The Hyundai Ioniq 5 Is Esquire's Car of the Year


It's just the sad truth: many cars look the same these days. Handsome enough but, you know, just another collection of artful swoops on wheels.

Which is why when you roll down the street ina Hyundai Ioniq 5, people do a double take as if they were seeing a glitch in the matrix. It’s one of the most delightfully distinctive everyman cars on the road today. Whereas most electric vehicles tend to resemble an inflated dolphin or a frog that’s swallowed another frog, Hyundai’s $42,745 electric vehicle is unabashedly angular; it wouldn’t look out of place in the Roblox metaverse. The playful shape harks back to sporty hatchbacks from influential Italian design maestro Giorgetto Giugiaro—in particular, the Lancia Delta Integrale and the Hyundai Pony, one of the first South Korean cars made for export.

Photo by Hyundai.

That rare combination of utility and original design in a car made for the masses is the reason we designated the Hyundai Ioniq 5 our Car of the Year. And while it exudes small-car styling, the Ioniq 5 is actually longer than the Hyundai Palisade SUV, which means plenty of trunk space as well as massive legroom and headroom for all passengers. It’s extremely quiet even at high speeds, and it has the impeccable build quality and driver-assistance technology usually reserved for cars at a steeper price. Yet this is not a luxury vehicle. The Ioniq 5 embraces clean design and simplicity over opulence in a world where many cars seem to have gone through a maximalist design-by-committee machine. It feels just right.


The overall package is futuristic and gadget-like without being gimmicky. Even the Tetris-style headlights, while a little cheeky, seem appropriate.

Remember when you unboxed your first iPhone? That’s what it feels like to get into an Ioniq 5 for the first time. As a result, ever since it entered the market this past spring, it’s become a bit of a low-key status symbol in places including Los Angeles, much like the Prius back in the day. Less so in other cities—at the moment, it’s available inonly 39 states, though that number will grow. The Ioniq 5 may be set for near ubiquity soon. But hey, you can’t hate on good taste, right?

From: Esquire U.S. 

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Kevin Sintumuang
Kevin Sintumuang is Esquire's Lifestyle and Culture Director.
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