Taking Five In Malaysia – Road trip to Desaru with Hyundai's made-in-Singapore Ioniq 5

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Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1701304154929 Ioniq+5 F FotorWe drove to the Malaysian leisure destination of Desaru in a cool convoy of Singapore-produced Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric cars.

Embarking on a road trip to Malaysia is something that we are fairly intimate with at this juncture, after being on numerous other similar journeys over the past ten months.

But unlike, say, a dreary work commute within the confines of our city-state, crossing the border with a fleet of new cars alongside industry peers always feels special.

And while the final destination has mostly been Desaru in our overseas adventures this year, we’ve always experienced something fresh and new – from overcoming treacherous muddy off-road courses, to bombing down winding B-roads in heavy rain.

Recently, we hit the road with Hyundai to give their made-in-Singapore Ioniq 5 lineup a go on Malaysian tarmac, and it’s safe to say that the uniquely all-electric experience has (once again) made the drive up north a very special one.

No petrol? No problem!

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The Ioniq 5 cars that I would be driving will be of different flavours, ranging from the single-motor Prestige 58 kWh model to the range-topping dual-motor Inspiration 77 kWh.

Range anxiety was one of my initial concerns, but honestly, this is not a deal-breaker once the facts are laid out. For one, there are plenty of EV charging stations within the state of Johor. And more importantly, the distance between Singapore and Desaru is a touch under 100 kilometres. The Cat A-friendly 58 kWh model can cover well over triple the distance with ease on a full charge, which immediately alleviated my worries.

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Our first destination after crossing the border was Talula Hill Farm Resort, a gorgeous hilltop location situated just off Kluang Town. In my review of the Prestige 58 kWh variant, I noted how it was exceptionally smooth and stable even at high speed. With a higher speed limit set on Malaysian expressways, I was able to confirm that it’s just as hunkered down at triple-digit figures, while soaking up uneven surfaces with nary a creak.

Perhaps the biggest compliment that it could receive is the rear passenger dozing off - and quite comfortably, at that - while we blasted down the vast road network leading up to Talula. And even as the searing heat from the morning sun threatened to fry us inside, the HVAC system mitigated it with ice-cold air. Couple that with the impossibly spacious cabin, and the Ioniq 5 made for the perfect road-trip companion so far.

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We arrived at our destination safe and sound, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast while taking in the majestic views of the compound’s terraced hills from the top. It truly is amazing to think that such lovely unobstructed views are only a short distance away from home!

It was also there that one of Hyundai’s executives handily whipped out a coffee machine and made some delicious hot cuppas for all. Best of all? The aforementioned machine was powered solely by the Ioniq 5, via its Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) feature.

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As our itinerary involved plenty more driving towards - and within - Desaru, we made a quick stop to the Shell Recharge station in Skudai for a much-needed juice-up. It’s worth noting that said station offers 120 kW chargers, which means if you need some properly fast charging during your own Malaysia road trip, this is a recommended pitstop along your route.

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We then jumped into the Prestige 77 kWh model, which boasts a longer WLTP range and a higher horsepower output (168 kW versus the 107 kW available on the Cat A variant).

While the cabin experience is very much identical, it’s the different power delivery that’s most obvious. Instead of plateauing after a certain point, the car felt much more eager to push hard with the accelerator pedal flat on the floor.

It goes from nought to 100 km/h in only 7.3 seconds, and we had no issues pulling away from the lower-powered models. Along the trickier parts of the route, the Ioniq 5 felt beautifully balanced around the corners with its RWD setup, although I still think it’s better enjoyed as a relaxed cruiser than a road-going athlete.

Getting in Mother Nature’s good graces

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We found ourselves on the now-familiar grounds of Anantara Resort before long, and after a brief rest to check in, we were back on the road to do a bit of community service.

Being the green fingers that we are (honestly!), we traded our racing gloves for gardening ones and planted some new trees under the supervision of a local specialist. It was a nice change in pace and proved to be a memorable activity, considering we were actively helping to reinvigorate the surrounding natural landscapes.

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A picturesque dinner by the moonlight soon followed, and after a quick wash-up, we got behind the wheel once more for some truly lit night activities.

After-dark activities

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All four Ioniq 5 cars gathered at an open-air carpark, and the Hyundai folks surprised everyone with a well-stocked boot pantry in one of the cars. Decked out with fairy lights, food, and beverages, it really felt like we were on a glamping trip with extra frills.

The highlight of the night simply had to be the entertainment. A projector and a laptop were plugged into the Ioniq 5 (again, through the magical wonders of V2L technology), and we all enjoyed some Brooklyn Nine-Nine over drinks and Korean crackers & noodles.

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Hyundai also took this opportunity to show us that it is indeed possible to spend the night in the Ioniq 5, as there’s a specially-designed inflatable mattress that can be set up inside the car.

Is there really anything more romantic than spending the night with your partner, looking at the stars and inky night sky, while the car’s providing constantly cool AC and even music?

The final drive

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I had the opportunity to pilot the Inspiration 77 kWh model the next day, when we were tasked to drive to Kong Kong Seafood for a spot of lunch before heading back home. With 239 kW at my disposal, our journey was very brisk, stopping for virtually no one and outrunning souped-up Myvis which were poking our "backsides".

Getting up to speed from a standstill was also not an issue. Even by current EV standards, it’s one heck of a torquey car, with 605 Nm of torque to play with. For added context, that’s even more than what’s found on the Porsche 911 Carrera, which is downright impressive for a family car. More impressively, the Ioniq 5's handling was very well-balanced and communicative, and could take on most road conditions without fuss.

And from a visual standpoint, I think the Inspiration 77 kWh has the most gorgeous wheel design out of the lot, with the complex geometric weave look taking inspiration (pardon the pun) from the brand’s Genesis luxury division.

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Delicious seafood was on the menu, and there never seemed to be an end to the number of servings of black pepper lobster and steamed fish. The very thought of those dishes still makes my mouth water, even as I write this! The views were lovely, too, offering patrons a clear view of the Mendana Strait and the connecting jetties.

Suffice it to say, I had to pull back from driving on the final leg and let my media friends take over, lest I get into a deep food coma behind the wheel.

We arrived back on Singapore shores in the late afternoon – somewhat bummed that our little reverie has come to an end, but pleased that we’ve managed to explore new limits of the Ioniq 5 and find out that it’s still as good as our initial impressions suggested, if not better.

Made in Singapore, designed to go everywhere

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There’s a lot to like about the Ioniq 5, and regardless of what variant you select, it will put a smile on the faces of you and your loved ones. From nifty V2L capabilities to comfortable driving dynamics, this has proven to be Hyundai’s finest hour.

If the Ioniq 5 has impressed us on a lengthy cross-country journey, it will definitely impress you as a daily driver.

Photos: Muhammad Mu'tasim & Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore

Read More: mReview: Hyundai Ioniq 5 Prestige 58 kWh - Retro-Futurism Done Right

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