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car review

The Hyundai Ioniq 5.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

The options for electric vehicles are growing quickly, especially in the compact SUV segment. Two of the newest competitors are Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, the Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Hyundai’s Ioniq 5. Here’s how they stack up against each other.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Looks

The Volvo XC40 Recharge looks like its gas-powered sibling, the XC40; only a few minor details hint that it’s different. There’s no traditional grille and no air intakes at the front and no tailpipes at the rear. The Volvo name is etched across the rear lift gate with a tiny “Recharge Twin” decal on the right side.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 has the upper hand when it comes to styling with its dramatic and distinct look. It’s eye-catching and definitely not a boring, typical SUV. It’s futuristic with sharp angles, 20-inch alloy wheels, blacked out rear windows and flush door handles that pop out to open the door.

Both the Volvo and Hyundai come well equipped with safety and driving technology.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Interior

Inside, the XC40 Recharge looks like a traditional Volvo with the same dashboard layout and design. But there’s no start-stop button – just sit in the driver’s seat with the key fob nearby and the vehicle comes to life. Some of the EV information on the centre screen can be confusing to decipher. For example, there are always three estimated ranges displayed (for example, 150, 110 and 80 kilometres representing the most and least optimistic distances before you need to recharge), so it’s hard to tell which number is the most accurate. The middle number is the most prominently displayed, but I stick to the lowest number to be on the safe side. Energy usage is displayed in real time, showing how much energy is being used based on speed, driving style and climate control inside the cabin.

The Ioniq 5′s interior isn’t as dramatic as its exterior. The dashboard and layout is simple and straightforward to use. It has traditional buttons for climate control, a push-button start and a dial for the radio volume. The gear-shifter stalk, located on the steering wheel column, frees up space in the cabin. It doesn’t show as many details as the Volvo.

The dash of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 has traditional buttons for climate control, a push-button start and a dial for the radio volume.

The interior of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The XC40 Recharge looks like a traditional Volvo with the same dashboard layout and design.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Performance

The XC40 Recharge felt firm and solid, like a conventional gasoline Volvo, but with a claimed range of 359 kilometres. When I picked up the vehicle, it had 270 kilometres of range, but I had to travel 190 kilometres, so range anxiety set in fast. I set the cruise control and turned off the heat and radio to avoid depleting the battery. I arrived at my destination with 74 kilometres left.

Charging at home was an issue, especially with only a 120-volt outlet in the garage. After 24 hours, it was 60 per cent charged. Several hours later, I plugged in a hair dryer and blew a fuse, knocking out power to much of the house and garage. At least I managed to squeeze out more range – 240 kilometres – before the fuse blew.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 was smooth and responsive, with pleasant road manners and a longer range of 480 kilometres. The range is fairly accurate and true to the driving distance; after driving 101 kilometres, the battery range dropped by nearly the same amount.

Charging remained an issue, despite the fact I relied on public chargers this time. Often, the four nearby public charging spots in St. Catharines were being used or hogged by gas-powered vehicles. And the charging time was long – in some cases, more than four hours – because they didn’t offer fast-charging capability. At least it only cost $19.01 in charging fees for the week; way cheaper than $2 a litre for gas.

Technology

Both the Volvo and Hyundai come well equipped with safety and driving technology. Volvo has its Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system with adaptive cruise control; Hyundai has its forward collision avoidance-assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection and highway driving assist systems.

Both brands have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Volvo comes with Google Maps, Google Personal Assistant and Spotify built in. Bonus points for Hyundai: It has a cool feature that allows you to power electronics, tools and other gadgets through an added accessory attachment plugged into the vehicle’s rear charging port. I even used it to make coffee.

The Ioniq 5′s trunk has 770 litres of rear cargo space.

With 452 litres of cargo space, the XC40 Recharge has respectable cargo room.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Cargo

With 452 litres of cargo space, the XC40 Recharge has respectable cargo room. There’s no front trunk for extra storage. The 60/40-split folding rear seats also have a pass-through for carrying longer items. The Ioniq 5′s trunk is much larger with 770 litres of rear cargo space. The rear seats also fold down for added storage capability. A tiny 57-litre front trunk is a bit useless.

The verdict

Both electric SUVs are capable and confident. But the Ioniq 5 edges ahead of the XC40 Recharge because of its unique exterior styling, more affordable price tag and longer electric range.

Tech specs

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge (Ultimate all-wheel-drive trim)

  • Base price/as tested: $70,800/$74,300
  • Power: Electric motor and 78-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery
  • Horsepower/torque (lb-ft): 201/243
  • Drive: All-wheel drive
  • Claimed range: 359 kilometres
  • Charging: 350 kilowatts DC fast charger, from 10 to 80 per cent in 37 minutes; with 11 kilowatts AC charger, 8 to 10 hours
  • Alternatives: Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (Ultimate all-wheel-drive trim)

  • Base price/as tested: $60,999/$62,824
  • Power: 239-kilowatt electric motor and 77.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer high-voltage battery
  • Horsepower/torque (lb-ft): 320/446
  • Drive: All-wheel drive
  • Claimed range: Up to 488 kilometres
  • Charging: 350 kilowatts DC fast charger, from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes; Level 2, 240-volt, 6 hours, 43 minutes
  • Alternatives: Volvo XC40 Recharge, Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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