Video: Ford Mustang Mach-E Vs. Hyundai Ioniq 5: Which EV Is Right for You?
By Cars.com EditorsMay 23, 2023
About the video
The Ioniq 5 and Mustang Mach-E get some updates for 2023, and we recently tested both of these EVs in Chicago and its suburbs, driving them back to back and testing both Level 2 home charging and DC fast-charging performance.
So you wanna buy an EV, but you don't want to buy a Tesla. We're not gonna unpack just why you don't want to buy one, that's your business, but we can help you consider some other options. We have two here. We have the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
It was our Best EV of 2023. And we also have a Ford Mustang Mach-E, which was a previous winner of our Eco-friendly Vehicle of the Year award in 2021. Now, both of these EVs get some specific updates for the 2023 model year. So Mike and I decided to test them out, putting them through their paces around Chicago, and also conducting home and public DC fast charging testing. So we're gonna get behind the wheel and tell you what we think. (upbeat music) <v Mike>So we're starting off first in the Mustang Mach-E. This is a premium all-wheel drive model with the extended range battery, and it gets some updates for 2023. One of them we're gonna test out is BlueCruise. It's the 1.2 system, which adds semi-automatic lane changes. So you initiate with the turn signal, and then the car does the rest. It's a nice update from the previous generation, which you would try to change the lane, turn off BlueCruise, change lanes, turn BlueCruise back on, and then if you're just doing a passing maneuver you gotta to do the whole thing again. Yeah. One of the other changes too is that the estimated range for the extended range battery in this one with all-wheel drive has been bumped up a little bit. Now has an EP estimated range of 290 miles from the big battery. And it's a big battery. It's bigger than the Ioniq 5's, and it gets a little bit more estimated range, too. The Ioniq 5 is 266. So we're on the highway now. The BlueCruise icon immediately popped up on the dash saying it's available. So I'm just engaging that. So now we're in hands-free driving mode. You know, you still have to be able to regain control of it, especially around, you know, these urban interstates. I found, you know, you're kind of always watching for unpredictable drivers. And even though the system itself I thought was pretty confidence inspiring, also the lane change element, it accelerates when you're making that move, which is nice, it doesn't really hesitate long either, but still, for me, more of a system you're just kind of out on wide, open highways. <v Brian>It's still not up to Tesla or GM SuperCrew standards I would necessarily say. Those have automatic lane changes which in its own way can be a little unnerving. <v Mike>Yeah, so this one being all-wheel drive, it has the dual motor set up. It's rated 346 horsepower and it's got plenty of reserve power I thought for if you wanna make a pass on the highway. To me it felt like a little bit slower response from the accelerator pedal than the Ioniq 5 did. We also took previous versions of both of these EVs to the drag strip. Those would be largely comparable to these. That 2021 version of the Mustang Mach-E premium we drove down the drag strip to 60 in 5.4 seconds. The Ioniq 5 was a little bit more than a half second quicker. To me the Hyundai felt a little bit more responsive just driving around on the highway, accelerating in the city. I think this also felt a little bit twitchy to me at times. Like the accelerator pedal didn't give you quite the same level of linearity that the Hyundai did. There was maybe a little bit of dead pedal area before it really stepped into it but at the same time it may be slower in a straight line but this to me was the more fun to drive of the two we're testing. <v Mike>Yeah, I think that is kind of a clear difference between these two is how the handling differs between them. You toss the Mustang Mach-E into a corner and it stays flat, very good body control. It's not really asking you to push it harder, like it's not engaging you in that way, keeping but it's keeping up with what you're trying to kind of throw at it, whereas the Ioniq 5, you definitely start feeling the body roll right away and it's just not as willing to play along. Now there's a flip side to that though in terms of the ride quality between the two, which is another big difference. Yeah, you may be actually hearing that a little bit right now over this bumpy stretch of highway but this is just a very brittle ride. It's not really good at isolating you over bumps. You feel it through the entire chassis as you go over something. It's unpleasant. It's better I think at speed on the highway than it is around town. On some of the really pockmarked Chicago streets this was just bucking back and forth, really living up to the Mustang name, I gotta say. But it's not comfortable and that's been a complaint we've had pretty much since this debut. Maybe it's Ford feeling like they have to kind of offer that firmer ride because this is a Mustang, but the benefit is somewhat there in the handling. But again, this is a heavy big vehicle, that even though it can handle corners well it doesn't really engage you with the steering to kind of push it harder. So it's kind of questionable that that's the tuning they still chose for what is a four door, five person vehicle. Even with smaller diameter wheels than the Ioniq 5, the premium comes with 19 inch wheels and tires whereas the Ioniq 5 limited we have has the 20 inch wheels, there's better ride comfort and composure in the Ioniq 5. So one of our favorite things about the Mach-E is this large portrait oriented sync foray touchscreen, really great graphics. It's got wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that was really easy to connect to. The display four CarPlay is gigantic. It still leaves the climate controls fix down here which is nice too. You don't have to go through menus to get that. In addition to the wireless connectivity you also do get both a USB-C and a USB-A port up front and both work for data transfer, which is a nice touch. You don't necessarily have to have a specific kind of cable with you which we probably run into more when we're getting in and out of a variety of cars. But it's nice to have the choice. It's nice to have two USB ports for passenger to charge their phone, driver to charge their phone. Overall though the interior here is more enclosed again, you know, it hits at that sort of performance aspect. Yeah, definitely a different feel looking out the windshield than the Ioniq 5. You have this longer hood with this kind of bulges on it just like a normal gas-powered Mustang and that really changes your forward sight lines. Also, lower roof line, less airy interior than the Ioniq 5. Some bigger blind spots too. I thought for one this B pillar kind of over left shoulder is really pretty big and blocked my view though you do have some nice visibility aids with blind spot and also slower speeds when you're using the 360 camera system that this model has. Yeah, the enclosed feel really extends from me to the backseat where it's less a high belt line and more a low roof line that just, it's in my periphery the whole time and it makes me feel really enclosed. I will say of these two SUVs I found the actual seats in the Mach-E a little more comfortable but it's just it's not as roomy feeling between the two. I think I would prefer that roominess over this. <v Mike>I like the seat comfort too, like even though it's kind of got this more enclosed feel I had decent space in the back. The rear seat though is fixed. There's no adjustability in terms of sliding or reclining But the materials, I think we're both in agreement, are a little bit nicer. I don't know that I would prefer the design but that's entirely a personal preference thing. But I think the materials quality in this Mustang Mach-E are just a tiny step above. Not significantly better, but just a little bit. <v Mike>I agree that the finishes in the Mustang, whether it's the padded doors or the dash treatment for the most part are better. There is this very kind of cheapo carbon fiber look plastic on the dash that could have done without that. But Mike, it's the performance car. Yeah, well I would've gone maybe spend a little bit more and maybe do aluminum or spend a little more. Carry this leather over maybe. Yeah or like maybe real carbon fiber, you know, I don't know. That'd be nice. We also went through the charging of both of these both at home and the DC fast chargers. It's kind of interesting, the results. They both have onboard chargers that operate at up to around 11 kilowatts. So we had a home charger capable of supplying that much power and not surprisingly they both took about 11 kilowatts in the hour we had them on. They both also added around 30 miles of range in that hour of level two home charging. So pretty similar there, but at the DC fast chargers, there were some differences. <v Brian>Yeah, the DC fast charging is really where these two start to separate themselves. Sort of to the detriment of this one. I believe it tops out at around 150 kilowatts on DC fast charging and I don't think we saw speeds much higher than 100. <v Mike>Yeah, our average charging rate at the DC fast charger we used throughout the session was 97 kilowatts and we started at a battery percent charge of 26 and went to 80. We didn't go past 80 'cause that's when speeds for EVs typically drop off and they slow way down. And in that time we added nearly 150 miles of range. So it was a 32 minute charging session, worked out to add about 4.6 miles per minute. DC fast charging is really sort of the road trip gas station charge. But for battery health you want to not really go above 80 if you can help it. <v Mike>Yeah, and also not DC fast charge all the time either for your battery longevity. It's better to have a home charging set up. It doesn't necessarily have to be one that can deliver, you know, 11 kilowatts of power. Could be a little bit less if that's what your house can handle, but that's what is gonna help you maintain your battery. But when we charged the Ioniq 5 at the same charger the following day it was much quicker on that test. It only took 18 minutes to go from around I believe 28% to 80% state of charge. So its charging rate was as high as 200 kilowatts and then it kind of fell back down to an average of closer to 150 kilowatts for the session and it worked out to adding about 7.2 miles of range per minute when we were done. So it was a much quicker charging session and it's because of the architecture that the Ioniq 5 uses. And one of the things worth noting too is we were using a 350 kilowatt EV GO DC fast charger and around here in the Chicago area there's more 350 kilowatt chargers popping up, but they're not the norm, and you need that higher speed charger to take advantage of what the Ioniq 5 offers. One other thing to note is that this doesn't have, this is the Mach-E I'm speaking of, it doesn't have any sort of real meaningful battery preconditioning feature that can make charging at a fast charger more efficient by getting the battery in its ideal state for charging before you get to the charger. And I think that's the gist of the Mach-E. There's a lot here that we like, some stuff we're not huge fans of, but let's get into the Ioniq 5 and go do it again. (upbeat music) So we are now in the Ioniq 5. This is the limited trim. That's the top trim and the all-wheel drive version. So not the highest range Ioniq 5. This gets a 266 mile estimated range from the EPA. A little bit less than the Mach-E we just got out of, but respectable. <v Mike>Yeah and one of the key updates was a new battery pre-conditioning feature for 2023 to help prep the battery for DC fast charging so it's at a better temperature upon arrival. We sort of had to hack it though because our EV chargers we used were not available in the onboard navigation system and you have to be navigating to an EV charger for that pre-conditioning to work. I guess our chargers were too new so we navigated to a different charger and just disregarded the navigation along the way and went to our own. So not really ideal but it was able to still warm the battery in preparation for our charging. And also worth noting that despite that preconditioning feature our charging experience wasn't that different from previous DC fast charging experiences with older Ioniq 5s. Again, that's just one of the main separators here is the Ioniq 5's better charging capability. Another one which we're starting to experience now that we're on the highway is it's just such a much better ride. I still think it's overly firm. That again has been the trend in pretty much every kind of vehicle for a while now. But compared to the Mach-E, this is a pillow-like ride. <v Mike>Really job well done by Hyundai for the tuning. Kind of recognizing that this doesn't have to be a sports car, you know, it's a mainstream EV and the immediacy of the power is noticeable when you're just driving around town. It jumps off the line quicker and I think that came through in those zero to 60 numbers. The other thing that's at play is this is a lighter vehicle than the Mach-E extended range. So I think that's also another advantage in terms of 0 to 60. There's a lot we really like about this from an interior standpoint. For what you can get right now as a shopper, this is pretty much your best bet. If you want to cart, you know, kids in the back, the backseat is nice and roomy. There's a lot of room up front. There's no connected center console which is a really nice touch, really adds to the open feeling of the cabin. It's just really comfortable overall. Yeah, they did a good job using the interior space. Like you said, it's open, it's roomy. There's, you know, a lot of space between us right here. The back seat's adjustable, it slides, it reclines. There's more cargo space behind the second row in the Ioniq 5 than in the Mach-E by our own measurements. It doesn't get a great front trunk, or frunk. The Mach-E does better. When you pop the hood of the Ioniq 5 it looks like you're looking at an engine bay and has a little compartment there and the Mach-E's is much more finished, more like a Tesla Model Y usable space. <v Brian>Yeah and another way the Ioniq 5 differentiates itself from the Mach-E is sort of a more traditional screen layout with actual physical controls to some degree. We'll get to that in a second, but it's a horizontal screen, it's a larger gauge cluster. It's modern looking. It's not necessarily as futuristic, I think, as what the Mach-E is going for, but there are some drawbacks. You do get these touch sensitive climate controls that I really don't like. You get weird menus in the display here. Like if you would like to activate the heated port ventilated seats, it's its own little tile on the screen here. It works fine for what it is. I think I might prefer the Ford. And the other thing too that really kind of got me, and it has for a while now in Hyundais, with the Uplevel multimedia systems and in this case the only one, it's that if you have car player Android Auto you have to use a wired connection, which it's, you know, it seems like we're kind of nitpicking there but there's a big difference if like you're an owner and you're getting in and out and you never have to take your phone out to just engage with those systems. It's just always available. I thought the materials quality was a little bit lower than the Mach-E. It's not bad by any means and it's pretty consistent through the forward and rear seating areas. It just wasn't quite as good as what the Mach-E premium had. I mean it all looks fine. It's just some of the tactile elements were just a little bit lower. There's some interesting things as well like these front seats have footrests. You'd think if it had footrests it would also offer a hands-free driving system. But instead what you get in this is Hyundai's highway driving assist which is semi-autonomous. It can do semi-automatic lane changes where you can initiate a lane change and it will eventually make the move but it's not hands free like BlueCruise and I really don't enjoy using systems like that. Having my hands on the wheel but not controlling the movement of the wheel isn't my ideal road trip experience. I usually leave it off. One other thing you pointed out, and I almost forgot about this, it's become so commonplace on Hyundais, even though I love it, is the blind spot monitoring. Big fan, a little camera display that shows you on the right or left side of the instrument panel of you behind you as you activate the turn signal. It's a really great feature. <v Mike>Yeah, this car actually has a ton of different blind spot warnings like the camera you're mentioning. There's also a little graphic in the instrument panel where it kind of puts on a little warning icon next to the image of your car when a vehicle's approaching. There's warnings in the side mirror. So they're doing everything they can to give you a picture of what's happening around you. Yeah, I mean that just re-emphasizes the visibility strength that this has over the Mach-E where it is a much more upright SUV feel to the cabin and to your view out. So we're done driving these, Brian, we've had a chance to both charge them, poke around the interiors. Who do you think the Ioniq 5 is really for? I think the Ionic 5 makes the most sense for families. I mean, we did name it our top pick for families among EVs. I think it works for the practical minded shoppers looking for cargo space, a comfortable ride, great charging capabilities as we've mentioned, and styling subjective but if you're a big fan of squares you're gonna love the Ioniq 5. They're all over the headlights, the interior, the taillights, it's just squares as far as the eye can see. What about the Mustang Mach-E? Who do you think that's for? I think if you're an EV buyer that really cares about, you know, handling, a little bit more driving performance, driving dynamics and you live somewhere where the roads are smooth so you don't have to worry as much about ride quality this would be a good choice for that type of buyer. Also, someone who does a lot of commuting on highways because the BlueCruise feature works well and the updates welcome with the lane change capability. And also someone who, you know, likes the Mustang brand and the Mustang name. And I think this has been, you know, it's been kind of controversial putting this Mustang logo on a four door, five person EV, but I think it works pretty well. One of the interesting things too about these is that they're very close in price. These vehicles are right around a little bit more than $58,000. So if I'm giving you $58,000 or thereabouts, which one of these are you gonna choose? Well, I'm glad you're giving it to me because I do not have that on my own. The Mach-E really grew on me during testing, but I would pick the Ioniq 5. It works better for me from a practicality standpoint, I don't want to be bouncing around all day every day and I live in a condo building. I don't have access to home charging right now. So it's not the way we recommend owning an EV, but if I had to I'd want one that could charge really quickly and the Ioniq 5 is really my pick. What about you? Which one are you picking? If I gave you that money? If you give it back to me? Yeah, I'm gonna give it back to you. Okay. I would also pick the Ioniq 5 just for similar reasons. I like the practicality, just the more family friendly nature of the interior, the roominess of the interior, the ride comfort living where we do with roads that are not in great shape. I don't know how long I could put up with the ride quality of the Mustang, but yeah, that greater comfort, greater space kind of easy usability that the Ioniq 5 offers. <v Brian>Now we both picked the Ioniq 5, but don't let that dissuade you from the Mach-E. These are both great SUV shaped EVs and either one could make sense for the right buyer, especially if you're really dead set on not buying a Tesla. For more information on this test and all the data behind it, check out the rest of our coverage right here on cars.com.