Call me basic, but I don’t think "electric vehicle" and "engaging driving experience" mix all that well. It’s like having orange juice right after brushing your teeth or taking a half gallon of milk to the gizzard after eating Thai food. But Hyundai decided to make me look a fool and build the spectacular 2024 Ioniq 5 N.

This is my first go at the thing, and I’m impressed so far. Not only has no other EV made me laugh like this—but almost no other cars I’ve driven in the last year have made me this giddy. Sure, it has up to 641 horsepower from two motors, which is part of the laugh factor. And it has a lot of serious onboard gear like adaptive dampers, track-ready cooling, 275-millimeter wide tires, and a dizzying array of electronic programs for variable torque splits, drift mode, and track-specific regenerative braking. But at the core of the excellence is something wonderful.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Review

Whimsy. Camp. Comedy. In my short time with it so far, the Ioniq 5 N knows how to party. For its $67,475 base price (of which you can’t add any options), it is a performance car bargain on paper.

I've still got plenty more time to spend with this thing, but here's my shortlist of loves and hates so far:

What's Good So Far?

  • Mind-bending performance. This thing is stupid fast, even amongst its EV peers. 641 horsepower feels slightly underrated, and it pulls properly hard at highway speeds, unlike some other EVs.
  • Excellent suspension. The adaptive dampers clearly have a broad range; Normal mode is nearly as plush and lovely as a normal Ioniq 5. Click them into N mode, and they suddenly become pogoing lunatics fit for a backroad. Impressive.
  • Unbelievable handling. OK, hyperbole can get old but this thing, so far, is one of the best-handling cars you can buy at any price. I’m not sure how Hyundai pulled this off, but the confidence from the chassis, and the lovely murmurs of weight and communication from the steering make the 5 N supremely easy to scumbag on a backroad.

What's Bad So Far?

  • Range. Range again. This is a tired EV subject, but the Ioniq 5 N does take a substantial range hit. On my first trip, I managed just about 180 miles to a full charge. And with the state of the charging network, it was hard to come by good chargers to top off.
  • It needed to be NACS yesterday. I foolishly don’t have a level 2 charger at home, so I’m beholden to a horrific public charging network. Once this car goes NACS later this year, this gripe will be gone. Good riddance.
  • It's held back by being an EV. Even after a few short days, I simply want to drive the Ioniq 5 N for the sake of driving it. But I can’t just take it anywhere, anytime. I have to plan. That isn’t very mind-clearing, and arguably the antithesis of an enthusiast car. It has to be an escape, first and foremost.

Gallery: 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Review

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