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Following Ioniq 5's success , Hyundai has created an even more distinctive saloon to challenge the Tesla Model 3

The first time you set eyes on the new Hyundai Ioniq 6, all stretched, swooping lines and Porsche 911-esque rear, you find yourself asking: what were its designers thinking?

If 2022-spec Hyundai were a more conservative, boring manufacturer, the Ioniq 6 wouldn’t look anything like it does: it would be a reskinned saloon version of the ultra-successful Ioniq 5 SUV. Heck, they could have just fiddled with the roofline of that car and churned out a Hyundai Ioniq 5 Coupé.

Then again, if Hyundai were a more conservative, boring manufacturer, the Ioniq 5 itself wouldn’t look anything like it does. By ignoring its rulebook and convention for that car, the Korean company produced a cutting-edge EV that fundamentally shifted its brand’s market position upwards. So it probably shouldn’t surprise that Hyundai has elected against a safe follow-up that gently reworks that model’s angular, Lancia Deltalike styling, instead throwing out everything bar the ‘parametric pixel’ LED light graphics.

So what were its designers thinking? The answer is 0.1x. That was the slogan that Hyundai styling chief Simon Loasby had printed on T-shirts for the team that developed the exterior design for the Ioniq 6. It refers to the drag coefficient target the team set to meet the car’s brief to be the most aerodynamically efficient four-seat, four-door electric saloon possible – a true “electrified streamliner”.

They failed. The Ioniq 6 has a Cd of 0.21, above the team’s hugely ambitious target. But Loasby says that “if 0.21 is failure, I don’t mind failing.” It’s still comfortably the slipperiest Hyundai ever designed, and that’s reflected in the reason for that drive for aero efficiency: range. The Ioniq 6 has an official energy efficiency of 4.3mpkWh, which gives it a maximum official range of up to 382 miles. That’s a substantial 67 more than the equivalent Ioniq 5 (which has a Cd of 0.29), despite using the same E-GMP platform, powertrain and 77.4kWh battery. And while UK trim levels and prices haven’t yet been set, the suggestion is that it will be on a par with the equivalent Ioniq 5, which starts at £45,150.

More importantly, that range puts the car ahead of the leggiest versions of what Hyundai cites as the Ioniq 6’s two main electric saloon targets: the Polestar 2 (341 miles) and Tesla Model 3 (374 miles). Forget the 1930s-slipstreamer references: that’s the comparison that will be key to shifting lots and lots of Ioniq 6s.

Hyundai ioniq 6 05 dashboard

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The line-up will match that of the Ioniq 5, with a choice of 226bhp rear-motor and 329bhp dual-motor powertrains and 18in or 20in wheels. A 58kWh battery will be offered in some markets but not in the UK (as the overwhelming majority of Ioniq 5 sales are of the Long Range version). That 382-mile range is obviously spec-dependent: to achieve it, you need the RWD Long Range on 18in wheels with the digital door mirrors.

Our Korean-spec test car was an AWD Long Range on 20in wheels, which has an official range of 322 miles, thanks to an efficiency of 3.7mpkWh. We actually managed around 4mpkWh on our test route, suggesting that even in AWD form, 300 real-world miles are possible. As with other E-GMP cars, the platform’s 800V electrical architecture allows for charging at rates of up to 350kW, giving a 10-80% charge in 18 minutes. 

Efficiency benefits aside, the Ioniq 6’s styling won’t hurt its cause. In an EV market struggling with homogenisation, it’s a genuinely different proposition. From the rear, there’s more than a passing resemblance to a digital-age 911, a comparison surely encouraged with the vertical grooves on the dramatic rear spoiler. The bodywork also disguises its size: it’s about 200mm longer than the Ioniq 5, but the roofline is 152mm lower and the wheelbase is marginally shorter, so it’s a surprise when you step inside and find as much room as there is.

Presumably because redesigning the interior wouldn’t have an impact on the drag coefficient, there’s a lot more family resemblance with the Ioniq 5 here, but since that car has a classy, clean and upmarket cabin, we’re not exactly complaining. The two 12in digital screens for the infotainment system and your driving information are crisp and clear, and the software works well. New for the Ioniq 6 is an ambient lighting system that offers 4096 colour combinations and the ability to set the lights to change colour as you drive faster.

There’s also the new e-ASD system, a “spaceship-like” noise that changes pitch as you accelerate. Most will, of course, set that to ‘off’. Our test car featured the optional ‘digital wing mirrors’ (apparently worth around 0.9 miles to the range), with the screens displaying your rearward views contained on two prominent ‘wing tips’ that fold out from the end of the dashboard. While still not as intuitive as actual mirrors, the screens are better placed than in many other EVs that feature them.

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The payoff for the Ioniq 6’s slippery body is found from the B-pillar backwards, with that low roofline impacting head room for rear passengers. Hyundai has angled the rear seats so those passengers sit slightly lower, the reward being ample leg room – substantially more than in the Polestar 2 or Model 3. The boot space is decent (Hyundai has yet to give a capacity figure), although access is inhibited by the fact it’s a proper saloon boot. A fastback would have given easier access, but just reading those words would probably have enough impact on the Cd figure to make Hyundai’s designers shudder. Occasionally having to Tetris your suitcases into the boot is a trade-off for having 382 miles of range.

Hyundai ioniq 6 13 back static

It’s one reminder that while range is still important to many, there’s more to a car than how far it will go on a single charge. In inviting comparison with the 2 and Model 3, Hyundai is pitching the Ioniq 6 up against some of the most convincing driver’s EVs on the market. For all the strengths of the Ioniq 5, it’s hampered by a ride that’s a little too floaty and occasional body roll. The Ioniq 6 – with the caveat that we’re driving a Korean-spec model – has clearly been tuned to offer a more engaging ride.

It’s firmer, with a bit more edge to it than the Ioniq 5, and definitely feels lighter, yet it still maintains composure when you get onto a rough surface. The steering has a reassuring feel to it and responds well to your instructions, and the car is remarkably easy to place, given its considerable size and long wheelbase.

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The AWD version offers plenty of power and, as the official 0-62mph time of 5.0sec suggests, it’s easy to access. The system’s delivery is smooth, giving you easy access to the large reserves of torque. If the streamliner bodywork had you mistakenly expecting an electric sports car, you might be left disappointed, but the Ioniq 6 holds its own near the sharp end of the electric saloon class.

It’s not as engaging as some of the petrol-powered touring saloons that its long range could tempt buyers over from, and the Model 3 is perhaps a touch more dynamic, but it’s still a pleasurable way to rack up the miles.

Hyundai doesn’t expect the Ioniq 6 to be as popular as the Ioniq 5, because familes who don’t need the extra range are likely to gravitate towards the perceived extra roominess of the SUV. If it’s a similar price to that car, the company might be pleasantly surprised. The Ioniq 6 has all the traits you would want of an electric saloon, being practical, pleasing to drive, well-equipped and (we expect) competitively priced against its rivals. Hyundai’s design team may have failed to meet their 0.1x Cd target, but the Ioniq 6 is a pretty glorious failure.


James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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