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The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is an electric sedan with a packed trophy case. It’s the 2023 World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year. It also earned the 2023 EV of the Year title from Car and Driver. The Ioniq 6 has earned many awards thanks to its unique design, advanced technology, and electric powertrain that provides a good balance of performance and range. Still, the Ioniq 6 isn’t as popular as the comparatively subtle Nissan Ariya.

Recent sales figures show the Nissan Ariya has sold 9,698 units in the U.S. in 2023 so far. Meanwhile, the Ioniq 6 has sold 8,318 units. Why is Nissan’s electric compact crossover more popular than the lauded Hyundai EV?

The Nissan Ariya is an SUV, while the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a sedan

2023 Nissan Ariya on a Dirt Road with Greenery in the Background
2023 Nissan Ariya | Nissan

The most likely reason the Nissan Ariya outsells the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is that SUVs are generally more popular than sedans. For example, the best-selling Nissan model in the U.S. is the sensible Rogue, and Hyundai’s best-seller is the equally affordable Tucson.

A 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 all-electric midsize fastback sedan model racing down a highway as the sun rises
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 | Hyundai Motor America

It’s also noteworthy that SUVs outsell sedans and hatchbacks even within the EV lineups of the Nissan and Hyundai brands. The Nissan Ariya outsells the Nissan Leaf by 67%, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 outsells the Hyundai Ioniq 6 by 204%, GoodCarBadCar sales data shows.

That’s partially because of the broader availability of the Ioniq 5. But even when you break down the sales numbers by month, the SUV significantly outsells the sedan.

Nissan has a reputation for dependable EVs thanks to the Leaf

A side profile shot of a white 2023 Nissan Leaf EV hatchback model parked in front of a tropical resort
2023 Nissan Leaf EV | Nissan Motor Corporation

Another likely reason the Ariya outsells the Ioniq 6 is that Nissan has the longest reputation for mass-market EVs of any automaker in the U.S. The Nissan Leaf came out in 2011 and has grown a following as a practical and affordable EV. Many Ariya owners are likely previous Leaf drivers who have been waiting for an electric SUV from Nissan.

By comparison, Hyundai is a relative newcomer to the EV world. The original Ioniq came out in 2017 with an all-electric option available exclusively in California. The South Korean automaker didn’t make a splash in the mass-market EV game until the Ioniq 5 came out in 2022, 11 years after the Nissan Leaf debuted in all 50 states.

Also, Nissan has a more extensive dealer network in the U.S. than Hyundai, making the Ariya more readily available to more Americans than the Hyundai Ioniq 6.

Which EV is better?

On paper, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a better EV than the Nissan Ariya in many ways. The Hyundai has a higher maximum range (361 miles versus 304 miles), a lower starting price ($41,600 versus $43,190), and a better warranty.

However, the Nissan Ariya has a few perks, including a more potent dual-motor powertrain (389 hp versus 320 hp), more than double the cargo space (22.8 cubic feet versus 11.2 cubic feet), and available hands-free driving, which you can’t get with the Ioniq 6.

If you want a high-tech EV with a long range, a unique design, and an excellent warranty, you’ll probably prefer the Hyundai Ioniq 6. However, if you want a relatively traditional compact SUV that happens to be electric, the Nissan Ariya is a practical choice.


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