Hyundai's quirky Ioniq 6 looks unlike anything else on the roads both inside and out, but is it worth choosing over its highly-regarded rivals?

With most electric vehicles using simple skateboard architecture that has fewer limitations than internal combustion-powered cars, it has given automakers the possibility of making the designs of these cars as unique and radical as they’d like. Hyundai is a company that’s clearly been taking full advantage of this, and its 2023 Ioniq 6 is a prime example of it.

The latest offering from the South Korean automaker’s EV sub-brand which first brought us the quirky Ioniq 5 part-SUV-part-hot-hatch, the Ioniq 6 is intended as a mid-sized executive sedan that, quite literally, looks unlike any other. Drawing upon the Prophecy design concept, it’s a brazenly aerodynamic cyberpunk design that looks unlike anything else on the roads.

Three trim levels are offered in Australia, and the one on test here is the mid-spec Techniq AWD which is priced at $83,500 before on-road costs. It’s exactly the same as the top-spec Epiq AWD model save for three features: it has conventional side mirrors rather than camera-based digital ones, an electric heater rather than a more efficient heat pump, and it lacks the Epiq’s battery conditioning system, which together net a $4500 saving. Positioned below it is the slower but more efficient Dynamiq RWD which starts at $74,000. That means it’s on the pricey side compared to a Tesla Model 3, although it’s on par with the Polestar 2 when equipped similarly.

If you’re after a car that looks unique, the Ioniq 6 is about as unique as they get these days. From its quirky side profile to its big whale-tail wing and pixelated lighting, there’s truly no other car that looks like this on the road. Even the squid ink colour of my tester adds to the uniqueness of how this car presents itself, contrasting well with the grey side sills and rear bumper garnish. The aerodynamically-styled 20-inch alloys are actually about the most normal part of this car’s design which says a lot.

Unsurprisingly, the interior is just as quirky as the exterior, with a similar blend of retro elements and modern enhancements. The cabin expands out around the large centre console on which virtually all of the controls are placed, freeing up the door cards and creating a space which Hyundai says is meant to be more like a living room than a cockpit – and it feels like it.

Beyond the white leather upholstery there’s a unique array of interior materials and finishes including translucent plastic on the lower centre console cubby and door pockets, ribbing on the upper section of the door cards, and a textured grid pattern in a very retro greyish-brown shade across the top of the centre console. There’s also two-tone ambient interior lighting which only enhances the appearance of these unique textural choices, and four illuminated pixels on the steering wheel (representing the letter ‘H’ in morse code) which change colour as you flick between drive modes, use voice control, shift to reverse, or are charging the car.

As in the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 sports two 12.3-inch screens across the top of the dashboard both integrated into the same housing for a cohesive look. The system it uses is no different either, and while it’s straightforward to use with simple menus and clear information displays, it’s not the most advanced system out there – for instance, there’s no way to bring up the navigation map in front of the driver, while there’s no wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the infotainment system so you’ll still need to plug your phone in which is decisively un-futuristic.

There is at least a solid array of other features including heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, and dual-zone climate control, along with driver assistance tech including adaptive cruise control with lane centring, one-pedal driving, and adaptive regenerative braking which automatically adjusts for road and traffic conditions.

While the interior is certainly spacious when it comes to legroom, its ergonomics are a bit awkward due to the floor-mounted battery pack which raises the height of the floor. It’s fine on a short drive, but on longer drives you’ll notice how unusual the seating position can be. The sunroof in Techniq and Epiq models does also rob front seat occupants of 48mm of headroom which taller drivers should note given the already awkward position of the seat base.

The boot is certainly spacious at 401 litres, although there’s not much of a usable frunk with only 14.5 litres of storage under the bonnet, whereas single-motor Dynamiq models get a larger 45-litre storage cubby in its place. It’s worth noting that no Ioniq 6 variant comes with any form of spare tyre, however, with a puncture repair kit all that’s included.

READ MORE: The EV6 GT is the fastest and most expensive Kia ever made, but it’s so good that it’s almost flawless

There’s no lack of power in the two top-spec Ioniq 6 variants, however, with the Techniq and Epiq both packing a pair of electric motors which together produce 239kW and a hefty 605Nm of torque. Helping it feel a bit more natural is the lions’ share of that power being sent to the rear wheels, with a larger 165kW/350Nm motor between them, while the front wheels are driven by a smaller 74kW/255Nm motor. The base Techniq does away with the front motor and retains only the rear, although it does eke out an extra 3kW from it.

Factor in that healthy instantaneous torque output and the Ioniq 6 Techniq can scoot from 0-100km/h in a fairly impressive 5.1 seconds, which is a tenth quicker than the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD and identical to the Ioniq 5 with which it shares this driveline. As in Hyundai’s other EVs, its power delivery feels smooth and surprisingly linear with it tuned to feed the power in rather than simply doling out every last Newton metre the second you tap the throttle, meaning its more akin to driving a petrol-powered car than you might expect.

That is, until you do squeeze the throttle fully and have it pin you into the back of your seat convincingly – if not as convincingly as the similarly-priced but much more powerful Tesla Model 3 Performance would. When the entirety of its torque floods out, it effortlessly hurls the Ioniq 6 forwards with a kind of restrained ferocity that makes it feel much like you’d expect a European luxury saloon to.

Where the Ioniq 6 unfortunately falls short is in the handling department. In a way, it’s unsurprising given this relatively average-sized sedan weighs a monstrous 2078kg, and unlike in its Kia EV6 twin, that weight can absolutely be felt when you hurl it into a corner. The grip is certainly there, not least thanks to the Pirelli P Zero tyres it’s rolling on, and the steering feels light but precise – it’s just that the Ioniq 6 is undersprung much like the Ioniq 5, leading to bounciness and body roll when you pitted at the Adelaide Hills backroads we test most cars on.

On city streets, this suspension works fairly well to iron out imperfections and speed bumps, keeping you comfy and cozy behind the heated steering wheel in your equally toasty seat, but whether on a technical road or through sweeping bends, the lateral weight transfer is clearly felt.

Really, the Ioniq 6 is best driven in the mindset of it being a luxury saloon, rather than one geared towards performance – no matter what the spec sheet might have you believe. This is a car best suited to smooth freeway commuting or day-trip touring than a challenging backroad.

Taking it out on those longer journeys is something made possible by its impressive range and efficiency. Fitted with a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, Hyundai claims energy consumption of 16.9kWh/100km and range of 519km. After 623km of testing, I saw only a slight increase to 17.4kWh/100km, allowing for 445km of real-world driving range. Those after even more range than that will want to look to the entry-level Dynamiq RWD variant which offers a claimed 614km of all-electric range.

As with all Hyundai models, the Ioniq 6 is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, along with an eight-year/160,000km high voltage battery warranty. Two years of complimentary roadside assistance is also included.

Being electric, Hyundai has stretched the Ioniq 6’s servicing intervals to every 24 months/30,000km, putting it on par with Volvo, Polestar, and Porsche for their EV offerings, although shy of the MG ZS EV and its lengthy 24-month/40,000km servicing requirements. The Ioniq 6 also offers lifetime capped price servicing, with the first two visits costing $560 each.

For as unique as the Ioniq 6 is, I can’t help but feel it’s perhaps just a tad too out-there for it’s own good. Sure, it’s chief rival in the Tesla Model 3 is hardly conventional either, but it offers iPhone-level simplicity where this is far more of a geeky affair.

Consider the Tesla’s immense value proposition and it edges out the Ioniq 6 even further. The same can be said for the Kia EV6 as well – sure, the GT-Line AWD costs $4090 more than this, but it’s worth the extra spend. Throw in the Polestar 2 and Volvo C40 and you’ve got a lot of very good options out there in this price bracket.

I really want to love the Ioniq 6 more than I do, and its quirky retro stylings certainly worked their way into my heart during my time with it, but my head is unfortunately telling me there are better deals out there.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Techniq AWD List Price: $83,500
  • 8.5/10
    Performance - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Ride & Handling - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech & Features - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Value for Money - 7.5/10

Pros: Its unique styling inside and out means there’s nothing out there like it, it’s got some serious grunt on tap and it delivers it smoothly and predictably, supple ride quality around town
Cons: Its styling is so unique that it will be too weird for some, feels heavy and undersprung when you pit it at a backroad, infotainment system isn’t as futuristic as the rest of the car is

Photography by Marcus Cardone.

Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Hyundai Motor Company Australia for a week with a full charge upon delivery. All additional charging expenses were covered by the author.

Patrick Jackson
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