At a mere year or so old, the Ioniq 6 EV is already among hallowed company.
Back in the 1930s, steam locomotives were battling for bragging rights all over British railway routes.
The height of the Art Deco period saw the birth of the A4 Class streamliner (‘streak’ to the young trainspotters of the day), designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, with its sleek profile, spats and aerodynamic surfaces based on Bugatti racing cars of the day.
Indeed, Sir Nigel, a friend of Ettori Bugatti, spent time in France studying his work, incorporating it into the A4s, one of which, the Mallard, still holds the world speed record of 126 mph (200km/h) for a steam loco.
It’s ironic that the record was set on a run ostensibly to test a new braking system.
Fast forward to today, with Hyundai’s new Ioniq 6 EV design measuring up to the streak.
At Cd 0.21, the swoopy sedan is the most aerodynamic vehicle the company has made, resulting in a claimed zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time of 5.1 seconds for the twin-motor all-wheel-drive Techniq and Epiq models and on to a top speed of a ‘Mallardian’ 180km/h-plus. No slouch.
At first glance the Ioniq 6 stirred memories from this former young railway enthusiast of the ‘10 o’clock streak’ taking on Copley Hill after steaming out of Leeds Central Station on the up line to London. The sleek profile does it.
However, that’s where the heavily polluting fossil fuel burning ‘iron horse’ is left far behind by the iconic Ioniq 6.
First of all, there are fewer emissions with the EV – none, in fact.
And much of the material used in the Ioniq 6 is eco processed genuine leather, recycled and bio-material fabrics, bio paint, recycled fish-net carpets and mats and recycled pigment paint.
What’s it cost?
Coming in three variants, Dynamiq, Techniq and Epiq, our test vehicle was the Dynamiq, which sells for $74,000, plus on road costs.
A rear-wheel drive sedan, it is trumped by the two all-wheel drive versions costing $83,500 and $88,000 respectively.
Seating up front is comfortable and spacious, unlike the back which has limited headroom thanks to the curvy roofline and no toe room because the front seats rest on the floor.
Storage includes a 401-litre rear boot, with underfloor area, and 45-litre front boot, the latter enough to take the charging tackle.
Despite being entry-level the Dynamiq is well equipped, with standard features including, head-up windscreen display, dual 12.3-inch display monitors, 10-way powered driver and front passenger seats, eight-speaker Bose audio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multi-Bluetooth connectivity, Blue Link Connected Car Services and a powered boot lid.
As well as recalling the deeds of a famous engineering icon, Hyundai says the innovative streamlined design is a rendering of smooth curves of perfectly weathered stone.
Sleek exterior lines are further enhanced with flush-fitting door handles which pop-out automatically when unlocked, while 18-inch aero wheels, with six offset panels windmill style, present a perfect base.
The car measures 4855mm in length, 1880mm wide and 1495mm high, with a 2950mm wheelbase, similar to Hyundai’s petrol-powered Sonata, but 50mm closer to the road and with 110mm more between the wheels.
It did attract a somewhat cynical comment from one onlooker relating to the car’s fulsome rear.
With a continuous strip of LED tail lights and double-decker rear spoiler, there was the suggestion about automotive Botox-style enhancement.
The dual 12.3-inch screens provide stacks of info and once mastered (time consuming) the system is quick, responsive and fairly easy to navigate.
Bluelink connected car service allows users to set a charging time, and pre-set the vehicle’s climate control to take advantage of off-peak electricity; also, remotely monitor the vehicle’s distance to empty and can restart charging if required.
The app allows the owner to find EV charging stations and send the address to the car’s navigation.
A tool will show on a map the driveable radius with 80 and 100 per cent battery charge levels.
Hyundai SmartSense is a super suite of safety systems that can intuitively take care of car and occupants with all-round aplomb.
Included are forward collision avoidance, lane change assist, blind spot monitor, speed limit warning, smart cruise control, surround view, rear occupant alert and lots in between.
Five-star safety rating is a given.
Roadside support is available for the first two years and beyond each time the car is serviced at a Hyundai dealer and up to 10 years of map updates.
What’s it go like?
The single motor, front-wheel drive Dynamiq stumps up more than 600km range from its 77.4 kWh battery, which, the maker says, can go from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes with an ultra-fast 350kW charger.
A home or work wall box will take almost 12 hours.
The rear-drive Dynamiq model takes a claimed 7.4 seconds to reach 100 km/h from rest.
The Dynamiq is powered by a single rear-mounted electric motor developing 168kW and 350Nm, good for a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.4 seconds and 614km of claimed driving range on Europe’s WLTP lab-test protocol.
The transmission is controlled by the twist of a steering wheel-mounted stalk on the right, while drive modes – eco, normal and sport – are selected via a single button on the left of the steering wheel rim.
An i-Pedal mode allows for single-pedal driving that can slow and bring the car to a stop without touching the brake pedal, creating regenerative power, always a boon in heavy city traffic.
There’s an eerie engine noise from under the bonnet, as in a bitter winter wind whistling through a badly insulated medieval pile insinuates itself in the cabin.
However, there is all but a total absence of wind noise, but tyres do rumble on course road surfaces.
No bother, the Bose sound system, on command, can fill the cabin with the sounds of nature – calm ocean waves, for example, providing the soundtrack for the selectable ambient lighting.