Kia’s latest EV is ready to take on everything from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 to the VW ID.4 and Tesla Model 3, and win
Kia EV6 GT Line RWD
The Kia EV6 marks the next step in the Korean brand’s shift towards electrification. Kia was one of the first mainstream automakers to give serious consideration to the idea of electric cars, with the first Soul EV going on sale seven years ago and the electric version of the Niro selling out before some rivals launched a single EV. had.
In 2022, the brand will sell electrified (EV or hybrid) versions of six models, and by 2026, it plans to launch 11 pure EVs. The EV6 is the first among them and is Kia’s first model built on the dedicated E-GMP platform.
Design and interior
The EV6’s appearance immediately sets itself apart from several of those rivals. Like the Ioniq 5, the EV6’s body shape is hard to pigeonhole. Kia calls the smooth yet muscular shape “crossover-inspired” and refers to the EV as an SUV. There are hints of that in the pronounced wheel arches and slightly high ground clearance, but mostly the EV6 looks like a (very) large hatchback – think Polestar 2 rather than Ariya. It’s a sleeker, sportier alternative to the retro boxiness of the Ioniq 5 or the more deliberate SUV styling of the Skoda Enyaq. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no doubt it’s there.
The interior is less avant-garde than the Ioniq 5 and there are clear parts to share with other new Kias, such as the Sportage. The EV6 has the same huge dual screen display that curves gently towards the driver and houses a 12.3-inch instrument panel and matching media/navigation screen. It also has the same dual-function controls that switch between heating or media at the touch of a button, and offers a mix of physical dials and touch-sensitive panels. There’s a huge center console with the drive selector switch, wireless charging pad, heated seat/steering wheel controls, cup holders and a huge floor-level storage bin. Overall, it’s a pretty straightforward setup, with lots of glossy black plastic and chrome trim, with just a patterned and textured dashboard (made from recycled bottles) and partially vegan “leather” trim to add some individuality. The interior of the Enyaq is more stylish, the Kia more user-friendly.
It is also extremely spacious. Kia says it has the most spacious cabin in its class and although we didn’t take the tape measure out, it feels cavernous. Front and rear passengers have an acre of leg and shoulder room. Even the insanely long fits with ease and the recessed rear roofline will only cause headroom issues for those over six feet tall. Behind the passenger compartment is 490 liters of luggage space – enough for most applications, although behind several SUV-style rivals.
EV6 powertrains, performance and range
The EV6 has a number of powertrain options that follow the same pattern as several rivals. There is a rear-wheel drive version with 226 hp and a 321 hp option with all-wheel drive. A 577 hp GT version is also on the way.
The rear-wheel drive model, the more tempting it sounds, never feels underpowered and responds with the instant linear thrust common to all electric cars. It covers the sprint from 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, is fast enough and offers between 14 and 28 miles more range than the four-wheel drive variant, depending on wheel choice.
Smart regenerative braking allows one-pedal driving in most situations and there is a choice of eco, normal or sport driving modes. These make a noticeable difference to the car’s throttle and braking, but don’t affect passive damping, which is on the firm side and can occasionally be noticed by sharp changes in the road surface. However, that stiffer ride means impressive body control for such a large vehicle.
All versions of the EV6 use a 77.4 kWh battery. In the tested RWD GT Line specification, this offers an official range of 328 miles and a consumption of 5.76 miles per kWh. Often these lab figures are hard to replicate in the real world, but while we were never promised a range of more than 301 miles, we easily improved official consumption on a multi-day tour of the Scottish Highlands. We certainly weren’t rattling the car, but we weren’t crawling around at 40mph with the AC off (as I’ve done before to conserve the load). Over the course of over 400 miles on winding A-roads that ascend and descend through the countryside, we averaged 4.1 miles per kWh — better than any other EV I’ve tested. Even at its worst – on a long highway ride, the EV6 happily returned 3.5 m/kWh.
Of course the warm weather and road conditions were in our favour, so it will be interesting to see how a follow-up test in cold November affects that performance, but nevertheless it is an impressive use of power for a car of this size.
Along with that impressive consumption and large battery, the EV6’s unerring accuracy in predicting real-world range takes a lot of the stress out of driving an unfamiliar EV. If it says you’ll get 296 miles on a charge, you actually will, which makes planning charge stops easier.
And when you do charge, the EV6 has some of the fastest charging speeds around. The 800V architecture of the E-GMP platform allows the EV6 to charge at up to 350 kW, achieving a charge time of just 18 minutes from 10% to 80%.
Kia EV6 price and specification
All of this makes for a hugely impressive EV experience, backed up by the usual Kia values of a long warranty, high specs and relatively good value. At nearly £48,000 no one is pretending the EV6 is a cheap car, but as usual it’s competitively priced against rivals and even mid-spec GT Line packs in most of the equipment you could want. Highlights include adaptive LED headlights, the ability to charge the vehicle, navigation-based smart cruise control and ‘premium recliner seats’ that can recline and recline so you can stretch out in comfort while you wait for the car to charge.
The world of EVs continues to change rapidly as brands launch more and more models with ever-increasing performance, range and capacity. The EV6 is an impressive opening salvo in the final phase of Kia’s electrification plan, offering a complete package of space, comfort, efficiency and value that rivals can hardly match.
Price: £47,195 Engine: Single synchronous electric motor; Battery: 77.4 kWh; Current: 226 hp; Couple: 258 pound feet; Transfer: Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive; Top speed: 114mph; 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds; Range: 328 miles; Consumption: 3.76 m/kWh; To upload: up to 350 kW
- Impressive real-world reach
- Cabin space
- Generous specification
- Smaller boot than some rivals
- Interior styling is a bit simple
- Doesn’t look to everyone’s taste