The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the best EV we’ve driven in 2021

A cutting-edge electric car parked on a street.

Enlarge / Hyundai’s striking new Ioniq 5 EV was worth the wait. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

SAN DIEGO—In 2020, Hyundai Motor Group revealed it had developed a new platform, purely for battery electric vehicles. Its smaller, earlier EVs have gotten impressively close to Tesla-levels of powertrain efficiency, and these days the Korean automaker is at or near the head of the class in terms of quality and reliability.

So the excitement was palpable when we learned that this new “Electric-Global Modular Platform” (or E-GMP) was intended for larger, more powerful EVs with either rear- or all-wheel drive, with an 800 V electrical architecture, the ability to fast-charge in 18 minutes, and the ability to power AC devices easily. That excitement only grew when we got our first look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5—the first of those EVs—back in February.

In fact, if I’d been paying more attention at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, I would have seen the Ioniq 5, barely disguised as a concept called the 45. The design team, led by SangYup Lee, channeled some of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s angular and boxy energy into the Ioniq 5’s proportions. The 45 concept is meant to pay homage to a 1974 concept that Giugiaro penned for the Korean brand, but to my eyes, it’s more reminiscent of a 1980s Lancia Delta. Except scaled up by 19 percent.

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