In an effort to make history, a stunning new car has named all the newcomers this year the best car of 2021.
Hyundai’s Ionic 5 has become the first electric vehicle to win News Corp’s Car of the Year trophy.
The breakthrough model provides a glimpse into the future of motoring and an insight into the once in a century transformation of the car industry.
At the moment, less than 2% of new car sales are electric, but the federal government estimates that EV sales will rise to 30 percent by 2030.
The Ioniq 5 is Hyundai’s first Hyundai to build on an all-new platform, which has been designed for an electric motor and battery from the start. The brand’s previous EVs were modified designs based on petrol cars.
The Ioniq 5 takes advantage of the extra space freed up by the lack of an internal combustion engine, petrol tank and exhaust system. It looks like a smaller hatchback but the wheelbase – the distance between the front and rear wheels – is longer than that of the Toyota Landcruiser.
As a result, there’s generous rear legroom and cargo space, including a small storage space under the bonnet.
But the biggest highlight of the Ioniq 5 is its super smooth, quiet and powerful electric motor. Maximum torque, or pulling force, comes on immediately, which means it’s quick off the mark. There is also no gearshift, so the flow of power is uninterrupted.
In comparison, petrol and diesel engines feel rough and unsophisticated.
The judges found the Ioniq 5’s 451km range acceptable for the vast majority of motorists, while conceding that it would not work for buyers who frequently travel long distances.
The car’s fast recharging capability also earned points. Connected to a super-fast charger, it can fill its battery from 10 percent charge to 80 percent in just 18 minutes, adding up to a range of over 300km.
In a nice touch, the front seats recline like a business class seat to give drivers a quick snooze when the car recharges. Given that fatigue is a major killer on our roads, this feature is a potential lifesaver.
The judges were divided on the futuristic styling of the car. Some argued that it suited the character of the car, while others thought the sharp edges might be dated.
Inside, the Ioniq lives up to the exterior design with a cabin design dominated by the large Apple Mac-influenced twin-screen and packed with high-tech features.
Many cabin materials are sourced sustainably, including carpets made from sugarcane fiber, seat trim from recycled plastics, paint made from plant oils, and panels made using recyclable resins.
Security is also top notch. The Ioniq can slam on the brakes if it senses a collision, displays a video feed of your blind spot, can steer you back into your lane if you stray, and it does so when you’re exiting the driveway. If it sees something in your path, it can brake.
At over $71,900 on-road the Ioniq 5 isn’t cheap. But early customer feedback – the first batch of 240 cars sold in about two hours – suggests people are willing to pay a premium.
The Ioniq beat a field that included the Subaru Outback, Kia Carnival, Volkswagen Golf, Kia Sportage, Toyota Kluger Hybrid and another electric car, the Polestar 2.