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Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD Standard Range Prestige Review: We Should Be Very Proud Of This Made-In-Singapore Car

The Cat A Ioniq 5 offers a unique blend of quality and luxury at a good price.
James Wong
James Wong
08 Aug 2023
Hyundai has tweaked the power output of its global base model down from 125 kW to 107 kW, which is just under the 110 kW threshold for Cat A.
What we like:
Superb build quality
Just enough power for Singapore
RWD is lots of fun
Packaging is clever and innovative
Timeless design
800V charging technology will make the base model's lower range a small issue
What we dislike:
It is entering the market at the peak COE era

The Ioniq 5 has teased Singapore with a long gestation period. It was first sold in 2021 under limited numbers via a pilot programme, but it was not launched to great fanfare and most of the car buying public had little opportunity to experience it.

These initial Ioniq 5s were made-in-Korea (MIK), and it would be some two years later before we finally have the Ioniq 5 actually being introduced properly, this time being made in Singapore (MIS). Yes, you read that right. After some 40 years the last car factory shuttered its doors in Singapore, we are now building cars again.

Although, technically, the term ‘build’ isn’t quite right - assembling in terms of the Complete Knock-Down (CKD) concept would be more appropriate. This is no surprise as the Ioniq 5 was developed completely ground-up already before it started being produced in Singapore. Nevertheless, the novelty of seeing the words ‘made in Singapore’ on the car’s VIN detail sticker hasn’t worn off. Hyundai is eager to share this fact too, with the car’s number plate holder proudly declaring the Ioniq 5 as an ‘EV proudly made in Singapore’. For a car assembled in Singapore without any precedence, it is impressive that its build quality feels as good as its MIK peer.

Now how exactly does Singapore production change things for potential buyers of the Ioniq 5 in any way? Cosmetically, the car is virtually the same as the MIK car, save for the omission of the Hyundai badge at the rear. It’s a handsome, timeless design that will really stand the test of time - and I am especially fond of the hidden active air intakes at the front bumper.

Even by way of taxation, the LTA hasn’t given any special incentives - yet - for buying an Ioniq 5. Whatever happened to supporting local? But the one thing that Hyundai could do, and did, with this massive investment is to tweak the Ioniq 5 for local tastes - and they struck right at the heart of Singaporeans when they offered an Ioniq 5 that qualifies for Cat A COE.

This saves some $20-25k over a Cat B COE which will surely appeal to value conscious buyers. Hyundai has tweaked the power output of its global base model down from 125 kW to 107 kW, which is just under the 110 kW threshold for Cat A. Usefully though, it’s still equipped with the same 58 kWh battery, and torque remains the same at 350 Nm. You won’t find this Ioniq 5 variant anywhere else in the world. Well played, Hyundai.

There are other pricier variants that give you more range and power through a larger 77 kWh battery and/or a dual motor setup, but they’ll attract a Cat B COE. My opinion is to stick with the Cat A model, because it’s just so good for Singapore.

Range with the Cat A Ioniq 5 is still a respectable 384 km (WLTP), and in the real world you can expect low to mid 300 km. All Ioniq 5s come with 800V charging technology, so even in the base model you are getting really quick charging - 10% to 80% takes as little as 18 minutes, while every 5 minutes of charging nets you 88 km. Smart Regenerative Braking works perfectly, allowing true one pedal driving that’s well calibrated for Singapore traffic.

The simpler rear-wheel drive setup of the Cat A Ioniq 5 just works (and helps save you more road tax as well), allowing cheeky adjustability of the rear axle that keeps things engaging. These days with BEVs, with instantaneous torque, you don’t need big power to elicit a little slide. Yes, all-wheel drive is quicker point-to-point, but I cannot see how it can beat the price-to-fun factor of the cheaper RWD variants.

Comfort ranks high for the Ioniq 5, too. All Ioniq 5s come with double glazed windows, which makes it exceptionally quiet even among BEVs. It has a 3,000 mm long wheelbase which translates to a capacious interior that’s especially enjoyable at the rear (for the record, the last generation (W222) SWB S-Class has a wheelbase that’s just 35 mm longer. Go figure). Rear seats backs are reclinable and adjustable, so there are a couple of permutations available for one to find a good sitting position. With a flat floor both for front and rear passengers, the cabin’s packaging and ambience is second to none. There is even a ‘Universal Island’ - a sliding centre console that moves by up to 140 mm. You’d really be surprised how big the car is on the inside.

With 19-inch rims on the base model, the ride is impeccably good, a further improvement on the already stellar ride with 20-inch rims. Yet another reason to go for the basic model! I’d even go as far to say that the Ioniq 5 is one of the best riding BEVs I’ve come across. It’s soft, but the chassis always feels well in control and always communicative. The dedicated E-GMP BEV platform is just amazing.

If you opt for the Prestige trim of the Cat A variant, you aren’t missing out much on features compared with the pricier Ioniq 5s. Even the basic Exclusive trim already comes with the impressive panoramic sunroof, High Beam Assist, outdoor V2L capability and an electric tailgate. But for $10k more, it’s well worth getting the Prestige trim, which among other features will come with the awesome parametric pixel headlamps, front ventilated Zero Gravity memory seats that will come with a leg rest, an augmented reality (AR) head-up display, surround view cameras, remote parking and interior V2L.

It’s important to note as well that Hyundai has really thought ‘beyond the car’ for a seamless transition to an EV. Initiatives like mobile charging and apps developed specially for Singapore to control and monitor one’s Ioniq (IONIQ Care+ and BlueLink) really demonstrate the brand’s customer centric approach.

I think the Ioniq 5 is an amazing achievement and it is made all the sweeter that it is assembled on our shores. Although not the cheapest BEV around, it feels well worth the premium over entry-level alternatives and blurs the boundaries between utility and luxury. Remove its badge and you’d absolutely believe that the car comes from a luxury manufacturer. All of the hard work has been done, and now the Ioniq 5 is ready to take flight - I’m proud to say it is our national car.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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