Hyundai Ioniq 5 Prestige 77kWh is the perfect midrange-sitter vehicle despite its price tag

Hyundai Ioniq 5 Prestige 77kWh is the perfect midrange-sitter vehicle despite its price tag
PHOTO: Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore

What price would you put on more power and, just as importantly, more range? 

That is the question this 100 per cent identical-looking, but mechanically (or rather, electronically) different variant of Hyundai's retrofuturistic, electric crossover poses.

The Ioniq 5, as the firm's first model to be built atop of its dedicated E-GMP electric platform, has made waves not simply because it's the first car in more than four decades to be assembled in Singapore. It's also made headlines because some electronic wizardry was tapped on to specifically to help it duck under one particular power ceiling… prescribed by the LTA at 110kW (143bhp). When one thinks of the Ioniq 5 now, it's likely they also think of it as a Category A car.

Nonetheless, it's worth remembering that prior to its Singapore release — and in fact, in virtually every other market internationally — the Ioniq 5 had not been built with such a power cap in mind. With its more powerful motor and larger battery pack, this Prestige 77kWh variant thus invites you to consider a slightly alternative experience of the car. 

Building on the same strengths 

Internationally, the Ioniq 5 is offered with three battery packs - a 'standard range' 58kWh one, a 'long range' 72kWh one, and finally, the 'extra long range' 77kWh one. (That's discounting the bonkers Ioniq 5 N.)

Singapore, as you might already know, only gets the bookends, with the Cat A variants expectedly coming with the 58kWh pack. Powering a single motor that produces 107kW (143bhp) and 350Nm of torque, this car can officially squeeze out a WLTP-rated range of 384km. This variant is available in either the entry-level 'Exclusive' trim, or the more premium 'Prestige' trim.

Prefacing everything else with this short refresher is crucial, because whatever one sees, touches, and operates on the Prestige 58kWh is exactly what they will find on this Prestige 77kWh too.

For starters, there are zero cosmetic differences; this Prestige 77kWh car still gets appropriately-sized 19-inch tyres, which, in turn, help solidify the reality that this hatchback-looking machine is actually sized more like the crossover Hyundai claims it to be. Meanwhile, the car's boxy, 'Parametric Pixel'-studded sheet metal is still visually captivating — and also paired to more muted paintcoats such as silver and grey (as seen on this car) that cohere with its half-retro, half-futuristic design.

The interior is exactly the same, too, in all its uncluttered, spacious glory. On Prestige variants, one highlight — or two — are the Zero Gravity front seats, named as such because their ability to recline and extendable footrests are supposed to make occupants feel weightless (when the car is stopped). These also come with the perfect weapon to combat Desaru's sweltering heat: Ventilation.

Equipped as such, the car even gets an internal Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) three-pin socket, the full suite of (rather intuitive) driving assistance features, as well as an augmented-reality head-up display that integrates blind spot, cruise control, and road sign limit alerts.

Elsewhere, delightful standard features on the Ioniq 5 continue to impress, including its sliding centre console (nicknamed the 'Universal Island'), the unusual two-piece sunshade of its panoramic glass roof, and — of course — the sheer amount of space. With a 3,000mm wheelbase that could put even mid-sized sedans to shame, the Ioniq 5 remains a consummate passenger-carrier, too, that can easily seat five thanks its wide body and flat floor.

Extra practicality, extra pep

Where the Prestige 77kWh puts distance between itself and this slightly less energetic identical twin is when you hit the road.

Malaysia, especially, serendipitously proves to be the best testbed for its extra range and power. It's not just a larger battery that the car gets; its single motor unleashes more power too: 168kW (225bhp) to be exact, although peak torque remains at a very healthy 350Nm. That's a sizable step up from the Cat A-friendly powertrain. 

Whereas power notably plateaus in the Prestige 58kWh as you're pushing the limits of the fast lane, the Prestige 77kWh confidently communicates that it has more to give still. A 51kW (82bhp) power gap is not one to be understated, and when making haste is the priority, this variant certainly pleases more with its extra effortlessness.

Admittedly, this is not the range-topper in terms of performance — the Inspiration 77kWh which sits above gets even more power, with its dual motors capable of sending 239kW (321bhp) to all four wheels.

Perhaps just as crucially, however, this Prestige 77kWh variant is the one to get if you still want the slightly more visceral thrill unique to a rear-wheel driven car. Additionally, although its larger battery makes it 100kg heavier than the Cat A variants, the lack of an extra motor also makes it 100kg lighter than the Inspiration 77kWh.

One is not exempt from the laws of physics when throwing a (surprisingly large) crossover around a curvy road — with the softer suspension, this should also not be one's instinct — but the slight edge in agility is still tangible when stretching the car to its limit.

Then of course, it's ultimately worth noting that this is by far the longest-legged Ioniq 5 you can buy in Singapore.

The Cat A variants, naturally, make do with less range (384km) with their smaller batteries, while the dual-motor Inspiration 77kWh is understandably also 'thirstier' and thus less energy-efficient despite using the same battery (454km).

On the other hand, hopping into the fully charged Prestige 77kWh and seeing the remaining range on the screen displaying a figure of around 500km provides extra assurance to a driver — especially when on a cross-border road trip.

Our drive to Desaru covers less than half this amount, but the extra layers of buffer are comforting for sure. What's more, going the distance is exactly what one wants to do with the Ioniq 5, given the advanced nature of its safety assistance systems, as well as its preternatural gifts as a spacious, well-insulated and comfortable expressway-cruiser. 

The 'Goldilocks' flair - with a catch 

In a parallel universe, the Goldilocks quality of the Prestige 77kWh would easily make it the surefire pick of the range — and indeed, from a pure ownership and driving point of view, this is the one that is likely to leave a driver most satisfied both on long runs, and in the long run.

Alas, the looming over of three big letters in Singapore means that a price gap that cannot be ignored exists even between this and the already-very complete Prestige 58kWh — to the tune of $48,000 in fact, at the time of writing.

While this hike is undeniably difficult to stomach and, perhaps also quite confounding, putting into context the reality that $40,000 of this amount comes from the difference between a Cat A and Cat B COE makes the current premium of the Prestige 77kWh a little easier to understand and accept.

If ever the day comes that COE prices fall again — or indeed, if the price points of the two categories re-converge again — I know this is the one I'd be gravitating to in the showroom.

What we like

  • Extra power and range enhance its abilities for long distance, cross-border cruising
  • Generous equipment list
  • Possibly the pick of the range for the local Ioniq 5 lineup

What we dislike

  • Not much else to differentiate it from the Prestige 58kWh variant
  • Significant (COE-induced) price hike from Cat A variants

ALSO READ: Porsche Panamera Platinum Edition is a true luxury car that offers a good all-rounder drive

This article was first published in sgCarMart.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.