Usually in the automotive world, car designs subtly transform from one model to the next. Car design is usually evolution rather than revolution. Think of Porsche’s 911 and all its variants. They never exactly stick their necks out and radically transform it between models. Enthusiasts will instantly know the difference between a 991 and a 992; a 4S and a GTS, but everyone else just sees a 911. It’s similar with the VW Golf or the Mercedes S Class; they’re never radically different one model to the next. Hyundai, however, have eschewed this traditional way of operating with its IONIQ range. The successful Hyundai IONIQ 5, a car we really rather liked along with everyone else, has changed. The Hyundai IONIQ 6, rather than being a hatchback, is now a sweeping saloon.
Similarly to the IONIQ 5, there is much to admire in the Hyundai IONIQ 6. It’s well thought out and easy to get along with. The ride quality is a particular highlight. The Hyundai IONIQ 6 serenely sails along. Close your eyes and you could be easily convinced that you’re in a far more expensive luxury limo. But, however, does it do enough to persuade you from buying the cheaper IONIQ 5? Let’s find out.
Living with the Hyundai IONIQ 6
The model tested is the Hyundai IONIQ 6 Premium, equipped with a 77kWh battery in its more aggressive guise. This costs just over £3,000 more than the standard battery (also 77kWh). If you enjoy the always impressive slug of EV power such an upgrade brings, then this is the box you’ll want to tick.
The Hyundai IONIQ 6 doesn’t encourage you to drive like a lunatic, though. From the exterior, its design appears laid back, looking like a fish leaping out of water from the side. When you jump in, you’re met with what feels like acres of space. There’s loads of room and cubbyholes to make your things disappear into, leaving an uncluttered cabin.
Peering back, there’s legroom you’d expect to find in an Audi A8L. The sloping headline doesn’t pinch too much headroom, either. If you’re going to be a passenger, you’ll have few complaints in the Hyundai IONIQ 6.
Heading further back, the boot is cavernous. It’s 401ltrs, which doesn’t really do it justice on paper. The huge opening makes loading and unloading incredibly easy and I got three cricket bags in there without any trouble whatsoever.
Then there’s the range. Usually you can disregard EV range figures on the WLTP cycle, but the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is as close as you’ll get to being on the money. A stated range of 322 miles translates to 305 in reality. On a long drive to Leeds and back it was refreshing to have a range you could have confidence in.
I achieved 3.3 miles p/kWh over 525 miles of driving which means an average range of 244.2 miles. This included more spirited drives to explore the power. In normal conditions, 4 miles p/kWh is easily achievable.
What’s the Hyundai IONIQ 6 like to drive?
With the extra performance available in the model tested, it would have been remiss of me not to explore it. With 325hp and a whopping 605Nm of torque, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is certainly capable of pinning you back in your seat. 0-62mph takes just 5.1secs. For such a laid back car, this takes you by surprise, but it’s a handy party trick to have in the back pocket. Overtakes are seamless and it keeps on progressing pleasingly at motorway speeds, too.
Hustle it along a B-road and the Hyundai IONIQ 6 does a decent job of disguising its 2,100Kg kerb weight. You can tell that it’s not entirely comfortable, but the all-wheel drive and 20” wheels retain traction beyond the point you’d expect it to have given up on you. Better to proceed with caution and use all that power to punch out of corners.
Even when pushing it, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 retains its calm demeanour. The ride quality is certainly the standout feature. You might expect those 20” wheels to crash over the myriad imperfections they face on every drive in the UK, but there’s not much of it at all. Along one stretch of challenging road I try to take every car down at 60mph, it was remarkably composed. Many more illustrious and expensive names have failed, but the Hyundai IONIQ 6 stayed level and calm, ironing out the undulations and leaving me to question if I was actually on the right bit of road. I was.
This translates into the Hyundai IONIQ 6 being a beautifully smooth car to drive. It devoured motorway miles with aplomb and was supremely comfortable and composed for all 525 miles that I covered in it.
One downside remains the UK’s public charging infrastructure. On the way back from Leeds we limped into InstaVolt’s site at Banbury with 15 miles of range left. Other chargers were either broken, in use or unaccepting of contactless payment. At 75p per KwH, it’s also expensive. For regular long journeys, Tesla still has everyone else well and truly licked with its plentiful supply of cheaper, Tesla-only superchargers.
If you’re not regularly exceeding 300 miles in a day and can charge at home, however, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is a smooth, practical companion. We asked at the top if it should persuade you from buying its stablemate, the Hyundai IONIQ 5?
That’s a tough question. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I just about prefer the Tron-like looks of the IONIQ 5. The version of that we tested last year came in Hyundai’s Ultimate spec. This adds features such as a sunroof, ventilated seats, head up display, upgraded Bose audio and greater configurability. At £48,150, I’d be tempted to go for that rather this Hyundai IONIQ 6 at £51,205.
Do you need that explosive acceleration? Probably not, so that brings the Hyundai IONIQ 6 in Ultimate spec down to, exactly, £51,205. I’d shelve the performance and opt for the luxury touches.
In the same vein as the IONIQ 5, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is a difficult car to dislike. A few idiosyncrasies are ironed out with familiarity (i.e. turning off all the bonging it incessantly does). It’s an easy car to get to with grips with and rides so serenely that it takes a lot of the stress out of mundane, everyday driving. Commuting into and out of London or driving to Leeds and back, you’ll find few causes for complaint.