World Car of the Year: Hyundai Ioniq 6

Being named “World Car of the Year” is a challenging achievement. Winning both the “World Electric Car of the Year” and “World Car Design of the Year” awards at the same ceremony is even more challenging. Demonstrating this success consecutively for two years is truly commendable. In 2022, Hyundai achieved this remarkable feat with the Ioniq 5 model, winning “World Car of the Year,” “World Electric Car of the Year,” and “World Car Design of the Year” simultaneously. Notably, it was the first time an electric car had earned the “World Car of the Year” award. In 2023, Hyundai once again secured all three awards with the Ioniq 6, the sibling of the previous year’s successful model, proving that their success was no coincidence. Hyundai appeals to a wide audience with its diverse range of vehicles, and it successfully sells cars in almost every market globally. Achieving this requires not only a varied product lineup but also a substantial infrastructure, and Hyundai managed to establish this infrastructure in a comparatively short time, further validating its success.

Hyundai, established later than other automotive manufacturers, around 1967, gradually transitioned from badge-engineering models (producing cars under license with their own logo, akin to the Tofaş Kuş Serisi-Fiat collaboration) to developing and manufacturing its own vehicles. In its early years, Hyundai maintained its presence with models that were perceived as low-quality and less durable. However, as time progressed, the Korean manufacturer shifted towards producing more resilient cars.

By the mid-2000s, Hyundai, known for producing vehicles with higher quality, modern technology, and improved durability, acknowledged that its designs were somewhat dull. In the mid-2010s, the company signaled a new era, declaring its commitment to break away from mundane vehicle designs. In 2014, Hyundai appointed Albert Biermann, the former Head of Engineering at BMW’s M division, to enhance the handling and comfort of its vehicles, making them the best in their respective segments.

With the establishment of an R&D center in Germany and the recruitment of numerous engineers and designers from German companies, Hyundai accelerated its ascent. Entrusting Biermann with the task of ensuring superior handling and comfort, Hyundai aimed to elevate its standing in the automotive industry. The company’s rise was evident in its financial performance, with Hyundai consistently increasing its profit margins. In 2021, Hyundai achieved a new record by boosting its profits by 187% compared to the previous year.

Ioniq 6’s design may initially appear peculiar. With its water droplet-shaped design boasting a remarkable aerodynamic efficiency of 0.21, second only to the Mercedes-Benz EQS globally, the Ioniq 6 shares the E-GMP platform with the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. The name, a combination of “Ion” and “unique,” reflects the bold design language. Despite its distinctive look, the low drag coefficient enables the Ioniq 6 to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 5.1 seconds, offering users a range of up to 614 kilometers.

Featuring pixel LED headlights for both powerful illumination and a stylish front profile, the Ioniq 6 adopts a flat, clean, and forward-sloping design on the front end. The vehicle offers 18 and 20-inch wheel options, with the 18-inch variant characterized by a simple and aerodynamic structure. The 20-inch wheels, reminiscent of a snowflake design, are used in Hyundai’s internal combustion models as well.

Several design elements, such as hidden door handles, sleek side mirror cameras, a sharply descending roofline after the B-pillar, the design of the sills, and the spoiler, have all been meticulously crafted to enhance the vehicle’s efficiency. Hyundai has paid attention to subtle details in each of these elements to achieve an overall aerodynamic and efficient design.

The rear design of the vehicle gives me the feeling of a retro-modern interpretation of classic Porsche models. The sloping coupe structure, the horizontal spoiler under the rear window, and the slanted taillights contribute to this impression, while the pixelated design adds a mature touch to the rear of the car. The functional diffuser’s ventilation outlets on the edges, the vertical lighting group, and the contrasting color are also details that add uniqueness to the vehicle. Seeing such diverse and complementary details in a Hyundai, something nobody would have believed if told ten years ago, represents a significant shift. A decade ago, nobody would have said, ‘This design looks like something Hyundai would do.

Ioniq 6, having a interior that differs from its sibling, the Ioniq 5, actually showcases one of the reasons for Hyundai’s success. Despite sharing the same foundation, each model in the Hyundai family is distinct and special. While the Ioniq 5 is the practical sibling in the family, the Ioniq 6 represents the sportier side of the family. The use of cameras as mirrors improves the vehicle’s cross-view, and the placement of camera screens is well-executed. The integrated digital instrument panel and multimedia screen utilize Hyundai’s latest interface.

The unified structure of the ventilation channels, the hidden and suspended appearance of the door handles, and the logo-less, two-spoke, minimalist steering wheel are design elements that add uniqueness to the vehicle. However, sometimes design takes precedence over practicality. Although the design of the doors adds spaciousness to the interior, it has led to the relocation of the window controls to the center console. The placement of shortcut buttons, multimedia, and climate controls under the ventilation outlets has made these features convenient for the driver. The glove compartment is designed as a drawer, emphasizing functionality.

At the rear of the vehicle, details such as the absence of a driveshaft tunnel and the presence of a 220-volt power outlet contribute to the practicality of the Ioniq 6. Features like the relaxation function of the front seats turning into beds, head-up display, interactive ambient lighting, voice assistant, Bose sound system, level 2 autonomous driving, and many more add to the vehicle’s appeal. All these details have been carefully thought out. For instance, a system that prevents the rear door from opening when a vehicle is approaching from behind, alerting the rear passenger with both light and sound.

Hyundai has also added the summon feature (the ability for the car to park itself and come to the user within a parking space) to the Ioniq 6. With a front trunk of 45 liters, the vehicle offers a total luggage capacity of 446 liters, making the Ioniq 6 a truly special car that cannot be fully described in a short text. So, what are your thoughts on the Hyundai Ioniq 6?

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