Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 is a certifiable hit among EVs available for purchase. The question is whether or not the base single-motor RWD is worth the investment.
The Hyundai Auto Group is easily one of the automakers most serious about electric vehicles. Throughout its holdings, by the end of 2023, it’ll have introduced at least a dozen new EVs in a few short years. One of its current biggest hits is the impressive Ioniq 5.
Launched for the 2022 model year, the crossover-cum-hatchback Ioniq 5 stunned everyone with its shockingly-cool design usually reserved for concept cars. Beyond the 5’s looks are a spacious and comfortable cabin, numerous versions, and relative affordability.
As with all vehicles, pricing is based on included features and this applies to the 2023 Ioniq 5. Base pricing has risen almost $7,000, from $44,999, since its introduction in late 2021 but this can be explained by the removal of the previous Essential version. Now, for 2023, the entry-level model is the Preferred and it retails for $51,635. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the lower trims are still motivated by a smaller 58-kWh battery which feeds a single rear-mounted electric motor.
The basic equipment level is very strong, and it starts with dual 12.3-inch displays, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and much more. The big advantage to the Preferred now being the base model is the fact that the heat pump and battery heating and preconditioning systems are standard.
In a nutshell, the Preferred offers all the basic necessities, and then some. There are two exceptions, however, depending on who you ask. One is the larger 77.4 kWh battery and the other, a second electric motor for AWD capability.
The question then is should you buy the basic RWD version or spring for the top AWD model?
Why should you buy a 2023 Ioniq 5 RWD?
Winter tires and go
The fact that the single engine is mounted on the rear wheels means that all-season driving will be more satisfying. In fact, winter driving will be fun so long as a proper set of winter tires are mounted.
The single motor produces a healthy 168 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, plenty enough for getting out and about.
The Preferred RWD will do the job
The standard 58kWh battery provides an estimated 354km range. With home charging, and based on average Canadian commutes, you’ll be able to go a few days without charging. With the included onboard charger’s 10.9-kW capacity, home charging will be a breeze and done in about five hours. And thanks to its 800-volt architecture, the Ioniq 5 is capable of ultra-fast 350-kW level 3 charging, good enough for an 80% state-of-charge in only 17 minutes.
At just over $51,000, the base Ioniq 5 is eligible for all EV incentives. With a hefty $12,000 total rebate (in Quebec), most similar-sized petrol-powered cars and SUVs seem like wasteful purchases.
The base RWD model still looks the part and is extremely spacious
The RWD Preferred version retains all visual cues that have made the Ioniq 5 an instant design icon. From the boxy retro-cool horizontal and vertical lines, the dot-matrix-like headlights, and two-tone paint schemes, the electric crossover looks like nothing else on the road.
Why you shouldn’t buy a 2023 Ioniq 5 RWD?
The bigger battery is only $4,000 more
Of the main concerns related to electric vehicles, the range remains high on consumer lists. Outside of home charging, the existing public charging infrastructure is still woefully lacking, and that’s when the chargers are actually online.
Although the Preferred’s estimated 354km range is acceptable, wintery driving conditions and temperatures will easily cut about 30% from that figure meaning that longer road trips, in 2023, can be risky. Opting for the $4,000 77.4 kWh battery increases ranges to a satisfying 488 km but once at the point, the second electric motor is only an extra $2,000. The projected range will drop to 414 km but the added traction and power will easily make up for the loss.
I am still very concerned about longevity and build quality
This applies to the Ioniq 5 as a whole. My test unit suffered a hatch rattle that should not exist in 2023. Furthermore, the front passenger seat vibrated intently until I found a position that eliminated the movement.
And then there’s interior quality. Comments I’ve received about this complaint are relevant where cheaper cars come with cheaper interiors. Thing is that the Ioniq 5 still retails for over $50,000 (before incentives) and suffers these issues while a $21,000 Nissan Kicks does not. And then there’s the material quality where Nissan’s plastics seem as nice or nicer than the Ioniq’s.
The 2023 Ioniq 5 is an extremely competent electric vehicle but some issues, such as the hatch rattle and the absence of a rear wiper, make me believe that it’s not quite ready for prime time.
I’m often asked which EV is my favorite or which one would I personally buy and the answer’s always the same: None. EVs today are about as bad as they’ll ever get and considering the speed at which EV technologies are evolving, in two years’ time, the 2023 Ioniq 5 (Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, and others) will be ancient news.
Keeping that in mind, considering how impressive the Ioniq 5 is, the future looks bright. But, if I was shopping for a 5, I’d go all out and select the Preferred LR AWD for the power and all-wheel control.