While demand for sedans is dwindling in the U.S., Hyundai hopes to buck the trend with its IONIQ 6, a four-door, all-electric sedan with a sizable trunk. It's due to arrive on American shores early in 2023.
While SUVs continue to dominate, and with the number of electric trucks steadily rising, the Korean carmaker could make make some waves. That’s largely thanks to the platform the IONIQ 6 is built on. Having already enjoyed resounding praise and some degree of sales success with the Hyundai IONIQ 5, the IONIQ 6 arrives sitting on the same Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP architecture as its predecessor.
The platform has certainly proved its worth in the case of the IONIQ 5, so the arrival of the IONIQ 6 could be interesting.
For starters, you get the same size of EV as the IONIQ 5, but the styling is sleeker and low-slung, rather than upright, angular and SUV-like. It’s a neat twist with undeniably quirky styling, which is actually almost the reverse in thinking to the looks of the IONIQ 5. Of course, the big benefit of using the E-GMP platform is you get range, performance and rapid-paced charging, but there’s lots more appeal in other areas.
Aerodynamics and power make a great pair
When it comes to design and performance, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 has both in spades. But it’s a very different type of car to the IONIQ 5, even though the two share a platform. The lines are smooth and sleek, which means Hyundai has managed to make the sedan more aerodynamically efficient.
Designers were tasked with shaving as much drag off the body shape as possible, so subtle touches like the wheel gap reducers on the front fender wells help get the car down the road with less wind resistance.
Around at the back, there’s an integral spoiler that some commentators suggested makes the IONIQ 6 look a little Porsche 911-ish. They’re not wrong, especially if you see it finished in one of the darker colours of the new colour palette.
Also striking is the use of pixels in the design of the taillight array and within the headlights. It’s a real trademark of the IONIQ 6 and works nicely against the otherwise smooth lines of the car.
Thanks to the aerodynamic design, Hyundai has managed to produce a sedan with plenty of range and performance on tap from the 77.4 kWh battery edition.
The all-wheel-drive edition, fitted with 18-inch wheels, has the potential to cover around 381 miles. The IONIQ 6 is pretty potent too; there’s 293 kW (392 hp) of power and 605 Nm of torque to play with, all of which can get the car from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
A familiar drive that suits every road
We got to drive a Hyundai IONIQ 6 with a Korean specification, although models that start hitting U.S. roads in 2023 shouldn’t be too different. Once you’re seated in the cockpit and looking into the 12-inch digital dash there’s a lot of stuff that looks instantly familiar — particularly if you’ve been in the IONIQ 5.
The layout is essentially the same, with many of the controls falling to hand in much the same way as they do in the automaker’s other full EV.
Driving the car for a full day involved a raft of different roads, from congested inner city streets through to rolling mountain roads with barely another car in sight. The Hyundai IONIQ 6 proved a breeze to drive from the very start, and in that respect is much like any other EV today. The real bonus though is the E-GMP platform, which provides such a brilliant drive thanks to its long, low wheelbase.
The ride setup does feel quite firm, but that actually turns out to be a good thing when you head from the inner city, onto the highway and up into the hills. The car is available with 18 or 20-inch rims, and as a result it sits nicely on the road. Steering is positive and, once you get into some decent corners this really brings the car alive.
Combined with the power from the IONIQ 6’s power pack you get spirited performance in standard drive mode. Switch into the Sport mode, however, and the Hyundai IONIQ 6 takes on another dimension.
There’s more than enough power, that’s for sure, and you can actually throw the sedan around surprisingly well. What also adds an edge to proceedings is the driving position, as you’re hunkered down, with a nicely enveloping cabin area that makes you feel safe and secure.
The same goes if you’re sitting in the rear, too, and while Hyundai has made the seats of the IONIQ 6 quite firm it’s actually one of the main reasons why the ride seems to work out so well.
Putting the "hi" in hi-tech
We drove the Hyundai IONIQ 6 with its distinctive digital door mirrors, which are supplemented by two crisp and clear digital screens situated at opposite ends of the dash. Using the one next to the steering wheel feels the most alien of the two, but once you’ve got a few miles under your belt the technology starts to make a lot of sense.
Elsewhere, a lot of the tech on offer is similar or the same as that found in the IONIQ 5, with digital instrumentation in particular looking very familiar. That’s a good thing though, as it all worked to such great effect in the other of Hyundai’s dedicated EV fleet.
However, you’ll want to spend some time playing around with the ambient lighting options found within the central touchscreen as this offers up all sorts of interior fun. The effect can even be set up to alter as you increase your speed.
Special mention should also go to the Relaxation seats found in the IONIQ 6. They may be an option, but it’s well worth stumping up the extra cash as they offer a wealth of electrically assisted adjustment.
They’re even better when you’re parked up and taking a break. Also commendable was the sound system which, combined with all of the other positive vibes going on, makes the Hyundai IONIQ 6 a very nice place to spend some quality time.
Driving the Hyundai IONIQ 6 on Korean roads underlined how developing this car as a sedan model makes so much sense to the company. Over there, the domestic market seems to have a penchant for saloons just as much as it does for SUVs.
Offering the IONIQ 6 to other markets could prove to be an interesting experiment, but considering it’s built on the E-GMP platform you know what you’re going to be getting: Great architecture combined with looks that are refreshing and different.
There’s no doubting the performance and range of the Hyundai IONIQ 6. And, if you think a sedan might cramp your style, take a closer look at the interior. There’s certainly no shortage of space, it’s got all the toys you’ll ever want while you own it and the quality of the materials used to make it seem largely excellent.
While we don’t know quite how much it’ll cost when it arrives in the U.S. next year the Hyundai IONIQ 6 could end up being a bit of a hit. If you feel sedans have had their day it might be time to revise that thinking.