13 May 2022

Isn't it IONIQ? Getting lost in Canberra's 'Garden City' a joy in new electric Hyundai

| James Coleman
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Car on street

Hyundai IONIQ 5 in the tree-lined streets of Forrest. Photos: James Coleman.

I thought it was a hatchback at first. But as I painstakingly guide the car along the gutter, ever mindful of the Lazy-Susan-sized ‘low-drag’ wheels, I realise there’s nothing small about the new Hyundai IONIQ 5.

To make matters worse, I’m in Forrest, or Canberra’s ‘Garden City’. It’s one of the few suburbs that made its way into Walter Burley Griffin’s original plans for the new capital. It was originally gazetted as ‘Blandfordia’ and home to well-heeled public servants from Melbourne.

This was back when gum trees were distasteful so the roads were lined with towering deciduous trees, spreading their limbs overhead to form tunnels of colour and grandeur. It’s an incredibly pretty place.

Hyundai car

Everyone will be looking.

However, on this particular drizzly autumn day, all of those leaves have decided to fall off. The gutters are nigh invisible.

The real reason I’m in Forrest is because the Region Media office is just around the corner and the Hyundai says I have 20 per cent charge left in the battery. I’m not going far with that.

True, there’s a fast-charging station just down the road in Manuka which would bring it back to full in less than an hour, but time is money and car reviews don’t write themselves. I also wouldn’t be in this predicament if charging it back at home didn’t require asking a neighbour very nicely if I might drape an extension lead across the apartment complex’s driveway and through his living room to the power point in his kitchen.

Yeah, we still have some way to go before every man and his dog is driving an electric vehicle.

READ ALSO ANU calls for more earth scientists as EVs put pressure on critical minerals

There is also the matter of price. The original Hyundai IONIQ Electric debuted in 2016 as a five-door hatchback that looked eerily similar to the Toyota Prius. Pricing started at $50,000. As we’ve ascertained, the new IONIQ 5 is now more SUVish, starting at $71,900 for the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive version. I’m in the dual-motor all-wheel-drive and that will be $75,900, thank you very much.

Is it worth it? We all know running costs will virtually be a thing of the past, but I’m talking about the car itself. This is Tesla money, bear in mind, for a Hyundai.

As you’d expect from Burley-Griffin, the streets in Forrest are all laid out in circular and geometric patterns. It is incredibly easy to get lost. But that’s the beauty of it – Forrest is such a nice place to be, you don’t mind. And in the IONIQ 5, I mind even less. Rest assured, this car feels every bit special.

There’s the styling which – while making it appear deceptively small – is very cool. Everyone looks, and even I found myself pressing the lock and unlock buttons just so I could see those space-age front lights come on again.

Every Hyundai nowadays does seem to have been designed in a different postcode from the other, but in a way, I like that. There’s no cookie-cutter. Every Hyundai model is unique (the Staria is more proof of that).

Interior of the Hyundai

Clouds also come in white, and they’re just as nice to ride.

The novelty continues inside, where natural light pours through a panoramic sunroof onto hectares of white leather trimmed in red piping with marble-look vinyl on the doors. The infotainment system, shared with Kia and Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis, has even scored a whitewash, a clean and neat change from the black hole in many dashboards.

This is a beautiful place to be: sitting in the IONIQ makes you wonder where the harp and singing angels are. It is cloud-like. There are even adjustable footrests for the driver and passenger.

READ ALSO BMW’s all-electric iX like riding a tiger that got into the catnip

For years, Hyundai has also made a point of tuning all of their suspension setups here in Australia because of our woeful roads, and it has paid off royally. Bumps, big or small, are just soaked up.

There are three drive modes, Eco, Normal and Sport. Slip it into the latter, the dials glow red, and you can be at 100 km/h in … oh, blast.

Does electricity come in a jerry can, by any chance?

Rear of Hyundai car

Nature lay a carpet for the occasion.

2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

  • $75,900
  • Dual electric motors, 225 kW / 605 Nm
  • All-wheel drive
  • 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds
  • 430 km estimated range
  • 2,100 kg

This car was provided for testing by Hyundai Australia. Region Media has no commercial arrangement with Hyundai Australia.

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Capital Retro9:46 am 18 May 22

Very informative and entertaining too.

However, RiotACT’s resident experts will probably label the narrator as being “obsessed”.

Well he probably is a little obsessed and negative CR but he’s not saying anything different than most people are.
ie. EV technology is improving, more widespread and better charging infrastructure is needed and they are currently expensive.

It’s why people like the Greens who think we’ll all be driving EV’s tomorrow are just as loony as those who say they’ll never work and think the batteries are going to explode every day.

Sensible people however, know that the transition has begun and over the next 10-20 years, EV’s will come to dominate our roads despite the dinosaurs who can’t move beyond their precious old ICE vehicle.

Capital Retro4:31 pm 17 May 22

I remember an episode of the animated satire South Park where the virtue signaling owners of the new hybrid Toyota Prius (called Toyonda Pious) were mocked because of their perceived righteousness.

Same thing happening today, especially with Tesla drivers.

I do not doubt that over the next couple of years, EV charging stations will start to become as common as pimples on a teenager’s face. That doesn’t however resolve some of the other inherent problems.

Im concerned about the prohibitive entry cost. We keep hearing about the need for Government subsidies etc, but where does the Government get the money from to provide subsidies – your taxes or should I say, tax increases.

The other concern I have that doesn’t go away is the explosive nature of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, the cost to insure an EV, the likelihood that house insurance and body corporate free will escalate, the cost to replace batteries and so on.

I believe some of these issues will resolve themselves when solid-state batteries become common, but in the meantime, it’s a bit of a cowboy industry, in my opinion.

Capital Retro12:24 pm 16 May 22

“the future is already here and I promise you once you have tasted instant torque and mind blowing acceleration a petrol car will be the furthest thing from your mind”

I find that way of thinking a serious road safety issue. I’ve seen it happening on the open road.

Seriously – have you actually been on an open road, Capital Retro? I can tell you from experience that when travelling down the Barrier Highway and readying to overtake a road train, “instant torque and mind blowing acceleration” are exactly what you need.

Capital Retro5:29 pm 17 May 22

I’ve managed it without “instant torque and mind blowing acceleration” in an old Ford Falcon wagon without any safety issues so sorry, that’s not exactly what I need.

And how many times in a lifetime does the average motorist need to overtake a road train?

Once again, Capital Retro, you failed to read your own post. I was responding to your assertion that it (“instant torque and mind blowing acceleration”) is a “a serious road safety issue”. You may be happy to amble past a road train, where as I prefer to get back on the correct side of the road as quickly as possible, thus averting any kind of road safety issue.

My horse is all I need to get around. These new fangled petroleum combustion engines with their fast speeds and acceleration are a serious safety issue.

I’ve seen it on the open cobblestone road where one nearly hit my carriage travelling at least 15 furlongs per quarter hour. Dangerous.

On my regular trips to Melbourne I’ve hardly ever seen an electric car on the Hume. I’m wanting one but they simply can’t do distance. Where do u charge on the way? Will a charger be available? How long will I have to wait for a charge?

Tom Worthington9:22 am 16 May 22

Yes, electricity does come in jerry cans. There are some portable batteries offered for recharging electric cars. But they are so heavy, they need wheels to move around, and are not exactly cheap. https://www.carscoops.com/2021/11/zipcharge-introduces-electric-jerry-can-to-add-up-to-40-miles-of-range/

Capital Retro4:30 pm 15 May 22

No tow bar.

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