Car of the Year 2021: Hyundai Ioniq 5

It’s no mean feat to be crowned Auto Express Car of the Year. Our winner needs to have a huge range of talents; it should move the game on, and not just in its own segment, but in the new-car market as a whole. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 does exactly that. 

a close up of a car

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This year has seen the range of choice for EV buyers explode, and many of those new cars were in with a shout of taking the overall prize. But the Ioniq 5 truly excels

on so many fronts. Firstly there’s the design; it looks unlike anything else on the road, yet without being contrived or awkward. The cabin is another triumph, making the most of the car’s electric architecture to offer limo-like legroom in a bright, lounge-like space.

It’s here where Hyundai’s slickest infotainment tech yet is found. The graphics are brighter and more attractive than the Korean firm’s previous systems, yet the set-up keeps the clarity and ease of use that have earned the brand’s tech our praise on so many previous occasions. Then there’s the way the Ioniq 5 drives. Unlike many modern cars, it doesn’t focus on a sporty ride, and instead takes a softer, more relaxed approach, so it’s a wonderful long-distance cruiser.

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But the key advantage lies in the car’s electrical set-up. The Ioniq 5 uses tech that until now has been the preserve of EVs costing twice as much, including its 800-volt electrical system. Equipped with the largest 73kWh battery, the car will cover up to 298 miles on a charge, while the most potent model sprints from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. 

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Yet the Ioniq 5 achieves all this for a very tempting price. Starting from £36,995, it costs little more than a combustion- engined family SUV. Compared with any petrol or diesel alternative, it really feels like a generational step ahead. It’s a brilliant car and a deserved winner of our 2021 title.

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