The best electric car today. That is the Hyundai Ioniq 5. There are many electric cars on sale today and you can find them at all kinds of different price points. You can buy some that only go for a hundred miles or so, and cannot be considered a primary car. There are some expensive choices that may be good vehicles, but are not affordable to most people. When you factor in all of the variables, the Ioniq 5 stands alone at the top.

Let’s start out with the styling. Most electric cars tend to go in one of two directions, futuristic but ugly, or too conservative. The Ioniq 5 is neither. It is highly futuristic, and when you first see it you want to know what it is. It turns heads and really stands out, but it is clean and aggressive.

The interior styling is open and functional. There are two 12-inch screens on the dashboard that tell the driver everything he needs to know. The interior’s most notable feature is the moveable center console that slides back and forth 5.5 inches. This movement, flat floor and gear selector located behind the steering wheel allow the driver an amazing amount of obstruction free space to get in and out. The design team focused on everyday practicality, with lots of cup holders, 15-watt wireless phone charger and USB ports, and a console big enough to hold a large handbag.

The all-electric packaging and shift-by-wire system make for a nearly flat floor for maximum passenger and cargo space. The flat floor provides more legroom for passengers, while enabling various arrangements for the front and rear seats. The Ioniq 5 provides 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, which increases up to 59.3 cubic feet when the second-row seats are folded. For added versatility, the second-row seats can slide forward up to 5.3 inches, recline, and fold in a 60:40 ratio.

Under the hood — or in this case under the floor — lies a 58 kwh battery in the standard range model. That model starts out at $39,950 and is really there so Hyundai can advertise that prices start at less than $40,000. The standard range model has a 125 kw (168 hp) motor. The other trim levels all have larger 77 kwh batteries with a 168 kw (225 hp) motor. Most buyers don’t want to know how fast the car is, instead focusing on range. The standard range model can go 220 miles on a charge while the other trim levels are good for 303 miles with front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models gain an additional motor for a total of 239 kw (320 hp) but range is cut to 256 miles.

Our AWD test car was really quick, especially off the line. We did not get to test the car on a track, but most testers have reported 0-60 times of about 4.4 seconds. That is quick, but what is even more impressive is 0-30 times. This car rockets off the line and launches harder than most sports cars. The acceleration drops off after 30 mph, but it is still good for low 13-second quarter-mile times. It is about the same speed as the Tesla Model Y Long Range, which costs significantly more.

The top-of-the-line Ioniq 5 may cost less than the comparable Tesla and offer roughly the same performance, but what really sets it apart is the build quality. This Hyundai, like all Hyundais these days, feels like a premium automobile, and is much more refined. And since it is a Hyundai, you know it will be reliable and you will not have electrical problems. Hyundai even provides a free five-year, 60,000-mile full-coverage warranty and 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Potential owners need to know about recharging. As with anything with a large 77 kwh battery, level 1 charging at home with 110 volts will take a long time. Hyundai says that using level 2 (240-volt) charging can bring a 10% battery to 100% in 6 hours and 43 minutes, which is not bad considering that most people can achieve those numbers at home. Step up to a commercial 400-volt rapid charger and you can go from 10% to 80% in about 25 minutes. It is important to know that the Ioniq 5 can take advantage of 800-volt recharging if available, which trims the 10% to 80% charging to 18 minutes.

Using commercial chargers are much more expensive than charging at home and people don’t realize that it can be pricey, although it is still cheaper than gasoline. In California, rates can vary depending on the time of day and can be as high as 61 cents per kwh. A full charge can end up costing you around $40 if you don’t watch it. Hyundai offers new owners two years of free 30-minute charging at Electrify America outlets, which is great if your house or work is close to those locations.

On the road, the Ioniq 5 is fun to drive and is really responsive. It is definitely not a sports car, and lacks the feel and the ultimate grip, but it is not about that. It is comfortable, luxurious and roomy. It does what most people want their car to do. It does it reliably and with its long range, you can drive it all day with no issues. And unlike most Tesla models, it is affordable, comfortable and well engineered. While the entry level standard range is priced at $39,950, the SE with RWD will cost you $44,000. Go for the AWD model to get the extra power and you will have to write a check for $47,500. The top of the line Limited AWD goes for $55,000.

Electric cars are not for everyone. You can’t drive them everywhere and you do need to plan ahead, but they have many advantages. They are fun to drive, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the best one you can buy today.


Engine: Permanent magnet synchronous motor
Horsepower: 168 hp or 125 kw
Torque: 258 pound-feet
Front Suspension: McPherson strut, independent
Rear Suspension: Five-link, independent
Transmission: Single speed reduction gear
Axle Ratio: 2.263:1
Curb Weight: 3,968 lbs.
Base MSRP: $39,950


Image courtesy of HYUNDAI

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