EV6: Another forward-thinking EV from Kia
Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle built on the new E-GMP platform, the EV6, is one of the best do-it-all EVs in its class
Discover EV expert verdict...
- Long range and fast charging capability
- Distinctive styling
- Sporty handling
- Other rivals cheaper
- Smaller battery version unavailable in UK
- Firm ride may not suit everyone
We’re big fans of the Kia e-Niro – for the money it’s one of the best all-rounders you can buy with efficiency, practicality and affordability all in its favour. It’s basically a great family car that happens to be electric. So, you can imagine our delight at the prospect of testing the EV6, especially as it is Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle, underpinned by the all-new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). Of course, Kia’s electric journey began long before the e-Niro with the Soul EV in 2015, and this latest electric crossover represents a huge leap forward. Equipped with a 77.4 kWh battery pack and a choice of two powertrains (226bhp RWD single motor or 321bhp AWD dual motor) there are three model grades available: Air, GT-Line and GT-Line S (with the flagship of the line-up, the GT, due in the final quarter of 2022), and prices start from £41,695. In most markets there is also a 58kWh battery versions of the EV6 but UK customers are only being offered the bigger of the two, which is a shame, as a more affordable option – even with less range – would feel like a welcome move. We’re given the GT-Line (RWD) for a week to see what it’s like.
As stated above, Kia’s E-GMP architecture is designed exclusively for its EVs, and makes its debut in the EV6 – and there are many benefits over adapting existing platforms designed for combustion engines – including ultra-fast charging, increased range (more on that later), enhanced safety and performance. With up to 258lb-ft of torque it makes the zero to 62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds before going on to reach a maximum speed of 114mph. Okay so it’s not Tesla Model 3 quick, but for a family car it feels spritely enough, and it’s faster than a Volkswagen ID.4. If you want something quicker, the dual motor EV6 will shave 2.1 seconds off that time.
With the batteries stored beneath the floor and between the axles, the EV6 is endowed with a sportier, lower slung driving position than other taller SUVs and with no engine or driveshaft to accommodate, the wheels are pushed far into the corners of the car. It features Macpherson strut suspension up front and multi-link arrangement at the rear, with marginally stiffer spring rates compared to other vehicles based on this E-GMP architecture. The front and rear anti-roll bars are also 1mm thicker than the nearest equivalent model, and it features dampers with channels that allow the fluid to move through them according to changing road frequencies, soaking up the bumps and thumps nicely.
Interestingly, the development programme has been overseen by Albert Biermann – an R&D wizard who helped create Hyundai's N performance sub-brand (having worked for BMW's M Division during its golden era – think E39 M5 and E46 M3), and played a big role in developing the handling for the Kia Stinger. In addition, the EV6 had input from engineers in Europe and at the brand’s Namyang research and development centre in Korea.
As a result the EV6 handles very well: body roll is kept in check when cornering and over undulating roads, resulting in a flatter, more controlled ride from behind the wheel, and much better than the Hyundai IONIQ 5. As well as proving stable and poised through the corners it also offers exceptional cruising comfort – whether on entertaining B-roads, in the hustle and bustle of a city or on a motorway it feels equally at home. It really has the feel and engagement of a rear-wheel-drive car, too, which we love. The steering is precise, agile and engaging, especially in Sport mode (you can also choose from Eco and Normal) which also sharpens the throttle response, and overall it definitely delivers a sportier and more dynamic driving experience than many of its nearest rivals. The only trade-off is a ride that isn’t as soft , but we don't mind that. It’s also quiet: even at motorway speeds, wind, tyre, and motor noise are better than a lot of other EVs.
When it comes to regenerative braking, Kia has learnt valuable lessons from the e-Niro and two-generations of the Soul EV, and it shows. When you press the brake pedal, it feels incredibly linear and predictable, integrating seamlessly with the regenerative braking system, enabling you to stop smoothly – something that we’ve taken for granted for so long in ICE cars and lacks in a lot of EVs. You can adjust the level of energy recuperation via steering wheel paddles through six settings. Level 0 has no regen and lets the car coast; level 1 is similar to engine braking in an internal combustion car, and level 2 and 3 further ramp up the regen. There is also Kia’s i-PEDAL setting, which enables easy one-pedal driving and an adaptive mode that uses navigation and radar cruise control to vary the level of regen automatically.
Range and running costs
Kia claim every model of EV6 is capable of at least 300 miles, and just like the e-Niro, it’s very efficient – even driving it spiritedly we were getting 3.1 miles per kWh. Given our car was showing 175 miles of range at 64 per cent charge during May the EV6 should easily hit its official (WLTP) range figures – 328 for this model – in winter conditions, when batteries are at their least efficient. The Kia EV6 also boasts class-leading 800V charging capability so if you can find a 350kW charger it’ll take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes, with a top-up charge of 62 miles taking four and a half minutes! Using a 50kW charger will take an hour and 13 minutes.
When charge is low the EV6, using dynamic POIs and real-time charger availability status, can guide you to the nearest charging station using the sat nav. Kia’s partnership with IONITY means access to reduced per-kWh prices at over 400 charging stations (via the Kia Charge app) across Europe which is also sourced by 100 per cent renewable energy, so extra smug points! In terms of the UK, it gives you access to 23 networks – the equivalent to 69 per cent of the public charging’s infrastructure with a choice of subscriptions and payments depending on drivers’ usage levels.
As well as an impressive long range and rapid charging times, EV6 owners can also use their car as a portable battery pack to charge electrical appliances or even other electric vehicles, which is pretty cool! This new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, available on GT-Line and GT-Line S models, can supply up to 3.6kW of power –handy for running appliances on a camping trip or providing power to a fridge or freezer during a power cut.
The EV6 benefits from Kia’s industry-best seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which also extends to cover the battery pack and motor(s), and it is transferable to subsequent owners at no charge. Servicing is required every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes soonest, and like all electric cars, the Kia EV6 will be cheaper to run than any petrol or diesel-engined equivalent and zero-rated for road tax. Due to its sporty nature however, it does sit in higher insurance groups (34-45) than some of its immediate rivals. According to October 2021 data from CDL Vehicle Information Services, the Kia EV6 should be worth close to 58 per cent of its new value after three years or 36,000 miles on the road, which puts it just behind the Skoda Enyaq, which retains around 61 per cent.
The Kia EV6 is a good looking car – although we can see how its styling might divide opinion. At the front, Kia’s characteristic sleek, modern daytime running lights, together with a low air intake and swept-back windscreen help to visually widen the car. The character line that runs along the bottom of the doors curving upwards towards the bold rear wheel arches and sloping C-pillar with an integrated black glossy insert widening the window glass visually, all help to elongate the profile. Crossover-inspired with sharp lines and high-tech details its both dynamic looking and purposeful. That prominent roof spoiler, for example, channels air down towards a raised lower spoiler that sits atop the car’s unique rear light cluster. It’s also got some seriously cool features such as the charging port flap hidden inside the rear taillights and the automatic flush-fitting handles, only popping out when you need them. Someone also pointed out to us that the curved light bar around the rear end makes it look a lot like an Aston Martin DBX, which can only be a good thing, right?
Take a look inside and you’ll find more… Such as the curved panoramic display that sweeps across from the steering wheel to the centre of the car, and split into two 12.3 inch touchscreens, providing an instrument cluster and infotainment and navigation that’s intuitive to use, fast to operate and offers clear graphics. We also love how the controls you’d normally find on the dash (or hidden within sub-menus in the infotainment screen as seems so de rigueur nowadays) are on a new multi-mode haptic touchscreen display, with shortcuts for the climate control and audio system. It’s all about minimalist, yet intuitive design. In addition you can also control all of the functions via a stalk or buttons on the steering wheel. The slim, lightweight and contemporary seats are also worth noting – mainly for how supportive they are and our model features a one-button recline function, allowing you to have a quick nap while you charge! Overall the cabin feels well-built and upmarket thanks to the choice of premium but durable materials – from the recycled plastic bottles used to clad the dashboard and console to the piano black and brushed aluminium trim, and soft vegan leather and suede. It’s not a cheap car but in terms of quality it’s on a par with the Audi Q4 e-tron.
Comfort and practicality
Despite the EV6’s relatively compact exterior dimensions – it’s no longer than a compact saloon – its 2900mm wheelbase is longer than that of its hybrid-engined stablemate Sorento, the largest car Kia sells in the UK. This results in cabin space on a par with many mid-size SUVs and as such there are plenty of room for five adults.
There’s a frunk (52 litres on the single motor vs just 20 on the dual) and while the door bins aren’t very big there’ s lots of storage solutions – such as front seatback pockets, a 10.5 litre glovebox, and a sizeable centre storage tray for small bags and tablets, together with a cubby under the arm rest, two big cup holders and a wireless phone charger (on GT line models and above). You get up to 490 litres of luggage space with the rear seats up (pretty poor compared to the 585-litre capacity of a Skoda Enyaq) and 1300 litres with them down. The visibility is not great between the b and c post and the rear window is quite narrow, but it is fitted with rear parking sensors and reversing camera system as standard at least, and if something is coming behind you when backing out of a space there’s an audible beep and the steering wheel vibrates, too.
No matter which EV6 model you choose, it comes with a long list of equipment, with the entry-level model featuring 19 inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, smart entry, heated front seats and steering wheel, all-round electric windows, navigation-based smart cruise control with stop and go functionality to name but a handful of features. You can also expect a suite of safety devices including Forward Collision Avoidance Assist for city, pedestrian, cyclist and junction turning, Hill-start Assist Control, Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Multi-Collision Brake Assist (MCBA).
The first of 11 new global BEVs from Kia by 2026, the EV6 kicks off proceedings with a bang, bringing long-range, ultra-fast charging, innovative tech and distinctive styling to the family crossover party. Although the Kia EV6 has a lot in common with its cousin – the Hyundai Ioniq 5, it isn’t just the same car with a Kia badge on it. Yes it’s more expensive, but it can go further, it can also charge faster than a Tesla, and if you go for the 577bhp GT version it will out-accelerate a Porsche Taycan 4S. It is a great first electric car for those looking to make the jump, and a worthy contender to the pricier Ford Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2 as well as more traditional-looking SUVs such as the Skoda Enyaq iV and Audi Q4 E-Tron. Add Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty, and the EV6 really makes a compelling case for itself.
2022 Kia EV6 77.4kWh GT-Line (RWD)
Price (RRP OTR): From £41,695, £44,695 (model as tested)
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Driving range (combined): 328miles
Charging time: 7hrs 20m (7kW, 10-100%), 1hr 13m (50kW, 10-80%), 18m (350kW, 10-80%)
Insurance group: 39
Battery/vehicle warranty: 7 years/100,000 miles
Discover EV would like to thank CrossFit Hunta in Marden for letting us photograph the Kia EV6 outside of their premises.
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