Not content to just throw it out of the park after last year’s release of the quirky and highly acclaimed IONIQ 5 EV crossover, Hyundai provided another wow moment with the unveiling of the IONIQ 6 sedan at the 2022 LA Auto Show.
Its curvy silhouette, particularly the dramatically swept nose and roofline, is certainly interesting to look at, but it also serves another important function.
“So the design brief for this car was all about how we do it [get] this unique, functional aesthetic. We literally started with printed images of streamlined trains and airplanes, Raymond Loewy (French-American industrial designer) of coke machines, [and] what looks efficient: dolphins, sharks, peregrine falcons,” said Simon Loasby, head of Hyundai Style Group, during a tour of the vehicle.
The process resulted in the unusual boat-tail profile which, aided by other features such as active air flaps in the front bumper, rear spoiler, underbody cover and reduced wheel arch space, allows the IONIQ 6 to achieve a low drag coefficient of 0.22 – like a Porsche Taycan. Despite the 5 Series’ identical single or twin electric motor setup, the estimated maximum range of 547 kilometers is an improvement of about 100 kilometers (depending on powertrain and battery configuration) simply due to better aerodynamics.
The headlights and taillights with Parametric Pixels LED lighting are another similarity. The dot-matrix-like shapes are found not only on the outside, but also inside the cabin at the center of the dual-spoke steering wheel and around the air vents and center console area. Thanks to the flexibility of the Electric-Global Modular Platform on which this so-called streamliner is built, the 2,950 millimeter long wheelbase and the elongated greenhouse result in plenty of interior space.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sits beneath a single piece of glass alongside a matching 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display, resulting in a very clean-looking dashboard. There’s ambient lighting and drivers can customize almost every color under the sun from a spectrum of 64 tones to help occupants feel relaxed. Paneling and upholstery are made from sustainable materials such as recycled PET (headlining), organic paint derived from vegetable oil (doors) and recycled fishing net (carpet), a Hyundai first.
As mentioned above, the mechanics are familiar. The top-of-the-line four-wheel drive variant has a 74-kilowatt electric motor in the front and a 165-kilowatt rear motor mated to a new larger 77.4-kWh battery that produces a net power output of 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque , which are good for a 0 to 100 km/h time of under five seconds and a range of around 500 kilometers.
400 and 800 volt charging is supported when connected to a 350-kilowatt Level 3 station to go from 10 to 80 percent capacity, 18 minutes. Plug in at home? A full charge at 240 volt level 2 is completed in seven hours and 10 minutes. On the other hand, the vehicle can be used as a mobile charger to power recreational equipment or even another electric vehicle stranded on the road.
This is the first model in the lineup capable of receiving over-the-air firmware updates, boosting performance, improving navigation and multimedia, and possibly resolving a recall, without having to visit a service center must become. The 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 is part of the brand’s overall strategy to launch 17 electric vehicles by 2030 and is expected to hit showrooms in the spring.
Benjamin Yong is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, BC and a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Follow him on Twitter @b_yong.