Hyundai Ioniq 6 first drive: A value-packed EV sedan

The 2023 Ioniq 6 starts at $41,600 with two battery and two drive-train options. The various combinations of battery packs and either rear-wheel or all-whee drive vehicles results in range numbers from 240 miles to 361 miles. It gives potential buyers the ability to determine which electric sedan works best for their situation.

Video Transcript

ROBERTO BALDWIN: Hyundai's march to electrification continues with its latest vehicle, the Ioniq 6, a sedan. That's right. Hyundai is building an EV sedan. With a starting price of $41,600, the Ioniq 6 brings a much needed EV sedan to the Hyundai lineup. And thanks to two battery packs and the choice of either all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, buyers have a plethora of choices while looking at this vehicle.

The Ionic 6 is available with two battery packs, a 53-kilowatt hour or a 77.4-kilowatt hour capacity pack. Those packs offer ranges from 240 miles to 361 miles. In addition to that, there are two drive trim choices, a rear-wheel drive version and an all-wheel drive version.

Today, we're driving the all-wheel drive limited with the extended range pack. It has a range of 270 miles. Now, if we were driving the regular rear-wheel drive with extended range, with the smaller wheels-- these are 20-inch wheels-- with the 18-inch wheels, we could do 361 miles between charges. That means that I could drive, in theory, from Phoenix, Arizona, where I am right now, all the way to Disneyland, 357 miles away.

Behind the wheel the Ioniq 6, I really like the way this vehicle drives. The handling is way better than it should be, to be honest. The steering is sharp. It just feels smooth through the corner. The chassis is great.

It has four levels of regen, which is great. Because one of them includes one-pedal driving. It's not as intuitive as what we found in the Volvo or in the Chevys. But it still works really well.

But I will say that it has a bit less body roll than the Ioniq 5 or the EV 6. And that really has a lot to do with the fact that it's lower to the ground than both of those vehicles. Those vehicles are still officially SUVs. This is a sedan.

For those who use advanced driver assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, I'm here to tell you that the new version of Hyundai's driver-assistance system is really, really nice. It's much better than before. Before, the adaptive cruise control was fine. It worked great.

But the lane-keeping assist was a little dicey. Most of the time, I just ended up turning it off. On this vehicle, it is much better at staying in the lane. It's not quite as nice as, say, offerings from Mercedes. But it's still really nice. I'm really impressed with what they've done. That said, also when you're driving, what's nice is that when you take sort of wrestle control away from the system, you don't have that weird torque bump.

For all the in-car technology beyond driver's assistance, you have the 12.3-inch infotainment screen. It is what you'd expect from Hyundai. It's a tablet setup with a really fancy looking home screen. It works well. It's not-- they're not breaking any new ground. But it works. And that's all that really matters.

It supports CarPlay and Android Auto, which, seriously, all modern cars should support that by now. What I do like is the climate controls. And the media controls are, most of them, well, they're buttons. Some of them are physical buttons. Some of them are sort of-- they're not even haptic. They're just sort of buttons on glass.

The dash cluster still has what I like to call the Summer Olympics half pipe. It still has that little swoop. It tells me how much range I have, how much power I'm using, whether I'm using power or I'm sending power back to the battery, and, of course, how fast I'm going. And down here in the corner, you can see what level of battery generation you are using.

Everything you need for the steering wheel is there. You don't have to go hunting and searching for stuff. Setting up the regen is easy with the little paddles. And one thing I really do like is that they've moved the shifter that you find in some of the other Hyundais from the center console to the-- it's a stock. It's a stock on the steering column. I don't know why people stop doing that. Just keep doing that, automakers.

One weird thing, though, is that there are no window controls on the door. They're in the center like we're driving a Fiat. They say that it gives us a nice clean door design, which is true. It does look nice. It's very fancy and clean.

The front seats, they're comfortable. Yeah, they have a lot of nice side pulls. They have a lot of support. They're comfortable. They're great for long-distance drives. You can road trip this vehicle.

The steering wheel is really nice. The interior design is actually really cool. There isn't a lot of headroom, though. If you are a tall person, this might be an issue. Everyone else, not a big deal.

And in this center console, you have a cubby area underneath. You have all these little storage areas. But what's cool is that they have those pixel lights on the front, the pixel lights in the back. And on the SEL and higher trim levels, you have a wireless charger.

And those pixel lights that you see in the front and the back, well, when you put your phone here, a little light, a little pixel lights, a little square lights show up here. So that design aesthetic is in all aspects of the vehicle. They really thought about what they were putting together as they put this vehicle together, both technology and design wise.

Styling wise, it's all about aerodynamics. This is essentially just a little swoop, a bulge in the earth and on the road. That said, I do like the styling, both the front, the profile, the back. What I really like are these two double rear spoilers, like you're driving a 911. But you're now. You're driving a Hyundai.

Now, this design, we've seen something similar to this from Mercedes with the EQS and the EQE. That said, I actually like the way this looks better than those vehicles from the German automaker. Hyundai is offering two battery pack options, the 53-kilowatt hour or these 77.4-kilowatt hour packs.

Now, they let you pick between price and range. Now, the smaller battery with a rear-wheel drive version of the vehicle will get you about 240 miles. Meanwhile, the larger 77.4-kilowatt hour pack with all-wheel drive will give you 316 miles. Now, if you want more range than that, you're going to want to go with the larger pack with rear-wheel drive, which will get you 361 miles of range.

For on the go charging, just like the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 is based on an 800-volt architecture, which means it charges really quickly. When you're at a DC fast charger, this vehicle will charge at 235 kilowatts or at least up to that at a compatible DC fast charger that happens to be working that day. So Hyundai says you'll be able to charge from 10% to 80% in about 18 minutes, which is just enough time to either grab some lunch or go to the bathroom but probably not both, unless you're really, really quick and there's no line at the lunch counter.

In addition to charging quickly, the vehicle also supports vehicle to load and can output 1.9 kilowatts at 110 volts from either the outlet in the back seat or with the adapter that plugs into the charger and gives you, well, your regular house outlet. Overall, I really like the Ioniq 6. Hyundai has been killing it in the EV world.

And for the Ioniq 6, it's the EV sedan for the rest of us that can afford a $40,000 vehicle. The Model 3, it's sort of long in the tooth and really sort of for tech bros. While the Polestar 2 is a wonderful vehicle. But it feels more performance and for people who are, well, fancier.

The Ioniq 6, on the other hand, even though it looks great, it's got this wonderful design. It feels like an EV for everyone else who can afford a $40,000 car. For more automotive coverage in the middle of the desert in Arizona, be sure to subscribe to Engadget.