The all-electric Ioniq 5

by Sandy Myhre

This electric vehicle has won the 2021 New Zealand Car of the Year, as voted by the NZ Motoring Writers Guild.  It’s the third EV in a row to claim the title.

It’s also the first winner of the award to be available under the government’s ‘Clean Car’ scheme with the entry level variant eligible for the $8,650 rebate.

The technology offers a range of up to 500km for the premium variants.  The high speed chargers can add 85km of range in just five minutes but we didn’t have that choice, we trickle charged it at home.  It took a few hours to add a few kilometres, seven hours one day and even then it wasn’t fully charged.

What’s so special about this car that it can win the Car of the Year award for New Zealand?  It looks amazing with a distinctive grille and swathes down the size and then there’s the technology. 

It’s a brisk performer.  The flagship variant has a dual motor electric system that can deliver 0-100kph in 5.22 seconds.  Not that we tried it out, we took the manufacturer’s word for it.

We had two variants – the two-wheel-drive and the all-wheel drive, the flagship.  The difference between the two is palpable.  You can’t free-wheel the 2WD down a hill, it engine brakes. The AWD doesn’t do that, it can freewheel and therefore regenerate the battery.  

The flagship variant has extra bits on it, like an additional camera display on the screen when you’re reversing and larger wheels. 

But there’s more. The Ioniq 5 uses eco-friendly materials that include bio-paints, recycled plastics in the seat material and by-products from sugar cane production for the roof headliner, carpet and the seats.

The front end is distinctive, with it sculptured headlights which, according to the brochure, have 256 cubic pixels, which means they’re brighter than your average.

The interior of this SUV has a larger flatter floor and highly adjustable front seats which means you can configure the layout to just about anything you want, within reason. And it has a sliding centre console.

The screen sits above the dashboard, above the heating system.  It’s touch-sensitive which is a bit of a pity, because of fingerprints.

The AWD has a solar panel roof that uses sunlight to partially charge the car’s battery.  The solar roof prevents the 12V batteries from dying and charges the high voltage battery to extend the driving range.

The boot space is adequate, perhaps not as generous as with some SUVs which, admittedly, are larger than the Ioniq.

It comes complete with a swathe of safety systems including blind spot monitoring, collision avoidance, rear cross traffic collision avoidance, seven airbags and so on and so forth.

If there is one little gripe about the Ioniq (and it is little in the scheme of things) it’s that the indicator stalk is on the right side of the steering wheel, above the stalk that has the drive mode.  On one occasion I indicated and my hand slipped down to the drive mode stalk and knocked it into neutral.  The car slowly ground to a halt.  Fortunately I was able to flick in to a side street and realise what I’d done.  And I only did it once, but I was wary after that.

That said, the Ioniq 5 is one competent package.  It’s worth considering.  It’s worth the price. It’s worth taking home. 

There is a variety of prices depending on whether you want the bigger battery pack option or not. You may have to wait up to a year to get your hands on one thanks to high demand and the old global superconductor shortage.

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