The single-motor, Cat B variant of the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is the line-up’s perfect mid-range model – for buyers who can afford it.
What price would you put on more power and, just as importantly, more range?
That is the question this 100% identical-looking, but mechanically (or rather, electronically) different variant of Hyundai’s retro-futuristic, electric crossover poses.
The IONIQ 5, as the firm’s first model to be built atop of its dedicated E-GMP electric platform, has made waves not simply because it’s the first car in more than four decades to be assembled in Singapore.
It’s also made headlines because some electronic wizardry was needed to help it duck under LTA’s Cat A power ceiling of 148hp or 110kW. When one thinks of the IONIQ 5 now, it’s likely they also think of it as a Category A car.
Nonetheless, it’s worth remembering that prior to its launch in Singapore and virtually every other market globally, the IONIQ 5 had not been built with a power cap in mind. With its larger battery and greater performance, the Prestige 77kWh variant invites you to consider an alternative IONIQ 5 experience.
BUILDING ON THE SAME STRENGTHS
Globally, the IONIQ 5 is offered with three different battery sizes: a standard range 58kWh, a long range 72kWh, and an ‘extra long range’ 77kWh. There’s also a bonkers IONIQ 5 N, but that’s another story.
Singapore, however, only gets the “bookends”. The local range consists of Cat A Exclusive and Prestige variants with the 58kWh battery pack, and Cat B Prestige and Inspiration variants with the 77kWh battery pack. The latter currently serves as the range-topping model here.
Putting the models in context is crucial, because whatever one sees, touches, and operates on the Prestige 58kWh is exactly what they will find on this Prestige 77kWh too.
For starters, there are zero cosmetic differences; this Prestige 77kWh car still gets appropriately sized 19-inch tyres, which, in turn, help solidify the reality that this hatchback-looking machine is more like the crossover Hyundai claims it to be.
Meanwhile, the car’s boxy, Parametric Pixel-studded sheet metal remains visually captivating. It’s also paired to more muted paint hues such as silver and grey that cohere with its half-retro, half-futuristic design.
The interior, in all its uncluttered, spacious glory, is unchanged, too. On Prestige variants, one of the highlights is the Zero Gravity front seats. When the car is stopped, occupants can recline them and extend the footrests to make themselves feel “weightless”. These seats also come with the perfect weapon to combat Desaru’s sweltering heat: Ventilation.
Equipped as such, the car even gets an internal Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) three-pin socket, the full suite of (rather intuitive) driving assistance features, as well as an augmented-reality head-up display that integrates blind spot, cruise control, and road sign limit alerts.
Other delightful standard features on the IONIQ 5 continue to impress, including its sliding centre console (which is nicknamed “Universal Island”), the unusual two-piece sunshade of the panoramic glass roof, and of course, the sheer amount of space.
With a 3000mm wheelbase that could put even mid-size sedans to shame, along with a wide body and flat rear floor, the IONIQ 5 remains a consummate passenger-carrier, too.
EXTRA PRACTICALITY, EXTRA PEP
Malaysia serendipitously proves to be the best testbed for this electric crossover. Apart from a larger battery, the single motor also unleashes more power – 225hp to be exact. Peak torque is still 350Nm, but the performance is a sizable step-up from what the Cat A models offer.
Whereas the power notably plateaus in the Prestige 58kWh as you’re pushing the limits of the fast lane, the Prestige 77kWh confidently communicates that it has more to give still. An 82hp power gap is not to be understated, and when making haste is the priority, this variant certainly pleases more with its extra effortlessness.
Admittedly, this is not the range-topper in terms of performance – the Inspiration 77kWh gets even more power, with its dual motors capable of sending 321hp to all four wheels.
Perhaps just as crucially, however, this Prestige 77kWh variant is the one to get if you still want the slightly more visceral thrill unique to a rear-wheel-drive car. And although the larger battery makes it 100kg heavier than the Cat A variants, the lack of an extra motor also makes it 100kg lighter than the Inspiration 77kWh.
One is not exempt from the laws of physics when throwing a large crossover around a curvy road – with the softer suspension, this should also not be one’s instinct – but the slight edge in agility is still tangible when stretching the car to its limit.
Then of course, it’s ultimately worth noting that this is by far the longest-legged IONIQ 5 you can buy in Singapore.
The Cat A variants and their smaller batteries make do with less range (384km), while the dual-motor Inspiration 77kWh is understandably also “thirstier” and thus less energy-efficient despite using the same battery (454km).
On the other hand, hopping into a fully charged Prestige 77kWh and seeing the remaining range to be around 500km provides extra assurance to the driver – especially on a cross-border road trip.
The drive from the Hyundai showroom along Alexandra Road in Singapore to Desaru in Malaysia covers less than half this amount, but the extra buffer is comforting for sure.
What’s more, going the distance is exactly what one wants to do with the IONIQ 5, given its advanced safety and assistance systems, as well as its preternatural gifts as a spacious, well-insulated and comfortable expressway-cruiser.
THE “GOLDILOCKS” FLAIR – WITH A CATCH
The Goldilocks quality of the Prestige 77kWh would easily make it the surefire pick of the range. Indeed, from a pure ownership and driving point of view, this is the one that is likely to leave a driver most satisfied both on long runs, and in the long run.
Alas, the looming over of three big letters in Singapore means that a $48,000 price gap (correct at time of writing) exists between the Prestige 58kWh and Prestige 77kWh models.
That said, $40,000 of this amount comes from the difference between Cat A and Cat B COE, which makes the premium that the Prestige 77kWh commands (slightly) easier to understand and accept.
If ever the day comes that COE prices fall again – or indeed, if the price points of the two categories re-converge – I know this is the IONIQ 5 I’d be gravitating to.
Hyundai IONIQ 5 Prestige 77kWh (A)
MOTOR Permanent magnet synchronous
MAX POWER 225hp
MAX TORQUE 350Nm
POWER TO WEIGHT 111.7hp per tonne
0-100KM/H 7.3 seconds
TOP SPEED 185km/h
PRICE INCL. COE From $259,800
AGENT Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore (HMGICS)