The Kia EV6 is “one of the most important cars” in the history of the South Korean firm. No pressure then, EV6.
Fortunately for Kia the early signs are positive as the fully electric EV6 has an attractive design, many features and a suitable range to be a competitor in the crossover SUV market.
Prices start at £40,945 (approximately $55,000.) / AU$75,000), which pits it against EVs like the Mercedes EQA and Hyundai Ioniq 5, the latter of which has a lot in common with the EV6.
The Ioniq 5 and EV6 are based on the same platform with Kia’s parent company Hyundai, but there are enough differences between the two that allow them to stand apart on their own.
While the Ioniq 5 aims for all-round practicality, Kia has focused the EV6 more on dynamic driving – it wants the car to be a little more fun and engaging.
That’s why there’s the EV6 GT, which has a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds, though it won’t be available until 2022.
I instead managed to get behind the wheel of both the entry-level Kia EV6 Air and the Kia EV6 GT-Line for a few days in Spain to see if Kia got this hugely important car right.
striking and sporty
The EV6 has an attractive, sporty aesthetic with a broad roofline, the firm’s ‘tiger nose grille’ design and a ducktail rear that gives it a unique look.
I definitely like the look of it, though I’m not completely sold on the rear styling – I’m a fan of how the charging port is surrounded by rear lights, keeping the sides sleek and fuse-free.
Inside, the sporty aesthetic continues with dark tones and attractive textured dashes that are available in a few different patterns.
However, the main highlights are a pair of 12.3-inch displays, housed behind a singular piece of curved glass. They are bright, clear and easy to read.
The Kia’s infotainment interface is functional, but it’s not the thinnest or fastest I’ve used. The built-in sat nav also didn’t shine with some directions—especially around junctions—not particularly clear, resulting in some last-minute maneuvers and lane changes.
However, there is support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which means you can use apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps for navigation.
Sadly, support is for wired connections rather than wireless, so you’ll need to plug in the EV6 via the USB-A port at the base of the dashboard for your handset to work.
There are two more USB-C ports available for front seat passengers, as well as a wireless charging pad and a 12V socket, providing plenty of charging options.
Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 also has a transitional power outlet under the rear seats, so you can charge laptops and similar devices.
Rear passengers also get access to a USB-C port, with one mounted on the side of each front seat. It’s a common placement, but it works well because you don’t have to wander around in the footwell to find ports.
What I love is the dynamic menu bar that sits below the main display. It’s actually a slim, horizontal touch display that can customize what options are shown depending on the situation.
It has two main settings—climate control and infotainment shortcuts—that you can switch via touch-sensitive buttons toward one end of the bar. Although these controls are digital rather than physical buttons, they are responsive and easy to use.
One minor annoyance, however, is the placement of the controls for the heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. They’re located on the top edge of the central console, which sits no further than the dash.
I found myself resting my hand on the center console while adjusting the climate or selecting the infotainment shortcut, and accidentally triggering one of the seat or wheel options with the edge of my hand.
This happened more than once, and my co-driver experienced the same, so Kia may want to reconsider the sensitivity or location of these controls.
Another nice inclusion in the oversized HUD (head-up display), which beams important information over the windshield and into your eye line, so you can check things like the current speed limit, your speed or next navigation direction Huh. Way.
It also alerts you if there’s a car in your blind spot, and implements augmented reality (AR) with on-the-road arrows that tell you to change lanes or keep in your current lane based on navigation Is.
ride and drive
I spent time driving the entry-level, rear-wheel drive (RWD) EV6 Air with 528km (328 miles) WLTP and the mid-range, all-wheel drive (AWD) EV6 GT Line driving 506km. (314 miles) WLTP range.
There wasn’t a huge difference between the two, but you do see better performance from the GT Line, with faster acceleration and slightly nimble handling, though the entry-level model still handles well.
That gives you enough power to easily get away from junctions and overtakes on highways, but the EV6 doesn’t go that far to give you the feel of a sports car – remember it’s still a crossover SUV at the end of the day.
The seats are comfortable and the ride is quite smooth and quiet. Electric cars are being given their voice in the absence of the roar of the internal combustion engine, and the sound emanating from the EV6 is pleasing to the ears.
It’s not too loud, not too aggressive and it’s not trying to mimic the sound of the V8, it’s just a smooth tone that gives audible feedback when you put your foot down.
Range also appears to be strong, with over 250 miles comfortably achievable with a range of driving scenarios using Eco, Normal and Sport modes.
In one trip I traveled 110km in the RWD EV6 Air on a mix of high speed and city roads, and the battery dropped from 98% to 72% which equates to about 440km (270 miles) of total range.
While it is a little off the quoted 528kmh, it did include a decent amount of high speed running in Sport mode, which would always drain the battery quickly.
With more conservative driving, you should be able to get close to the quoted limit.
The Kia EV6 is a great looking electric car inside and out, its range is what you’d expect for a crossover SUV and it’s more than enough to avoid worry in most situations, and to keep you safe, driving easy. There is a wide range of techniques for And make sure your devices are fully charged.
I’ll need more time with the EV6 to see what the infotainment and various controls are like after extended use, if a 10%-80% charge is possible in 18 minutes, and to find out how much of the range figures you’re after. can get closer. Check out our full Kia EV6 review in the coming months.
- I drove a car whose windows were blacked out using only its cameras