Beauty, Style & Range

The 2024 Ioniq 6 defies the wind and dazzles the senses.
May 2, 2024
Barry Spyker

No one is challenging Tesla as the pioneer of the first modern electric vehicle, and full credit goes to the innovations and success that came with it. But a check of the rearview mirror might be in order: The competition is getting intense.

Leading the way in style and technology is Hyundai and its rapidly expanding EV lineup, from the pint-size Kona and Kira Niro to the luxury-laden GV60 from its Genesis brand. Now Hyundai’s Ioniq 6, with its dramatic sloping roofline and funky pixelated lights front and rear, is turning heads and lifting the Korean carmaker to new heights. And, the Ioniq 6 is a big part of Hyundai’s best-ever first-quarter sales in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the Ioniq 6 has gobbled up dozens of awards. The World Car Awards organization and its 100-plus global jurors named it World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year. 

Sang Yup Lee, head of Hyundai Global Design, has described it this way: “The daring streamliner styling combines strong emotional appeal with aerodynamic efficiency to give exceptional range.” 

Its sleek half-moon shape, along with air flaps up front and a spoiler in the rear, contribute to a super-low drag coefficient of .021 — one of the lowest figures in the auto industry worldwide. Meanwhile, at least 700 parametric-pixel LED lights at front and rear create a startlingly cool midsize sedan — a few naysayers notwithstanding.

Now in its second year, the Ioniq 6 follows the success of the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, with which it shares platform architecture and technology. 

The Limited trim tops the lineup with dual motors and the larger of two available battery packs, while a single rear-motor entry-level SE Long Range subtracts power (to 149 hp) but saves bucks and expands driving range to 361 miles.

For sheer performance, go with the all-wheel-drive Limited that gets 320 hp and 446 pound-feet of torque from its motors: The rear motor does the heavy lifting with 221 hp, while the front develops 99 hp. The result is a quick and fun run to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, which Is amazing but shy of the Tesla Model 3 Performance figure.

Coupled with the larger 77.4 kWh battery pack, the Limited is EPA-rated for a range of 270 miles but some have managed closer to 300 miles even with the optional 20-inch wheels. The EPA rates mileage at 111 MPGe around town, 94 highway, for a combined figure of 103.

Much relies on your driving style and it may take discipline to dial it back with the brisk acceleration and handling. There’s no launch control here but flip on Sport mode to liven up the throttle response.

Other drive modes include Normal, for everyday driving, and Eco, which sacrifices some power for more efficiency.

Squeeze more miles by using the regenerative mode, commonly called “regen.” Ioniq has five levels, controlled with paddle shifters behind the wheel. Level 4 is called iPedal and represents full regen, or one-pedal driving, which is useful in heavy traffic and juicing the battery for extra miles. At the other end is Level 0, which is free coasting.

Charging times are reasonable: On average, it takes around 7 hours with a Level 2 charger, 73 minutes with a fast-charger (50kW), and just 18 minutes with a super-fast charger (350kw). And, Hyundai offers two years free of fast-charging sessions with Electrify America.

The interior design is described as “minimalist” and has a clean look, free of the usual knobs and buttons cluttering things up. A few buttons are hidden under the dash but you’ll find none on the doors. Ambient lighting adds style with a choice of six color combinations and 64 colors total.

The Ioniq 6 is surprisingly roomy, with space in all directions to seat five adults comfortably. Seats and carpets are made with sustainable materials like recycled plastic and even abandoned underwater fishing nets. 

Front seats are comfortable enough but light on lumbar support. In the rear, the seats seem low because the floor is high (battery is below floor) but leg and shoulder room are bountiful. The sloping roof makes it a bit more awkward to get in and out and takes a toll on headroom for taller folks.

Back up front, a pair of 12.3-inch screens blend into one broad super-screen to accommodate the infotainment system and digital instrument display, which includes data on real-time energy flow.

The infotainment touchscreen has sharp graphics, is well organized and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Ioniq 6 also is the first in the Hyundai family to offer automatic software updates for battery and electric motor operation, autonomous driving and communications. 

The navigation system can plan a route based on the battery’s remaining charge and location of charging stations. The steering wheel also has a pixel light indicator to remind of remaining battery charge. Tune in to the premium Bose audio system with eight speakers and subwoofer to help wait out the charge.

The cabin has some room for small travel items on a two-tiered center console but, despite the interior volume, the Ioniq 6 design doesn’t leave much for cargo. It has only 11.6 cubic feet of space, 8.5 cubes less than rival Tesla 3.

It does have an under-floor compartment for charging cables, and a laughable 0.5 cubic-foot “frunk” (front trunk) for maybe a small satchel? 

Hyundai’s Smart Sense offers a host of driver-assist and safety features, including forward-collision and blind-spot assists with pedestrian and bicycle detection. It also has safe-exit alert and a rear occupant reminder. Its highway driving assist, which is Level 2 autonomous driving, controls speed and distance and assists in lane changing, too.

With its super cool, aerodynamic look, taut driving dynamics and slew of awards already on its resumé, it’s hard for shoppers not to look twice or three times at the Ioniq 6. 

Barry Spyker was the automotive editor and columnist for the Miami Herald


 

2024 Ioniq 6 Limited AWD

MSRP: $53,650

As tested: $57,425 (Includes 20-inch wheels, special carpeted mats and destination charges)

What’s all the excitement about? Aerodynamic shape and 700-plus dazzling pixel lights outside, minimalist interior featuring sustainable materials inside, and a pair of 12.3-inch info screens melded into one

Powertrain: Dual motors — 221 hp at rear, 99 up front — deliver a total output of 320 hp and 446 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels; 77 kWh battery good for around 300 miles of range

How’s the performance? Smooth and swift acceleration to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and taut suspension and its low center of gravity keep it pinned down on corners; Five levels of regen braking are controlled by paddle shifters

Fuel economy: EPA-estimated 103 MPGe combined (111 city, 94 highway)


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