Comparison test Hyundai Ioniq 6 vs. Tesla Model 3 – Double test

A double test between the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and the Tesla Model 3.

Efficiency boost

If you say electric car, you say range. For a good range you not only need a fairly large battery, but above all a streamlined carriage. Low air resistance has been high on Tesla’s list of priorities since day one. You can see that in the Model 3 and Hyundai is going on the same tour with the slippery Ioniq 6 in the battle for the highest efficiency.

Why is low air resistance so important for the range of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and the Tesla Model 3?

For a while it seemed that just about every new EV had to be an SUV or crossover, and that is anything but favorable for consumption and range. However, more streamlined models are slowly but surely appearing, such as the Mercedes-Benz EQE, BMW i4, Xpeng P7, Nio ET7 and the yet to be introduced Volkswagen ID.7. Car manufacturers know better than anyone how important the role of air resistance is. Of the total drag force that a car has to overcome, more than 60 percent is air resistance. Last year we drove the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX, a study model with a drag coefficient of 0.17. Test drivers drove 1,200 kilometers without intermediate charging with a battery capacity of 100 kWh and we ourselves achieved an average of 9.5 kWh/100 km with the extremely efficient Silberpfeile. Speed ​​is also an important factor, with air resistance again playing the leading role. In the worst case, for example, you will drain the battery almost twice as fast at a speed of 130 km/h as at 100 km/h. Many EV drivers can relate to that. We immediately note that the difference is much less with a well-streamlined car. It becomes completely dramatic with a caravan on the hook, then the energy consumption doubles. But a roof box also means a reasonable increase in consumption, especially at higher speeds. Hyundai already showed with the first Ioniq (2016 – 2022, cw 0.24) that it can build an economical EV and with the Ioniq 6 (cw 0.21) the brand continues to build on that theme. On a full battery, it travels almost a hundred kilometers further than the Ioniq 5 with which it shares its technique. That’s starting to look like it!

Is the Hyundai Ioniq 6 a liftback or a sedan?

It had been known for a few years that Hyundai would come with a lower variant of the Ioniq 5. The shape of his carriage leaves nothing to the imagination, the wind tunnel speaks here. It may look like a liftback, but it’s a sedan. The reactions to the Ioniq 6 are very diverse, but it is soon clear that it is not so popular with the majority of people. It is indeed quite extreme, especially the rear. And also a bit eccentric, which is a relief in a time of many uniform sausages. More than once we hear someone speak of a Porsche 911 when looking at the back.

Are there any similarities between the Ioniq 6 and the 5?

The 6 is 26 cm longer and 15 cm lower than the 5 and 135 kg heavier. The entry is lower and there is of course less headroom. With its layout, screens and operation, the dashboard is exactly the same as that of the 5. Only the design is different and the buttons for the window controls are located on the center tunnel. You have to get used to it, but in practice that is often where your right hand is. An important difference with the 5 is the navigation system, which has been expanded with a route planner that also integrates the charging stops. Enter Geneva as the destination and the system calculates a route including all necessary charging stops and the time it takes to charge. A child can do the laundry. It is also the first Hyundai that is suitable for over-the-air updates of the navigation and infotainment system. It seems that these functions will soon also be available in other Hyundai and Kia models, such as the Ioniq 5, the new Kona Electric, the Kia EV6 and the Kia Niro EV6. You can then indicate which charging providers you prefer.

Does the Ioniq 6 also drive differently?

We drive the model with a large battery in combination with rear-wheel drive, then you have the largest possible range. The 20-inch wheels throw a little spanner in the works, because they provide a little more air and rolling resistance. The driving characteristics are in any case less woolly than those of the 5 (model year 2021). Suspension and damping are clearly tighter and that results in a good steering car. Due to its weight, long wheelbase and large range, the Ioniq 6 is first and foremost a comfortable travel car. Pleasant extras are the good seating position and the low noise level.

Should you take the digital wing mirrors on the Ioniq 6?

An absolute must-have are the digital exterior mirrors, you simply cannot get used to them and we do not feel that they actually provide more kilometers. Save that €1,400 for something else. There is a lot of legroom in the back seat and if you are taller than approximately 1.90 meters, then it will be a problem with the headroom. The luggage compartment is not much larger than that of a modern C-segment hatchback and the front compartment, the frunk, just doesn’t fit a small trolley case.

How economical is the Ioniq 6 then?

The consumption figures have pleasantly surprised us. After just under 1,200 kilometers under varied conditions, we note an average of 15.7 kWh/100 km. That is 2 kWh/100 km less than the last test with the Ioniq on October 5 last year. If you enter a fast charger as the destination in the navigation system, you can be sure that the battery has the ideal temperature for fast charging upon arrival. We therefore always see values ​​that exceed 200 kW and on average it achieves between 20 and 80 percent at 200 kW.

How is the Tesla Model 3 doing after four years?

It was already known in 2016 that Tesla would come with a model below the large S and in 2018 the Model 3 actually made its debut. Delivery in the Netherlands started in 2019. And how! Almost 30,000 units were registered that year, although the method of delivery – rather hasty, often in draughty industrial estates – certainly did not deserve a beauty prize. Nevertheless, hats off to Tesla for managing to get such a huge number of cars on the road before January 1, 2020, with sometimes as many as a thousand deliveries per day in the Netherlands. We all know the reason: the addition for fully electric cars went from four to eight percent in 2020. Still a bargain though. Sales fell to 827 units in 2022 and are showing a strong revival this year. Tesla has suddenly started stunting with the price. In January, the Model 3 suddenly became €7,000 cheaper and in April another €3,000 went off. That’s hard to swallow for those who just bought a new one in December. The fact that the 3 sells less well is not only due to increased competition, but also to cannibalism by the Model Y, which has been available since the end of 2020. A success: even the best-selling EV in Europe in the first quarter of 2023 (71,683 units). It dropped €3,000 in price in January, the Long Range even €12,000. The Model 3 with the ‘small’ battery comes from China, the car we drive was produced in the US. At the end of 2020, the Model 3 underwent a light refresh, recognizable by the black door handles and window frames, with which the chrome on the outside has disappeared. In profile, the 3 looks a bit strange due to the low nose and the huge windshield. Everything for efficiency.

Such a Tesla Model 3 is certainly completely different inside than the Ioniq 6?

The entry is slightly lower than in the Ioniq and the seating position is different. It is not optimal, the chair feels smaller and you sit more with your knees raised. This also applies to the rear seat, where the legroom is also a lot less than in the Hyundai. The dashboard excels in minimalism, with that typical, huge screen in the middle. You can do the rest with the two scroll wheels on the steering wheel, after you have first looked up the menu for mirror adjustment in the system, for example. It excels in simplicity and hardly takes any getting used to. The infotainment system can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, there is no Apple Car Play or Android Auto. Don’t worry, the navigation is based on Google Maps and is also fully integrated into the powertrain and battery software and you can simply log in to your own Spotify account. The resolution of the screen is very high.

But certainly a lot faster, that Tesla?

It is not difficult to guess that the 3 with its 441 hp takes off like a rocket. It is better to choose the ‘Chill mode’, then it is slightly milder with its acceleration and that is especially pleasant for your passengers. He steers almost like a go-kart, to use that comparison again. Someone who switches from a BMW 3 Series or Alfa Romeo Giulia to a Model 3 can only be enthusiastic about the driving characteristics. Which does not alter the fact that the BMW has a more cultivated chassis, the Tesla is sometimes too hard and the steering is too direct. Furthermore, the rolling noise is too prominent, which will disturb on long journeys.

What about charging and regenerative braking?

The driving characteristics of both cars differ like day and night, that much is clear. What about charging and regenerative braking? After all, those are two important properties of an EV. With the Tesla, the recuperation is always on and then in a mode that makes one-pedal driving possible. Works nicely, by the way, because if you throw the cruise off at a pace of 130 km / h, for example, it will not immediately brake like crazy. That builds up the system gradually, so that you can still control the degree of deceleration with the power pedal. In practice you hardly touch the brake pedal, which is good for the life of the tires. The Ioniq has paddles on the handlebars that allow you to fine-tune your degree of recuperative braking. From nothing or ‘Auto’ through ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ to ‘i-pedal’, which corresponds to how the system works in the Tesla. They can both charge at lightning speed, but the Hyundai retains the higher charging speed for longer and in a session from 20 to 80 percent reaches almost 200 kW on average, with the Model 3 that is around 130 kW. If you set a fast charger as your destination, the Hyundai battery will preheat faster. A trick that Tesla has mastered for a long time and that has been copied by almost all brands. In principle, this always works at Tesla if you go to a supercharger of the brand itself, but it can also work if you go to Fastned, Ionity or Shell, for example. We expressly say ‘can’, because it is not (yet) self-evident. It must be a charging station that Tesla drivers use regularly at least once every four days and that functions flawlessly at least 90 percent of the time. If chargers do not function well enough, Tesla immediately removes them from the system. This way you guarantee a good charging network, but it is somewhat strange.

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