Skip advert
Advertisement

“The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the spiritual successor to the VW Golf”

Mike Rutherford thinks the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the greatest mainstream car on the planet

Opinion - Hyundai Ioniq 5

Most successful car ever? You know, the one bought in greater numbers than the combined might of the Ford Model T (16.5 million sold), the Volkswagen Beetle (21.5m) and the MINI (5.5m)?

That’ll be the Toyota Corolla, in countless bodystyles – mostly finished in Born To Be Mild beige paint jobs. Since 1966, more than 50 million buyers across the globe have bought one!

But a very different success that nobody could have predicted is currently being achieved by a very different car – the comparatively low-selling (for now), 100 per cent-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5. What we’re witnessing is a stylish, affordable-ish (in EV terms) family hatchback dramatically upping its status from rookie lightweight contender to reigning and respected heavyweight champion of the world.

Advertisement - Article continues below

I exaggerate not when I say the Ioniq 5 is now generally regarded by those like me who’ve closely studied and driven it (repeatedly in my case) as the latest greatest mainstream car on the planet.

In that sense, it’s the spiritual successor to the Golf – and like the Golf, the Ioniq 5 is a landmark vehicle. It’s also embarrassing the Volkswagen empire. How come? Because the most natural and blindingly obvious successor to the phenomenally successful Golf in old-school petrol or diesel guises could have and should have been an all-new Golf in, er, state-of- the-art pure-electric guise. Except that Volkswagen complicated matters by effectively and slowly killing off the legendary Golf that took half a century to build and nurture. Its replacement? The nothingy ID.3 (or larger ID.4). I’m a big fan of EVs. But only if they’re absolutely right. And the ID.3 and ID.4 are not. IMHO.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

What Hyundai, its workers and its Ioniq 5 have achieved in the last 10 months is unprecedented. The drama started in early July 2021, when this title awarded it the big one – the coveted Auto Express Car of the Year trophy. Then by the end of last year, the vehicle was judged by a panel of international designers, race drivers, marketeers and media folk (including Steve Fowler and me) as the Best Cars of the Year Joint World Champion. And since then several other organisations have been queueing up to pin their medals or perch their trophies on the success story of 2021/22. Now, as we approach the end of the Ioniq 5’s first full year as the best vehicle on the market, appointed jurors (again with Steve and I) have – surprise, surprise – voted it World Car of the Year.

But don’t forget that in the rapidly moving auto industry, the Ioniq 5 is in effect last year’s model in some respects. The 2022/2023 awards season begins in just a few weeks, with the Auto Express prize-giving ceremony the first major one out of the blocks.

What’s coming over the next 12 months or so is tantalising. No detailed predictions from me at this early stage of the game, but something tells me the all-new Range Rover and, at the other end of the scale, the Dacia Jogger might just clean up – despite the fact that both, for the time being at least, rely on old-school internal-combustion engines. You know, the sort of motors still bought, used and loved by most of the world’s drivers.

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Best electric cars to buy 2024
Best electric cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Best electric cars to buy 2024

These are the EVs that should be on your shortlist if you’re thinking about making the switch
17 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a top class family EV for £215 a month
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Namsan Edition - front
News

Car Deal of the Day: Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a top class family EV for £215 a month

The award-winning Ioniq 5 as a do-it-all electric car and our Deal of the Day for 25 April
25 Apr 2024
Hyundai Ioniq 5 gets sporty new N Line version in mid-life update
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 - front
News

Hyundai Ioniq 5 gets sporty new N Line version in mid-life update

The award-winning Hyundai Ioniq 5 is set to become even better with a set of revisions
4 Mar 2024
Hyundai Ioniq 5 review
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Namsan Edition - front
In-depth reviews

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

The retro-modern Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a supremely talented all-electric family car that’s hard to fault
29 Feb 2024

Most Popular

New Kia EV3 is a £30k electric car with a 372-mile range
Kia EV3 - front
News

New Kia EV3 is a £30k electric car with a 372-mile range

Kia expands its electric line up with the EV3 – taking plenty of inspiration from the flagship EV9
23 May 2024
New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up
Nissan Qashqai reveal - full front
News

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up

The start price for the Nissan Qashqai has increased by £3,000 due to the loss of the old entry-level Visia trim
24 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month
Volkswagen Tiguan - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month

Volkswagen’s practical and refined mid-size SUV is our Deal of the Day for 24 May
24 May 2024