Hyundai Motor Group — known to most Americans as the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands — has been killing it in recent years. Almost half of the last two-dozen finalists for North American Car and SUV of the Year awards have come from it. Some, like the Genesis G80, have lasered in on what buyers want and delivered it at a compelling price. Others, such as the Kia Telluride, have asserted themselves as new benchmarks.
As the automotive world goes electric, the brands are carrying over that success to the EV realm. Hyundai Motor Group has created a new dedicated EV platform, called E-GMP. And each of its brands has released a striking new EV built on it.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 each offer a bold look, distinguishing themselves from tepid competitors and each other. All three look poised to define their respective brands in a new era — and potentially set the paradigm for what we look for from EVs moving forward.
The trouble with releasing three game-changing new cars in concert? Those of us in the market must decide which one to buy. It’s not easy to choose between Hyundai’s brilliant new EVs. You’ll find substantial overlap in powertrains, capabilities and price points. Fortunately, there's no wrong answer here.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the everyday champion
The Ioniq 5 is the most visually captivating of the three vehicles. Its retro-futuristic look fuses Hyundai’s polyhedron-producing parametric dynamics design language with LED pixels and callbacks to the brand’s first car, the Hyundai Pony. The Ioniq 5 also enters the discussion with a lofty pedigree, sweeping World Car of the Year, World EV of the Year and World Car Design of the Year for 2022.
But the Ioniq 5’s superpower — like most Hyundai vehicles — is being brilliantly and seamlessly normal. The Ioniq 5 comes off as quasi-avant-garde in pictures, but in person, it’s conventional enough not to draw stares. It’s lightning quick — less than five seconds from 0-60 mph for the AWD version. While it may be sports car quick, its suspension is set up to make the Ioniq 5 a pliant and comfortable everyday driver like Hyundai’s best-selling Tucson and Santa Fe crossovers. And the Ioniq 5 has a robust and versatile platform. The same package that works well with a single-motor 168 horsepower base model will handle nearly 600 horsepower with the upcoming high-performance Ioniq 5 N.
The Kia EV6 is for sporty sophisticates
The Kia EV6 trades the Ioniq 5’s quirkiness for sleekness and sophistication. The body shape is less hatchback and more station wagon — though you will never hear Kia call it that. The EV6 courts attention from car enthusiasts, even those who don’t know it’s an electric car. And like the Telluride, the EV6 is an elevated offering that won’t have buyers balking at paying more than $50,000 for a Kia.
It’s not just the looks. The Kia EV6 boasts more responsive steering than the Ioniq 5 and more dynamic handling in the corners, which you can rocket out of with the AWD version’s grip and 446 lb-ft of instant torque. Most EVs are quick. But the EV6 is fun and visceral enough that you won’t care about it not making noise. It may not have the refinement of a Porsche, but the EV6 can be a reasonably priced alternative for those who can’t afford a Taycan.
Besides being a bit sportier than the Ioniq 5, the EV6 should be more readily available than its Hyundai counterpart. Hyundai opted for a more limited release, focused on compliance states like California, where the brand must sell EVs. But Kia unleashed the EV6 for sale in all 50 states.
The Genesis GV60 is young luxury, now in electric form
Genesis is the youngest of the Hyundai brands; the first vehicles did not arrive in the United States until late 2016. And Genesis faces the steepest hill to climb, competing with established players like Mercedes and BMW in luxury segments where a prestigious badge is a significant consideration for many buyers. Genesis has employed the newcomer’s advantage well, cherry-picking the best features from other manufacturers and orienting toward the future. That’s where the GV60 comes in.
Admittedly, we were skeptical about the GV60’s looks after seeing the first pictures. But in person, it’s clear what Genesis was going for. The sloping roofline and ducktail rear spoiler give off potent Porsche vibes, and the interior and exterior styling evoke Bentley — from which Genesis cribbed its chief creative officer — for about a quarter of the price.
The GV60 is tech-forward, almost to the point it's over the top. Forget your key fob? No big deal. The GV60 can recognize you via facial recognition and let you start the vehicle via fingerprint scan. Shift lever? Try a rotating crystal sphere. But the GV60 also brings the EV skeptic into the modern and newfangled era with reassurance. Every vital function in the GV60 can be controlled with a textured and ergonomically designed metal switch.
As befitting a luxury car, the Genesis GV60 offers substantially more pop than the Hyundai or Kia versions — 429 horsepower in the Performance model. (More powerful Ioniq 5 N and EV6 GT models are coming, but they’re not here yet.) But it does so without being dramatically more expensive. You can fully load a Genesis GV60 and still come in under $70,000.