Who among the established car makers has, in recent times, changed the way the world perceived their marque with but one brilliantly conceived product?
Well, here’s the latest member of that club. And one glance at the Hyundai Ioniq 5 will have you wondering whether this all-new electric crossover – an avant-garde but also staunchly traditional two-box hatchback with, of all things, Lancia Delta Integrale overtones – isn’t the most potent episode of perception-bending of them all.
We’ll come back to the design shortly, not least because all is not quite as it seems, but when was the last time a mass-market Hyundai stopped you dead in your tracks?
Design isn’t the only ambush that Hyundai has laid here, either: there’s also the timing. It was only on 23 February that the Ioniq 5 was revealed to the world, yet here we are in April with a pre-production example to become acquainted with on Warwickshire roads.
Get up very close and on this one you can even pick out patches where the disguise cladding fitted for public testing in Germany has worn through the shimmering metallic paint – although cars in mint condition should reach customers as early as late June.
The Ioniq 5 has effectively been Hyundai’s lockdown project, and the short timeline means that some dynamic elements are still to be signed off before the first ‘proper’ cars go down the line at Ulsan, the South Korean plant so colossal that you need a helicopter to appreciate its scale. So no star rating today.