Electric Hyundai Ioniq 6: prices, range and prototype drive

Hyundai’s latest electric car will be able to go further than a Tesla Model 3 Long Range on a single charge

  • Class-leading range from bigger battery
  • 53kWh and 77.4kWh battery versions
  • Starting price of around £43,000

New details have been released for the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 6, which is expected to cost from just over £40,000 when it arrives later in the year. Its headline figure is a maximum range of up to 379 miles – a handful more than the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. We’ve managed to get behind the wheel of a pre-production prototype – read on to see our first impressions.

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 shares much of its technology with the Ioniq 5. From launch, both 53kWh or 77.4kWh battery capacities will be available, but its aerodynamic shape and updated powertrain means the Ioniq 6 can go up to 64 miles further than the hatchback. Over time, its range could even be increased, thanks to wireless software updates that can alter “key control systems” for the first time in a Hyundai model, according to Thomas Schermera, Hyundai’s Executive Vice President. Its energy consumption of more than 4.4mi/kWh is said to make it one of the most efficient EVs on sale.

While entry-level rear-wheel drive versions with the smaller battery are likely to cost from around £43,000, the Hyundai’s price is expected to rise to £57,000 for a range-topping Ioniq 6 with the larger battery, four-wheel drive and 316bhp, propelling it from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. A high-performance Ioniq 6 N model is rumoured to be coming at some point, although Hyundai has yet to confirm this.

It’ll also use the Ioniq 5’s 800v electrical architecture, so will be capable of charging from 10-80 per cent in 18 minutes at a rapid charger.

A novel EV Performance Tune-up system will allow the owner to adjust the power of the electric motors, accelerator sensitivity and steering weight to their liking, while e-ASD can affect how the car sounds while it’s being driven, and add a ‘spaceship-like’ soundtrack.

Following several years of speculation and spy shots, Hyundai unveiled its all-electric Ioniq 6 saloon last month. While it follows on from the Ioniq 5 and features many similar elements, it has a sleeker, more conventional shape.

In 2020 Hyundai revealed a concept car called the Prophecy, and the new Ioniq 6 is the road-going result of that dramatic model. It’s been toned-down a little for production, but it’s still a dramatic shape with a long, sloping roofline.

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The Ioniq 6 has a long wheelbase - the distance between the wheels - which means it will have lots of interior space, plus there’s room for a big battery pack under the floor. Large 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels are fitted and it features ‘virtual’ door mirrors that use cameras rather than mirrors - a feature seen on quite a few electric cars, including the Honda e and Audi e-tron.

The Ioniq 6 has large LED lights at the front and rear, and at the back they are spread into a pattern of squares just like on the Ioniq 5. There’s a small spoiler above the badge and the lower part of the rear bumper is black, which contrasts with the rest of the bodywork. It’s been shown with similar satin paintwork that’s already been seen on the Ioniq 5. Plenty more colours will be available, though, including red, blue, white, black and green.

Inside, the Ioniq 6 shares some elements with the Ioniq 5, such as the steering wheel and some of the switchgear, but it’s a more cocooning cabin with a larger centre console that stretches up to the dashboard. It’s a more conventional look, but still features a pair of 12-inch screens - one touchscreen set-up for the infotainment and another for the digital instruments ahead of the driver.

Eco-friendly materials are used inside, including the upholstery that is made from recycled plastics and the fibres from fishing nets. At the sides of the wide dashboard are the screens that display the view from the door mirror cameras, and the door panels feature bold ambient lighting with the choice of 64 colours and six themes. This brightness of the interior illumination for front occupants can also be set to adjust based on the car’s speed. While exact UK specs haven’t been confirmed yet, globally the Ioniq 6 will be offered in up to 12 exterior colours, while the interior comes in four colourways, including dark and light grey, olive green with light grey, black with pale brown and black.

At 4,855mm long, the Ioniq 6 is 220mm longer than an Ioniq 5, but it’s narrower and shorter. The 6 features seats with backrests that are around 30 per cent thinner to provide more space, while optional Relaxation Comfort Seats will allow extra seat angle adjustment. Four Type-C USB ports and a single Type-A USB are provided for charging and connecting mobile devices.

The Ioniq 6 will usher in the next generation of Hyundai’s ‘SmartSense’ driver aids, which includes Highway Driving Assist 2. Essentially a smart cruise control, this can maintain a set distance to the car ahead, and keep the car centred in its lane through curves. It can also adjust the car’s positioning if a vehicle in another lane gets too close, and change lanes if the driver indicates - although this feature isn’t yet confirmed for the UK. Other aids will include autonomous emergency braking that can also sense crossing traffic and blind-spot collision avoidance.

Prototype drive

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - prototype 1

Ever wondered what an Apple Magic Mouse with four wheels would look like? No? Well, for the 1 per cent who have, let us introduce to you the all-new and all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 6. This streamlined coupe is the Korean brand’s third foray into the EV market and is aimed squarely at the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4.

When the Ioniq 6 was first revealed in July 2022, it’s fair to say we were rather excited to get behind the wheel; Hyundai’s last EV, the Ioniq 5, won our Best Family Electric Car award in 2021, so we expect big things from a car that shares almost all of its parts.

Yet, for the Ioniq 6, Hyundai has gone in an entirely different direction in terms of design. Out goes the Ioniq 5’s amalgamation of chunky, retro and futuristic lines, and in comes the Ioniq 6’s silhouette which has been sculpted more by a wind tunnel than the artistic hand of an automotive designer.

This means that the Hyundai Ioniq 6 has a drag coefficient of just 0.21 compared to the boxier 5’s 0.29cd figure. In plain English, this means the slipperier shape of the Ioniq 6 allows air to pass over it more easily, reducing aerodynamic drag and subsequently improving range.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - prototype 2

We were lucky enough to be handed the keys of a heavily disguised prototype of the range-topping 77.4kWh battery model. Despite the battery pack being only marginally larger than that of the top-spec Ioniq 5, the svelte shape of the Ioniq 6 allows the car to travel 379 miles on a single charge – further than even a Tesla Model 3.

Our brief time in the car was not enough to put this figure to the test, however it did reveal several similarities to the Ioniq 6’s electric sibling, the Ioniq 5. Like that car, the 6’s ride was somewhat firm – likely not helped by the kerb-clipping 20-inch alloys fitted. Having said that, it was more forgiving over large bumps than the Ioniq 5, so we’re interested to see how the car fares on smaller 18-inch wheels.

The Ioniq 6 has several drive modes which all adjust the characteristics of the car. Range-preserving ‘Eco’ mode almost made the Hyundai feel sluggish, however switching into ‘Normal’ untethered the 316bhp generated by the electric motors. The punchy acceleration, paired with the overall stiffness and composure of the Ioniq 6’s chassis all bode well for a future high-performance ‘Ioniq 6 N’ variant.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 6 - prototype interior

Hyundai has upped its interior game for the Ioniq 6, which is intended to compete with the likes of premium brands such as BMW, Mercedes and Polestar. While the overall layout is very similar to the Ioniq 5, material quality has been elevated and Hyundai has taken several steps to maximise interior space in what could have been a relatively cramped cabin. For example, the door panels – still featuring swathes of ambient lighting – have been slimmed down by relocating the window switches to the centre console. There is also much more headroom than you might expect; the boffins at Hyundai have carved out enough space for fully-grown adults to be more than comfortable in the rear of the Ioniq 6.

Not so spacious is the Ioniq 6’s boot; while many cars of this class have a practical hatchback tailgate, the Hyundai has a proper separate boot like a saloon car. We don’t have exact measurements at this time, but a brief glance reveals a cargo area that can’t quite match that of the equivalent Polestar 2.

Verdict

The Koreans seem to have cracked electric cars; the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its cousin the Kia EV6 are some of the strongest EVs on the market. Yet, the Ioniq 6 represents Hyundai’s greatest test yet as it's the brand’s first model to go directly head-to-head with the titan that is Tesla. From our brief time with the car, it seems like the mainstream marque could be onto another winner with its most premium offering yet. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 drives as great as it looks and while the boot is a tad small compared to rivals, the expected £43,000 starting price makes this one of the most enticing EVs on sale. Will this allure continue when we drive a full production model? We’re intrigued to find out.

Read about the longest-range electric cars and the best electric SUVs on sale now

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