New Hyundai Ioniq 6 prototype review

An early drive of the new sharply-styled Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV shows there’s plenty to look forward to


Verdict

Our short test drive of a pre-production Ioniq 6 reveals plenty of promise. It’s super-spacious inside, well built and comfortable, plus it’ll put a smile on your face. Could it be another award winner? Well, the EV game moves on quickly, but the Ioniq 6 certainly has bags of appeal.

The building blocks for Hyundai’s latest all-electric model, the Ioniq 6 saloon, could not be better. It uses the brand’s E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) architecture that underpins the Ioniq 5, 2021’s Auto Express Car of the Year and the 2022 World Car of the Year.

It’s no surprise then that the new model had more than a whiff of Ioniq 5 about it when we took to the roads near Hyundai’s Namyang R&D base in South Korea for a short drive of a pre-production model.

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That curvy shape (penned by SangYup Lee, above) is part Audi TT, part Mercedes CLA and even part Porsche 911 from some angles. It’s more slippery than the Ioniq 5, but not as low-slung as it looks. The battery pack under the floor means an easy slide into the driver’s seat, while there’s none of the worries about headroom that you might expect. In fact, interior space is one of many pleasant surprises – there’s a huge amount of rear legroom to go with the space above your head, while the seats are comfortable. On first glance, the boot capacity doesn’t look quite so good, although we don’t have an official measurement yet.

One test car had door cameras instead of traditional mirrors. Many potential owners might be a little wary of relying on screens for the rearward view, but the set-up works really well with a crystal-clear image within the eyeline of where the mirrors would be. In fact, if you opt for traditional mirrors, you might always rue your decision – the wings at either end of the dash where the screens would sit are left blank, looking a little odd.

Otherwise, the interior mixes the Ioniq 5’s excellent twin-screen system, where driver and infotainment displays merge into one, with clever features such as a glovebox that slides out and gives you a flat surface to rest things on, plus slim, cleverly lit door panels.

To keep those panels slim, the window switches have moved to the centre console. But even on this prototype model, quality seemed impressive – as did the drive.

Our car was the 77.4 kWh version with a Tesla-beating range of 379 miles and a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. However, maximum efficiency means selecting Eco mode, which blunts throttle response. We were nearly caught out a couple of times expecting power to arrive swiftly, only for it pick up more slowly. Normal mode restored the fun factor that we’re used to in the Ioniq 5.

In fact, you won’t be surprised to hear that the driving characteristics of the new 6 are very similar to the 5’s. The ride is firm, although it feels slightly more forgiving than the 5 (and might be even better on 18-inch wheels), while there’s little body roll.

If you’re inclined to make the most of the power and enjoy some twisty roads, you certainly won’t be disappointed – the 6 handles tidily. That bodes well for a potential hot N version in due course.

The steering has a nice heavy weight to it, too – even firmer in Sport mode – while refinement at speed was impressive despite the chunky camouflage. Good visibility was another surprise given the swoopy shape.

So, it’s good news for potential Ioniq 6 buyers, as is the fact that prices shouldn’t be too far away from the Ioniq 5’s, meaning a potential starting price around £43,000. And if you get in quick, you could get your car by the start of next year.

Model:Hyundai Ioniq 6 77kWh 325PS AWD
Price:£57,000 (est)
Powertrain:77.4kWh battery, 2x e-motors
Power/torque:316bhp/605Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:5.1 seconds
Top speed:TBC
Range:379 miles (WLTP)
Charging:Rate: TBC, 10-80% 18mins
On sale:Late 2022

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