The Hyundai Ioniq 6 2023 is smooth as a river rock and, at the same time, very square. Both forms are intentional. The sleek exterior allows the Ioniq 6 to boast a lower coefficient of drag than the Tesla Model 3, and the repeating rectangles in its headlights, trim, and interior are part of Hyundai’s design language for its electric Ioniq line, declaring the Ioniq 6 a sibling to the Ioniq 5. well received.
Where the Ioniq 5 is boxy and nostalgic for the ’80s, the 6 curves and flows. If that calls back anything, it’s the modern, streamlined art deco trend of the 1930s. The long arch of the roofline and the dipped front and rear ends are profiles that are back in popularity for many electric cars (see Mercedes EQS and EQE, for starters). The Ioniq 6 does it better than most, its tail with a glass-edged spoiler that makes the Hyundai look more like a four-door Porsche than some four-door Porsche. All around, the Ioniq 6 features cover lighting, a glossy sensor strip, and air inlets that can be opened and closed based on cooling requirements. EV designers have staggered between installing fake grilles like pretend fuel burners or leaving their cars expressionless like gagged robots, so it’s been nice to see a front with features reflecting the technology under the sheet metal.
The Ioniq 6 is a tall car, barely 59 inches at the top of the roof, albeit out of sight, thanks to a well-placed strip of upholstery along the bottom edge and a sharp crease through the bottom third of the door. . On standard 18-inch wheels, with closed active air flaps and with camera mirrors, the Ioniq 6 has a claimed drag coefficient of 0.21. Even tricked with 20-inch wheels and with open vents, this sedan is sleek, not only because of its overall shape, but also the dual spoiler, closed front wheel gap, and slightly taper at the rear.
Behind all that art, you’ll find a foundation similar to that of the Ioniq 5, with a wheelbase just two inches shorter. Like the 5, the Ioniq 6 will be offered with a long-range 77.4-kWh battery or a standard 53.0-kWh unit, matched to a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive setup or dual-motor and all-wheel drive. We rode the long-range dual motor variant, with a 77.4 kWh battery and 320 horsepower. Hyundai says the AWD Ioniq 6 can blur the scene at 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, but we expected better in our tests. (The Ioniq 5 with the same powertrain hits 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.) On the road, the Ioniq 6 moves forward with distinctive electric enthusiasm, haunted by an even more excited accelerator when set in Sport mode, but the only thing that faster than EV Acceleration is the speed we tire of it. The Ioniq 6 is fast enough for passing maneuvers or emergency maneuvers that a sane rider might need, but doesn’t irritate your internal organs.
Some people, we hear, prefer a ride that doesn’t make the insides meringue, and Hyundai has gone to great lengths to ensure the Ioniq 6’s electron quiet isn’t compromised by a loud ride or tinkling underside. The sound-absorbing layer between the floor and carpet, the foam-filled tires, and the acoustic windshield dampen the outside world, and the ride is equally stifling. Even overseas, where Seoul’s smooth highways finally gave way to a few patches and speed bumps, the Ioniq 6 was unperturbed. If you need a little aural stimulation, there are three zoomy, boomy EV whoosh settings to accompany your accelerator input.
Now, we’re saying that the Ioniq 6 isn’t particularly fast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive it fast. With a low center of gravity, the Ioniq 6 is corner-friendly and planted on straights. Three levels of regenerative braking can be selected with the steering wheel paddle. This car won’t break any race records, but the experience is as smooth as the exterior promises.
The Ioniq 6 does impress with a different set of numbers, which relate to range and charging. The large battery sedan should offer the EPA a range of around 320 miles, and all trim levels are set for 400 and 800 volt charging. The 350 kW charger can take an almost empty Ioniq from 10 percent to 80 percent in under 20 minutes, a claim we matched on the Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Genesis GV60 with this same battery pack. It also uses a cooling system to pre-prepare the battery for faster and more reliable charging times. An optional adapter can be attached to the charging port, allowing the Ioniq 6 to power external accessories. And small electronics can be plugged into an in-cab outlet under the rear seat.
One of the Ioniq 6’s trademarks, at least at home in Korea, is the side-view mirror camera. Camera feed screen on the deflected edge of the dashboard. Retraining someone’s brain to use it will take longer than a single test run—not only is it a display where you’re used to seeing it, but there’s also a difference in spatial understanding between reflection and projection. US buyers needn’t worry about that, as we don’t get high-tech features here in America. On cars with traditional rearview mirrors, the small wing at the end of the dashboard is half the size.
The dashboard’s 24-inch main display contains a digital instrument cluster and a center touchscreen. In front of them is a flat bottom steering wheel decorated with a line of pixel lights. It lights up in different modes, and during a voice command to indicate the car is listening. They also show fill progress to make it easier to measure through the window. More pixels of the wireless charging pad texture on the top of the pass-through console. There’s room for a handbag downstairs and for two phones to charge upstairs—both can be connected via Bluetooth if you want phone calls from one and music or navigation from the other. The final unique storage is in front of the passenger, where the glovebox opens as a sliding drawer instead of a drop-down door. Looks cool but lacks ergonomics for the driver, and is heavy on the knees of high passengers.
In addition to the glovebox, the tall and small driver and passenger will have plenty of room in the Ioniq 6. The front seats offer plenty of adjustment and even recline, and are shaped to give rear passengers more floor and leg room. The back seat is padded with minimal bolsters, and the flat floor makes it easy to help children get in and out of the child seat. The suitcase is not accommodated properly, because the trunk is deep but the opening is narrow. Large strollers and rollers may require some fishing skills. As for the frunk, it’s a small compartment big enough to keep a foot-long sandwich warm on the way home.
The Ioniq 6 is positioned to compete with the Tesla Model 3; it will go on sale in the US in the first half of next year as the 2023 model. While there’s no official word on pricing, we expect it to cost a bit more than the Ioniq 5, which starts at $42,745. For buyers focused on performance numbers, the Ioniq 6 may fall short, but it has plenty of driveway appeal, a usable and attractive interior, and far better ride than the Tesla. For EV commuters, this curveball looks to be a hit.
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