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The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is retro cool. It’s got a great powertrain and is leading the way with rapid charging. And its affordable. It is one of our favorite vehicles, here at MotorBiscuit. But what the heck is it? SUV? Crossover? Wagon? I’m voting for a class of its own: the chonk wagon.

First things first, Hyundai labels this vehicle an electric SUV. MotorTrend agrees, even giving it “SUV of the year” in 2023. But when I first saw pictures of the EV I thought “no way that’s an SUV! That’s the glorious return of the wagon.”

The first time I got to drive one in person, I was shocked at how big it is. It’s surprisingly long and, compared to wagons of yesteryear, its surprisingly wide. I parked this big boi next to a Saab Aero wagon. The Saab has the long, lean shape of the wagons of yesteryear. In comparison, the Ioniq 5 looked, well, chunky.

Whit Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV crossover SUV driving around a corner.
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a big boi | Hyundai

Like many EVs, this thing is heavy as hell. The RWD with the small battery pack might be a smidge under 4,000 pounds. But you can add 600 pounds in options. The “N” trim has a big battery pack and stretched wheelbase, so it comes in at 4,650 pounds. That’s more than any Toyota Tacoma.

One reason this vehicle looks small in photos is that it sits on 19 or even 20 inch rims stock. The wheelbase also adds to this optical illusion. Internal combustion cars often have the front axle centered under the engine. Because, you know, it weighs a lot. Traditional leaf spring vehicles ned a bunch of rear overhang for the suspension too. But with EVs, it makes sense to push the wheels as close to the corners as possible. This maximizes space for the battery pack and smooths out the ride. The only real downside I can think of is turning radius and break-over angle if you decided to take the Ioniq 5 off-roading.

White Hyundai Ioniq 5 N with wider wheels
The chonk is even stronger with the 2025 Ioniq 5 “N” | Hyundai

Speaking of off-roading, the Ioniq 5 is low. Hyundai advertises 6.1 inches of ground clearance. The N trim is almost a full inch lower. So while it will feel as roomy as a modern two-row crossover (think CR-V size), it rides much lower. Nothing about it screams “sport utility.” This makes the Ioniq 5 look smaller. It also adds to its retro style. But the real reason may be it just pushes less air and gets a longer range.

It’s for this reason that I predict we’ll see a lot more vehicles in this class. The wagon shape keeps the crossover storage capacity we’ve grown used to. But the low ride height maximizes range. In the quest for better kW/mile ratings and longer ranges, I expect most will become narrower and longer than the Ioniq 5 (perhaps even with a little third row). But with their batteries, they’ll still be heavy. So I am officially dubbing them the chonk wagons. The big bois are coming.

Next, read how the Ioniq 5 outruns range anxiety, or see why Doug DeMuro finds the Ioniq 5 stylish and pleasingly quirky:

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