Car and Driver’s staff praised Hyundai’s performance — two electric motors deliver up to 320 horsepower — impressive fast-charging capabilities, and a relatively affordable price point. The rear-wheel-drive car offers up to 168 horsepower and 220 miles of range.
The most striking thing about the Ioniq 5 is its design.
“Is this not the coolest design on the road?” Car and Driver editor-in-chief Tony Quiroga wrote in an article about the award.
The Ioniq 5’s general shape is like a large hatchback or a low-riding SUV — it could be seen either way — but it’s covered in sharp creases and straight edges. The taillights and front daytime lights look like something out of a very low resolution computer game. Surprisingly, though, the Ioniq 5 has a fairly slick 0.29 coefficiency of drag meaning it’s only a little less aerodynamic than a Tesla Model 3.
The car’s fast-charging 800-volt electric system and its easy-to-use and functional driver-assistance technologies were also factors in the award, Quiroga said.
Unlike most car prizes, for example, Motor Trend Car of the Year, Car and Driver’s Electric Vehicle of the Year allows the previous winner to compete again the following year. That means last year’s winner, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, is participating again this year.
But the magazine’s staffers thought the Ioniq 5 was actually a little more fun to drive than the Mustang, said Quiroga.
“Fun to drive” is one of four categories in which vehicles are judged. Others are value, the degree to which the vehicle performs its intended function and the technology.
The Ioniq 5 also competes with the Lucid Air, which won MotorTrend’s Car of the Year, and the Rivian R1T, which won MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year. Hyundai beats them in part because of its cheaper price and better value.
It also competes with the Kia EV6. Although Kia and Hyundai operate as separate companies in the United States, globally they are closely related companies. Hyundai’s parent company owns a majority stake in Kia.
While the Ioniq 5 and EV6 look very different from one another — both are strikingly unusual in their appearance but in distinct ways — they share much of their engineering, thanks to that relationship. Performance tests by Car and Driver on the two models yielded similar results. Again, though, staffers thought the Hyundai was just a bit more enjoyable to drive than the Kia, Quiroga said.
A third vehicle, the Genesis GV60, also shares the same engineering platform as the EV6 and Ioniq 5 but, with its higher price, it lost out on value despite garnering praise from the judges, Quiroga said.
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