It's hard to imagine that the same company that arrived to North America in 1993 with the Sephia sedan is responsible for a stylish, technologically advanced electric vehicle like the EV6. The EV6 is based on a new global platform that underpins both its RWD and Dual-Motor e-AWD versions along with Hyundai's IONIQ5. It's considered a mid-size crossover that seats five passengers with a wheelbase identical to Kia's Telluride. For 2022, it's available in three trim levels known as Light, Wind, and GT-Line. Horsepower ranges from 167 up to 320 depending on the trim. Coming for 2023 is a new performance-oriented GT model that will deliver 576 horsepower.
The EV6 features a multi-charging architecture that enables ultra-fast DC charging capability from 10-80% in under 18 minutes. It is offered with two different battery pack sizes that will offer from 232-310 miles of driving range under ideal circumstances. Prices start at $41,400 for a Light RWD model and climb up to a starting price of $56,400 for the GT-Line with e-AWD. Competition includes other midsize electric crossovers such as the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai IONIQ 5, Subaru Solterra, Toyota bZ4X, and Volkswagen ID.4. I spent a week in the EV6 GT-Line AWD and here's what stood out...
Exterior Style (+)
Kia continues to take bold chances with its styling, and they are paying off. The EV6 has a sleek, contemporary look with balanced proportions, minimal overhangs, sharp LED lighting designs, and a photogenic appeal from all angles. Up front is a digital interpretation of Kia's 'tiger nose' grille that separates the hood from the bumper and hides a camera in the center. It's flanked by LED headlights that use their shape and a sequential lighting design to draw your focus to the center of the vehicle. The lower valance is sporty and aggressive with sharp angles, mixes of materials, and colors.
The side profile features a sloping character line that starts at the bottom of the front fenders and carries back across the rear wheels into perfect alignment with the LED taillights that extend around back. It defines the shape and is pleasantly balanced to the eye. The roofline slopes down to the back with blacked out A and B-pillars to shape the glass. Flush exterior door handles keep it looking smooth and pop-out when unlocked. Around back the LED taillights create a continuous flow as they stretch across the hatch and are counter-balanced by a chrome accent strip across the bottom that features a textured surface (similar to the Kia Carnival's side panel). The back is otherwise simple with the new Kia logo at the center and the license plate mounted in the lower fascia. The reverse lights are tucked at the bottom centered in a stacked pattern of five slim rectangles surrounded by black.
Kia wheel designs add to the design with a variety of finishes and style that appear in motion even when parked. Sizes include 19, 20, and 21-inch options and pair with all-season tires. My test vehicle features sporty 20" directional alloys finished in black with a machined finish silver that were catchy parked or while driving.
I spent time in the highest of the current grades, the GT-Line AWD that came with a 77.4 kWh Lithium-ion battery and a 239-kW electric motor. This power combination yields an impressive 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds at 320 horsepower and will comfortably toss you back in your seats while silently zipping away. There are lighter EVs that will feel quicker compared to the 4,376-pound EV6, but that weight grounds the EV6 to the pavement. The power generated also transfers to highway driving where it can pass with ease and merge onto the highway with a smooth jolt. The ride is smooth, yet agile for quick maneuvers. It absorbs road imperfections with a quiet cabin and nicely tuned suspension.
The EV6 surprised me with a fun-to-drive feeling that was on par with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Steering is precise and well-weighted to direct it where you want to go. It was nimble around corners while maintaining good grip on the roads and avoiding body lean. I felt at ease and in control on both wet and dry pavement. With its low center of gravity, powerful electric powertrain, and impressive handling, the EV6 is an engaging vehicle to go for a cruise in.
Look closely when shopping for your electric vehicle at all of the models' configurations as the range will vary with each. The dual motor e-AWD GT-Line I drove had a range of 274-miles which was attainable. The breakdown of range amongst the EV6 lineup is outlined below:
* Light (RWD) with a 58 kWh battery: 232 miles
* Wind / GT-Line (RWD) with a 77.4 kWh battery: 310 miles
* Wind / Gt-Line (AWD) with 77.4 kWh battery: 274 miles
Range is among the best in the segment, especially the 310 mile version. It's also among the most fuel-efficient electric crossovers currently on the market.
* 58-kWh battery, RWD: 136/100 MPG-equivalent city/highway
* 77.4-kWh battery, RWD: 134/101 MPGe
* 77.4-kWh battery, AWD: 116/94 MPGe
Kia also includes a heat pump which helps preserve the electric range in cold weather driving conditions.
It will take approximately six to seven hours to fully charge the EV6 using a 240-volt household outlet or Level 2 charger. It can also plug into a DC Fast Charging station and charge from 10-80% in less than twenty minutes. The vehicle can be configured inside to cap charging at various levels or minimize the power drawn so be sure to check the settings before plugging in and walking away. The charging port is located on the back passenger side of the EV6 and blends in nicely under the taillights. It features an automatic door that will close/open at the touch of a button. A system in the vehicle will audibly announce that the car is now charging when plugged in and activated. Kia Connect also includes an app within the infotainment screen that will provide locations of the nearest charging station and the ability to map travel routes based on the charging network.
Primary Technology (+/-)
Hopping inside you'll immediately be drawn to the modern, tech-oriented interior. Spread across the dash is a panoramic dual integrated 12.3-inch center cluster and infotainment screen that form a wide, horizontal, curved display. Graphics are crisp, clear, and use blue-light filtered screens to reduce eye-strain. Visuals are good on both displays for vehicle information and camera functions.
The Kia Connect system integrates with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa, but requires a cord. Beneath the infotainment touch screen is a strip of controls for both audio and climate. At first glance, you might think one of those control sets are missing but tap the small orange up arrow once and the same row of buttons and knobs will flip back and forth between climate or audio. I spent a fair amount of time looking for a volume knob before realizing all I needed to do was hit the arrow. It's simple, but still slightly confusing as I found myself often turning up the heat instead of volume depending on the screen, I was last on. Also, standard is a wireless phone charger, meridian premium audio system, and Intelli Q technology that corrects audio volume according to speed.
Bonus Technology (+)
Kia features a new augmented reality head-up display that shows key safety information and route guidance projected to the windshield. It uses a full color display that appears to be over the hood of the car. It will provide speed alerts, advanced driver assistance alerts, lane guidance, and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.
Another bonus feature is the remote smart park assist in which you can start and move the EV6 without sitting inside. It operates just like Hyundai's system and is a neat trick that is quite easy to use. While standing near the vehicle, you can start it up via the remote and once activated, you can control the car at the touch of a button by moving it forward or back as if it was a remote-control car. The feature is very user friendly and safe. Releasing the button immediately stops the EV6 or it will stop itself if it detects an object or person.
As mentioned, the EV6 has the same wheelbase as the Kia Telluride meaning that there's a lot of interior space inside. The layout is modern with the dash being dominated by the dual 12.3" screens that stretch from the left to the center. The rest of the dash is made from a textured material with a unique design on the right side. It is further enhanced at night through ambient lighting. The center console has a floating design and doesn't connect to the dash to further enhance that open space feel. With the floating design, Kia adds a large storage space underneath suitable for a decent size purse or even a small gym bag. Two cup holders and an additional tray are all in line in and adjacent to the appropriately placed wireless charger. Kia implements an extensive use of recycled plastics throughout the interior which all look to be of a decent quality. The overall clean, but modern look is appealing.
The EV6 offers standard seating for five with more space than many competitors. There is plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room all around. The front seats are slim but maintain comfort and support. Cloth upholstery with synthetic leather accents and heated front seats are standard. Upgrades include full synthetic leather, heated rear seats, and ventilated front seats. The seats feature a nice contour for a variety of body types with a more modern-designed headrest. My test vehicle included an upgraded suede seat package for the GT-Line that looked and felt great. The back of the seats use a hard plastic that feels cheap compared to the rest of the cabin and are susceptible to scuff marks from kids in back. The seating position feels more car-like than SUV-like, but visibility is good.
There's 24.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 50.2 cubic feet with the seats folded flat (well, almost flat). Up front is a small storage space under the hood suitable for a charging cable. Overall space is average to low compared to other similarly sized EVs. Comparatively, the Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra offer 27.7 / 56.9 cubic feet and the Volkswagen ID.4 offers 30.3 / 64.2 cubic feet.
Like most other modern Kias, the EV6 comes standard with a comprehensive list of advanced driver assistance systems, 21 to be exact. Some of the popular ones include:
* Blind-spot avoidance
* Driver attention warning
* Forward collision-avoidance
* Highway driving assist
* Intelligent speed assist
* Navigation based smart cruise control
* Rear cross-traffic alert / collision avoidance
Other available features to enhance safety and convenience include a surround view monitor system that uses four cameras to provide a 360-degree perspective with guidelines and crystal clear graphics. A parking collision-avoidance assist-reverse system will detect objects behind the vehicle while a rear occupant alert will prompt the driver to check for unattended passengers if the rear doors were ever opened before the car was started. And finally, safe exit assist will alert passengers opening their doors to not exit if it detects approaching traffic.
Much like they did with the Telluride, it appears Kia did their homework in the EV space. The EV6 is perhaps my favorite EV so far. It provides ample room for a family of five inside with an appealing interior that integrates with easy-to-use modern technology. It offers impressive range / charging capabilities that can top 300 miles. It's engaging, quick, and fun-to-drive around town and on the highway. Finally, Kia designed another contemporary vehicle that has people talking and turning their heads with simple detailing and uses of LED lighting that catch attention. If you're in the market for an EV and are looking for an overall great value, look no further than the Kia EV6.
First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle: 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD
Powertrain: 77.4 kWh Lithium Ion Battery / 168 kW Electric Motor
EV Range: 310 Miles
Exterior Color: Runway Red
Interior Color: Black
Options: GT-Line Suede Seat Package ($295)
MSRP as Tested: $57,410 (with freight & handling)