Hyundai Ioniq 6 vs. Ioniq 5: Which EV Is the Better Buy?

  • Hyundai’s Ioniq subbrand of electric vehicles now includes both the Ioniq 5 crossover and the Ioniq 6 sedan.
  • The Ioniq 6 provides greater range and is slightly cheaper, while the Ioniq 5 has more cargo space and will soon offer a high-performance N variant.
  • The two cars share the same E-GMP platform and battery packs, and their single- and dual-motor powertrains are similar.

Hyundai and Kia are building some of the best electric cars you can buy today. We named both the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 to our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list for 2023, and now, even just within Hyundai’s Ioniq electric subbrand, we’re even more spoiled for choice. The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan has just joined the 5 crossover and shares the same E-GMP platform, many interior appointments, and its various battery and motor configurations.

But the two Ioniq models look completely different on the surface, and there are some key differentiators between the Ioniq 5 and the Ioniq 6 in specs, character, and packaging. Having now experienced both, we’re comparing and contrasting these Hyundai EVs to help you decide which is better.

Range, Charging, and Efficiency

The Ioniq 6 sedan is considerably lower, sleeker, and more aerodynamic than the Ioniq 5 crossover, and this is a boon for its estimated driving range—in some configurations. The highest-range version of the 6, the SE Long Range RWD, is EPA-rated to go an impressive 361 miles on a charge. The similarly spec’d Ioniq 5 Long Range RWD can only manage a 303-mile EPA range. It is worth noting that the Ioniq 5’s range estimate applies to all rear-wheel-drive single-motor trim levels (SE, SEL, Limited) with the larger battery pack, while the Ioniq 6 only achieves that impressive figure in the lower SE trim level with its smaller 18-inch wheels. The Ioniq 6 SEL and Limited have 20-inch wheels and wider tires that bring their estimated range down to 305 miles.

The difference is less pronounced among the all-wheel-drive dual-motor variants. The top-spec Ioniq 6 AWD SEL and Limited models are rated at 270 miles of range, while the Ioniq 5 AWD estimated range is a slightly lower 266 miles. Both the 5 and 6 also offer a smaller battery pack in the Standard Range models, and that’s rated at 240 miles for the sedan and 220 miles for the crossover. The best compromise of the whole lineup might be the Ioniq 6 SE AWD, which combines the 18-inch wheels with the dual-motor setup and offers an estimated range of 316 miles. Regardless of which battery and powertrain you choose, all Ioniq models can charge quickly, with DC fast-charging capability.

Of course, all of these are just estimates, and things are different in the real world. On our own real-world 75-mph highway range test, both Ioniqs fell short of their EPA ratings. The Ioniq 5 Limited AWD we tested managed 210 miles, while the Ioniq 6 SE RWD managed 260 miles. This admittedly isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, and we look forward to testing more configurations of the 5 and 6 to see how they stack up on this test.

Power and Performance

With horsepower figures ranging from 149 horsepower for the Ioniq 6 Standard Range RWD setup up to 320 hp for the top Long Range AWD configuration, both the Ioniq 5 and 6 offer a wide range of performance possibilities. The base rear-wheel-drive models with the standard 53.0-kWh battery pack come with a single electric motor producing 149 hp in the Ioniq 6 and 168 hp in the Ioniq 6. Upgrading to the RWD Long Range, with a larger 77.4-kWh battery pack, brings power output up to 225 hp in both cars. The all-wheel-drive configuration comes standard with the larger battery pack and has front and rear electric motors that combine for 320 hp.

Again, our own acceleration test results are for non-equivalent versions. The 320-hp dual-motor Ioniq 5 Limited AWD got to 60 mph in a brisk 4.5 seconds in our testing, while the significantly less powerful single-motor 225-hp Ioniq 6 SE RWD managed a sprint to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. When we eventually get our hands on an Ioniq 6 AWD for testing, we’ll see if it ends up being quicker than its taller sibling. But we don’t expect a huge difference between the two, as their claimed curb weights are similar when comparing equivalent configurations.

A high-performance N version of the Ioniq 5 has already been confirmed, and that model will offer a considerably more powerful set of electric motors with around 600 horsepower. We don’t know for sure if the Ioniq 6 will also get the N treatment, but we won’t be shocked if it comes to fruition.

Interior and Dimensions

Although the Ioniq 6 sedan is longer and lower than the Ioniq 5, the crossover has the longer wheelbase of the two. Both cars feel spacious inside, and the Ioniq 6 only has slightly less passenger volume than the Ioniq 5. We thought the Ioniq 6 felt more spacious up front, and it does offer considerably more front legroom than the Ioniq 5. In the back seat, the Ioniq 5 wins out in terms of legroom.

Predictably, the Ioniq 5’s hatchback body style offers considerably more cargo space than the Ioniq 6’s conventional trunk. You get 27 cubic feet of space behind the Ioniq 5’s rear seat, while the Ioniq 6’s trunk only offers 11 cubic feet.

Price and Trim Levels

The Ioniq 6 is the cheaper option of the two, but only just. It slots in just below the crossover in price, with the sedan starting at $42,715 for the base model compared with the Ioniq 5’s $42,785 starting price. At the high end, the Ioniq 5 Limited AWD is $57,835 compared with the Ioniq 6 Limited AWD at $57,215. Both are offered in SE, SEL, and Limited trim levels, and the standard and optional equipment is similar between the two. Color-wise, the Ioniq 6 offers a few hues you won’t find on the 5 including a nice dark green (Digital Green) and a bright red (Ultimate Red), but both cars offer matte paint options for an extra $1000.

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Senior Editor

Despite being raised on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Capparella nonetheless cultivated an obsession for the automotive industry throughout his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school newspaper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for his first professional auto-writing gig at Automobile Magazine. He has been part of the Car and Driver team since 2016 and now lives in New York City.  

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