Dubbed the “Electrified Streamliner,” the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the latest in what’s set to become a rapidly growing line-up of battery-electric vehicles. And the Ioniq 6 has more than just good looks going for it as it takes aim at “legacy” automakers like Ford, Volvo, and Volkswagen, as well as the EV market’s dominant player, Tesla.
“Ioniq 6 connects an emotional convergence of functionality with aesthetics,” says SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of the Hyundai Design Center.
The midsize battery-electric sedan adopts a shape that won’t easily get lost in a crowded parking lot, a single, curved line running from nose to tail. The design serves multiple purposes, including minimizing wind drag to maximize range. The EPA rates the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq at anywhere from 240 to 361 miles per charge, depending upon your choice of three powertrains.
The wind-cheating design also helps boost performance. Depending on which package a buyer might choose, the “Electrified Streamliner” can punch out as much as 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of instantaneous torque, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.
At least, that’s how the latest addition to the growing Hyundai Ioniq family looks on paper. To see how it holds up on the road, I spent a day behind the wheel, wandering around an unusually cool and damp Phoenix, Arizona.
In short: Hyundai is determined to become a dominant player in the emerging battery-electric vehicle market, and the 2023 Ioniq 6 should help it move closer to that goal. The sedan is sleek and sexy and, depending on which model you choose, can offer a competitive range and solid performance.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
- Engine Single motor RWD with 53.0kWh battery; single motor RWD with 77.4kWh battery; twin-motor AWD with 77.4kWh battery
- HP/Torque 149/258 standard-range RWD; 225/258 long-range RWD; 320/446 long-range AWD
- Range Standard RWD 240; Long-Range RWD 361; Long-Range AWD 316
- Cargo 11.2 cu. ft.
- Striking design
- Roomy interior
- Good performance, especially with the AWD package
- Lots of useful technology
- Lacks of frunk
- Currently ineligible for EV tax credits
- The i-Pedal mode must be reactivated after every vehicle restart
Hyundai Ioniq EV: Expanding Lineup
Hyundai has been tinkering with battery propulsion for quite some time, initially offering all-electric versions of its Kona and Ioniq models. Two years ago, the automaker shifted direction, introducing Ioniq 5, its first model using an “architecture” specifically designed for battery power. That E-GMP platform will find plenty of use in the years ahead, with Hyundai and sibling brands Genesis and Kia planning to share it for as many as two dozen upcoming EVs.
Ioniq 5 has generated plenty of praise and won Hyundai a number of awards. The question was what it would do for a follow-up act. The answer is the Ioniq 6 sedan, or as company officials have taken to calling it, the “Electrified Streamliner.”
Ioniq 6: A Prophetic Design
Based on the striking Prophecy concept vehicle that had its ill-timed debut at the start of the COVID pandemic, Ioniq 6 is a visual standout, with a single, curved line running from nose to tail. Visually, the closest things you’ll find on the market right now are the far more expensive Mercedes-Benz EQE and EQS models.
As with those German offerings, the distinctive shape — along with details like flush door handles, a rear spoiler, and a smooth underbody — has a functional purpose, delivering a near record-low 0.21 coefficient of drag. That translates into lower energy consumption and improved performance.
Picking up on another theme from the Prophecy show car, Ioniq 6 features an array of what Hyundai refers to as “parametric pixels,” including 700 of them in its head and taillights and accent lights dotting the sealed front grille.
Getting Things Inside-Out
While a key goal for Ioniq 6 was getting the sedan’s aerodynamics right, the product development team actually started working on the inside of the sedan first. That proved to be a wise decision, especially when it comes to passenger space. The curvaceous roofline could have created some real compromises, especially regarding rear headroom — as the cramped back seats of the Mercedes EQS and EQE sedans demonstrate. Surprisingly, there’s plenty of room in every dimension with Hyundai’s new offering.
It helped to shorten the sedan’s front and rear overhangs, in the process stretching its wheelbase to 116.1 inches. The overall length is 191.1 inches, and Ioniq 6 stands 58.9 inches tall with a 74-inch width. It’s larger in virtually all dimensions, inside and out than its key competitor, the Tesla Model 3. Another factor helping maximize cabin space was the use of a flat load floor — a key benefit of the dedicated E-GMP platform.
Those familiar with the Ioniq 5 will recognize key interior details, including the twin 12.3-inch digital displays. And, like that crossover, Ioniq 6 shifts all but a handful of traditional controls to the infotainment touchscreen. But there are some even quirkier details to the 6.
The door and window switches have been moved to the center console. And the electronic shifter is now mounted on the steering column.
There’s no “H” logo on the steering wheel. Instead, there are four more of those pixelated lights, here used to send signals to the driver, such as the driving mode Ioniq 6 is operating in.
Don’t ask for leather if you order a 2023 Ioniq 6. The automaker won’t offer it. Instead, all versions of the electric sedan use eco-friendly and vegan materials such as recycled pop bottles and used fish nets, as well as organics like bamboo.
2023 Ioniq 6: Powertrain Options
For the most part, the new sedan uses the same all-electric drive technology as Ioniq 5, though Hyundai officials noted during a background briefing that the Electrified Streamliner gets updated lithium-ion batteries which are a little lighter and more energy-dense. That enabled the automaker to package more power into the E-GMP platform, a total of 77.4 kWh with the long-range pack. That’s expected to be the option most buyers will choose, though those on a budget could opt for the 53.0 kWh “standard-range” alternative.
The smaller pack will be offered in only one configuration, with a single, rear-mounted motor pushing out 149 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration will be modest, with a factory rated 0-60 mph launch time of 9.0 seconds. But the smaller option will actually exceed some long-range competitors, with an EPA-estimated 240 miles between charges.
With the bigger pack, the rear-drive Ioniq 6 gets a welcome bump in power and performance: 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-60 mph launch of 7.4 seconds. This will be the longest-range package offered, getting an estimated 361 miles per charge.
You sacrifice a bit of range — dropping to a still-impressive 316 miles — with the all-wheel-drive Ioniq 6. But power climbs to an even more sporty 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet. That brings launch times down to 5.1 seconds.
Those range numbers cover models with 18-inch wheels. You’ll lose some range with optional 20-inch wheels.
Hyundai Ioniq i-Pedal
All versions of Ioniq 6 feature driver-configurable regenerative braking, operated by twin paddle shifters. This adjusts the amount of energy that’s captured during braking and coasting. That helps extend the sedan’s range.
The most aggressive i-Pedal mode feels much like a gas-powered engine that’s been downshifted several gears. And, under most conditions, it allows a motorist to accelerate or slow the vehicle simply by modulating the throttle rather than having to jump back and forth from throttle to brake.
Like Ioniq 5, the new sedan features a dual 400/800V electrical system. This allows it to plug into even the fastest of the new public DC chargers popping up across the country. Hyundai claims Ioniq 5 can go from a 10% to 80% state-of-charge in as little as 18 minutes when using a charger capable of delivering at least 250 kW of energy.
Plugged into the typical home-style Level 2 240V charger, the long-range pack will take 6 hours 55 minutes, the company said, to get back up to 100% capacity. The short-range pack needs 5 hours and 20 minutes.
The various models based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform offer what’s known as vehicle-to-load, or V2L, capability. That’s a fancy way of saying you can tap into the energy in the battery pack using either a 120V outlet in the cabin or an optional adaptor that fits into the charger port.
The automaker demonstrated the feature by powering up a beverage cooler at our lunch stop. It could also be used while camping or tailgating, say, or even to keep a refrigerator powered up during a blackout. The Ioniq control system lets you set a limit to how much power you can draw down so you don’t wind up with a dead battery.
Ioniq 6 Digital Tech
When it comes to digital technology, Ioniq 6 upgrades what was already offered on Hyundai’s earlier EVs. The semi-autonomous Highway Drive Assist can help prevent crashes should another car cut into your lane.
A “Smart Regen” setting shares the windshield-mounted camera used for Ioniq 5’s various advanced driver assistance systems, called ADAS. It constantly adjusts the level of regenerative braking depending on traffic and road conditions.
EV Route Planning not only calculates the most energy-efficient route but suggests where you should charge up along the way.
Hyundai EV Connectivity
The Electrified Streamliner features an in-car WiFi Hotspot. It also has the ability to use smartphone-style over-the-air updates to add or replace software. Longer-term, Hyundai is considering ways to let owners add new features that weren’t available when the car was purchased.
Bluelink, the automaker’s connected-car technology, is now offered free, in its basic form, for new buyers. So is the Digital Key 2 Touch system, which allows you to lock, unlock, and operate your EV without a keyfob, replacing it with your smartphone.
2023 Ioniq 6: Driving Impressions
I spent my day behind the wheel of the long-range all-wheel-drive version of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 in the top-line Limited trim. It drew plenty of stares wherever I drove, and I learned to be ready whenever I stopped because folks had a lot of questions. The EV is a stand-out that gets plenty of attention.
By a quirk in timing, I had dropped off a Hyundai Ioniq 5 at the airport before heading to Phoenix, so I had the chance to compare the two EVs. Low and sleek, Ioniq 6 is clearly the winner in the fun-to-drive category. It offers a lower center of gravity, for one thing, that made it easy to sweep around corners — though, like all EVs, I could still feel the added mass of that 77.4kWh battery pack.
Acceleration came on effortlessly, the twin motors delivering near instantaneous torque when launching from a red light and plenty of pony power when merging onto a freeway. If there was one complaint, it came from my driving partner, who felt that power came on almost too easy with the Electrified Streamliner. It does take a bit of time to adjust to the linear nature of EV performance.
One personal gripe is the fact that you have to activate i-Pedal mode every time you restart the Ioniq 6. It defaults to a lower regen level after shutting off.
My other complaint: I simply don’t like having to scroll through the touchscreen for some vehicle functions, notably seat and steering wheel heaters.
As for range, I didn’t get to run my sedan down to “empty,” but based on the numbers it delivered along the way, it appeared to come very close to the EPA ratings — that despite my heavy right foot.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Review Wrapup
While the 2023 Ioniq 6 certainly isn’t meant to compete directly with the Mercedes EQE, it’s a narrower gap than you might expect. The Hyundai EV is quiet and smooth, it boasts a surprisingly refined cabin and, with the dual-motor package, is a lot of fun to drive.
It stands up quite well when compared to key competitors, such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2. All the more so when you consider you can get into the base SE model with the standard-range battery and single motor for as little as $42,715 — including delivery fees. The long-range all-wheel-drive model starts at $50,115, and even at $57,215, the Limited package offers value for the money.
Unfortunately, as an import, the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 does not qualify for federal tax credits, a disadvantage compared to the Tesla Model 3. But you get 2 years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions using Electrify America, which could add up to hundreds of dollars in annual energy savings.
The long-range versions of the Electrified Streamliner are already in production. The short-range rear-drive model should arrive in U.S. showrooms sometime this coming summer.