2023 Hyundai IONIQ6: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
Not long ago, Hyundai upped its EV ante with the introduction of the IONIQ5 — the first vehicle built on the brand’s new Electric-Global Modular (E-GMP) platform. The Korea-based company continues to follow through on its plans for an all-electric lineup with the all-new 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6. This streamlined 4-door sedan offers high efficiency, excellent performance and unique styling to the ever-growing electric vehicle market.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceExceeding Customer Expectations
“IONIQ 6 is well-positioned to compete in the EV segment for the millions of shoppers who are interested in transitioning to zero emissions transportation,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America. “IONIQ 6 fits the image, efficiency and sportiness that many owners desire. IONIQ 6 and its interior space, battery options, charging speed and all-wheel drive capability will exceed customer expectations.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceForm Follows Function
The IONIQ6 brings a new look to the Hyundai model lineup, and while we appreciate the need for efficient aerodynamics, the design is a bit polarizing. But, one could argue, this is a case of form following function. The low nose, active air flaps at the front, full underbody cover, flush door handles, reduced wheel gap arches, and elliptical rear spoiler all contribute to the IONIQ6’s very low .22 drag coefficient.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnique Styling
Up front, the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 styling departs from the rest of the Hyundai lineup with LED projector headlights, running lights and turn signal behind a single lens (on each side). The hood flows smoothly up from the low nose, matching the sculpted hood with the headlight placement. The IONIQ6 is about the same length as a Hyundai Sonata; however, the wheelbase is five inches longer, which puts the wheels closer to the corners of the vehicle and adds about five inches of rear-seat legroom.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFlowing Silhouette
The IONIQ6 doesn’t seem to have a straight line on its surface, with a silhouette that curves from the base of the windshield over the cabin to the dual rear spoilers. Stylish 20-inch wheels (standard on SEL and Limited) add to the premium look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear View
With dual spoilers, LED taillights that span the width of the vehicle as well as a flowing roofline, the rear view of the IONIQ6 is a most unusual angle — it’s also the view we most prefer. It looks different depending on the color; it’s reminiscent of a Porsche 911 — perhaps the reason for its attraction.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
Hyundai offers the new IONIQ6 in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. All trims come with single-motor rear-wheel drive, as well as optional dual-motor all-wheel drive. Pricing starts at $41,600 for the IONIQ6 SE with standard range battery and tops out at $56,100: the base price for the IONIQ6 SEL Limited AWD.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower Options
The 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 is available with three powertrain options. The RWD Standard Range gets a 53-kWh battery that supplies juice to a single 149-horsepower electric motor. Rear-wheel-drive versions with the larger 77.4-kWh battery get a 225-horsepower motor, and the dual-motor variants use the same battery pack and generate a total of 320 horsepower. According to Hyundai, the dual-motor IONIQ6 will sprint to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds — an accurate figure based on our experience with the car. The dual-motor version can also disconnect the front motor when not needed, providing as much as a six percent increase in range.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCharging
Hyundai’s E-GMP platform can support a 400-volt or 800-volt charging system, providing flexibility and making it possible for the IONIQ6 to charge quickly. Plugged into a 350-kW DC fast charger, the IONIQ6 can gain about 65 miles of range in just five minutes and reach 80 percent charge in less than 20 minutes. Charging to 80 percent on a Level 2 charger takes around seven hours (5 hours and 20 minutes for the standard range battery), making it easy to charge the IONIQ6 overnight.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRange
Obtaining the maximum range from the IONIQ6 requires the extended battery and single-motor rear-wheel drive. When equipped with 18-inch wheels, this newest Hyundai can travel an estimated 361 miles between charges. With all-wheel drive and the larger 20-inch wheels, the range drops to a still respectable 270 miles. The standard-range SE, the lowest-priced variant, delivers an estimated 240 miles of range.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaPower Outlets
The Hyundai IONIQ6 can also be used as a portable power supply, providing up to 1.9 kW to the 110-volt power outlet in the rear seat as well as the adapter that can be connected to the charge port. This output is enough to power small appliances, a laptop or even an emergency “jump” to another EV.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
The shape may be odd from the outside, but the aerodynamic design on the E-GMP platform provides a roomy interior. A decent amount of storage is available between the front seats, including dual cupholders, a sizable covered center console, and a large open space below that can accommodate a large bag or purse.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHigh-Tech Look
All trim levels of the IONIQ6 come with a 12.3-inch driver display and a 12.3-inch infotainment display — both housed in a single frame for a clean, high-tech look. Like other Hyundais, the infotainment system is easy to use with intuitive navigation and quick response to inputs. We’re pleased to see that Hyundai hasn’t eliminated all buttons like some of its competitors; shortcuts to map, navigation and media are below the screen, as are volume and tuning knobs. Climate controls continue the techy look with soft-touch controls.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
The stylish front seats of the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 offer commendable support with effective bolsters and a head restraint that juts forward for a more comfortable seating position. Heating is standard on all trims, with ventilated front seats on the top-level Limited only.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The rear seat of the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 is surprisingly large with plenty of legroom and headroom — even for the middle-seat occupant. Front seatbacks have a concave design that creates even more knee room. Seats are quite comfortable — certainly a space we wouldn’t mind occupying for long road trips.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrunk Space
Cargo-carrying is not the IONIQ6’s forte — the trunk has only 11.3 cubic feet of space. However, it will still fit a few suitcases or a good haul from the grocery store. The opening is small, making it difficult to load larger items. Rear seats fold flat to provide additional utility when needed. The IONIQ6 also has a small frunk (trunk under the hood), but at a mere 0.5 cubic feet of space, it can only handle smaller items.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBehind the Wheel
Hyundai invited us to southeast Michigan to experience the new IONIQ6 on the road. We drove the top-level Limited with dual-motor all-wheel drive at a sticker price of $57,425. With multiple seat adjustments, finding the proper driving position was simple, and visibility quite good. Heading out from Chelsea, we immediately noticed the quiet ride in this electric Hyundai. The throttle is easy to modulate for smooth acceleration and a comfortable ride.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOne-Pedal Driving
The 2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 offers varying levels of regenerative brakes, adjusted via paddle shifters on the steering column. Setting it to the maximum level engages i-pedal, which applies strong braking when lifting off the throttle and eventually brings the vehicle to a complete stop. With some practice, it is possible to drive the IONIQ6 with minimal use of the brake pedal.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
As the top performance variant of the IONIQ6, the Limited test car was very quick. Full throttle from practically any speed will push occupants back in their seats, and from a standstill the acceleration is impressive. Launching from a stop, the IONIQ6 has virtually no wheelspin, and the car stays perfectly stable even as the speed quickly passes the legal limit. This new Hyundai sedan cruises through towns or at highway speeds with equal ease.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHandling
We wouldn’t call the IONIQ6 a sport sedan, although when we took a route through some winding roads outside of Dexter, MI, the midsize sedan performed exceptionally well. Steering is precise with proper feedback, and with its low center of gravity thanks to the battery placement, the IONIQ6 stays relatively flat through corners. With one-pedal driving we could slow for corners by lifting off the throttle yet retain a quick exit thanks to the instantly available torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
Some consumers might be immediately turned off by the IONIQ6’s unusual design, which is too bad because they’ll miss out on a great midsize sedan. With a comfortable, roomy interior and an intuitive infotainment system, the IONIQ6 is a nice place to spend time. Add in its high performance, efficient powertrain as well as its fun-to-drive characteristics, and the IONIQ6 becomes an excellent option for buyers who don’t need (or want) another crossover.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Pros: Roomy interior; responsive performance; extremely efficient.
Cons: Polarizing looks; no wireless Android Auto / Apple CarPlay; small trunk opening.
Bottom Line: A family sedan that delivers efficiency, performance and comfort – what’s not to like?

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