SUVs and crossovers are a fast-growing category among electric vehicles, and the EV6 is the new offering from Kia. It has up to 310 miles of driving range, which is high for a non-luxury EV, with quick recharging, zippy driving dynamics, and an upscale cabin loaded with features and tech. It’s a head turner – lots of folks stopped to ask me about it during my week-long test drive.
Base Price: $51,200
As Tested: $52,710
Mileage: 134 MPGe city/101 MPGe highway/117 MPGe combined
The EV6 is the first of 11 new electric vehicles Kia plans to unveil by 2026. Starting with the EV6, the name indicates the vehicle’s position in the line-up – with “EV” followed by a number.
The five-passenger Kia EV6 comes Light, Wind, and GT-Line trims. Starting prices range from $40,900 to $55,900. A performance-oriented GT model will come later this year. The Light trim has rear-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is available on the Wind and GT-Line trims.
Competitors include the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona EV and Hyundai Ioniq5, which has the same platform as the EV6.
Kia says the new EV6 has the same 114.2-inch wheelbase as the Kia Telluride, and compares with the width of a Ford Mustang Mach E and the wheelbase of a Tesla Model Y. The exterior has a coupe-like profile.
There are three powertrains. The Light trim gets a 58-kWh battery pack and a single electric motor with 167 horsepower that sends power to the rear wheels. This set up has 232 miles of range. The other trims get a 77.4-kWh battery and electric motor which put out 225 horsepower with rear-wheel-drive and 258 pound-feet of torque, with 310 miles of range. Or you can add a second electric motor and all-wheel-drive, with 320 horses but a reduced range of 274 miles. If you want more power, you’ll have to wait for the release of the GT trim later this year which will have 576 horses and will go from zero to 60 mpg in only 3.5 seconds.
My GT-Line tester has nimble performance; it’s easy to forget you’re behind the wheel of a crossover as it drives like a performance sedan. Acceleration is respectable. Kia says it can go from zero to 60 in 7.2 seconds. It eagerly speeds up for merging and passing at freeway speeds. Steering is precise and there’s little body lean when cornering. Brakes are responsive and don’t have as much of a squishy feel as some regenerative braking systems. You can choose from four different levels of regenerative braking so you can drive with just one pedal or have a brake feel that’s similar to a traditional vehicle. The ride is firm – big bumps are kept at bay but you will feel some jostling from time to time on rough roads. Visibility to the front is good but hampered to the rear because of the small rear window.
The EV6 has relatively fast charging time, which is especially nice when you’re on a road trip. Kia says it’s equipped with the world’s first 800V multi-charging architecture which enables ultra-fast DC charging capability from 10% to 80% charge (up to 217 miles range) in under 18 minutes. Level 2 recharging with a public charger or 240-volt household plug can take six to seven hours. Once charged, you can also use the battery as a power source for everything from camping to electrical appliances and tools.
Fuel efficiency is excellent. My tester with RWD is rated at 134 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) city, 101 MPGe highway with a combined rating of 117 MPGe. The AWD trims get 116 city, 94 highway and 105 combined.
The upscale interior is modern with bold design touches that go well with the striking exterior looks. The seats are made with either cloth upholstery or vegan leather, depending on the trim, and other surfaces are soft-touch and/or nice plastics. Kia’s latest infotainment system, with its large digital gauge cluster and touchscreen, dominates the dash. Front seats are supportive and comfortable with decent leg- and headroom even for taller passengers. The second row can fit two adults, or three on short hops, but headroom may be tight for taller passengers due to the sloping roofline. The cabin is quiet with wind and road noise barely noticeable.
Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, rearview camera, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery with synthetic leather accents, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 12.3-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, five USB ports, HD Radio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, wireless device charging, Wi-Fi hot spot, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available features include a surround-view camera system, head-up display, vegan leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats, 14-speaker audio system, and a sunroof.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, rear parking sensors, driver attention monitor and rear-seat alert.
Available driver assistance technologies include front parking sensors, remote smart parking assist, blind spot camera, and Kia’s Highway Driving Assist II, which has automated steering, acceleration, and braking.
The infotainment system is Kia’s latest and includes two big screens: a 12.3-inch digital cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen. Menus are logically arranged and the system responds quickly to voice and touch commands. One peeve: the controls for climate and audio settings share buttons under the main screen, which can be
The EV6 doesn’t have as much cargo space as some other EV SUVs. There are 24.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 50.2 cubes with the second row folded. There’s a frunk in front where you can store the charging apparatus and other small items.
Well equipped with lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Less cargo space than some rivals
My tester starts at $51,200. The GT-Line suede seat package is $295. Delivery fee is $1,215 bringing the grand total to $52,710.
Watch out, Tesla, the new 2022 Kia EV6 enters the marketplace as a top contender in the growing EV SUV category. Its edgy looks, long range, quick charging, fun-to-drive spirit, upscale cabin, long list of features, and competitive price definitely make the EV6 worth a look.