The best electric vehicle of all time?

The EV revolution is really starting to shake up the “old order” of historical manufacturers. But one of the most surprising brands emerging as winners from this upheaval is Kia. Alongside its parent company Hyundai, Kia has been producing very credible electric vehicles based on existing internal combustion engine platforms for a few years. With the EV6, Kia is making a huge stake for a place at the table of pioneering premium electric car makers.

Kia EV6: the non-identical twin of the IONIQ 5

It’s worth pointing out right off the bat that the EV6 has a lot in common with the Hyundai IONIQ 5, and there’s a good reason for that. Both cars share a platform and the infotainment system as well as the dashboard display have a very close family resemblance. However, physically these two vehicles are quite different. Where the IONIQ 5 opted for a “retro modern” look, from certain angles the EV6 bears a marked resemblance to the Jaguar I-Pace. While the latter is a nice car, the EV6 is even better.

The EV6 also trumps the IONIQ 5 for exterior aesthetics. The EV6’s front end and roofline offer a much sportier look than the IONIQ 5, although it’s still a crossover SUV masquerading as a hatchback, like the Hyundai car. It’s a lot bigger than you think, its size hidden by the stance and the roofline. This car weighs nearly 2.1 tons, a little more than a Two Motor Tesla Model 3and even a little more than Tesla Model Y as well as.

Another very commendable aspect of the EV6 is its quality. Not that recent Kia cars have had a problem in this area, but the interior trim, panel work and “punching” of the doors give the EV6 an incredibly well-engineered feel from durable components. There is a certain sense of premium.

Kia EV6: performance, driving experience and range

The driving experience is one area where the EV6 feels better than the IONIQ 5. The IONIQ 5, especially in twin-motor form, is excellent and handles much better than a car this big. But the EV6 manages to improve on that. The AWD GT Line S twin-motor car I borrowed was an extremely engaging car to drive. It’s fast enough for what’s supposed to be a family and cargo vehicle and feels fairly nimble for such a heavy vehicle. That said, while the ride quality is decent, it’s a bit firm, which is part of why its handling is reassuring.

The car I had was the GT Line S, which has two engines delivering 321 hp. That’s enough to propel the car to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. There are lower 226bhp versions with just rear-wheel drive that take 7.3 seconds to hit 62mph, which still isn’t bad. There will also be a 577bhp GT version that promises a 62mph sprint of 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 161mph.

While Hyundai offers the IONIQ 5 with two battery choices, all Kia EV6 models in the UK have the same 77.4kWh pack. This still allows for a variety of ranges, depending on horsepower and engine configuration. The RWD versions have a competitive range of 328 miles, and the AWD range of 314 miles is also good, considering the performance on offer. However, the GT only manages 252 miles, which is significantly less than an equally fast Tesla Model Y Performance (which has yet to arrive in the UK).

The EV6 also offers the same fast charging as the IONIQ 5, taking just 18 minutes to return to 80% capacity on a 350kW charger. The IONIQ 5’s bi-directional power party trick is also available, with the EV6 able to supply watts to external devices via an optional extra, which plugs into the CCS-based charging port.

Kia EV6: Interior

The Kia EV6 isn’t as radical as the IONIQ 5 inside. The appearance has a few elements reminiscent of previous Kia cars, although the styling is more futuristic. The rotary button for driving, reverse and neutral is retained. But the engine power button is on the steering wheel. If you like having inconspicuous buttons, features like heated and ventilated seat controls are on the front of the center console. Touch controls are also available for key climate settings, as well as quickly switching between infotainment system modes.

Where the EV6 is less radical than the IONIQ 5 is in areas like the glove box and center console. The glove box is quite deep and spacious but is not a sliding drawer with the size offered by the IONIQ5. The center console is also fixed on the EV6, while the IONIQ 5 upper trim allows it to be moved forwards and backwards. The center console incorporates a wireless phone charger, which exceptionally uses the corner of the armrest to hold the phone in place.

There are nice touches on the back. The rear passenger air vents are in the B-pillars, rather than in the middle, and at first there doesn’t seem to be a place to plug your devices. But there are actually USB C ports hidden around the inside edges of the front seats, which is a novel but sensible place to put them.

The front seats themselves are comfortable, and on our car were upholstered in a soft material, not leather. Our car had a sunroof, which isn’t even an option for the IONIQ 5 in the UK, although it isn’t panoramic. The rear seats offer decent knee clearance. However, if you are over six feet tall, the low roofline will be a disadvantage for headroom.

One area that’s essentially the same as the IONIQ 5 is the infotainment screen interface. The overall look is vaguely reminiscent of the wraparound display of the BMW iX and i4, but the screens are more noticeably discreet. Innovative features first seen in the IONIQ 5 remain, such as the use of side cameras when indicating. These reveal video windows on the dash, which augment the blind spot detection system by showing you everything inside.

Kia EV6: luggage capacity

Although the EV6 looks like a hatchback, when it comes to transporting goods, this car clearly belongs to the SUV category. Base capacity is 490 litres, which is on par with Volkswagen Group SUVs such as the Audi Q4 e-tron but is far behind the Tesla Model Y and less than the IONIQ 5. There is a floor removable that allows you to have a flat lip load or more space (520 liters), according to your choice.

Lower the rear seats and space expands to 1,300 litres, but that’s a lot less than the IONIQ 5’s 1,587 litres. That’s also less than a compact station wagon/estate like a Mercedes C-Class So this is an area of ​​deception. There’s a frunk, although it’s only 20 liters in twin-engined cars like the one I had. On rear-engined cars, it’s a much more useful 52-litre. On the plus side, the EV6 is rated to tow 1,600kg braked, enough for a caravan, although this will reduce range considerably.

Kia EV6: better than a Tesla Model Y?

The clearest competitor for the EV6, other than its sibling the IONIQ 5, is the Tesla Model Y, which has just started delivery to UK. The Kia car lags about 10% behind in range, a bit slower, and offers significantly less cargo capacity. But it’s also cheaper. The base RWD ‘Air’ version costs £40,945 ($55,000), although the car I drove was £51,945 ($70,000), about £3,000 ($4,000) less than a Tesla Model Y Long Range.

The most competitive version of the EV6, which is not yet available in the UK, is the GT model. It’ll be priced at £58,345 ($78,000) in the UK, which is £6,645 ($9,000) less than the Tesla Model Y Performance (also not yet available in the UK). It’s also worth noting that Kia EV6 prices are even more competitive in the US, with the entry-level model $18,000 cheaper than the Tesla Model Y Long Range.

All in all, the EV6 isn’t quite the best EV ever made. But it’s very very good. It looks great, it’s extremely well equipped, the build quality is excellent, the driving experience is assured, the range is decent with great charging speeds and the technology is superb. The only weaknesses are limited rear headroom and reduced luggage space compared to some other vehicles in its class. Other than that, the EV6 shows that Kia is fast becoming one of the premium EV makers to be reckoned with.

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