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The first all-electric vehicle from the Hyundai sub-brand is being released at just the right time.

COURTESY PHOTO: IONIQ - The 2022 IONIQ 5 is a sharply styled all-electric compact crossover with up to 303 miles of range that can ordered with all-wheel-drive.In the race to compete in the rapidly growing electrified vehicle market, Korean manufacturer Hyundai has jumped to the front of the pack with the creation of the IONIQ sub-brand in 2020 and the release of the 2022 IONIQ 5, a compelling all-electric compact crossover offered in a wide array of configurations.

If you are even casually considering an EV, you have to put the IONIQ 5 at the top of your shopping list for many reasons. First, if your goal is to eliminate your use of fossil fuel, the various versions get between 220 and 303 miles of range on a full charge of electricity, more than enough for most daily driving and even unexpected longer trips. It will also charge up to 80% capacity in just 18 minutes at the growing number of available public faster chargers.

COURTESY PHOTO: INIQ - The hatchback design of the 2022 IONIQ 5 gives it a futuristic look and increases its practicality.

But perhaps more important for some buyers, you'll look cool driving it. The IONIQ 5 has wild retro futurist styling that stands out in a crowd. Designers have reportedly said details were inspired by the pixelated images in 1980's video games. Our black and silver test model was always a delight to see. It attracted attention everywhere we went, allowing for numerous conversation with people seriously concerned about skyrocketing gas prices.

Inside the spacious interior, the IONIQ 5 is loaded with tech, including a 12.0-inch touchscreen shares a panel on the dash with a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster, continuing the futuristic look.The former includes smartphone-integrated apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as advanced voice-recognition technology. The latter includes rear camera views down both sides when the turn signals are activated, a great safety feature in cities with a lot of bicyclists. There are even foot rests under the front seats to ease the strain of long drives.

COURTESY PHOTO: IONIQ - The interior of the 2022 IONIQ 5 featuers a 12.0-inch touchscreen and a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster.

Best of all, our tester was a blast to drive. It was light and nimble, but still had enough power for impressive acceleration and all-wheel-drive for slippery surfaces. The ride was firm but not harsh, and the long wheel base helped smooth out rough roads.

Granted, we had the top-of-the-line Limited AWD model with 320 horsepower and 446 foot pounds of torque. Entry level rear-wheel-drive versions generate 168 horsepower and 258 footpounds of torque. The base SE RWD offers the most range for the lowest price, which will probably appeal to more buyers.

COURTESY PHOTO: IONIQ - There is a surprising amount of interior space inside the 2022 IONIQ 5.

Prices range from $43,650 for the SE RWD to $50,600 for the Limited RWD. Our Limited AWD with the most power was listed at $55,940. But federal and state financial incentives knock up to $10,000 off those costs, making the 2022 IONIQ 5 very affordable to most families, especially considering the gas savings.

Although the IONIQ sub-brand has only been around for two years, the IONIQ 5 is not Hyundai's first electrified vehicle by a long shot. The manufacturer has used the name for a number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles dating back to 2016. The IONIQ 5 is the first dedicated EV, however.

COURTESY PHOTO: IONIQ - The long wheelbase provides a lot of legroom in the rear seats of the 2022 IONIQ 5.

Creating a sub-brand for the new ones is a smart way to focus attention on them as interest builds because of rising gas prices and increasing government fuel economy standards to fight climate change. Plans have already been announced for a midsize IONIQ 6 sedan later this year and a larger IONIQ 7 three row crossover in the future.

There are many factors to be considered when buying a plug-in electrified vehicles, such as have a secure location to change it overnight, which is what most owners do. That helps explain why they still represent a small percent of all new car sales, especially all-electric ones. But the IONIQ 5 has the potential to become a breakout EV by virtue of its styling, range, performance and technology.

COURTESY PHOTO: IONIQ - Cargo space is very good in the 2022 IONIQ 5, especailly with the rear sears folded down.

2022 IONIQ 5 Limited AWD

Base price: $43,650 (SE RWD, before incentives)

Price as tested: $55,940 (before incentives)

Type: Compact SUV

Drivetrain: Single or dual electric motors (168 to 320 hp - as tested)

Transmission: Direct drive

EPA estimated range: 220 to 303 miles

EPA MPGe: 87-98 to 110-132

Drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow

Overall length: 183 inches

Curb weight: 4,200 to 4,662 (as tested)

Final assembly: Ulsan, Korea

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