Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs Kia EV6: which should you buy?

Two next-generation electric cars are now available, but which is better? We compare the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6

Other car companies must have been slack-jawed when the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 were launched. These cars feel like a whole new generation of EV, with super-fast charging, stand-out looks and state-of-the-art tech. The Ioniq 5 instantly made the still-available Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback outdated.

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The Ioniq 5 draws its inspiration from the original Hyundai Pony, a car that was inoffensive and unexceptional. But the new model will draw admiring glances from passers-by, with retro-modern styling that’s unlike that of any other family car.

By comparison, the Kia EV6 doesn’t have any obvious retro influence; instead, the styling aims to be futuristic. It has low-set headlights with an intricate design, and a full-width light bar that spans the tailgate and arcs down towards the rear wheels. At night, especially, you’ll probably think the EV6 is an expensive, premium model.

These cars rival models such as the Audi Q4 e-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. We’ve compared the Hyundai and Kia to see which you should buy.

Range and charging

The EV6 and Ioniq 5 use the same architecture and some of the same parts, because Kia is part of the Hyundai group. The cars both get a similarly long range, but what’s perhaps more impressive is the charging technology bestowed to each model. Until these cars launched, only the uber-expensive Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan came with 800v charging capability, but now it features on these more mainstream crossovers. Find a charger capable of 350kW and more than 60 miles of range are added in just 5 minutes. Long journeys are very much possible in these cars.

Hyundai offers two battery sizes for the Ioniq 5: 58kWh and 73kWh. The smaller option will suffice for many buyers, with a reasonable 238-mile range; the 73kWh option manages up to 298 miles. All UK-market EV6s come with a large 77.6kWh battery, and a range of between 300 and 330 miles depending on whether you pick rear- or four-wheel drive. Having the option of a smaller battery means the Ioniq is slightly less expensive to buy.

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Kia and Hyundai seem to offer some of the most accurate range figures of any electric car manufacturer, so the figures should be achievable in real driving. As with any EV, range will take a slight hit in cold weather.

Both have free VED (road tax), and recharging at home will cost much less than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Both are also attractive for company-car users, with minimal Benefit-in-Kind tax liability. Servicing and maintenance should also be cheaper than for cars with engines, too.

Performance

The entry-level Hyundai Ioniq 5 makes do with a 168bhp electric motor, powering the rear wheels. Despite weighing nearly two tonnes, it’s brisk off the line, with 0-62mph taking 8.5 seconds. Up next is a 214bhp motor, knocking more than a second off the sprint time, while the range-topping version gets two motors with 301bhp combined. That gives a startling 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds, but the 5 isn’t a sports car. It provides assured and confident handling, rather than chasing excitement and hot hatch thrills.

Opt for the Kia and you have two versions to choose from: a single-motor 226bhp version, or a dual-motor EV6 with 321bhp. It exactly matches the 0-62mph times of the 73kWh Hyundai. A 577bhp GT version is on the way, which will slingshot to 62mph in just 3.5 seconds - almost as quickly as the Tesla Model Y Performance. The Kia is slightly sharper to drive than the Hyundai, and has a firmer suspension set-up. Keen drivers might be best off in the Ford Mustang Mach-E, though.

Interior and technology

You won’t miss out on the latest technology by picking one of these cars over the other. Both have a cutting-edge design and a generous assortment of gadgetry, and whichever you choose you’ll get two 12.3-inch screens perched side-by-side on top of the dashboard. The EV6 perhaps looks more conventional inside, because there’s a flat floor ahead of the cupholders in the Ioniq 5.

Spec your Ioniq 5 with blind-spot monitoring and the camera feed appears in the digital instrument cluster when you indicate. This is a fairly new feature, and is very well integrated. An interesting feature on both cars is the ability to charge up other cars or appliances from the onboard battery, called Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) charging. Hyundai showcased this by using an Ioniq 5 to power a family’s camping holiday.

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Fittingly for circa-£40,000 cars, the materials used feel premium. There aren’t really any cheaper plastics on show. Standard equipment is also good, with top-spec versions feeling almost opulent.

Practicality

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is bigger than you probably expect. It might look like a hatchback that’s the size of a Ford Focus, but it’s actually wider and longer than the new Hyundai Tucson SUV. The distance between the front and rear wheels (the wheelbase) is longer than the Audi A8 limousine’s. There’s no need for a transmission tunnel so the rear space features a completely flat floor. The boot floor is flat and doesn’t have a massive load lip, and because the car is so big it offers 527 litres of luggage space, despite being quite shallow.

The EV6 also has a flat floor, meaning it’s fine for three adults to sit across the back row. It’s spacious for front-seat occupants, but the car’s sleeker design than the Ioniq means headroom suffers. The boot is also a little smaller in the Kia, although there is a small ‘frunk’ under the bonnet to store charging cables or muddy boots.

Verdict

Whichever car you choose, you’re more likely to be wowed than underwhelmed. These two cars are some of the best electric cars available. While you might not be as taken by the Ioniq 5’s retro styling as we are, the Ioniq wins this comparison for itself by being more practical and slightly cheaper.

Read our guide to the best electric SUVs, or check out our comparison of the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E

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