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Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 review


Hyundai’s super-sleek, all-electric sedan will turn heads while delivering wild range. And the new Ioniq 6 is sizing up to be a solid Tesla 3 challenger

Good points

  • Remarkable range
  • Comfortable ride
  • Good power
  • Slippery aerodynamics

Needs work

  • Harsh interior materials
  • Divisive looks
  • Poor row-two headroom
  • Chassis could be sportier

Ever meet a set of siblings who say they’re twins but really don’t look all that much alike? Sometimes it happens with cars, too. Take the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its successor, the Ioniq 6. Other than the swoopy H on the nose you’d be forgiven for thinking these two cars come from different planets, never mind different manufacturers.

But they’re both Hyundais and they’re both built on the very same platform, the E-GMP skateboard battery pack with either one or two motors. The Ioniq 6 is numerically one more than the 5 but it sits in a completely different segment and, despite the shared hardware, goes a whopping 107km farther on a charge than its SUV sibling.

How does it do it? Extreme aerodynamics.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 driving

Take one look at the Ioniq 6 and it’s clear this is a car designed for a purpose. How else would you defend the too-low nose and a sweeping roofline that obliterates rear-seat headroom? The purpose here was aerodynamics and Hyundai’s latest is its sleekest yet.

The Ioniq 6 has a coefficient of drag of just 0.21, just a tick behind the most slippery production car on the planet, the Mercedes-Benz EQS (at 0.20) and matching some other long-legged EVs such as Tesla’s Model S and the Lucid Air.

That this is a Hyundai that will probably cost somewhere in the region of half as much as any of those alternatives makes it something of a crowning achievement.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 first drive group

How did the brand achieve that? Well, naturally it starts at the nose, which as I mentioned above looks proportionally mismatched to the rest of the car. Integrated into the leading facia is a pair of flaps. When open, they provide cooling airflow over the car’s radiator. When the car doesn’t need the ventilation, they close to reduce drag.

More air is ducted through the bumper and around the front wheels, guided by a small protrusion integrated into the leading edge of the wheel well. This helps smooth the air over the side of the car, where it is pulled around and mixed with air coming over the top thanks to that rather pronounced spoiler.

Hyundai says that the wing’s shape was inspired by the Spitfire; yes the historic World War II fighter aircraft usually seen painted in olive drab. It’s certainly far more shapely than the wing on the 2020 Prophecy concept that predicted the Ioniq 6, but whether it’s better-looking I’ll leave to you to decide.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 red side

The back is far and away the most striking visual aspect of the outside of the car. A sweeping set of tail-lights runs in a slit cutting from one fender to the next, then below that, two pairs of vertical highlights run up and over the lower diffuser. It’s all a little busy, but I think it works.

Inside those lights is where you see the pixel motif at its extreme deployment, but the little squares are everywhere. Search and you’ll find them integrated into styling cues throughout, including those stalks that replace the rear-view mirrors.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 digital mirrors

Yes, in search of aero the Ioniq 6 has ditched the traditional, reflective surface and instead gone for a pair of digital cameras. These beam images to a matching set of displays integrated into the sides of the dashboard.

That dash sweeps upward to provide the mirror displays a good home, but trust me when I say it’ll take a good few hours of driving before you retrain yourself to look at the displays rather than gazing out the window when changing lanes. Muscle-memory foibles aside, the displays work well enough, even in bright sunlight.

Those who are willing to forgo some aerodynamic efficiency for traditional mirrors should take comfort in that fact that Chasing Cars has previously spotted an Ioniq 6 prototype wearing the analogue option in Australia, suggesting that it will at least be offered locally as an option, if not as standard.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 interior

The rest of the interior is a lot less progressive and a lot more familiar. Well, if you’ve spent any time in the Ioniq 5, at least.

Here we have the same, dual, 12.3-inch displays situated side-by-side and standing proudly out of that sweeping dash. In the left-hand-drive configuration I drove, the right display serves infotainment duties, touch-sensitive and controlling everything from media to HVAC. The left display, meanwhile, serves as a gauge cluster, giving speed and range and navigation cues.

Hyundai’s familiar infotainment system calls the shots, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on tap as well if you want something a little more mobile. However, in South Korea, where I drove the Ioniq 6, you’ll want to stick with the integrated nav. Neither Google nor Apple Maps is of much use there thanks to some strict laws about exporting mapping data from the country.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 interior stalk

Again like the Ioniq 5, the 6’s shifter is mounted high next to the steering wheel, a chrome protrusion you simply twist in the direction you want to go: forward for D and backwards for R. Shift paddles control regen and yes, there’s a full one-pedal driving mode available here.

Mounting the shifter up high frees up all sorts of room in the center console. Where the Ioniq 5 has a little cubby between seats you can shuttle forward or back, the sedan has a more traditional divider, not unlike what you’d find from a transmission tunnel. However, since there are no actual mechanical bits inside there, Hyundai hollowed it out, creating a massive cubby.

Materials are a little hit or miss, with some hard plastics readily found, but both driver and passenger have comfortable, reasonably supportive seats with power adjustment. Out back, however, is where the compromises were made. While the seats there are plenty comfy and there’s about three hectares worth of footroom, the headroom is decidedly lacking. An executive shuttle this ain’t.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 interior console

That’s a bit of a shame as the Ioniq 6 is comfortable enough to be one. While Korea’s roads aren’t the best for driving or exploring, nor for testing the handling limits of a machine, a few hours behind the wheel was plenty enough to convince me that the Ioniq 6 has lost none of the luxurious poise of its SUV sibling.

I drove a top-trim, all-wheel-drive model with the optional 20-inch wheels, but despite the slim sidewalls the car soaked up concrete separation joints and other asphalt imperfections without complaint. Handling felt a bit on the soft side and the steering is hardly quick, but this isn’t meant to be a sports car by any means.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 interior rear seats

That doesn’t mean it isn’t rapid enough to be one. With 239kW and 605Nm delivered by two motors to all four wheels, the Ioniq 6 is quick. Seriously quick. However, those wanting maximum range, or simply to save a few dollars, will want to opt for the rear-wheel-drive model. It’s that one, with the 18-inch wheels, that delivered a whopping 614km on the WLTP cycle. Again, that’s 107km farther than the Ioniq 5.

Despite the 6’s aerodynamic advantage, the motors, battery pack and all the related plumbing are identical between the two cars. That’s a bit sad for me, as I’d take the more practical 5 over the shapely 6 from a pure utility standpoint. But anyone looking to maximize range, and therefore efficiency, will clearly want the sedan.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 rear 3/4 driving

Pricing and specific availability on the Ioniq 6 is still a bit of a mystery but, given the shared hardware, don’t expect it to be miles away from the price on the Ioniq 5. (For reference, the AWD Extended Range Ioniq 5 we reviewed last year cost $75,900).

That is to say, it should be priced right, potentially making it yet another strong contender in an increasingly competitive EV segment from Hyundai.

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