Hyundai IONIQ 6 ReviewDriver
Hyundai is charging headfirst into the new age of electric cars.
The South Korean car maker is challenging the poster child of EVs, Tesla, with a larger – and wider – range of battery-powered vehicles, from luxurious limousines under its Genesis brand right down to affordable small SUVs like the Kona Electric.
And, in between, it has its dedicated EV sub-brand, IONIQ, which has recently grown to include the radical-looking IONIQ 6 four-door sedan.
It sits alongside the retro-futuristic IONIQ 5 SUV as a rival to the country’s most popular electric car, the Tesla Model 3, and offers one of the longest estimated driving range figures of any EV currently on sale in New Zealand.
The IONIQ 6 shares the same fundamental mechanical layout as the 5, riding on Hyundai’s dedicated E-GMP electric car platform with high-speed 800V charging capacity.
But it looks completely different on the outside. Its sleek body shape borrows from the earliest innovations in aerodynamics, such as the streamliner Grand Prix racers of the 1920s, to lower overall drag, which, in effect, reduces energy consumption to improve driving range.
It is an odd-looking machine in the metal, but there are some very functional developments – as well as some neat design touches – that are impressive, such as the active flaps in the front grille, the floating rear wing, and numerous pixelated elements in the lighting signature.
It is also much larger than it appears in photos, measuring 4855mm in overall length while riding on a 2950mm wheelbase, 1880mm wide and yet standing just 1495mm tall at its highest point.
The overall design produces a very low drag coefficient of just 0.21cd, making it one of the slipperiest cars on the planet.
This helps it achieve an estimated driving range of 614km on a single charge in the rear-wheel drive model with a 77.4kWh battery that we’re testing, which is powered by a single, rear-mounted electric motor that produces 168kW of power and 350Nm of torque and drives the back wheels.
Hyundai also offers the entry-level IONIQ 6 with a 53kWh battery pack and 111kW motor that costs from $79,990 and is the only variant eligible for the New Zealand government’s Clean Car Discount, saving buyers a further $7015.
On top of that, there is the flagship Elite trim that can be had in either rear-drive configuration or with a twin-motor, all-wheel drive set-up – both with the larger 77.4kWh battery – that produces 239kW and 605Nm.
With high voltage charging capabilities on the 77.4kWh battery, Hyundai claims the IONIQ 6 can be replenished between 10-80 per cent in around 18 minutes when using a 350kW ultra-rapid charging station, or around 73 minutes on a regular 50kW charger.
All IONIQ 6 models also feature Vehicle to Load capabilities, which means the vehicle can be used as a portable energy station and recharge mobile devices such as e-scooter, e-bikes, and other electric vehicles, and can even be used to provide power for electrical appliances in remote locations. Or your home in a power outage!
The IONIQ 6 RWD 77.4kWh we’re testing costs starting at $94,990 (plus on-road costs) while the Elite RWD costs $104,990 and the Elite AWD tops out at $124,990.
Even at the entry level, the IONIQ 6 Dynamiq is fitted with a comprehensive list of standard equipment. The cabin is draped in eco-processed leather and features dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats and twin 12.3-inch digital displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system, which integrates sat nav, Bluetooth and smartphone connections, DAB+ digital radio and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
All models are equipped with the latest in advanced safety systems under the banner of Hyundai Smart Sense, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and smart cruise control with automated stop-and-go in heavy. The Elite 2WD model picks up blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree surround view parking display, while the flagship Elite AWD adds parking collision avoidance and remote parking.
The IONIQ 6 is fitted with seven airbags and has scored a five-star NCAP crash safety rating in 2022. It is covered by a five-year warranty (with eight years for the battery pack) with scheduled servicing every 24 months or 30,000km.
It’s easy to forget how awkward the IONIQ 6 looks on the outside from the driver’s seat, as the interior is much prettier.
The minimalist design has inspirations of art deco with nice touches like wings on each end of the floating dashboard, and beautiful waves flowing across the door skins that are highlighted by the subtle ambient interior lighting. Those wings are blank in all models except the Elite AWD which features digital screens with cameras replacing the traditional door mirrors.
The front seats are super comfortable and supportive while offering plenty of adjustment to suit a wide variety of body shapes, and there is good vision throughout even through the narrow letterbox of the sloping rear windscreen.
The quirky upside-down two-spoke steering wheel falls nicely to hand, but it can block the outside edges of the digital instrument cluster, and the driver sits too far away from the infotainment screen, making it difficult to access functions on the far left of the screen without reaching over.
Otherwise, there are acres of room throughout the cabin, with plenty of convenient storage spaces, generous rear legroom and a flat floor that makes it easy to accommodate five occupants. Although the sloping roofline does restrict headroom in the back, anyone over six feet tall will be forced to crow their neck.
The boot has 401L of cargo space, with a hidden underfloor area for wet items, while the 45L front trunk – or frunk – is big enough for a couple of small bags or groceries. This shrinks to just 14.5L in the twin-motor versions, which is enough to store the charging cable only.
On the road, the IONIQ 6 is smooth, silent, and seamless – and plenty fast enough, even with a single electric motor. Sure, it doesn’t warp your face under hard acceleration like the twin motor models do but it accelerates briskly enough to win any green light grand prix.
Besides, it consumes less energy (the IONIQ 6 is one of the most efficient EVs on the road) and the convenience of being able to drive further far outweighs the occasional novelty of blasting towards the horizon.
It also rides better on its smaller 18-inch wheels than the other models, absorbing imperfections in the road with a greater degree of suppleness while still offering excellent stability in the corners.
In fact, the IONIQ 6 feels very sophisticated in the way it isolates its occupants from the outside world, as there is very little intrusion of road and wind noise into the cabin.
It’s a smart, comfortable, and classy car to drive. And the entry-level IONIQ 6 with the 77.4kWh battery offers more than enough driving range to handle a working week on the road – and the occasional weekend away – without any inconvenience.
It’s all the electric car you need. If you like how it looks.
If you’re interested in transitioning to zero-emission motoring, contact SG Fleet today for more information.