The Kia EV6 is this brand’s first fully dedicated electric vehicle.
Korean automaker Kia continues to dazzle the market with interesting, even exciting models. The Telluride SUV may be the best representative of how this company thinks outside of the box. But electrification will play a strong role in how Kia moves forward. Its first purpose-built EV is the Kia EV6, a handsome model with a decent price, sharp styling, a roomy interior, and long range.
The 2022 Kia EV6 is available in Light ($41,400; RWD), Wind ($47,500; RWD/$51,400; AWD), and GT-Line ($51,700; RWD/$56,400; AWD) grades. Add $1,295 for the destination charge.
All grades featured standard rear-wheel drive. The Wind and GT-Line offer available all-wheel drive. There are power and range differences, depending on the trim. All grades feature an electric motor that turns the rear wheels. A second electric motor is added to turn the front wheels to form all-wheel drive. A “gear reduction unit” transmission sends power to the wheels.
Highlights of the 2022 Kia EV6
As of this writing, the 2023 EV6 is already available. Our focus, though, is on the current edition. We do, however, mention the 2023 EV6 GT in our addendum. This new grade should only raise this model’s visibility accordingly.
Electric vehicles, while increasing in popularity, are still considered cars of the future. The Kia EV6 takes this concept and pushes it to its limits.
Aggressive lines dominate most areas of the car, from the headlights, grilles, and even the side mirrors submitting to this design choice. Despite this, the car isn’t preposterous by any stretch of the imagination. It has an exquisitely sleek profile thanks to Kia’s attempt of making a crossover SUV mimic a hatchback. You could even say that Kia took inspiration from the now classic Honda CR-X.
Kia’s designers made a significant stylistic choice in the back of the car, by blending the EV6’s spoiler into the taillights, thus creating a thin taillight design that flows to the rear wheel arches. Bold, unique, and attractive! When observing the front end, we can see a resemblance to a cat, aided by the long seemingly overhanging hood, short grille, and triangular headlights. Overall, the design is cohesive.
Stepping inside greets you with similar design cues and two-tone accents. The materials are lovely: soft leather, dense cloth, and solid plastic throughout the cabin. Moreover, the plastic bits of trim have several angular white accents that add a nice modern touch to the cabin.
The seats are quite slim, but it should be easy for everyone to make themselves comfortable. Tactile buttons and physical knobs for climate control are well within reach, and the steering wheel has a myriad of physical controls as well. Kia integrates the gauge cluster into the infotainment system seamlessly within a curved display. Kia also added a blue light filter to the screens, to aid night driving, sun glare, and eye strain.
Rear passengers have copious amounts of legroom and we can thank the lack of a drivetrain hump for that. That said, headroom suffers slightly due to the EV6’s sweeping roof. The seats in the rear can also recline slightly, and that’s a nice touch for long trips ahead.
There’s plenty of cargo space in the trunk, 24.4 cubic feet in fact, and more than double that with the seats folded down, which is plenty of space to carry even the bulkiest of suitcases. If you enjoy a trip to the mountains whenever the temperatures drop, the rear cubby where the armrest sits can open and allow you to fit long thin items, such as skis.
Connectivity is plentiful with multiple charging ports in the front, rear, and even in the trunk, along with a wireless charger in the center console. A 14-speaker audio system designed by Meridian is a sensory delight.
Thanks to Kia’s proprietary app, Kia Connect, buyers have a lot of information and control on all their devices, even smartwatches or smart speakers. Moreover, Kia Connect supplies all kinds of useful trivia, such as the best walking route if you can’t park the vehicle exactly at the destination, weather and traffic updates, and a bunch more.
Drivers will also find an augmented reality head-up display that projects the most useful bits of information from the gauge cluster on the windshield.
As of this writing, no crash test data is available. We’ll see how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety decide to handle EVs, given the potentially volatile battery pack that might erupt under certain conditions.
Many safety features are available as standard, such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision assistance, rear-cross traffic assist, driver attention warnings, highway driving assistance, speed sign recognition, and even cruise control integrated into the navigation system. The latter allows the car to automatically slow down when there’s a slight bend in the road.
For some peace of mind, you also receive safe exit assistance and reminders to check on the rear occupants once you exit the vehicle.
Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain
There are multiple options as far as battery capacity and motors options for the Kia EV6. The battery either has a 58.0 kWh capacity or a 77.4 kWh capacity, depending on the trim. The range is as low as 232 miles for the smaller battery and can reach 310 miles on the larger variant.
As far as motors, the base model receives a motor linked to the rear wheels that outputs 167 horsepower, while the Wind RWD and GT-Line RWD trim levels get the same motor but can yield up to 225 horsepower when coupled with the 77.4 kWh battery pack.
The Kia EV6 can also mount a dual motor all-wheel drive configuration, using the 77.4 kWh battery and two motors that when combined yield 320 horsepower. However, this variant has a lower range of 274 miles. Check out our comments in the addendum about the upcoming EV6 GT and the performance it’ll bring to the market.
On the Road
Electric vehicles are known for their instantaneous torque, with full power thrown down with just a push of the accelerator.
But before that, the silence of activating the ignition is confirmed by the dashboard coming to life. Motion is controlled by a dial located between the seats. Move the dial to left and the EV6 goes in reverse. Move it to the right and “drive” is activated. The center is for switching to neutral. As for moving to park, you simply push a button located in the middle of the dial to achieve the same. This arrangement takes getting used to, but it works.
We praise the EV6 for its surprisingly connected steering and responsive handling. This EV also supplies one-pedal driving on demand – simply lift your foot from the accelerator and the car slows, even to a stop. Regenerative braking in the form of kinetic energy supplies the battery pack with a limited amount of electricity. This method also greatly reduces brake wear, one less maintenance item of concern for owners.
And the EV6 is quick, around town and on the open road. Our test all-wheel-drive model did, of course, deliver more power than the standard rear-wheel-drive version, thanks to a pair of electric motors spinning both axles. It would be our choice for purchase, both for the additional power and the longer range (232 miles v. 310 miles).
Quiet and Strong
The EV6 is quiet, rides comfortably, and offers firm braking when needed. The zoom of the gas engine is replaced by the whine of electric motors, something entirely missed if your audio system is blaring. This EV feels heavy, and it is, but it supplies a planted feeling as it skirts around.
We don’t have a home charging connection, other than a 110-volt outlet. Easy for us, a nearby public station is where connections were made.
If charging at home with a regular outlet, it will take 51 to 68 hours for a full charge (one motor v. two). That’s nearly three days! But upgrading to a Level 2 (240Vf) outlet brings charging time down to a more reasonable 5 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours, 10 minutes.
DC Fast Charging brings the replenishment level down to 63 and 73 minutes, respectively. But an even faster version gets it done in just 18 minutes. That’s still longer than refueling an ICE-powered vehicle, but it is also a more appealing option for those on long trips.
Kia EV6 Considerations
It is a new day for Kia as the company rolls out the first of soon-to-be many purpose-built EV models. Yes, Kia has had EVs before, but each of those was based on an existing gas model. With the EV6, the company flexes its EV credentials in a significant way.
Kudos to Kia for building an attractive EV at that. Tesla may have the numbers, but Kia along with Genesis and Hyundai have the design edge. Winning people to EVs includes competitive prices, as well as styling that isn’t dull. The base model with the $7,500 federal tax credit makes the EV6 a solid option for the Kia Sorento. We think Kia succeeded here and are looking forward to subsequent models.
Cristian Pușcașu contributed to this story.
2022 Kia EV6 Specifications
|$41,400 to $56,400
|125/168 kw; 239 kw (AWD)
|167/225 hp; 320 hp (AWD)
|258 lb.-ft. (Rear); 446 (AWD)
|gear reduction unit
|Curb Weight (pounds)
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)
|Hip room (f,r…inches)
|Storage (cubic feet)
|Gross combined weight rating (pounds)
|5,004 to 5,556
|2,300 (Wind, GT-Line)
|232 (RWD); 310/274 (AWD)
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.
Addendum: Key Attributes of the 2022 Kia EV6
One in a series.
The Kia naming convention for electric vehicles is a simple one: the two-letter EV designation followed by a number. Given that the EV6 is the first of many models, the nomenclature may seem a bit odd. But it isn’t as the “6” recognizes where this model will fall in the vehicle scheme.
This means that there will be smaller or less costly EVs slotted in, although we believe that some of the higher numbers will be used, at least initially, based on our research. Indeed, there are 11 global Kia EVs planned for the next few years, a staggering number considering the current internal combustion engine-to-EV mix. But like other manufacturers, Kia is committed to full electrification, even if customers are not yet convinced.
Federal tax credit.
Kia is new to the electric vehicle market, therefore it hasn’t expended its allotted federal tax credits. Even so, recent legislative changes have extended that credit, so consumers should be prepared to cash in. As of this writing, the credit is $7,500, funds you won’t see up front, but in your tax return.
Some states supplement the federal credit with additional tax incentives, usually cash or a tax credit. You may find other special incentives locally, such as proprietary parking and a rebate or cash off the cost of installing a home charging unit. Check with your local dealer or search your state’s website for deals.
The standard model comes with a 232-mile range and that’s within line of the near 250-mile range of competitors such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. This same range limit, though, applies only to the Light grade as the two other grades deliver a substantial 310-mile range. These same models see the electric range fall to 274 miles with all-wheel drive.
Keep in mind that range is subjective and that means it depends on several factors, including ambient temperature and your driving habits. Just like ICE models, EVs must work harder when it is hot or very cold. As a result, the range may drop considerably under these conditions. Further, if you’re a lead foot with the accelerator pedal, range will also be affected.
GT grade is on the way.
How does Kia do an encore for the EV6? It brings out a rip-roaring GT model. Although the roar isn’t from the quiet electric motors, but from the crowds certain to be pleased with the new grade. It is a 2023 model, but as of this writing, you can order one.
What makes the GT so special? How about 576 horsepower and an adaptive suspension? A green button on the steering wheel serves up bigger grins to the tune of an extra special boost we believe will bring this model’s 0-60 mph time to just above 3 seconds. That’s an incredible achievement, although still more than one second off the pace of Tesla’s Ludicrous mode. We doubt anyone will complain about that though.
See Also — Good-Bye, Kia Optima; Hello K5!
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