boxy hatchback-looking body and crossover proportions stands out from other cars in the market. And most people I know, including myself, find its design pleasant and good looking.
The exterior of the IONIQ 5 Inspiration isn’t drastically different from the other trims. That said, you’ll be able to identify it when you spot the larger 20-inch rims with their distinctive design.
As the Prestige variant is equipped with almost everything else that you’ll find on the Inspiration, I feel that the decision on which variant to go for ultimately boils down to one factor: Your hunger for power.
Hyundai IONIQ 5 Inspiration 77kWh (A)
MOTORS Permanent magnet synchronous
MAX POWER 321hp
MAX TORQUE 605Nm
POWER TO WEIGHT 151.1hp per tonne
0-100KM/H 5.1 seconds
TOP SPEED 185km/h
PRICE INCL. COE From $289,800
AGENT Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore (HMGICS)