Hyundai wants to “create buzz with every new model,” says design chief Simon Loasby. And the least we can say is that it surprises the new Ioniq 6 expected at best in concessions at the end of the year. Although it shares its undercarriage with its Ioniq 5 sibling that displays faux-70s Golf airs, the “6” plays the “low-rise” sedans, with a rear with Porsche 911 accents. But, if the final forms are known, today the Ioniq 6 that we are going to drive is hidden under a thick camouflage.
A sober interior
However, the Korean is less mysterious on board, revealing an almost definitive interior. Almost, because if the control panel shows clean materials, those of the storm doors, basic, remind us that we are on board prototypes not yet completed. But you don’t need more to realize the sobriety of the interior atmosphere. The inevitable screens are stretched over a single-piece dashboard, lightened by three thin strips that elegantly hide the air vents. From its Ioniq 5 matrix, we recognize the steering wheel, the commodo (right side) that acts as a gear lever, and the same control block in the center (menu shortcuts, air conditioning, etc.). The Ioniq 6 is distinguished by its flat console between the seats – designed to leave a laptop and work while the car is charging, which, a priori, is common in Korea. Above all, we notice these “ears” at the ends of the board. Simple design elements on variants not equipped with retro cameras, these appendages support two mini-screens when the “6” is equipped with them. Having tested them at the Hyundai facility in Namyang, it is difficult to make a final judgment on their effectiveness. But I confirm that you quickly get used to looking at these screens instead of the retro classics.
Surprises while driving
It is in a stripped-down version of these gadgets that I join Korean roads for a very instructive first contact. Who says Ioniq says it’s 100% electric and my ‘6’ is the best-equipped variant in the range. It has the large 77.4kW battery and two electric motors, one front and one rear, to provide traction to all four wheels. In total, we have 325 hp and 605 Nm of torque, with a 0 to 100 km/h announced in 5.1 s. But it’s not the vivacity at the start that’s surprising. These are the incessant warning messages topped by the electronic voice playing on a loop “Be careful, speed up” (Attention, speed reduction ahead). I don’t know if this “assistance” is common in Korea, but for my sanity I would have ripped out a few wires to silence it. In any case, it must be admitted that this Ioniq seems very frequentable. Good position at the wheel, relaxed driving, four levels of regeneration adjustable from the steering wheel paddles, careful soundproofing, easy brake regulation in daily use… this Ioniq 6 is of the conciliatory type. If it’s not easy to pick up the pace on these heavily radar-watched Korean roads, body movements seem quite contained, the steering is pleasantly assertive in Sport mode and, thanks to the lower center of gravity, the “6” feels less heavy than an Ioniq 5while it exceeds, like him, to a great extent the 2 tons.
Trepidation but a lot of space
A good omen, then, even if we don’t escape the suspension jitters here on 20-inch wheels despite the well-paved Korean roads. While waiting to see if this large sedan (4.86 m long) very aerodynamic (Cx of 0.21) is as sober as advertised (14 kW/100 km in the 53 kWh version), we admit whatwelcomes its occupants. The slope of the roof does not complicate access to the bench, nor the height under the roof of the generous rear seats, thanks to the generous wheelbase of 2.95 m. The only drawback, the trunk, where its access is rather narrow, suffers from the absence of a gate – Hyundai thought about it, but since its fasteners would have reduced the height of the bench occupants, a trunk was preferred.
That weakness shouldn’t affect the Ioniq 6’s success in South Korea, a 4-door enthusiast market, though. : The Hyundai Grandeur has been the best-selling car for years. The situation seems more complicated in France, where the appetite for sedans has decreased if we leave aside the exception of the Tesla Model 3! But to see the energy that the Koreans put into all their businesses, we think that once again Hyundai could create a surprise.