Head turning looks combined with electric power will ensure the KIA EV6 gains a big following, very quickly. The five-door, five-seat Kia shares its underneath bits and pieces with the excellent Hyundai Ioniq 5. Kia is the junior partner in the giant Hyundai Motor Group and is seen as the more youthful brand. Both the EV6 and Ioniq 5 electric cars use the same ‘electric global modular platform’ yet manage to look quite different. The EV6 is slightly longer, narrower and lower than the Ioniq 5. We’ve put the EV6 through its paces to see if the Kia can shake up the EV market.
Exploring the EV6’s exterior styling is fun because there are quite a few delightful design touches to enjoy, and more importantly for conquest customers to take pride in. Examples include: The pop-out door handles – that are clearly a nod to Tesla and Jaguar, the high positioned rear door/puddle lights, the headlights clusters that aren’t flush but feature interesting relief in their design, the rear light bar that emphasises the car’s tail end, and like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 the EV6 features a beautifully formed bonnet. Overhangs are short and with a large wheelbase (2,900mm) the EV6 looks very sharp. So the EV6 is clearly an interesting looking car that catches the eye.
Inside the cabin is spacious – as you’d expect from a mid-sized EV. The layout and design has a wow-factor that Kia can be very proud of. Forget for a moment that this is a Kia – the cabin and dash can rival anything out there from premium carmakers. Two grades feature with an Earth grade and GT Line topping it off. The top of the range model can shame a Tesla and even the entry Earth grade is very well equipped. Two large 12.3 inch curved digital screens sit side by side and can initially deliver a tech-overload but with in a few hours of use you will master the controls. Our GT Line has a augmented reality HUD (head up display) that delivers AR navigation instructions to your line of sight. The ‘Relaxion’ front seats can put you in a napping position with the press of a button for those times you need to charge up the car in public. The boot hold a family friendly 520 litres and there is a small ‘trunk in the front’ aka a frunk.
Below the centred hazard warning button and above the floating centre console you’ll find a flush panel between two rotary dials that Kia calls its ‘Intuitive switchable controller’. The touch controls look impressive but can also be a little annoying to use. The climate controls and sound/Nav controls are on the same display area but cannot be viewed at the same time – you switch between them by touching a button. You cannot access both levels of functionality at the same time. The EV6 does have a few assignable buttons to shortcut certain actions. Niggle aside – it looks great! In fact you could convince young kids it’s a magic trick. Back to EV practicalities, the EV6 has a heat pump and air conditioned climate control system. Any EV driver will tell you how useless the heaters in electric cars are, but thankfully there are ways to keep warm when you are not on the move. On one bitterly cold day I hopped back in to the car, hit two buttons and sat for a minute as my hands on the steering wheel and was warmed up instantly thanks to the heated steering wheel and front seats (standard across the range). These electric elements can generate a lot of heat quickly and when I began to smell ‘cooking’ I turned them off!
The EV6 has a 77.4kWh rechargeable battery. Unlike some rivals there is no battery size choice. This is a big battery by EV standards. When charging at home you need to remember it will take longer to ‘fill its tank’ than say a 40kWh Nissan Leaf. Kia quotes a maximum driving range from a single charge of 528km, and this is impressive and a Tesla-esque figure. Remember any EV range figure (from any car maker) quoted are achieved in ideal warm weather, under ideal road conditions with an expert driver. For most people in day to day use you can knock off a good percentage of that range. The battery powers a 229hp electric motor that delivers brisk performance instantly to its rear wheels. The sprint from 0-100km/h takes 7.3 seconds and top speed is 188km/h. The EV6 is certified to tow up to 1,600kgs (braked). The EV6 can also act as a power-bank for electric accessories – via an adapter you can charge your electric bike or anything. The platform is capable of V2L (vehicle to load) where the car’s battery can deliver electric power (at up to 3.6kW of power delivery) to other electrical devices – it can even top up another EV!
The flat bottomed steering wheel houses the usual array of buttons with an additional ‘drive mode’ button with selectable modes of eco, sport and normal. The EV6 in Irish weather can step it’s rear out if you are aggressive with the accelerator and not traveling in a straight line. The EV6 is rapid and really nice to drive. The car is near silent on the move and overall the cabin can be a very stress free environment. The EV6 entry model rides on 19 inch alloys and the GT Line on 20s. The car’s suspension is less ‘crashy’ than rivals on rough or less than perfect road surfaces – despite the large wheel size. As a motorway cruiser it performs beautifully. The car is quite dynamic and changes direction with confidence despite its obvious weight next to a car with an engine. The battery pack helps deliver a low centre of gravity and this helps deliver a confident driving experience.
As you’d expect the EV6 features loads of safety and driving aids (GT Line’s list of features is comprehensive) that ensure the car is a very safe vehicle to travel and be in. KIA EV6 pricing starts at €50,000 (Earth model net of grants) and the GT Line starts from €54,345 (net). Coming down the line is the GT version with 576hp dual motors with 740nm of torque. 0-to-100 km/h takes 3.5 seconds and top speed is 260km/h. The GT will come with an electronic limited slip differential to help get all that power to the road and aid cornering. The Kia EV6 is an excellent electric car that delivers big on style and substance.