Hyundai IONIQ 6: streamlining the future of electric design

The Hyundai IONIQ 6 undoubtedly changes the game for electric car thinking

The Hyundai IONIQ 6 undoubtedly changes the game for electric car thinking

We took a road trip in Hyundai’s sleek electric saloon to find out how it’s delivering more range, faster charging and tech that makes driving easy

The Hyundai IONIQ 6 is a car that unquestionably changes the game for electric thinking: marking a fresh new dawn for Hyundai, and for electric cars as a whole.

In a world ever-more populated by seemingly ever-bigger electric SUVs, the IONIQ 6’s sleek and sculpted four-door saloon design bucks the trend and challenges convention, rethinking the idea of how electric cars can look, while also delivering even more range in the process – up to 338 miles of range*, in fact.

Equally, the IONIQ 6’s ultra-rapid charging capability** and its ultra-smart always-online navigation helps you streamline your journeys: cutting the time you spend on top-ups to make all-electric journeys even easier and more time-efficient.

Having picked up 4-star What Car? and 4.5-star Autocar reviews and a hat-trick of 2023 World Car Of The Year awards, the IONIQ 6 follows in the footsteps of the equally convention-defying IONIQ 5 with its own wealth of accolades and acclaim.

But how does all of its streamlined design and game-changing tech work in the real world? To find out, we took the IONIQ 6 from the heart of Glasgow on a quest to learn how it’s simply sleeker and smarter in every way. Watch the video or read on to see how we got on.

Learn more about the Hyundai IONIQ 6.

Architecturally sleek and efficient

The story of what makes the IONIQ 6 uniquely different to other electric cars starts with its sleek and elegant silhouette: a gracefully streamlined form that has been sculpted purely and wholly by aerodynamic function to deliver even more range.

The fact that the IONIQ 6 looks pretty damn good is the icing on the cake. That’s why we’re starting our journey beside a crop of equally elegant buildings, which are bringing a new sense of architectural style and progressive sustainability to Glasgow’s Clydeside dockland district.

The spine of the Glasgow Science Centre and the arch of the Clyde Arc bridge perfectly evoke the tense bow line that extends from the front of the IONIQ 6 to the rear. On the other side of the Clyde is the glowing form of the OVO Hydro – a live events venue with a net zero commitment to sustainability. Next to it is the Foster + Partners-designed SEC Armadillo, its interlocking shell design inspired by the hydrodynamic form of ships prows, harking back to Glasgow’s ship-building heritage.

Like those buildings, the IONIQ 6 blends heritage and modernity in equal measure. Inspired by iconic aero streamliner designs of the 1930s and naturally aerodynamic forms within nature, but honed using today’s advanced virtual wind tunnels, its sleek low-slung low-drag profile slips even more effortlessly through the air.

Look past the IONIQ 6’s Intelligent Front Lighting System with its distinctive Parametric Pixel daytime running lights, and you start to see a wealth of subtle aero details along the IONIQ 6’s flanks.

At the front, active air flaps guide air round the bumper, only opening when needed for battery cooling. Wheel gap reducers and air curtains work with flush door handles to smooth the path of air along the IONIQ 6’s flanks, while the ‘ducktail’ spoiler and boat tail-inspired separation traps around the bold diffuser – also illuminated by their own bold red Parametric Pixel LED lights – complete the aerodynamic story.

The result: an ultra-low drag coefficient of just 0.21, and up to 338 miles of range on IONIQ 6 single-motor rear-wheel-drive models*. For our journey, we’ve picked a Hyundai IONIQ 6 Ultimate model, with an even more potent dual-motor all-wheel-drive electric powertrain. But we’ve still got a predicted WLTP range of up to 322 miles. Easily more than enough for the journey we’re planning.

Illuminated interior design

Stepping into the Hyundai IONIQ 6, the first thing that strikes us is how spacious it feels inside. The IONIQ 6’s dedicated electric platform uses a low-slung ‘skateboard’ design, which positions the batteries further down in the chassis for an ultra-flat and ultra-low floor, while also pushing the IONIQ 6’s wheels further out to the corners of the car for a longer wheelbase.

Hyundai’s design teams have made the most of every extra inch of additional space that has opened up. They’ve also crafted seats that are 30% slimmer than normal and moved key buttons from the doors to the bridge-style floating arch of the centre console, creating significantly more legroom – whichever way we flex our limbs.

The most striking element of the IONIQ 6’s interior, though, is the ultra-wide digital dashboard display which spans most of the width of the car. Blending a pair of large 12.3-inch high-definition screens it offers a seemingly uninterrupted space on which we can share navigation, car settings and a wealth of entertainment and connectivity apps, using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and enhanced voice control with intuitive natural commands.

Then there’s the warm cosseting glow of the ambient lights, which – alongside its wealth of 64 customisable colours – gives us the choice of six dual-colour themes developed specifically by colour experts to inspire focus, calm or creativity. Equally, the Speed Sync lighting mode adds an extra dash of emotion to enhance our driving experience, changing subtly to reflect the IONIQ 6’s speed.

Finally, on the steering wheel, four Parametric Pixel LED dots light up to indicate key functions – including voice control, charging status and your drive mode***.

A story of high-tech navigation

We could spend all morning admiring the IONIQ 6, but we’re here to find out how Hyundai is making electric driving easier, safer and more enjoyable. That’s why the ultimate destination for our journey is the Mull of Galloway lighthouse: a small spit of land that reaches far out into the Irish Sea and is Scotland’s most southerly point.

The electrification of lighthouses like this was a transformational chapter in the story of how travelling by sea was made significantly safer: a decades-long saga that has spawned much of the tech that underpins the IONIQ 6’s advanced driving assists.

It starts with celestial navigation. In the same way that early mariners and explorers used the stars to guide their path around the world, the IONIQ 6 once again looks to the heavens: using always-online connectivity, cloud data and ultra-precise GPS satellite navigation to plot our position and plan routes with pinpoint accuracy, as well as delivering more detail about our destinations and better flexibility to avoid traffic.

Hyundai’s Bluelink Connected Car Services and Hyundai Live Services essentially turn the IONIQ 6 into an always-online connected device, with an electric route planner that includes live real-time traffic, parking and charging data to pick the best roads and chargers for our journey – whether it’s the fastest, the cheapest, the chargers that aren’t currently being used, or the closest ones to our route.

The Hyundai Bluelink app on your smartphone also connects us with our IONIQ 6 remotely, letting us plot door-to-door journeys from the comfort of a sofa in advance, before syncing our route with the navigation in the car.

We can monitor, control and schedule our charging remotely to save time or keep on top of our charging costs, while also pre-warming or pre-cooling the air-con while the car is plugged in, so that we don’t waste any range. And, when we forget where you’ve parked our IONIQ 6 in the heart of a busy city and whether we’ve locked it (we’ve all done it!), the app will guide us back or let us lock the doors remotely.

The IONIQ 6’s always-online connectivity also means that we can get over-the-air software updates, so our car always has the latest navigation data and features.

Driving aids that think smart

In the same way that satellites replaced stars as the guiding light for navigation, the illuminating beams of lighthouses were ultimately replaced by the invisible all-seeing eyes of radar. And that’s why our IONIQ 6 is packed with a wealth of intelligent sensors that act as an extra set of eyes to spot and warn us of surrounding hazards, making driving easier, less stressful and – crucially – safer.

As we navigate our way through the concrete labyrinth of Glasgow’s urban jungle, the wealth of Hyundai Smart Sense driving aids start to make real, well, sense. The advanced head-up display*** projects key driving information – including speed limits, hazard warnings and turn-by-turn directions – onto the IONIQ 6’s windscreen, directly in our line of sight, so we can stay more focused on the road.

At junctions and while changing lanes, the Blind Spot View Monitor*** puts a rear-facing camera view of the direction we’re indicating directly onto the dashboard, helping us spot passing cars or cyclists. The Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist adds an extra level of warning, applying the brakes and steering to avoid a collision if needed.

The Surround View Monitor*** is also an absolute boon. Creating a large overhead view of our IONIQ 6 and its surroundings on the digital dashboard, it helps us manoeuvre our way round obstacles with confidence – particularly useful for navigating Glasgow’s tight car parks. Equally, the Remote Smart Parking Assist*** can be used to guide our car into tight spots while standing outside the vehicle. Then, the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist identifies and warns us of passing traffic in our blind spot when we’re reversing out of a space.

As we head onto the motorway that guides us out of Glasgow, the IONIQ 6’s Intelligent Speed Limit Assist looks ahead to recognise road signs and, when activated, adjusts our speed to suit, while the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist looks out for hazards ahead, automatically bringing us to a halt if needed.

Finally, the Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control uses the IONIQ 6’s always-on navigation to anticipate upcoming curves or speed changes, while Lane Following Assist and Lane Keeping Assist keep us on the straight-and-narrow, and safely between the white lines. Combined with the IONIQ 6’s near-silent electric drive and cosseting interior, it all serves to take the stress out of city and motorway driving.

Invigorating on the open road

Heading onto the amazing flowing scenic A-roads that define the Scottish borders, we start to experience the more potent side of the Hyundai IONIQ 6’s amped-up all-electric performance. This is the sort of driver’s nirvana where the sleek and streamlined IONIQ 6 really comes alive, compared to its larger electric SUV rivals.

On our dual-motor all-wheel-drive IONIQ 6 Ultimate trim, we’ve got up to 325PS and 605Nm of instantly available all-electric torque on tap, propelling us from 0-62mph in as little as 5.1 seconds. Hyundai’s futuristic-sounding virtual ‘engine note’ helps us feel just as connected with the IONIQ 6 as we would in a petrol model.

The IONIQ 6’s low-slung battery pack doesn’t just open up more interior space. It also delivers a lower centre of gravity and (by pushing the IONIQ 6’s wheels out to the corners) distributes the car’s weight more evenly along its length. That helps the IONIQ 6 feel incredibly hunkered down and perfectly balanced in flowing bends.

Finally, the IONIQ 6’s regenerative braking uses the electric motor to decelerate the car, minimising the work that the car’s mechanical brakes need to do in most scenarios, while also generating energy that can be put back into the battery.

Using the paddles behind the steering wheel, you can change the force of the regenerative braking from mild assistance that feels like traditional engine braking on a petrol-powered performance car, all the way to an i-Pedal driving mode that lets you accelerate and slow yourself to a halt using just the accelerator pedal. We pick ‘Level 2’ to blend a bit range-boosting efficiency with the perfect flow for our road.

Sustainably comforting style

Heading further into the Scottish countryside, we pass the stunning backdrop of Whitelee Wind Farm: the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm. The way in which we power our journeys is just as important as making the switch in the first place, and Whitelee’s 215 turbines generate up to 539 megawatts of low-carbon electricity, which is enough to power the equivalent of over 350,000 homes.

Equally important is the way in which electric cars are designed and built. That’s why the IONIQ 6 uses a wealth of low-impact or sustainable materials where possible – both inside and out. Recycled end-of-life tyres are used to make the exterior contrast cladding, while exterior and interior paints use a mix of recycled pigments and bamboo charcoal pigments, as well as bio paints derived from vegetable oils.

Inside, the seat upholstery and headlining use fabrics made from recycled PET plastics, as well as bio components extracted from sugar cane and corn, while any leather used is eco-process dyed using flaxseed oil. Hyundai also works closely with organisations that recycle waste ocean plastics, using recovered abandoned fishing nets to create a regenerated nylon yarn for the IONIQ 6’s floor carpet. Impressively, it all looks and feels incredibly premium and luxurious.

Top-up charging that’s fast and seamless

With up to 322 miles of range in our Hyundai IONIQ 6 Ultimate dual-motor all-wheel-drive model, we’ve got easily enough for our journey to the Scottish coast, and we don’t necessarily need to stop for an on-the-go top-up.

But this is another area in which the IONIQ 6 helps us rethink and reframe electric driving: blending the increased electric range offered by its streamlined form and high-capacity 77kWh lithium-ion battery with 800V charging technology** and smart navigation that put us in charge of our charging – and let us fit it around our journeys and our day – rather than the other way round.

As anyone interested in making the electric switch knows, overnight charging – at home, at a hotel, or in a public car park – is the smartest, most cost-efficient and most time-efficient way in which to keep an electric car topped up. It lets you make the most of slower, longer, cheaper charging tariffs at a time when your car is parked up anyway, while you get the benefit of starting your next journey the next day with a ‘full tank’. And that’s exactly how we started our trip from the heart of Glasgow,

But what if you do need an on-the-go top-up? Well, according to the navigation in the IONIQ 6, our journey to the Mull Of Galloway is expected to take around four-and-a-half hours. That’s a journey you probably wouldn’t make without some form of break.

So, while we stop off for a mid-trip coffee at a major service station, it makes perfect sense to plug our IONIQ 6 into a charger for a quick 10-minute burst of confidence-inspiring range while we’re away from our car. Think of it like having a healthy energy-boosting snack while you’re out on the road, before sitting down for a full and hearty meal at home. It’s why EV converts often call it ‘grazing’ for charge.

Thanks to the IONIQ 6’s advanced 800V battery technology**, we can use one of the fast-growing network of ultra-rapid IONITY chargers, which let us make the most of the IONIQ 6’s impressive 220kW charging capability, adding a healthy dose of miles in just a few minutes.

Based on Hyundai’s official figures, we can expect to boost the range of the IONIQ 6 from 10% to 80% in anywhere between 18 to 36 minutes**, while the Charge myHyundai card and app – which offers access to 440,000 charge points from a wealth of providers across 30 European countries – makes paying for it even easier.

Using the IONIQ 6’s vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability – which is powerful enough to charge external devices such as electric bicycles, scooters and camping gear using the external charging port and an adapter – we plug a laptop into the IONIQ 6’s interior plug to charge up while we quickly check our emails.

Illuminating, advanced and inspirational in equal measure

As we enjoy the winding coastal roads that take us the final miles to our ultimate destination – the lighthouse at the Mull Of Galloway it’s time to look back and think about the original question that started us on this journey: how does the Hyundai IONIQ 6 change the game for electric thinking? The answer is “a lot”.

By taking a more considered approach to how an electric car is shaped, engineered and designed, it doesn’t just look different. It also thinks different, helping you act different. More range, faster charging, effortlessly safer driving, and a lower impact on the world around you. That’s why the Hyundai IONIQ 6 is simply sleeker and simply smarter, in every way.

Learn more about the Hyundai IONIQ 6.

* Fuel economy and CO2 results for the Hyundai IONIQ 6 Premium 77 kWh 228PS RWD MY23: Maximum electric range: 338 miles. CO2 emissions: 0 g/km. These figures were obtained after the battery had been fully charged. The electric range shown was achieved using the WLTP test procedure. Figures shown are for compatibility purposes. Only compare fuel consumption, CO2 and electric range figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the starting charge of the battery, accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load.

** 350KW ultra-fast charger required for quickest charge times. Chargers are currently available on selected arterial routes. See Charge myHyundai map for details. Not currently available in Northern Ireland. Hyundai test data for comparison purposes. Actual time will vary and is dependent on several factors including battery temperature, condition and age, ambient temperature and the power provided by the charger. Charge time increases in cold weather and if battery temperature activates safeguarding technology. In optimal conditions, the latest Hyundai IONIQ 6 is capable of accepting power at up to 236KW.

*** Selected features on the Hyundai IONIQ 6 – including the advanced head-up display, steering wheel pixel dots, Blind Spot View Monitor, Surround View Monitor, Remote Smart Parking Assist and BOSE Premium Sound System –  are only available on Hyundai IONIQ 6 Ultimate models. Please ask your Hyundai salesperson for details.

Source: Autocar

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