Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 compared: the big BEV battle of 2022

David Linklater
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Photos / David Linklater

On the surface, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 are very different battery electric vehicles (BEVs): one’s an angular retro-futuristic family SUV, the other a curvaceous fastback with sporting aspirations.

But they’re also versions of the same thing: BEVs on the new Hyundai/Kia E-GMP platform, with the same basic architecture and powertrain technology.

We’ve got the current flagship models of both here. While Kia New Zealand has undercut Hyundai nicely at the lower reaches, when you get to the high-end stuff the prices are similar. The EV6 GT-Line you see here is $106,990, or $3000 less than the Ioniq 5 Limited. But add in a glass roof (not fitted to our EV6, but standard on the Hyundai) and the Kia becomes the same price: $109,990.

Our test Ioniq 5 did also have the optional Curved Solar Roof, which replaces the glass with panels that recharge the 12-volt battery and then go to work on the main unit, adding around 6km of range per day if you’ve got the sun. It’s another $3000, making the actual gap between our test cars $6k. But we digress.

Both are pure-electric cars with dual-motor all-wheel drive. The Kia is a snip more powerful and has a larger battery: 239kW/77kWh for the EV6 versus 225kW/72kWh for the Ioniq, although we understand the larger unit is on its way for the Hyundai. As it stands, the Kia has 50km-better range, although the 0-100km/h times are the same: 5.2 seconds.

View every Hyundai BEV listed on DRIVEN

Both can charge at 200kW-plus on the right DC station; in ideal conditions you’ll get 100km of range in under five minutes. So they’re fast in all kinds of ways.

Both also have the ability to charge or run other electric devices via a V2L (vehicle to load) adaptor for the charge port, although the Kia also has a standard three-pin plug inside. The EV6 comes as standard with a Type 2 to Type 2 cable for use at those BYO-connector public AC chargers.

The two have the same basic back-end electronic architecture. But you wouldn’t really know it, because each has unique cabin design and detailing. There’s even dichotomy in gear selection: column-mounted twist-lever for the Ioniq 5, centre-console rotary selector for the EV6.

You sit higher in the Hyundai (above), on leather seats that can also recline into business class-style chairs for a snooze while you charge. The Kia is much more intimate, the sports seats trimmed in a grippy Alcantara-like material.

The Hyundai’s cabin is also more bespoke and futuristic looking, although weirdly it still has more physical switchgear than the Kia – the row of silver shortcut buttons on the dashboard looks especially busy.

The EV6 (below) takes a leaf out of the Jaguar I-Pace book (it takes a lot from the Jaguar, actually) with a dual-function control panel, where the same dials/pads do different things depending on which mode you’re in. Audio or climate, for example.

It’ll all be matter of personal preference, although the Kia scores with standalone, permanent controls for seat heating/ventilation. In the Hyundai, you have to delve into the infotainment screen for all that.

View every Kia BEV listed on DRIVEN

They’re both incredibly roomy family cars, because they’re both deceptively large: 3m-long wheelbases and width of nearly 1.9m. The Hyundai has the more airy feel for passengers, as you’d expect, and a sliding rear seat.

Cabin storage is also much more generous in the Ioniq 5. You even get a centre console box that slides 140mm back and forth; neat, although we’d like it to be more. More luggage space in the Hyundai, too: 537 litres versus 480l for the Kia. Both have tiny 24l “frunks” up front, although they’re not good for much; the RWD versions of each offer much bigger 54l under-bonnet boxes, because there’s no front electric motor getting in the way.

For two cars on the same platform, they also have very different driving characteristics. The power delivery is similar, although you can have a bit more aural drama in the Kia thanks to the GT-Line’s Active Sound Design menu, which allows you to choose between three soundtracks: Stylish, Dynamic, Cyber.

Both offer adjustable regeneration via paddles, allowing you to choose between a one-pedal style of driving or throttle-off coasting like an ICE car.

It’s ride and handling where the two really part company. They are set up differently from the factory anyway, but the Kia has also had a once-over from the Australian distributor, which had some input into suspension settings.

They’re both on 20-inch wheels, but the Hyundai has the more fussy secondary ride – those lumps and bumps on urban roads are felt more keenly. The Kia has more feelsome steering and a more engaging chassis at speed: the Ioniq 5 is grippy but errs towards stability and safe understeer, whereas the EV6 can be adjusted more on the throttle.

The Ioniq 5 will get you from A-to-B safely, at lightning-fast speed if desired. But in the EV6, you might be inclined to take the long way.

It’s incredible how two cars that are twins under the skin have been created with such different design, packaging and dynamic priorities.

You’d choose either on looks alone, depending on personal taste. Many will.

In more tangible terms, the Ioniq 5 is the one to go for if you need the ultimate in space, passenger ambience and practicality. The EV6 will be the big draw if you prioritise ride and handling.

We’re giving the win to the Kia here: it’s the better drive, has a bigger battery/range and it’s still a superbly practical family car by any measure.

ENGINES: Lithium-ion plug-in battery packs, 72kWh (Hyundai), 77kWh (Kia), dual motors
POWER: 225kW/605Nm (Hyundai), 239kW/605Nm (Kia)
GEARBOX: Single-speed automatic, AWD
0-100KM/H: 5.2 seconds (both)
CONSUMPTION: 19.0kWh/100km, range 430km (Hyundai), 18.0kWh/100km, range 484km (Kia)
PRICES: $111,990 (Hyundai), $106,990 (Kia)

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