Hyundai Ioniq 5 Desaru Drive Feature: There’s a First Time for Everything

Cheng Yu Hung

CarBuyer’s intrepid new content producer goes on his first overseas press trip and returns home with quite the story to tell in the Hyundai Ioniq 5


The night before my grand overseas driving debut, anxiety caught up with me. I kept thinking, will I be able to navigate the Malaysian roads like a real professional or take a wrong exit and make a detour of shame? 

Before I could find an answer to my creeping anxiety, it was 6am in the morning. There I was at Komoco Motors, the home of Hyundai’s official showroom here, fueled by a healthy dose of adrenaline.

We’ve been tasked to drive the locally-made Hyundai Ioniq 5 to Desaru, which on paper seemed like a leisurely-enough pursuit. But of course, everyone gets nervous on their first time, and I didn’t quite know what to expect on my very first overseas press driving trip.

Print editor Ben took the driver’s seat first, which means I was the passenger princess as we embarked on the initial leg from Singapore towards Desaru. I’ve never sat in one of these before, and so I was keen to find out what the Ioniq 5 has to offer as we embark on our road trip.

The cabin of the Ioniq 5 felt modern with two 12.3-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment. Android Auto was wireless however I had some issues connecting to Apple CarPlay as it was wired. Luckily, Ben was well prepared and had a USB A cable for the iPhone. There was also a generous amount of legroom for slightly taller individuals (I am 180cm tall) to sit comfortably. 

While Ben was driving I paid attention to the nuances of his driving. From handling turns to overtaking it was like a lesson on navigating Malaysian roads. I picked up on the subtleties of his approach, turning the drive into a practical learning experience without the need for conversation.

Soon enough, we arrived at our first stop, Talula Hill Farm Resort. As breakfast was being prepared, we needed our caffeine fix. The Ioniq 5 boasts an innovative feature – Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) technology, which essentially means that the car can function as a giant power bank. In this case, we used it to power up a coffee machine, but with V2L, the possibilities are endless, as we shall see later.

After breakfast, it was finally time for me to get into the driver’s seat. Before setting off, I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive about driving overseas for the first time. However, as I turned out onto the picturesque roads, I found myself smiling and enjoying the drive. 

There were two stand-out features for me: the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s heads-up display and lane assistance features. The heads-up display just emphasises how futuristic the Ioniq 5 is. You can simply focus on the road as the speedometer is displayed right in front of you. It also alerts you when there are other vehicles nearby, and this works seamlessly with the lane assistance feature. 

I really appreciate the lane assist feature when you’re driving at the speed limit of 110km/h on the North South Highway, with big trucks beside you. Those giants on the road can be intimidating. Especially on those long two-lane stretches where overtaking becomes a bit of a game. I would double-check for oncoming cars, and make my move. It was nerve-wracking at first, but each successful pass added a bit more confidence to the journey. The two features definitely provided a sense of confidence that allowed me to fully enjoy my first drive.

It was also my first time driving an electric vehicle (EV) for longer periods and it was such a pleasant experience as it felt incredibly comfortable and quiet on the road. The lack of engine noise made me enjoy the scenic drive while the smooth acceleration ensured a stress-free drive throughout the entire journey. Range anxiety is a common thing for EVs but I didn’t experience it due to the knowledge that there would be charging stations available along the way.

As we cruised through the Malaysian roads at higher speeds than in Singapore, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement as I conquered my driving fears.  

However, there’s a twist to the story – the dreaded waving of a traffic police officer on duty. I got a tad too excited on the accelerator and ended up getting pulled over for speeding.

Editor Ben sorting out the situation with the coppers

For someone who has never encountered this, not even in Singapore, it was a tension-filled experience with law enforcement on foreign turf. It was surely a reality check that became a memorable hiccup in my journey. A reminder to adhere to the rules even when you’re in the thrill of the ride. Despite this, I managed to continue driving to our Desaru destination confidently but with a hint of caution.

We arrived at our resort safely and in one piece, and found more surprises yet in store for us. Remember the endless possibilities I mentioned about V2L? Well, we put it to good use that evening as we drove to a car park nearby for an outdoor movie under the stars. The projectors and the laptops were powered by the Ioniq 5. With everyone munching on snacks and drinks, the experience turned out to be genuinely enjoyable, with conversations extending well beyond the realm of cars.

My debut drive on foreign soil with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 turned out to be a very enjoyable one. The Ioniq 5 was a reliable partner throughout, and smoothly handled the twists and turns of Malaysian landscapes. As I reflect on the experience, there’s a sense of fulfilment, along with lessons learned and personal growth. Now, with the debut drive behind me, I eagerly anticipate the next adventure for more unforgettable adventures.

Next Page: What were the cars like to drive?

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desaru drive electric EV hyundai ioniq 5 road trip

About the Author

Cheng Yu Hung

The new kid on the block that loves his JDM because he spent too much time changing colours and spoilers on his EVO instead of unlocking super cars in Need for Speed. Maybe he'll change his mind after a ride in a super car?

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