EV Face-Off: Hyundai Ioniq 5 Vs. Kia EV6
The Same, but Different!
The huge cost of developing new vehicles – especially electric vehicles – means that the electric vehicle landscape is currently dominated by a handful of “platforms.” In automotive industry terms, a platform is a set of components, such as engines, suspensions, brakes, and even electronics, forming a literal “platform” on top of which different cars can be built – cars that might look and feel very different, but which share a lot of the most expensive and difficult to develop components.
Platform sharing is nothing new to the car business, but the expense of developing electric vehicles, and the pressure to bring them to market rapidly, makes common platforms, well, more common with EVs. Every Tesla on the road is built from two different platforms, which themselves share many components.
That’s exactly what is happening with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6, two of our favorite EVs on the market today. Hyundai and Kia belong to the same giant Korean company, and they pooled their resources to create a bespoke set of components that can, and will, underpin many EVs to come from the two brands, as well as the Genesis luxury brand. Indeed, Hyundai and Kia say that the “E-GMP” platform that is shared by the Ioniq 5 and EV6 will form the basis of nine more vehicles by 2025.
If you are shopping for an electric vehicle in 2022, we think the Ioniq 5 and the EV6 are among the best on the market. But which one should you buy?
Futuristic Versus Retro Cool
While the EV6 and Ioniq 5 may share a lot of their engineering, to their makers’ credit, they look and feel very different. The Kia EV6 is definitely the sportier and more futuristic-looking of the two, with its swooping fast-back roofline, aggressive face, and its stretched wheelbase. From its sporty side profile to its distinctive LED rear light strip, the EV6 looks more like a sports car and less like the family crossover it actually is.
On the other hand, the Ioniq 5 actually looks kind of retro, albeit in a very cool way. Its overall shape actually references the original Hyundai Pony of the eighties (not, we must say, a car a lot of people remember very fondly), but it has amazing detailing, such as its intricately-designed dished wheels, bold slash on the side of the body, and the awesome details. From the “dot matrix” LED headlights to the creased body cladding, the Ioniq 5 feels like it blasted straight out of a video game console and onto our streets.
What’s the Same?
What you get from both vehicles is a lot of advanced engineering: 350-kW fast charging (the best currently available on the market), EPA-estimated range of over 300 miles when fitted with the largest 77.4-kWh battery and two-wheel drive, and “vehicle to load” capability, which lets you use the car’s battery to charge other electronic devices.
Both the Ioniq 5 and d EV6 offer a remarkable amount of space inside their interiors. While they look small from the outside, they have huge space inside, a consequence of being built as EVs from the ground up, and not around an architecture that needs to accommodate a gasoline engine.
Want to compare these two electric vehicles side by side? Use our Buyer's Guide.
The electric motors’ compact size and the “skateboard” of batteries under the cabin make for exceptional space efficiency in both vehicles, giving them way more space on their footprint than equivalent gasoline-powered cars. There’s no transmission tunnel, and no engine means all of the hardware for the heating system can be buried underneath the dashboard, giving you way more room.
The electronic architecture in both of the vehicles is similar. Sitting in the driver’s seat of both the EV6 and Ioniq 5, you will face a pair of bright, high-resolution 12.3-inch screens: one for the instruments, and a second touchscreen for the infotainment system and climate control. The graphics are clear and concise, and provide you comprehensive information on power output, regeneration, speed, cruise control, and more. A really cool function is a “live view” of your blind spot when using your turn signals – cameras embedded at the base of the mirrors make lane changes a cinch.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability make the infotainment system very easy to use if you have a smartphone; they override the car’s user interface, which is also quite simple in operation. What’s nice about the dashboard is that it doesn’t rely completely on touch interfaces, unlike some other EVs: there are physical buttons for things like the air conditioning controls (or multi-function switches with changeable displays in the Kia).
The advanced driver assistance features you would expect are all here, as well: adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning lane-keeping assistance, cross-traffic assistance, and automatic emergency braking come standard.
On the outside, the Ioniq looks and feels like a higher-end car than the Kia. The retro-modern style is eye-catching and bold, and we love the front and rear lights, which combine the charm of the 1980s with the tech of 2022.
Inside, we prefer the more premium feel of the Kia. The quality of its interior finishes are higher, featuring synthetic animal-free “leather” and slightly more muted tones compared to the bright white and silver finishes that dominate the interior of the Hyundai. The Kia’s seats are better-shaped not just for going around corners, but also for long-distance comfort. And while both cars offer great space in the rear – six-footers will feel right at home – the Kia feels marginally roomier, though the view out of its narrow windows isn’t as good.
There are differences in the driver interfaces as well. The shifter on the Hyundai is mounted to the right of the steering wheel, like an old pickup truck (better-looking, though just as functional) while the Kia has a rotary knob that floats where you’d normally find the transmission tunnel on a gasoline vehicle.
What Are They Like to Drive?
Like every electric vehicle, both the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 offer instantaneous torque and incredible smoothness. Both feel much faster than their 300-plus horsepower ratings in all-wheel drive form. Neither is Tesla-fast, but 0-60 times in the range of 5 seconds are as quick as most supercars from 20 years ago, and more than enough in daily driving. As electric vehicles, both are also very refined no matter what the speed: if you are coming from a gasoline vehicle, you will be shocked by how quiet and calming the EV6 and Ioniq 5 are to drive.
The Hyundai definitely feels the more comfortable of the two cars, which you really notice around town. It has quick steering that makes it easy to slot into a parking spot, and its ride quality is superior to the Kia’s. On a highway off-ramp or on a winding road, you’ll find that the Ioniq 5 rolls a bit more, its steering feels a little bit loser, and it doesn’t feel as responsive to the “gas” pedal as the Kia.
It’s in sportier driving that the Kia really comes into its own. It has a little bit of extra horsepower, heavier and more progressive steering, and the chassis is set up stiffer than the Hyundai. That means it’s a little less comfortable in the city, but much more composed when driving aggressively. And despite its substantial weight – all EVs are heavy, thanks to their batteries – you only really feel that weight when you have to brake hard for a corner.
Which Is the Best Value?
Hyundai and Kia’s pooled resources have resulted in their new electric car platform being a leader in the electric crossover segment – but it’s a platform that appeals to two different segments of the EV market. The result of the two brands’ efforts is a pair of vehicles that shares a lot but that also are different in key areas that appeal to different drivers.
If you are a car enthusiast that likes to drive in a sporty fashion, the EV6 is the best car for you. From the way it handles to the way it looks and down to the bolstering on its seat, it is a more satisfying car to drive, and the extra sportiness, luxury, and style you get helps justify the price premium versus to the Ioniq 5 when comparing long-range rear-wheel drive variants. The Kia EV6 is a textbook premium car – stylish, comfortable, and great to drive – that just happens to be electric.
On the other hand, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 embraces its electric-ness, and delivers a retro fun factor that is hard to ignore. From its styling to the spaciousness of its interior to its exceptional comfort and the way it drives in the city, we love just love it. It is also exceptional value, starting at $44,000 before incentives with the long-range battery – $8,000 less than the Kia with the same battery. Should you not need 300 miles of EPA-estimated range, an even more affordable Ioniq 5 is coming, priced at just $39,700.
That’s enough to make the Ioniq 5 not just the best value of this pair – but one of the best-value EVs available today.
Interested in one of these new electric vehicles? You can find both vehicles in the GreenCars Marketplace powered by Driveway.com.