A silver 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 is shown parked near a building after viewing electric vehicles for sale.

Taking on Tesla: The Hyundai IONIQ 6 Challenges the Model 3

Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years, but automakers like Hyundai are challenging Tesla’s reign and stealing the spotlight with models like the 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6. This all-new electric sedan is a showstopper, from its incredible aerodynamics and Tesla-beating range to its engaging performance and responsive handling. These characteristics (and many others) have earned it a long list of international awards, including the 2023 World Car of the Year, 2023 World Car Design of the Year, and 2023 World Electric Vehicle of the Year.

Canadians reap the benefits of the IONIQ 6, appreciating all-season confidence from Hyundai’s advanced all-wheel drive system and enjoying a premium experience inside a cabin filled with the latest technologies. It’s an incredible combination that puts rivals like the Tesla Model 3 on notice. But what else sets the IONIQ 6 apart from the competition as one of the most appealing electric vehicles for sale today?

The gray dash of a 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 is shown.

A Unicorn in the Automotive Landscape

It’s easy to assume that sedans are a dying breed as most major automakers are discontinuing their cars in exchange for more SUVs. However, Hyundai isn’t in a rush to jump on the bandwagon and proves as much with the 2024 IONIQ 6. The midsize Sonata has been a staple in the Hyundai fleet for years, but many now expect it will be replaced by the more spacious and accommodating IONIQ 6 in the Canadian market. Even then, the IONIQ 6 is a unicorn in the automotive industry, as one of only a few available sedans.

The real question is why Hyundai is confident to take such a giant leap of faith by introducing a new sedan to its lineup rather than a crossover or SUV. It seems counter to market trends, but perhaps it isn’t. Hyundai does two things with the IONIQ 6. First, it gives drivers an affordable, commuter-friendly sedan that offers outstanding value. Second, it sends Tesla a not-so-subtle message. Considering the Model 3 sedan is the best-selling electric vehicle in Canada, the IONIQ 6 essentially puts Tesla on notice.

The Most Efficient Vehicle in Canada

The IONIQ 6 dares to oust the Model 3 from its throne in Canada by offering more range and taking the title of the most efficient vehicle in the country. Those are two incredible accomplishments, putting the IONIQ 6 legions ahead of rivals. Moreover, the IONIQ 6’s efficiency and range showcase how much Hyundai values its customers, listens to their feedback, and responds in a way that respects their needs and hard-earned money.

The proof is in the numbers, with the 2023 Tesla Model 3 offering an estimated driving range of up to 534 km and a launch from zero to 100 km/h in as little as 3.3 seconds. Recharging the Model 3’s battery up to 242 km takes around 15 minutes at a Tesla Supercharger station, or you can plug it in at home and let the Model 3 recharge overnight. While impressive, the Model 3 is easily outshined by the more efficient IONIQ 6. In fact, the Model 3 isn’t even ranked as one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in Canada for 2023, but the IONIQ 6 takes the top spot in its class.

As one of the most aerodynamic vehicles on the road today, the 2023 IONIQ 6 offers an exceptional range of up to 581 km, far exceeding the Model 3. Recharging the battery at a DC Fast Charging Station is comparable with the Tesla, taking the IONIQ from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes or less. Moreover, you’re not limited to using only the Tesla Supercharger network, which means more opportunities to recharge on the road.


An Engaging Experience Behind the Wheel

As an electric vehicle, the IONIQ 6 offers a dynamic experience behind the wheel with instantaneous horsepower and torque, but the same can be said for the Model 3. However, Hyundai differentiates the IONIQ 6 by giving you more control over its power output, letting you tailor the available 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque to your needs and driving conditions.

Custom Drive Modes

Hyundai outfits the IONIQ 6 with four drive modes––Normal, Eco, Sport, and Custom––that let you tailor the sedan’s performance to your preferences. When equipped with the HTRAC All-Wheel Drive system, the IONIQ 6 also features a Snow mode that enhances your all-season confidence behind the wheel. The all-wheel drive system works continuously to improve traction, but Snow mode finetunes the sedan’s responsiveness and is so intelligent that it can differentiate between deep or packed snow.

Driver-Assist Tools

Tesla is well-known for its Full Self-Driving technology, helping introduce us to self-driving cars. However, Full Self-Driving requires putting a lot of trust and confidence in the Model 3’s technology and intelligence. Moreover, it doesn’t eliminate the driver’s responsibility to stay alert, aware, and engaged. After all, what happens if there’s a glitch in the system or the Model 3 misses a critical over-the-air software update?

While Full Self-Driving is enticing, it is expensive and unreliable, and most drivers aren’t there yet. We like the idea, but we need more information and time to put our trust in these systems. Fortunately, Hyundai recognizes as much and equips the IONIQ 6 with advanced safety and driver-assist tools that add new features and build on what we know.

The IONIQ 6 driving experience is incredible and engaging because tools like Smart Cruise Control get smarter, learning and remembering your driving style the more you use the technology. This tool complements and works with other advanced features like Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, and Highway Driving Assist, which can automatically change lanes when cruising. Together, these driver-assist technologies give you more confidence behind the wheel without asking you to give up your control as the driver, an important distinction that gives the IONIQ 6 an advantage.

A Convenient Cabin

An integral part of your experience behind the wheel is how easy it is to stay connected, informed, and comfortable as you navigate the road. Again, the IONIQ 6 gains an advantage over the Model 3 because Hyundai combines what drivers know with expansive digital displays and new features. For example, the Model 3’s modern cockpit is centralized around a solitary 38 cm touchscreen display. There are no physical knobs in the cabin, meaning you have to rely on the infotainment display to control basic functions like cabin temperature, radio volume, etc. It’s an unfamiliar layout with a steep learning curve as you divide your attention between the road and finding the right screen for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Fortunately, the IONIQ 6 heightens the driver experience by combining physical knobs and buttons with two expansive digital displays. There are two 31 cm displays: a digital instrument cluster with EV Technology and a colour touchscreen with smartphone integration, navigation, and in-vehicle apps. You can complement the layout with an expansive head-up display and enjoy unique perks like the IONIQ 6’s soothing driving tones that create a calming ambience in the cabin by offering choices like rain or a crackling fireplace.

The white interior of a 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 is shown.

A Hyundai Support System

The IONIQ 6 is more efficient and offers a better driving range than the Model 3, giving it an obvious advantage over the Tesla. However, another important consideration when choosing between the Model 3 and the IONIQ 6 is the buying and owning experience. Why is this critical?

Tesla offers a direct-to-consumer approach that entices drivers with a fresh take on the car-buying experience that eliminates dealerships. It sounds appealing to many, but the reality is quite different if you don’t live close to a Tesla showroom or certified Tesla service center. In these instances, Tesla owners don’t have a support infrastructure that’s readily available to handle their needs and, instead, have to rely on Tesla’s mobile service teams. Tesla’s famed direct-to-consumer approach comes at a significant cost.

With the IONIQ 6, you’re investing in Canada’s most efficient sedan and gaining an entire support system with the Hyundai dealership experience. You’re not left high and dry to find a team of certified technicians that can handle routine maintenance on your IONIQ 6. Instead, you know you can trust the Hyundai dealership down the road with all your purchasing, maintenance, and repair needs. It’s a critical difference that gives the IONIQ 6 a significant advantage and reflects Hyundai’s commitment to its customers, not only when purchasing a new model but for every kilometre ahead.