The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the Best Car I Drove in the Past Year, Without a Doubt

I've spent more time behind the wheel of Hyundai's latest EV than anyone on the TFL team

As we head into 2023, I wanted to look back at the handful of cars I’ve driven in the past year — and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the best, by far.

I think the Hyundai Ioniq 5 deserves ever award it has already amassed, and then some. It represents the best of what is currently offered among EVs. That includes higher-end models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Tesla. Sure, it’s not perfect, but neither is Elvis…yet we all agree he’s the “King.” As such, I declare the Ioniq 5 the (current) King of EVs.

Look man, it’s packed with innovations. The Ioniq 5 is comfortable, utilitarian, fast, efficient, and I love its retro-future design. It’s one of the fastest charging cars that’s fairly reasonably priced.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a few flaws…

  • What’s up with that gear selector? It’s stalk-mounted, but its not an actual lever. You have to twist for various direction, and push a button to park. It’s confusing for some.
  • Where’s the rear wiper? This is a hatchback, in Colorado (or any) snow – a rear wiper would help a lot. When I was in Texas, I caught the end of a storm, leaving my glass gooey and I couldn’t see out of the back. I had to pull over and wipe it with coffee and a rag.
  • Who thought up the rear plug-in location? It’s not always easy to back in to a plug location, especially when only one charger is available. A centrally located port (front or rear) makes much more sense.
  • Why can’t we get a sunroof that opens? As I drove through the southern states, I had some sweet days of mild days near the ocean. Even in Southern California, I had sweet smelling Pacific Coast waters only feet away. Sadly, I couldn’t pop the top to truly enjoy.
  • When will Hyundai build a less expensive version? Currently Hyundai has the Ioniq5 listed at $41,450. For one thing, you’ll never find one at that price, for another – we need one for well under $40K. Yes – there’s the Kona EV, but that’s not on the same level.

Despite those minor gripes, this is the car I drove back and forth across the country. Not only that, but I spent quality time with it as a commuter, and a grand tourer. On highway 10, crossing the country – I was very comfortable and confident. It never let me down. I could easily go over 200 miles on a full charge, but I had to be cautious. If you watch our “O-to-O” (Orange County, CA to Orange Country, FL) video series, you’ll understand why.

Some folks feel it should have sharper handling, like its Kia EV6 cousin. I disagree. On the mountains of Malibu, CA and the long slogs through Texas, the balance was excellent. It will corner well when pushed, despite its weight and girth (it’s kind of wide). Yet, it soaks up bumps and miles beautifully.

Tommy covers a lot of details about the Ioniq 5 in this video – while charging!

It has the potential to charge super-fast, but only if the charger is cooperating. With its 800-volt architecture, charging well over 200-kW is possible. Usually, it takes less than 10 minutes to go from about 30% to 80%. We pounded the car with DC fast charging across the country, in all types of weather. Hell, even in the Rocky Mountains. It never wavered.

It holds gobs of gear with its large cargo area. The seating is very comfortable, and it only took me a day to learn a majority of the controls. Sure, infotainment has a bit of a learning curve to it, but it eventually makes sense too.

One more point: I find most EVs to be pretty much soleless appliances. There’s something about this slick machine that gives off a bit of a presence. Not only does it have curb appeal, but it feels like there’s something analogue to it. In some ways, it’s hard to explain, unless you spend some time with it.

You may have noticed that I didn’t go into the nuts and bolts with this vehicle. That’s because I’ve written up and participated in videos about the Ioniq 5 over two dozen times. I thought you would want my actual impressions about how it made me feel.

While I disagree with other publications calling it a crossover, or SUV (dude, it’s a hatchback, or maybe a wagon) – I DO agree that it is a champ!