One of the great opportunities at this weekend’s Electrify Everything Show in Sydney is the ability to get behind the wheel of EVs, including some that are not yet on the road.
Hyundai have a big presence at the show, including as many as 20 drivable EVs.
This morning I jumped at the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of the Ioniq 5 N performance spec. The representative from Hyundai jumped in the passenger seat with the map and we went for a 10-15 minute drive around the streets of Sydney.
When I sat in the driver’s seat of the 5 N, I first adjusted the seating position using a very retro manual adjustment, a strange decision given the price point, they should have easily accommodated electronic seat adjustments. I then placed my phone in the center console where it started charging.
The car was already started (yes it has an on/off button), so I put my foot on the brake and turned the drive selector to drive.
We exited the Showgrounds on our street circuit around Sydney Olympic Park and I quickly found my way to cruise control and lane keeping on the left of the wheel. As I approached a traffic light and right turn, I lifted off the accelerator and the car’s regenerative braking slowed the car to a stop. I then press the brake to hold the car as it wanted to continue before the light changed. I imagine there’s a brake hold setting, but didn’t have time to get to that this time (hopefully in a future review).
Turning the corner then opened up a straight road and provided the first real opportunity to taste the performance of the 5N. Having selected the top performance – Sport Mode, I stood on the accelerator and the car immediately and rapidly accelerated to a digital sound track. This felt quick, but I needed more experimentation to really understand it.
A few more corners and a few more straights, I found myself coming to be at home with the 5N rapidly, in just a few minutes. I experimented with the sound modes through a dedicated button on the wheel. While the most pure EV experience calls for no artificial sound, this car is built on a framework of delivering driver fun and performance and under that context, I appreciate Hyundai are experimenting.
This wasn’t my first EV with sounds pumped into the cabin, I’ve driven the Audi e-tron RS which also does it, as did the Jaguar iPace many years ago. There’s something different about this new generation of EVs with soundtracks, they’ve done their homework and created a great sound, something that’s enjoyable and feels directly tied to the throttle position, doing a great job of tricking your brain into believing the car is making the noise.
I attempted two launches from traffic lights, one with sound, one with out. This back-to-back testing revealed that the experience of accelerating with passion is made more whole with the sound. Sure, this won’t be for everyone, and that’s why its completely optional, but I love that Hyundai includes it.
Comfort and Ride Handling
The ride was quite pleasant on a city road, something I was keen to understand given the car has its eyes on the track, rather than passenger comfort on city streets, but it seems Hyundai have found a great balance between handling and comfort.
The seats are comfy, the drive is great and performance is impressive all matching the aggressive exterior styling, I think Hyundai will have a hit on their hands with the 5N.
I left the drive being really impressed at the performance of this vehicle which features a total of 448kW combined power from the front and rear motors. While many EVs are faster than their ICE equivalents, I’ve been spoilt by the crazy acceleration of the Model 3 Performance. This definitely feels like the closest level of performance in an EV to the M3P. When we look at the official specs, the numbers are close, 3.4s in the 5N vs 3.3s in the M3P.
Hyundai also offer track mode, for those enthusiasts willing to leave their insurance at the gate and it’s certainly fun to see the word Drift on the display, although I didn’t get to experience that today.
You can get more information at Hyundai.