Last updated on March 20th, 2022 at 05:16 pm
- Great handling and performance
- Competitive range
- Excellent technology
- Not cheap
- Limited head room for tall passengers in rear
- Reduced boot space for its classs
Range (WLTP): 252-328 miles Top Speed: 114 mph 0 to 62: 3.5-7.3 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 3.3-4.2p
Kia has been producing great EVs for a few years now, with the e-Niro and Soul EV offering excellent features for the money. But both are electrified versions of existing internal combustion engine vehicles, and neither takes a particular lead on design, just value. The EV6 is in a completely different league, setting trends rather than following them. It's the first model in Kia's dedicated all-electric range, which it shares with Hyundai, and like the IONIQ 5 it is a bold departure in design as well as technological abilities.
Price and Options
Kia has taken a slightly different approach to Hyundai’s IONIQ 5, however, and only offers one battery size with the EV6 – 77.4kWh. Clearly, Kia doesn’t think a smaller battery with a more limited range is worthwhile in a vehicle of this type. But there are still three motor choices. The rear-wheel-drive version has 226bhp, and the regular all-wheel-drive option increases the power to 321bhp. Then there's a GT version with a gobsmacking 577bhp, but that hasn't arrived in the UK yet.
There are Air, GT Line, and GT Line S trim options, but the Air can only be purchased with the RWD motor. You can also add a heat pump to all but the Air trim for £900. The GT has this as standard and is a premium trim on its own, so doesn’t have any separate trim options.
The red paint of our review car is actually the standard colour on all but the GT version. Premium paint options include white, black, grey, blue, and matte grey, all costing £675. However, the GT has a premium paint as standard. Not all colours are available with every trim, though.
The Air comes with grey 19in wheels, the GT Line has black 19in wheels with the same design, and this GT-Line S has black 20in wheels with a slightly different appearance. The GT gets 21in rims, although the design is still very similar to other rims. In fact, it’s strange that Kia hasn’t offered much variation in wheel design at all across the range, just different sizes.
On the plus side, the limited range of trim options means that buying a Kia EV6 is much less confusing than with most German brands, because the majority of features are included in the trim levels. You don’t have to start with a trim and then add £10,000 of options to get the specification you want.
The headlights are LED on all cars, but from GT-Line upwards you get dual LEDs with adaptive beams. The seats are electrically adjustable with the GT-Line upwards too, including a memory function for the driver. The GT-Line and above also have front parking sensors. The GT-Line S and GT have heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and a powered tailgate, as well as a 14-speaker premium sound system. There are additional driver assistance features as you go up the trim levels, but we’ll detail these in the safety section. Automatic door handles that present themselves as you approach come with the GT-Line S and GT cars.
Like Hyundai with the IONIQ 5, Kia knows the EV6 is not a vehicle aimed at sheer value. It's a quality, premium car and the price reflects that. Even the Air RWD trim costs £40,945. This is just three grand less than the basic Tesla Model 3, although you do get more range with the EV6, albeit with less performance. The AWD cars start at £47,445, and the GT £58,345, which are close to the prices of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range and Performance respectively.
However, compared to Tesla cars the EV6’s format sits in between the Model 3 and Y. It has more space than the former but a lot less than the latter. It's also cheaper than both, and priced quite competitively against VW group electric SUVs, except the Skoda Enyaq iV, as well as being priced favourably against the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Overall, the EV6 doesn't offer the supreme value of the e-Niro or Soul EV. But it's a premium vehicle, so it competes with Volkswagen Group cars and even Tesla instead. Compared to those, it doesn't look so expensive, even if it is far from cheap.
As we already explained, the EV6 shares a platform with the Hyundai IONIQ 5, called E-GMP. However, Kia has taken quite a different design approach with the EV6. Where the IONIQ 5 is modern retro in appearance, the EV6 is much more purely futuristic on the outside. There are no hints of earlier Korean car eras here.
However, quite a few people think it looks quite a bit like Jaguar's I-Pace, and we tend to agree. In fact, we think the EV6 looks better than the Jaguar thanks to a fierce front light appearance and sporty sloping back. Like the IONIQ 5, this car doesn’t look as big as it actually is, thanks to the design and proportions. It’s 5.5cm lower than the IONIQ 5, too, which aids the sporty appearance. However, that sloping rear does have some drawbacks, which we will start to explain in the next section.
Although the exterior of the EV6 is more futuristic than the IONIQ 5’s, the interior is slightly more conventional. There are three upholstery options for the EV6, none of which contain real leather. Vegan leather is the upholstery for the Air trim, but our review car had the black suede and white Vegan Leather of the two GT Line trims. You get black suede with neon green stitching on the GT car, but its seats are buckets.
As we mentioned earlier, electric adjustment is included from GT-Line upwards, with memory function for the driver. But you need the GT-Line S for ventilated sears. The seat design is comfortable and supportive on a long journey, but not for every body shape. We found that some of our team didn’t find there was sufficient lumbar support, but this appears to depend on the person. The GT-Line S and above get a sunroof, which opens both its blind and glass with a single touch but isn’t the full length of the car.
Unlike the IONIQ 5, even with the top EV6 trim levels the central console is static. But it is well endowed with features. There are type A and C USB ports towards the front, with a 12V supply plus another USB C port, both under covers. The console itself has a pair of cupholders and a sizeable cubby under the armrest. This wireless phone charger is on all cars from GT-Line upwards, partially hidden beneath the central armrest. The glove compartment goes back quite far, providing decent capacity, but it's not the huge drawer you get with the IONIQ 5.
When you sit in the rear of the EV6, you will experience the first drawback of the sporty sloping roofline at the back. There is plenty of knee and headroom for someone of average male size. But if you are over 6 feet you might find your head a bit too close to the ceiling, although the knee room will still be adequate. On the plus side, you get rear heated seats with GT-Line S and GT cars. The middle seat is also reasonably wide, and if you don't have a middle passenger, you can pull the seat back down to make an armrest with integrated storage space or cupholders.
At first glance, you will wonder why there are no air vents or USB ports in the usual central position at the back of the front middle console for rear passengers. But the air vents are actually in the B pillars, as with the IONIQ 5, which is sensible because they are therefore higher up and easier to direct towards the passenger’s face. The USB-C ports can be found on the sides of the seats, enabling passengers to put their devices in the front seat back pockets without cables trailing inconveniently at foot height. The two outer rear seats sport ISOfix points for child car restraints, but the front passenger seat doesn’t have these.
Storage and Load Carrying
The Kia EV6 is in the crossover class, which means it’s sort of an SUV, so you would expect it to have decent boot space. But unfortunately, this is another area where the stylish sloping roofline at the rear has a detrimental effect. The basic space is a decent 490 litres, which rises to 520 litres if you remove the boot floor. You sacrifice a level boot lip if you do this, however. This is behind the IONIQ 5 and full SUV designs such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV, and way behind the Tesla Model Y. But it’s still a decent volume.
The powered tailgate comes with the GT-Line S and above, but it doesn't have a kick release, which is surprising at this price. We also like the way the blind for the boot has a space for storage under the boot floor. Often, if you fill your car’s boot, you will need to leave the blind at home because there is nowhere else to put it. Once this is removed, you can drop the rear seats forward with a typical 60/40 split.
However, the resulting space is only 1,300 litres, which is behind Volkswagen SUVs and way behind the Tesla Model Y. It's not that much less than a small/medium estate car, but this is one of the few weak spots for the EV6. On the plus side, this car can tow up to 1,600kg braked, which is more than enough for a caravan. There's also a frunk. This is 20 litres with the dual-motor cars, but a sizeable 52 litres with the RWD versions. The middle rear seat also incorporates a hatch so you can put a long item in the boot and still have two rear passengers.
The EV6's interior is not as radical as the IONIQ 5's, which may be a pleasant surprise for some. The steering wheel has conventional stalks for windscreen wipers and some light functions. The cruise control functions are on the steering wheel itself on the left. A button underneath changes motor power from Eco to Normal to Sport. There's a Snow mode too, but it wasn't snowy during our test so we couldn't try that properly. The right-hand-side of the wheel offers media and dashboard menu controls. There are paddles for changing the level of regenerative braking, with five levels including off entirely.
Starting the system involves pressing on the brake pedal and a button in the central console at the same time. However, the rotating knob used to change the drive modes will be familiar if you've driven other Kia EVs, making it easy to choose forward, reverse, neutral and park, although we prefer the fake gear sticks on some other cars. There's a discrete switch for enabling Auto Hold, and further forward a row of discrete touch buttons that make it easy to select seat and steering wheel heating, or seat ventilation if available.
We particularly like the way Kia has designed the touch buttons just below the infotainment screen. They perform dual functions. In one mode, they help select modes in the infotainment screen rapidly. But in the second mode they provide full control over the dual-zoned climate control system. The knobs at either end also change function, operating temperature in the second mode, but media functions in the first mode
The 12.3in dashboard display is entirely digital, with current speed on the left and remaining range on the right, alongside a schematic of power delivery or regeneration as you drive. There are some status icons along the top and the middle section can show trip details. There are further status icons along the bottom, but the overall appearance is easy to read and not cluttered. Our review car also had a head-up display, which is standard on the GT-Line S or GT. It provides the usual speed, limit and sat-nav information, plus some driver assistance warnings.
The infotainment screen is the same 12.3in size as the dashboard display. As standard, it offers support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but only via a wired USB connection. However, the sat-nav is capable and well designed, as well as connected to provide live traffic information. Location search is keyword-based making it easy to find a destination. Connected features are made available via Kia Connect UVO.
The infotainment screen also provides the display for a rear parking camera, included on all cars along with rear sensors, and a top-down 360-degree view is added on the GT-Line S and GT. The menu is mostly well laid out and easy to navigate. You get a DAB radio and lots of ways to play media from your phone, other Bluetooth devices, and various storage devices. However, even the premium 14-speaker system in our review car appeared to miss mid-range response.
Performance and Driving
Aside from the looks, another difference between the EV6 and IONIQ 5 is the way the Kia car drives. Thanks to riding a bit lower than the IONIQ 5, the EV6 handles better, and extremely well for its size and weight. Headline performance figures aren't different, though. The RWD cars take 7.3 seconds to hit 62mph, but this drops to a sprightly 5.2 seconds with the AWD cars. The GT, however, will give a Tesla a run for its money, reaching 62mph in 3.5 seconds.
Although the dual-motor EV6 weighs nearly 2.1 tons, it handles fluidly, as you'd hope for the sporty looks. This is definitely a vehicle that encourages vigorous driving. It is quite big, however, which you need to be wary of when city driving. The suspension is also quite firm, which is brilliant when cornering but doesn't iron out bumps as much as some EVs.
At motorway speeds, though, the EV6 reigns supreme, so you can make good use of its decent range. Overall, the EV6 provides a competitive driving experience to the similar-looking Jaguar I-Pace, which is commendable. We also prefer it to the Tesla Model Y in this respect, but not the Model 3, particularly in Performance guise. The EV6 GT should be closer, though.
Range and Charging
Kia clearly thinks that a car like the EV6 can't be sold with a mediocre range, hence its decision to give all cars the 77.4kWh battery pack. This provides up to 328 miles of range in the RWD version, up to 314 miles with the AWD car, but only 252 miles with the GT. The optional heat pump will allow you to make the most of this range in cold weather, and this is standard on the GT.
The charge port is only openable with a button on the dashboard. You can’t just press the cover as with other EVs, which is a little inconvenient. But otherwise, charging capabilities are brilliant. Like the IONIQ 5, the EV6’s 800V subsystem means that you can charge this car extremely quickly with a 350kW charger. This can take the car from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes. On a 7kW home AC wall box, it will take over 12 hours to hit 100%, and the car also supports 11kW three-phase charging.
From GT-Line and above, Vehicle-to-Load is available, too. This means you can plug a supplied accessory into the charge port and power an external device through a conventional 13a plug, with up to 3.5kW available. There is also a 13a plug inside the car for the rear passengers to use. So you could keep a fridge running when out on a picnic, run an inflator for a bouncy castle, or even charge another car via its granny cable.
Power consumption ranges from 4.2 miles per kWh for the RWD cars down to 3.3 miles per kWh for the GT. So this isn't the cheapest car to run. Just for comparison, if you were able to find a 14p per kWh supply (most home services are now twice this), you would pay 3.3p per mile for the RWD cars, ranging up to 4.2p per mile for the GT. The Tesla Model 3 will be cheaper.
However, insurance groups range from 33 for the Air RWD, to 39 or 40 for the AWD cars, and 45 for the GT. These are all quite high, but still lower than a Tesla. As you'd expect for Kia, the warranty is superb, too. The general car components get seven years of guarantee, with the first three for unlimited miles and the remaining four for 100,000 miles. There's a 12-year anti-perforation warranty, too. The battery also gets a 7-year guarantee for 100,000 miles and 70% capacity.
As you expect from Kia, you get a lot of safety tech as standard, and even more with the higher trim levels. Forward collision avoidance, lane follow assist, and lane keep assist are standard on all cars. With the GT-Line and above, you also get blind spot detection and rear-cross-traffic assist.
The GT-Line S and GT also incorporate a video view that pops up on the dashboard display when you indicate, showing a clear view down the side of the vehicle. This is great for keeping an eye on your blind spots and missing pedestrians or cyclists coming up close to the side of the vehicle in a traffic queue.
The GT-Line S and GT also include forward collision warnings for junctions. There is parking collision avoidance, and Highway Driving Assistant 2. This is a Level 2 autonomous system like Tesla Autopilot, so offers adaptive cruise control and automated lane keeping on highways. It can also change lanes when you indicate, allegedly, although we didn’t manage to make this work during our testing. The GT also exclusively includes electronically controlled suspension and an electronic limited slip differential, for more dependable power delivery and handling when driving vigorously.
|Price:||RWD – £40,945; AWD – £47,445; GT – £58,345|
|Range (WLTP):||RWD – 328 miles; AWD – 314 miles; GT – 252 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||12 hours|
|Charge time (11kW):||8 hours|
|Charge time (350kW, 80%):||18 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||11kW|
|Cost per mile*:||3.3-4.2p|
|0-62mph:||RWD – 7.3 seconds; AWD – 5.2 seconds; GT – 3.5 seconds|
|Power:||RWD – 226bhp; AWD – 321bhp; GT – 577bhp|
|Wheels driven:||Rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive|
|Cargo:||520 litres; 1,300 litres with rear seats down; frunk 20 litres (AWD) or 52 litres (RWD); towing 1,600kg braked|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh