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Driven: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.

Driven: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
Hyundaiís pebble-inspired saloon is finally here, but is it the Tesla Model 3-beater weíve been hoping for?

   



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Hyundai Ioniq 6

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Hyundai's Ioniq range of electric vehicles is starting to go places, and following on from the success of the boxy Ioniq 5 is the somewhat less boxy Ioniq 6. A five-door fastback designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and therefore maximum range, it's here to do battle with the Polestar 2 and the Tesla Model 3, but can it compete?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Ultimate 77kW 228PS
Price: Ioniq 6 from £47,040, Ultimate from £50,540
Engine: one 168kW electric motor
Transmission: single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Battery: 77.4kWh lithium-ion polymer
Power: 228hp
Torque: 350Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 338 miles
0-62mph: 7.4 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Boot space: 401 litres (plus 45-litre 'frunk')

Styling

Hyundai says the Ioniq 6's styling is based on that of a pebble worn smooth by the water, but we suspect that might be a typographical error for 'Porsche'. There's definitely something of the Panamera about the Ioniq's rear end, and though we don't have a problem with that, it does feel like a bit of a budget version. Nevertheless, the Ioniq 6 is an eye-catching car that grabs the attention of passers-by, even those who aren't that interested in cars. It's quite a looker.

Interior

As with the exterior design, the Ioniq 6's cabin is clearly built to be clean, minimalist and cool. There's a massive widescreen in the middle and a digital instrument display behind the wheel, with just a few bits of switchgear in the centre of the dash. With little in the way of cubbies, just a large box under the centre console, it's a very uncluttered design and it's pretty easy on the eye, but it's not problem free.

For a kick-off, the ergonomics aren't great, with the other side of the touchscreen proving a distractingly long way from the driver, and a driving position that favours those short of leg and long of arm. And don't get us started on the mess of stalks emanating from the steering column. They take a bit of getting used to.

It's a shame because the tech is generally pretty good, with a smart touchscreen and a great digital instrument display. Both screens do their job in exemplary fashion, and there's a head-up display available too. Quality is also impressive, with the Ioniq 6 feeling like a true semi-premium product.

Practicality

Practicality is one of the Ioniq 6's shortcomings, and while it has the footprint of a big saloon, that smooth, aerodynamic shape has caused some issues for the designers in terms of interior space. Even those in the front don't get that much room, with tall drivers finding their bonces perilously close to the roof lining, while tall passengers will really struggle for headroom in the back. There's bags of legroom, though, and the boot measures a useful 400 litres, although the opening isn't massive. Fortunately, it's complemented by a small but handy frunk for storing mucky charging cables or wet wellies.

Performance

Ioniq 6 customers get a choice of two different powertrains, but both are based around the same 77.4kWh battery. The single-motor, 228hp version tested here drives the rear wheels alone and provides greater theoretical range, while the two-motor, 325hp model offers all-wheel-drive and greater straight-line performance.

In truth, the 228hp, single-motor car is more than fast enough, getting from 0-62mph in around seven seconds before hitting its 115mph top speed. Nobody really needs to go faster, but an official range of just under 340 miles is pretty appealing, especially as real-world driving should allow you to cover around 250 miles on a charge without too much trouble. Admittedly, though, motorway driving won't help the cause.

And with the ability to charge at 220kW, assuming you can find a charger up to the task, refilling the Ioniq quickly shouldn't be a great issue. Hyundai claims it'll get from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes at maximum DC charging speed.

Ride & Handling

This is really a tale of priorities, and itís clear that the Ioniq 6 has been set up to handle, rather than to ride comfortably. With the battery positioned low in the car, it doesnít roll too much in the bends and thereís plenty of grip, although the steering feels pretty vague and indirect no matter which mode the car is in. Even in the sportiest setting the added weight all feels unnatural and unhelpful. But with the power heading to the back wheels and decent body control, itís more fun to drive than some, even if itís no BMW i4.

The trade-off for that is a decided stiffness to the ride, with potholes producing a bit of a thump through the suspension and any surface that isnít baby-backside smooth revealing an inability for the car to settle down. Itís particularly bobbly in town, where the undulations are constant, but it seems to improve slightly at higher speeds, even if itís never especially supple.

But the biggest problem by a country mile is the noise. Not the noise of the motors Ė theyíre pretty quiet Ė and you donít hear too much road or wind noise, either, but the incessant bonging from the on-board systems. Turn it on and it bongs. Turn it off and it bongs. Exceed the speed limit even slightly and it bongs. And heaven forbid the speed limit will change or you pass a speed camera, because guess what? Yep, it bongs, and the speed camera bong is particularly dramatic. Now, you can turn these bongs off in a sub-menu, but theyíll turn themselves back on again when you shut the car down. It drove us insane.

Value

With prices starting at just over £47,000, the Ioniq 6 isnít especially cheap Ė particularly when the cheapest Model 3 now comes in at just under £43,000. However, the Hyundai is well equipped, with 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, along with two-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and a reversing camera. The electrically operated tailgate, heated front seats and heated rear seats are all included, too. Move up the range to the Ultimate and you add leather upholstery, a head-up display and a sunroof, among other features. Whatís more, the Ioniq 6 comes with a five-year warranty.

Verdict

Thereís a lot to like about the Ioniq 6, from its clean cabin design to the ample range, but it has some serious problems that really grind our gears. First of all, the bonging would be too much for us Ė it lost an entire star for that alone Ė and the ride isnít as supple as we were hoping. Even the handling isnít especially brilliant, so for all this carís capability, the product as a whole is just a bit disappointing. Itís a shame, given how good the Ioniq 5 was.



James Fossdyke - 23 Aug 2023



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2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6. Image by Hyundai.







 

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