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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5: An affordable EV to rival Tesla [First Drive]

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I first saw the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 in person at what I’ve been calling the “not auto show” in New York a few months ago. I was booked to go to the show and when it got cancelled, I decided to go to NYC anyway and take a mini vacay.

To my surprise, though the auto show was cancelled, not all the automaker events were, and I managed to see the reveal of the new Nissan Z as well as check out the refreshed Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln Aviator Shinola concept.

But the highlight of the trip was seeing the all-electric Ioniq 5 in real life.

It looked like a concept with the pixel design theme and open interior design.

Thinking back, I started to fall in love right there. But this recent first drive sealed the deal.

The 2022 Ioniq 5 is an amazing vehicle, and I predict Hyundai will sell a ton of ’em.

The drive

Hyundai planned a mix of highway and twisty-bit driving, and I had a fairly good idea how the highway driving would go. But the twisty bits? That was a pure surprise.

I’ve been super impressed recently with Hyundai’s foray into the performance arena with vehicles like the Kona N, but the Ioniq 5 is next-level. In addition to being all electric, the all-wheel drive model delivers 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque.

If you’re keeping score, that’s more power than the track-ready Kona N.

So, of course, when I saw the curvy roads ahead sign, I was excited to see how this electric SUV would do.

Short story: It did really well.

Longer story: The lower center of gravity helped Ioniq 5 feel planted in the corners. Plus, somehow, the extra weight from the battery is invisible. In general, it feels much lighter and smaller than it actually is. And when I got stuck behind slow traffic, I felt like a Boston Marathon qualifier who was stuck jogging at the back of the pack. If you’re not a runner, then the gist is: I was really frustrated.

2022 Ioniq 5

iPedal and regenerative braking levels

Since we had about 20 miles of twisty bits, I thought it would be interesting to play around with the 2022 Ioniq 5’s regenerative braking and one-pedal driving system. My goal: to make it through the drive segment just by using the accelerator pedal.

So, let’s back up a second. If you’re not familiar with one-pedal driving, the idea is you get max battery regeneration just by lifting off the “go” pedal, and the vehicle does a hard-ish brake without touching the actual brake. It can even bring the vehicle to a complete stop, but you do need to get the hang of the brake points and how quickly the vehicle slows. It’s a delicate balancing act, for sure, but once you get it, it’s almost second nature.

So, was I able to do it? Yep. And here’s the cool part, I came out ahead in the range department.

In addition to a downhill drive, the aggressive one-pedal driving system, called iPedal in the Ioniq 5, helped me gain range. I drove 70 miles and only lost about 50 miles of range.

If you’re not quite ready for one-pedal driving but do want to reap some benefits of regenerative braking, the Ioniq 5 has three levels of regeneration available. At level 3, you basically go one step below iPedal, without being able to come to a complete stop, and it goes down from there. There’s even 0 level, which would provide the coasting feel similar to what you get in a gas-engined vehicle with an automatic transmission.

Range check

The 2022 Ioniq 5 comes standard as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, with AWD being optional. The RWD model gets an estimated 303 miles on a full charge, and the AWD model, with a dual motor, gets 256 miles to a full charge.

Personally, I think both of those numbers are good. But I worry how accurate they are. Just like fuel economy estimates seem to be obtained in a vacuum, so do the range estimates. If you’re driving aggressively, do highway speeds above 55 MPH or live in a cold climate, these are likely pie-in-the sky numbers.

During the first segment of the drive, we were climbing the mountain, and I was at highway speeds more than 70 mph. When I got to the first stop point after about 45 miles, I had burned through 90 miles of range. Gulp.

My “would I buy it” scale is based on whether I could drive from Chicago to Indianapolis (just less than 200 miles) without needing to charge, and I’m questioning whether the AWD Ioniq 5 could make it. Perhaps Hyundai will let me real-time test it when it hits the media fleets.

2022 Ioniq 5

Getting charged

The good news, however, is the 2022 Ioniq 5 has ultra-fast charge capability. This means you can go from a 10% charge to 80% in about 18 minutes.

The bad news: Ultra-fast chargers are rare.

According to a Reuters article, there are about 43k public charging stations in the U.S., and the majority are Level 2 chargers. Furthermore, these charging stations aren’t evenly distributed, and unless you live someplace like California, you’ll probably have a hard time finding an open and usable charging station period – let alone an ultra-fast one.

But with companies like Electrify America on a mission to create a more wide-spread network (the company has installed 600 ultra-fast stations in less than 3 years), Hyundai is betting on a more prolific fast-charge network coming sooner rather than later.

Assuming you don’t have access to a 350 kW fast charger, you’re looking at about 7 hours for a full charge on a Level 2 (240 V) charger.

That’s a really long coffee stop if you’re trying to road trip.

A few downers

As much as I loved the 2022 Ioniq 5, there are a few things I didn’t like. But, I’ll point out, none of them would be dealbreakers for me.

First, I kept confusing the gear shift and the windshield wiper stalks, which both pop off the right side of the steering column. I’m sure this falls into the category of things you’d get used to as an owner, but on a first drive, it was a bit annoying.

Next, there is no wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. While Hyundai keeps saying this is something they are working on, it has yet to make it into vehicles with the larger infotainment screen. For a vehicle as tech-forward as the Ioniq 5, you’d think they would have made this more of a priority. To rub salt into the wound, there is a wireless charging pad you’ll never use if you’re always wiring in for Waze or other app access.

Also, there are no HVAC controls or heated seats in the back. The latter to me is a huge miss for an electric vehicle trying to keep power loss at a minimum. Cranking up the heat is going to expend way more energy than a heated seat would.

Finally, and this may just be a Jill problem, but it really bothered me there isn’t a hard button for the heated seats and steering wheel. Instead, you have to hit the “warmer” button, which pops ups a screen on the infotainment system. From there you can turn on both your heated and cooled (which does not fall under “warmer”) seats as well as heated steering wheel.

2022 Ioniq 5

Price comparo

The pricing structure of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is interesting considering the automaker did a bit of a bait-and-switch to get the price under $40k. The primary battery pack for the EV is a 77.4 kWh pack. But when Hyundai announced pricing earlier this week, it revealed there will also be a base “standard range” 58 kWh pack, which will deliver a mere 220 miles of range. And that’s the one that rings in under $40k without the $1,225 destination fees.

Whomp whomp.

Since the Teslarati are already doing I’m-better-than-you comparisons in their out-loud voices, let’s do a quick comparo. The Model Y has no “standard range” model. You get long-range and performance options with 303 and 318 miles of range, respectively. But that range adds about $20k to the price tag. And it’s worth noting: Tesla no longer qualifies for the federal tax credit.

If you do factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit on 2022 Ioniq 5, the price for AWD and longer range both drop below $40k.

The complete pricing is as follows:

ModelElectric PowertrainDrivetrainDriving Range (mi.)MSRPWith Federal Tax Credit
SE Standard Range168HP rear motorRWD220$39,700$32,200
SE 225HP rear motorRWD303$43,650$36,150
SE 320HP dual motorAWD256$47,150$39,650
SEL 225HP rear motorRWD303$45,900$38,400
SEL 320HP dual motorAWD256$49,400$41,900
Limited 225HP rear motorRWD303$50,600$43,100
Limited 320HP dual motorAWD256$54,500$47,000

Note: Prices above do not include the destination fees.

The bottom line on the 2022 Ioniq 5

I think Hyundai really knocked it out of the park with the 2022 Ioniq 5. It’s got a clean futuristic design, clever interior spaces (think movable center console) and a stellar driving experience. I’d like to see the range pop up a bit, and I’m slightly disappointed by the pricing, but Hyundai is definitely in the ball game here.

This is more affordable and more attractive (IMHO) than a Tesla, and once the ultra-fast charging network gets it’s sh*t together, Ioniq 5 – and the entire Ioniq sub brand – will be a game changer.

Editor’s note: Driving impressions in this “First Drive” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Hyundai Motor Co. covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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