Weekend Wheels: Hyundai’s all-electric Ioniq 5

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Mr. Jetson, your new electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 is here.

So remind me again why we’re zipping around in cars that run on dinosaur juice?  Especially with gas averaging over $4 a gallon.

Make no mistake, electric is the future. And cars like the brand new Hyundai Ioniq 5 I’ve just spent the week piloting turn me into an electric holy-roller preaching the gospel of volts and ohms.

According to the boffins at the EPA, this new futuristic-looking Ioniq 5 can average between 98 mpg-e and 114 mpg-e. 

For my one and only charge during the week, ChargePoint told me I spent $3.46 to add an estimated 150 miles of range. Working on the loose premise that a car of the Ioniq 5’s size and weight might average 30 to the gallon, that’s the equivalent of 69 cents a gallon. 

Not since Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Rod Stewart asked “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” was gas at 69 cents a gallon. 

Fully charged, this little bundle of electrified joy can whirr along for up to 303 miles. And, here’s the amazing bit: With a 350-kilowatt DC fast charger, a five-minute charge can add up to 68 miles of range.

Even better, it can take the Hyundai’s battery from 10 to 80 percent in a mere 18 minutes. That’s about the time it takes to sip a mocha latte frappuccino at Starbucks and check your email.

Driving this new Hyundai is more fun than a day at Disney, more of a blast than riding the Vomatron at Screamer’s Park in Daytona Beach. 

It’s all about that light-switch-immediate, grin-inducing acceleration. Mash the throttle from the stoplight, and this Ioniq 5 can zap to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. 

Of course, a Tesla Model 3 will sprint faster and run longer. But a Model 3 looks nothing like this crazy, Jetson-style Hyundai, either inside or out. 

Part compact SUV, part hot hatchback, and part extra from that Sly Stallone movie Demolition Man, the Ioniq 5 will spin heads faster than a J-Lo sighting at the Krispy Kreme.

I love that Tron-like front end, the swept-back windshield, those razor-sharp body lines and 20-inch saw-blade wheels. The pop-out door handles and sport-ute-style wheel arch extensions only add to the visual drama.

While photos suggest it’s the size of some teeny Prius, in the metal this thing is huge. The wheelbase stretches 118 inches, which is four inches longer than that of Hyundai’s big-boy, three-row Palisade SUV. 

What that delivers is Lincoln Town Car-size stretch-out legroom in the rear. It’s simply vast back there, though having the rear motor under the load area does make luggage space only so-so.

Climb aboard and the cabin looks like the inside of an Apple store. It gets two big 12-inch screens on the slim dash, funky wipe-clean fabric on the seats, and simple, clean-cut flat surfaces on the doors and fascia.

And to drive it is to absolutely love it. Everything from that slingshot acceleration, the silent running, the terrific “one-pedal” driving that almost does away with the brake pedal.

It also has steering that’s quick, precise and nicely weighted. And handling that always feels nimble, agile, balanced and just plain fun.

Take your pick from a trio of trims. The base, rear-drive SE Long Range stickers at $43,650 and offers 303 miles of range from its single 225-hp electric motor. An extra $3,500 gets you a motor for the front to provide all-wheel drive.

Next up is the fancier SEL at $45,900, with again the option of the second motor. The top-shelf Ioniq 5 Limited AWD I drove, with 320-hp and 256 miles of range, came in at $55,725. Though remember, as with all electrics, Uncle Sam provides a nice $7,500 tax credit. 

Yes, there are plenty of rival EVs on the market, with way more on the way. Everything from Volvo’s XC40 Recharge, to the excellent Ford Mach-E, to VW’s I.D.4 to Kia’s new EV6 and the all-conquering Model 3. 

But for me, this too-cute Iconiq 5 is watt it’s all about.

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