Hyundai's sleek Ioniq 6 tops or match rival Tesla in a pair of key metrics: efficiency and aerodynamics.The Korean automaker's newest member of the fast-expanding Ioniq family has a Tesla-beating efficiency of 13.9 kilowatt hours of battery usage per 100 kilometers.
Sleek Ioniq 6 helps Hyundai top, match Tesla in two key metrics
Hyundai optimized the Ioniq 6's aerodynamics by giving it digital side mirrors instead of traditional side mirrors.
The test drive
The car we drove in Madrid was a dual-motor 4WD version with the 77.4-kWh battery and 20-inch wheels. The list WLTP range was 519 km (324 mi).
For the first test we started with 100 percent charge and the trip computer showed an estimated range of 496 km. After 180 km on motorways, mountain roads and country roads at temperatures ranging from 5 to 15 degrees Centigrade (41 to 59 degree Fahrenheit) and with little use of the air conditioner, the charge level was 68 percent. The estimated remaining range was 316 km. That is equivalent to a range more than 500 km with a full battery.
A second, shorter trip started with a 71 percent charge and a projected remaining range of 338 km. After 74.5 km, the charge was down to 55 percent and range had shrunk to 262 km. The trip computer showed an average consumption of 16.3 kWh/100 km.
As experience during other electric car tests, a lot of energy is spent when climbing. (We reached a maximum altitude of 1,900 meters, which is more than 6,230 feet.) But a lot of that energy is recovered when going downhill thanks to regenerative braking.
The best result Tesla has been able to achieve thus far is 14.4 kWh/100 km for the Model 3.
To achieve that level, Hyundai optimized the Ioniq 6's aerodynamics by giving it digital side mirrors instead of traditional side mirrors. The low-slung sedan also has two active air flaps at the front of the car, air curtains for the wheels and an integrated rear spoiler.
All those features result in a drag coefficient as low as 0.21, which nearly matches that of the Tesla Model S.
The most efficient Ioniq 6 is also the model line's least expensive, at 43,900 euros in Germany. The base price for the Model 3 in Germany is nearly identical at 43,990 euros.
The entry Ioniq 6 has a 53-kWh battery that promises a maximum 429 km range (268 miles). Its 13.9 kWh/100 km is also approximately 20 percent better than a comparable version of its crossover sister model, the Ioniq 5, which also uses Hyundai's E-GMP platform.
Despite the Tesla-topping efficiency, only 20 percent of the Ioniq 6 orders thus far have been for this variant, Hyundai Europe product manager Marco Di Meo said at a test drive event this month in Madrid.
The Ioniq 6's most efficient model, however, doesn't offer the longest range in the family.
To get that – a promised range of 614 kilometers, which beats the best Model 3 by 12 km – requires choosing the two-wheel-drive, single motor Ioniq 6 variant that has a 77.4-kWh battery, 18-inch wheels and digital side mirrors. Range shrinks by roughly 10 percent if the car rides on 20-inch wheels compared with 18-inch wheels. Another factor that reduces range is adding all-wheel drive.
Comparing the siblings
The Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 5 share their electric architecture, each offers ample passenger space with similar interior configurations.
At 4855 mm, the Ioniq 6 is 220 mm (about 9 inches) longer than the Ioniq 5, but its roofline is 110 mm lower at 1495 mm. The sedan's wheelbase of 2950 mm is 50 mm shorter than its crossover sibling.
The Ioniq 6 offers 401 liters of cargo space in the rear luggage compartment, plus a 45-liter frunk (front trunk) in the 2WD version, but that dips to 14.5 liters in the 4WD version.
The Ioniq 5 offers 551 liters of luggage space, which increases significantly when the rear seats are folded.
The Ioniq 6 is assembled at Hyundai's plant in Asan, South Korea.
Late last year Hyundai started sales of the Ioniq 6 First Edition in five European markets (France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK,). This month the automaker stared deliveries of those roughly 2,500 units.
Deliveries of the standard versions of the car will follow shortly, with a top price of 61,200 euros in Germany for the four-wheel drive variant with a 77.4-kWh battery.
Delivery times in Europe are currently estimated at about three months, Hyundai said.