Hyundai Ioniq 5 Ultimate 73kWh AWD 2021 UK review

Hyundai’s first dedicated electric car arrives in the UK in its highest specification

Not constrained by needing to house a lump of metal in the front, ‘skateboard’ EV platforms give manufacturers the opportunity to approach car design in a wholly different way.This has led some to fantasise about having classic shapes – like say, the Lancia Delta – riding on modern electric platforms. But who would have thought the revived Delta would come from Hyundai? That’s not to say that the shape of the Ioniq 5 isn’t original. With the intricate graph-paper lights and the wild strakes and slashes down the side and around the wheelarches, it makes the original BMW Z4 look understated.  Mechanically, at least, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that Hyundai has come up with a thoroughly engineered EV, as it managed to coax impressive efficiency and range out of the Kona Electric, and that was still based on an internal-combustion-engine platform. The Electric Global Modular Platform (or E-GMP) is Hyundai’s new dedicated EV platform. It places the battery pack under the floor and the main motor at the rear, and it should unlock even more capability. The Ioniq 5 is just the first of many cars to use it, and it will soon be joined by its Kia sister, the EV6. A high-performance Ioniq 6 and a larger Ioniq 7 are also near certain.The platform’s 800V architecture – something so far seen only on the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-tron GT – enables 350kW charging and an 80% top up in 18 minutes. If you can find a powerful enough charger, that is, since the expensive Ionity chargers are still not a patch on Tesla’s Supercharger network. The Ioniq 5 offers a fairly comprehensive range of battery and motor combinations, starting with a 58kWh battery that’s always paired with a single 166bhp motor. The larger (73kWh) battery can be had with rear-wheel drive and 214bhp or with an additional front motor for a total of 300bhp, as in the example we’ve tried. Hyundai claims a range of 240 miles for the 48kW version, rising to 300 miles for the rear-driven 73kW car and 286 miles for the dual-motor one. With prices ranging between £36,995 and £48,145, it’s all very much in line with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID 4.Isn’t it unfair to compare a hatchback with SUVs, though? Actually, something that doesn’t show well in photos is that this is a big car. At 4.6m long and nearly 1.9m wide without the mirrors, it’s longer than Hyundai’s Tucson and wider than its Santa Fe. Those wheels may look sensibly sized, but they’re really a massive 20in, with a meaty 45-aspect sidewall on the tyres as well.