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2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N review: The best driving EV ever

The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is the most interesting electric vehicle you can buy in the U.S. today and by a cavernous margin. Nothing else on the market comes close to the thrills — and groundbreaking features — this menacing hatchback offers.

Something special

The South Korean automaker’s first high-performance electric, the Ioniq 5 N is a hard-hitting hauler that’s purpose built to maximize driver engagement while delivering exceptional performance, both on-road and around a track. Yes, you can take this EV to your favorite racing circuit for hot laps without having to worry about severe performance degradation.

To deliver all that, the N is graced with a dizzying list of unique features and loads of clever engineering, all of which is designed to maximize your fun. And that’s no exaggeration; this car is more effervescent than a vinegar spill at a baking soda factory.

Tastefully aggressive

Hinting — or more accurately, shouting — at the performance available, the Ioniq 5 N’s exterior styling is clearly differentiated from its mainstream siblings. The front end is far more aggressive, with a more angular bumper design enhanced with black trim and orange accents. To help with cooling, the mustache appliqué running across the front end is also slotted instead of solid.

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This car’s styling is aggressive but not over the top. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

The flanks are punctuated by beautiful 21-inch wheels wrapped in sticky Pirelli summer tires for plenty of grip on pavement. Along the rockers you’ll find more black trim with vibrant orange accents, and the rear fender flares feature ductwork for enhanced aerodynamics. The Performance Blue Matte paint on this example looks absolutely radiant and is a steal at just $1,000 extra.

The Ioniq 5 N’s backside has a unique wing-like spoiler up top that incorporates a triangular CHMSL (center high-mounted stop lamp). There’s also a rear windshield wiper to keep the backlight clean in messy conditions and this Hyundai’s bumper features unique black appliqués with a checkered flag motif, you know, because sporty.

Overall, this vehicle’s styling is distinctive and aggressive without being too childish or gaudy. These visual enhancements do, however, result in a few dimensional changes compared to mainstream Ioniq 5s. The N is 0.79 inches lower, 2 inches wider at the bottom and 3.2 inches longer because of the rear diffuser.

Foundational upgrades

Aside from these obvious visual alterations, there are plenty of important enhancements you can’t see. Engineers made the body in white — that is, the basic vehicle structure — stiffer by adding 42 more weld points. There’s also nearly 7 additional feet of structural adhesive, which further strengthens the body in white. Beyond that, the battery and motor mounting points are reinforced, the front and rear subframes are more rigid, the drive axles got reinforced, the steering system has been beefed up and the ratio quickened, and perhaps most importantly, engineers also enhanced the Ioniq 5 N’s thermal management system. They increased the cooling area, improved the cooling of the electric motors and even added a battery chiller, all for better performance.

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The Ioniq 5 N has received numerous structural enhancements. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Helping keep your speed in check, this car has the most powerful brakes ever fitted to a production Hyundai. The front rotors clock in at 15.75 inches and are squeezed by four-piston calipers while ‘round back you’ll find 14.2-inch discs. Additional air ducting helps keep brake temps under control when the Ioniq 5 N is driven in anger.

And you’ll be thankful for those high-performance binders because the N has 601 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. When engaging the cumbersomely named N Grin Boost mode, those figures are inflated to 641 and 568, respectively, which delivers explosive acceleration, 0 to 60 mph in a Hyundai-estimated 3.25 seconds. Of course, in normal, everyday driving, the Ioniq 5 N’s performance is stellar as well. If you’re curious (or just in a hurry), the top speed is a heady 162 mph.

Another big upgrade over workaday Ioniq 5s is the battery. The N features a larger 84-kilowatt-hour pack that provides an EPA-estimated 221 miles of range, which simultaneously isn’t that great yet is still admirable considering the raw performance offered. This battery is a charging champ, too, DC fast charging at up to 238 kilowatts, enough to go from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes, just like other E-GMP-based vehicles.

N-genius features

But what really sets this Hyundai apart from other EVs is the laundry list of N-specific features, and there are a lot of them. For starters, there’s N Brake Regen, which provides up to 0.6 G’s of deceleration to help reduce friction brake fade. You also get N Battery Preconditioning. It helps optimize the pack temperature for high-performance driving.

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This hatchback comes with huge brakes. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

N Race mode offers two settings: endurance and sprint. The former prioritizes track driving by limiting output to keep powertrain temps in check for sustained lapping, the latter delivers higher peak output in shorter bursts.

N Pedal aids vehicle weight transfer to provide sharper turn-in, N Drift Optimizer helps you maintain a desired drift angle and can simulate a clutch kick to help get you sideways. N Torque Distribution offers 11 levels of front-to-rear variation and even incorporates an e-LSD at the rear axle.

The above-mentioned N Grin Boost gives you a 40-hp boost for 10 seconds. N Launch Control automatically engages N Grin Boost and includes three separate driver-selectable traction settings for maximum acceleration on wet or dry pavement.

Next, N Active Sound + provides simulated engine sounds, of which there are three to choose from. This feature broadcasts those simulated propulsion noises through the car’s 10-speaker sound system, eight of which are inside and the remaining two outside. N Active Sound + certainly increases driver engagement and the various settings are appreciated, though the noises can get tiring and I actually prefer leaving this feature off.

But easily the most interesting — and unique — feature on this car is called N e-Shift. This amenity simulates an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, one that you can control with the steering wheel-mounted paddles that are normally used to adjust how strong the regenerative braking is. Overall, it’s astounding how well this system works. N e-Shift feels just like a real gearbox. You get a bit of head toss with each shift, there’s a rev limiter and you can even downshift to simulate engine braking. This is all done through software, but it feels just like a combustion powertrain, minus the vibration and exhaust fumes, of course.

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The N branding lets you know this is something special. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Aside from all that, the Ioniq 5 N is a delight to drive. The car’s steering is incredibly quick and sharp with excellent weighting, something that makes this hatchback feel practically like a go-cart. The electronically controlled suspension is firm, though it offers myriad adjustments so you can make it considerably stiffer if desired. Despite the starchiness, this car’s ride is well controlled and quite refined; little roadway harshness or grittiness filters through to the cabin. Overall, this car is not only incredibly quick, but highly enjoyable to drive and it does a great job hiding its not-inconsiderable bulk. Not surprisingly, this EV is quite porky, clocking in at nearly 4,900 pounds.

Overwhelming complexity

All these N-branded features are what set this Ioniq 5 apart from just about every other EV out there, but the downside is complexity, and lots of it. This is not a car you can just jump in and figure out in 5 minutes. The controls are deep and sometimes quite Byzantine.

For example, there are two prominent “N” buttons on the steering wheel and each one is customizable, though at first this is very unintuitive. To assign a function to these buttons you have to dive into the setup menu on the central touchscreen, then you can select what shortcut you want, be it the lap timer, N Active Sound +, launch control or something else entirely.

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This Hyundai’s cabin is lovely, but the front seats are a tight squeeze for larger people. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Engaging or fine-tuning other N functions can be quite complicated, too. There are loads of functionality and the adjustments and their location isn’t always obvious in the infotainment system. Study and practice are needed to take full advantage of this high-performance Hyundai.

Meaningful interior enhancements

As in standard Ioniq 5s, the N’s interior is exceptionally well done. The build quality is superb, everything is rock solid and the materials used are of excellent quality, as are the various physical switches and buttons. You also get two lovely 12.3-inch displays mounted in a single housing. Both the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen look great and are pleasant to use.

Naturally, this car’s cabin features a range of unique features. There’s an N-branded steering wheel with unique buttons and a meaty feel. You get special door sill accents, N-themed pedal covers and a unique fixed center console complete with knee pads on the sides, so you and the front passenger can brace in hard corners.

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The Ioniq 5 N features a unique fixed center console with padding, so you can brace against it while cornering. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

And like any high-performance vehicle worth its salt, this Hyundai also comes with aggressive front bucket seats. These chairs are firm, supportive and heavily bolstered. They fit my wiry frame just about perfectly, but if you’re any larger than a malnourished toddler, these seats will probably be uncomfortable.

Despite all the performance it offers, this Hyundai is still plenty versatile. There’s about 26 cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seat and more than 59 cubes when you fold the split backrest down. This EV really lets you have your cake and eat it, too.

The most interesting — and engaging — EV available today

The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is an incredibly impressive piece of engineering. The car is fun to drive, offers immediate acceleration, has features you can’t get on any other electric vehicle and it’s fundamentally a good EV because it charges super quickly and provides acceptable range for the performance it offers. If you don’t mind the juvenile styling, are willing to take the time to learn this vehicle’s controls and don’t mind those snug front seats, the N could be ideal for you.

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The N is a true driver’s car, one that just happens to be electric. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

As for pricing, this example checks out for $68,685 including $1,375 in destination fees, which really isn’t too bad for all the amenities offered. The only options padding the bottom line are $1,000 for that matte blue paint and $210 bucks for carpeted floor mats.

The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N offers incredible performance and has a laundry list of unique features. It truly is the most interesting EV you can buy in the U.S. today, and when it comes to driver engagement, this is the best electric I’ve ever tested.

At a glance

  • Year: 2025
  • Make: Hyundai
  • Model: Ioniq 5
  • Trim: N
  • Type: High-performance electric hatchback
  • Horsepower: 601 (641 with boost mode)
  • Torque: 545 pound-feet (568 with boost mode)
  • MPGe ratings (city/highway/combined): 84/72/78
  • Range: 221 miles
  • Pros: Superb driving dynamics, incredible acceleration, industry-leading features, speedy DC fast charging, excellent quality, decent range for the performance offered, hatchback versatility
  • Cons: Styling can be a bit much, confusing controls for many vehicle features, snug-fitting bucket seats
  • Estimated Base price: $67,475
  • As-tested price: $68,685 including $1,375 in destination fees

Watch our video review

Written by Craig Cole

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