Motor and Electric Cars

First test of the long-term 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE with rear-wheel drive: a new benchmark?

First test of the long-term 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE with rear-wheel drive: a new benchmark?

Hyundai’s long-range, fast-charging electric sedan beats the Tesla Model 3 at its own game.

Anyone looking to buy a new electric vehicle these days has plenty of options, as long as your definition of vehicle includes crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. If you like a sedan’s low seating position and sleek shape, your shopping list will be much shorter. Unless you can afford luxury brands, until recently you only had one good option:Tesla Model 3. received2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 That has changed.

Hyundai’s four-wheeled Trilobite ends Tesla’s monopoly on affordable electric sedans and beats the Model 3 at its own game. Out Motor directionIn testing, the $46,825 rear-drive Ioniq 6 SE Long Range offered better real-world range and faster charging than the $48,880 Model 3 Long Range. The spacious interior, impeccable build quality and comfortable driving experience make Hyundai vehicles easy to live with.

Is this the ultimate long-distance electric car?

You don’t need a master’s degree in applied fluid dynamics to see that the Ioniq 6 is designed to zip through the air. Its tapered, overhanging profile allows it to achieve a smooth drag coefficient of 0.22, which in turn helps it claim the title of most fuel-efficient car on sale today (tied with the Lucid Air). Combine that efficiency with a 77.4-kilowatt-hour long-range battery pack (a $3,900 upgrade you can’t pass up), and the Ioniq 6’s EPA range jumps from 240 miles to 361 miles.

However, like almost all electric cars, the EPA paints an unrealistically rosy picture compared to what you’ll experience on U.S. highways. thisMotor direction Road mileage testing showed that the Ioniq 6 can travel 291 miles at a constant speed of 70 mph with a 95% charge. We think that’s more than enough for all but the most hardened road warriors. A 2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range covered 258 miles in the same test.

If you want to go further, the Ioniq 6 will gladly meet your needs. Thanks to its 800V build, it can replenish range for 2.5 hours between bathroom and sandwich breaks, provided you can find a fully functional 350kW fast charger. In our fast-charging tests, the Hyundai added 193 miles of range after 15 minutes and 263 miles after 30 minutes, while the Model 3 added 130 and 201 miles of range, respectively, in the same time frame.

Big and small car

The Ioniq 6’s overall length is an inch shorter than a Toyota Camry, but its wheelbase is about as long as a three-row Toyota Grand Highlander. As a result, it’s compact to drive while feeling spacious inside. Even front and rear headroom under the racy roofline seems adequate for a 6-foot-3 adult.

You drive this spaceship like a car, putting your feet in front of your knees instead of under them. If the under-floor battery pack raises the seating position compared to a conventional gas-powered sedan, you won’t be able to feel it from the driver’s seat. The only compromise is that the aerodynamic body compresses the trunk space to a modest 11.2 cubic feet, less than the trunk space of most compact cars. There is a case, although there may not be one as it is barely large enough to hold a portable charging cable.

The materials inside the base trim of the Ioniq 6 SE aren’t expensive, but they’re put together in a way that fits comfortably and features unique finishes that showcase Hyundai’s attention to detail. The minimalist, technical look of the plastic is brought to the 12.3-inch touchscreen of the infotainment system, which has clear graphics and intuitive logic. But when you evaluate exactly what’s included and what’s not in the as-tested price of $46,825, you start to think the Ioniq 6 is a bargain. SE models come with cloth seats and no wireless phone charger or sunroof. Even with the upper trims, you have to connect your phone to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

If the sticker says $38,000, we can ignore those cost-saving omissions, and if you factor in the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, you’re pretty close to that price. The problem is that the Ioniq 6 is made in South Korea, and points can only be redeemed for a rental car. Buyers have the opportunity to obtain full stickers. At Hyundai’s asking price, you’re well aware you’re paying a premium for the electric power under the skin. That’s not always the case with electric crossovers and SUVs, where a $50,000 electric car often feels like you’re getting the same amenities as a $50,000 gas car.

How is it driven?

As long as you’re not looking for a sports sedan, the Ioniq 6 is a joy to drive. It corners with well-managed body movements and precise steering, providing a car-like feeling of control even if its 0.85g of cornering grip is nothing special. With 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the single-motor Ioniq 6 can push 4,230 pounds without the electric roar of many dual-motor electric SUVs. However, hitting 60 mph in 6.0 seconds is quick enough to pass and merge onto the freeway with complete confidence. The brake pedal is easy to modulate in traffic, and the steering wheel paddles let you choose between five levels of regenerative braking, including a finely tuned one-pedal driving mode that Hyundai calls i-Pedal. Excellent road and wind noise isolation and smooth electric propulsion take the stop-and-go chaos of peak hours into more relaxing traffic jams.

Our only real complaint about the Ioniq 6’s driving dynamics is how it handles worn roads. Over potholes, uneven expansion joints and raised drain covers, the dampers transfer a lot of shock to the cab. Bumps in the middle of turns are particularly annoying, making the Ioniq 6 feel uneasy as if the car is about to take a step toward the outside of the turn. Unfortunately, it’s very reminiscent of the way modern cars drove five and ten years ago.

Decision time

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 runs better, feels better designed, has longer range, and charges faster than the Tesla Model 3, but there are still a few reasons people might be drawn to this electric standard-bearer. The $48,888 long-term Tesla Model 3 comes with more features and is eligible for a $7,500 rebate from Uncle Sam. In addition to faux leather seats, wireless phone chargers, and a panoramic glass roof, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range also features a dual motor and all-wheel drive, making it an ideal choice for those who enjoy traveling in the snow. – A better choice. As a side effect, the rear-drive Ioniq 6’s 0-60 mph time is cut by about two seconds. (Hyundai’s optional all-wheel-drive system makes it a more direct competitor, but for an additional $3,500, it makes an already expensive car even more expensive.)

While the Ioniq 6 can travel farther and charge faster than the Model 3, anyone who plans to travel frequently outside of a full charge should use an app like PlugShare to research charging infrastructure for their trips. In modern cars, when you rely on third-party charging companies like Electrify America, EVgo, and ChargePoint, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find an efficient charging station where you need it. Tesla’s extensive and reliable Supercharger network may not always be faster, but it will certainly make anyone trying to take an electric car road trip go much smoother.

Therefore, the decision ultimately comes down to your personal needs. Will you rely on public shipping? Do you buy or rent? Do you need four-wheel drive? Are you willing to pay more for a better driving experience? Whatever your needs are, and whatever car you end up buying, it’s nice to have another great option in this small segment.


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