How Hyundai has made this EV such a smooth operator

Ioniq 6 saloon offers dramatic looks and a comfortable drive, but poor boot space

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 offers a different vibe to the SUV/crossover EV set, with an emphasis on comfort

Eddie Cunningham

This week’s review car proves your next electric vehicle does not have to be an SUV or crossover.

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a four-door saloon. Hyundai calls it a “sophisticated streamliner”. Whatever.

Crescent shaped, low slung and long, it is an eyeful of difference from the SUV set.

From frontal upper curves and lower insets, to the inverted struts of the broad tail end and spoiler, it manages to look different from nearly anything that’s out there.

It reminded me of the crescent profile of the wonderful first edition Mercedes CLS. Or, more mundanely perhaps, a “flattened” Volkswagen Passat CC. And, dare I say it, there are Porsche 911 looks from the rear.

Whatever about all that, there is function to this Ioniq’s form. Such is its sleek and smooth nature that it has one of the lowest drag-efficient (wind resistance) scores on the market. An aerodynamic total of 0.21 puts it in among the elite (including the much more expensive Mercedes EQS).

Yet the “6” has the same underpinnings/chassis, motors and batteries as the smaller crossover sibling, the Ioniq 5. It is just designed quite differently. Like the “5”, it is a treble World Car of the Year winner, picking up in 2023 where its stablemate left off in 2022. Both were voted best overall car, best EV and best design.

As well as dramatic design and shape, the “6” scores heavily on range against the “5” thanks to that reduced drag factor I’ve just mentioned. It’s simple: the low wind resistance frame means it uses less energy and that lets it go further between charges.

They claim 614km for the model I tested. I’d say you could bank on 550km under ordinary conditions.

The inclusion of a heat pump makes that figure all the more attainable because of its ability to heat cold air, save energy and improve battery range. Anyway, I reckon the “6” will manage 100km more than the “5”.

One thing for sure is you should feel quite comfortable on your travels, be they long or short, in this.

Front passengers fare especially well in the big cabin, while those in the rear are not impeded by the low-sloping roof, either when getting in or out, or in situ.

I tried it myself and reckoned it had good, if not exactly copious, headroom for two of my height (still 6ft 1in – despite everything) and a third smaller passenger, possibly. But there is copious rear leg room.

The seating was excellent in supporting shoulders, back and thighs, that’s why I’ve emphasised the comfort of it so much.

Overall, I prefer this cabin to that of the Tesla 3 (a core rival as well as the Polestar 2 and BMW i4).

The integration of window switches to the centre console is cleverly done. The 12.3in infotainment touchscreen is easy to use, but they retained key control buttons for volume.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned a steering wheel in a review for years. This felt really good to the touch (why do some makes stick such thick ones?).

And setting a pleasant backdrop was ambient lighting – a nice cosy effect when night driving. All of which put me at my ease.

One criticism was the faint identification script on the different switches in that centre console. Another criticism: boot space at 401 litres isn’t great, though it runs long and fairly deep.

For such a low-slung car, I was surprised to see I had excellent visibility from a much higher driving point than I expected.

Once up and away, the main phenomenon I noticed was the quietness and lack of road/tyre, and of course, wind noise. That’s not always the way with EVs. There are three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport): stick with Normal.

It was a slick enough drive, without raising pulses. It’s the sort of car that exudes comfortable driving and one capable of absorbing average road surface aberrations.

The whole thing – from design to drive – is geared towards making this a smooth operator. It does so with some skill, be it driving in heavy traffic or on a free-flowing motorway.

It was inevitable, I suppose, in the course of my drives that I wondered if families, in particular, would fall for this “streamliner” as much as a similar-sized electric but bulkier SUV or crossover. The latter are almost embedded in the psyche at this stage.

But there are, surely, plenty of people out there who love their family saloon and will be delighted to switch to its EV equivalent.

Would I buy it? Yes, absolutely. If I was thinking of going the EV route – and who isn’t at some stage of “thinking” along those lines nowadays – I would have to have it on my shortlist for the long haul.


Hyundai Ioniq 6, electric saloon. From €48,295 (53kWh battery, 429km range); 77kWh battery on test from €54,315, 614km range. Prices to €71,250. Signature model spec includes 18in alloys, flush door handles, electric driver seat/lumbar support, dual zone climate control, heat pump, park distance sensors, rear-view parking camera, 12.3in touchscreen, 12.3in TFT for drive information, rear-wheel drive, One USB charging point, four USCs. Additional spec: leather, surround view monitor, premium seats.