The electric Kia EV6 is one of the best cars – electric or otherwise – that you can buy; read on to find out all the reasons why, including the driving experience, electric range, charging speed, design, practicality and more.
We’ve already tested the rear-wheel drive Kia EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh, which was an excellent car. The EV6 GT Line S 77.4kWh AWD adds all-wheel drive, so should you consider this model rather than the rear-wheel drive EV6?
The Kia EV6 has had thoughtful and creative design applied to both the exterior and interior. The EV6 stands out from all other cars on the road with its sporty five-door hatchback body style, which also has a slightly raised ground clearance, resulting in it being described by Kia as a ‘crossover’.
The excellent design continues inside, where there’s also more space than you might expect – including lots of legroom for rear seat passengers – thanks to the dedicated electric platform.
The boot features a false floor and offers up to 490 litres of luggage space with the seats up, or up to 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s even an additional small storage space under the bonnet – 20 litres for AWD models, offering enough space for the vehicle’s charging cable, or 52 litres for RWD models.
There’s also a good amount of storage space up front in the interior, including a large area under the ‘floating centre console’.
So far, so good: the EV6 ticks the boxes for ‘well designed’, ‘high quality’, and ‘practical’.
The EV6 features a 77.4kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which sits in the floor, with an electric motor at the rear producing 226 bhp and 350 Nm of torque, and an electric motor at the front producing 99 bhp and 255 Nm. Overall maximum power is 321 bhp and maximum torque is 605 Nm.
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There are so many things that the Kia EV6 gets right in terms of the driving experience. Let’s start with the basics; thanks to good seat and steering wheel adjustment, you can get an excellent driving position, and there’s no intrusive centre console hitting your left knee.
Then there’s the start button. This sits on the top of the centre console in clear view, unlike many new cars, and, like the rest of the interior, is well designed.
Near the start button is the gear selector, which is a rotary dial, which also looks good and works well.
Yet another feature that we love is the drive mode switch, which is positioned on the steering wheel. You just press it once to change from Normal to Sport mode (and press it again for Eco mode). This is so much better than having to delve into a touchscreen to change drive modes. And the same can be said about switching off the lane departure warning system, which again is just one press of a button on the steering wheel. And you can even switch off the traction control system with one press. Amazing.
And there’s more. You can adjust the level of regenerative braking by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles – again, a much better solution than having to change this on a touchscreen. So far, it seems that the EV6 interior has been designed by a driving enthusiast – something that can’t be said about lots of car interiors.
If you need to put your foot down to overtake a slow-moving vehicle on a country road then you have the benefit of the 321 bhp and 605 Nm of torque, resulting in a very rapid 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds. Acceleration at motorway speeds is equally impressive – as is refinement and lack of road noise.
The EV6 GT Line S, as tested, has all-wheel drive, so all that power and torque can be transferred to the road in a safe and secure way. Having said that, thanks to the rear electric motor producing 226 bhp and the front motor developing 99 bhp, there is a rear-wheel drive bias, which gives the EV6 rewarding handling.
Of course one thing that you can’t get away from is the weight of an electric car with a battery that gives a 300-mile range; the rear-wheel drive EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh weighs 1,985 kg, and the all-wheel drive EV6 GT Line S weighs 2,090 kg.
The EV6 was tested in Wales and the Lake District and progress up hills is effortless, with excellent grip, and the slightly raised ride height helps to avoid the car bottoming out on bumps in the road.
The Kia EV6 is based on the same platform as the Hyundai IONIQ 5. While the IONIQ 5 is very comfortable and refined to drive, the EV6 is a genuine driver’s car. So why is there such a difference between the two cars? Well, there are three small differences between the two cars, which add up to a big change. Firstly, the EV6’s wheelbase is shorter than the IONIQ 5 – 2,900mm compared to 3,000mm – which gives the EV6 more agility.
Then there’s the suspension damping, which is slightly firmer in the EV6, and the anti-roll bars are 1mm thicker – both of these tweaks result in the EV6 having tighter body control – and steering – than the IONIQ 5. However the ride quality remains excellent.
The driver’s cockpit has been well designed, with a good infotainment system with key controls easily accessible as buttons, which are mainly laid out in a digital row under the touchscreen for the main features such as satnav and media, and climate. You swap between these two sets of controls by the touch of a button. The dials at either end of the row of buttons also change between controlling media volume and temperature.
One small issue is that when you press the buttons relating to the touchscreen or climate it’s easy to inadvertently press the buttons at the top of the front of the centre console, for seat heating/cooling and the heated steering wheel.
As well as the clear instrument display in front of the driver, there’s even an excellent head-up display.
And for your phone there’s wireless charging as well as USB and USB-C sockets.
At this point in our reviews we normally list the bad news about a car’s driving experience (which can be somewhat lengthy with some cars). However we couldn’t find any bad news for the EV6.
The Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4kWh AWD has a combined WLTP range of 300 miles. This compares to 328 miles for the rear-wheel drive model. During a week driving between Manchester, mid-Wales, the Lake District, and back to Manchester, the EV6 averaged 250 miles in the real-world, much of this at motorway speeds.
You can squeeze an official 314 miles out of the all-wheel drive EV6 if you opt for 19 rather than 20-inch wheels (which are featured on ‘GT-Line’ models rather than ‘GT-Line S’ models).
Yet another brilliant selling point about the EV6 is that it has an 800V electrical architecture, which means that it can use a 350kW ultra-rapid charger to deliver a 10 to 80 per cent charge in just 18 minutes.
A rapid charge from 10 to 80% takes 1 hour 13 minutes using a 50kW charger.
The battery pack can be replenished from 10-100% with a 7kW home charger in 7 hours 20 minutes.
You can specify an optional heat pump on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models which gives improved efficiency in cold weather.
The Kia EV6 also features a 3-pin plug socket, which is located under the front of the rear seats. The vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, available on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, can supply up to 3.6kW of power from the battery for domestic electrical items or it can even charge another EV.
Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Kia EV6 from Fastned:
The all-wheel drive Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4kWh, as tested, costs £52,695. The rear-wheel drive EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh costs £43,945. Kia EV6 prices start at £40,895.
There are three model grades available: ‘Air’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. ‘Air’ models are available only with the RWD powertrain; ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models offer the choice of RWD and AWD. Only one battery size, 73 kWh, is on offer. There are six colours to choose from.
One important thing to note about the Kia EV6 is that Kia doesn’t offer roof bars as an aftermarket item because the EV6 has no roof rails. However you can source roof bars from other suppliers in order to fit a roof rack. You can also fit a tow bar, and the EV6 has a braked trailer weight of 1,600 kg.
Green Car Guide has tested every EV that’s ever been on sale in the UK and the Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4kWh is one of the very best EVs that you can buy, and one of the very best cars with any powertrain that you can buy. It’s a genuinely rewarding driver’s car, it’s well designed inside and out, it has a good range, it can ultra-rapid charge, and it’s practical. But what we like in particular is the intelligent thought that has been applied. Unlike almost every other new car on sale, which generally require you to press multiple buttons on a touchscreen to carry out basic car controls, you can select a drive mode with the touch of just one button, it’s the same with switching off the lane departure warning system, and it’s the same with switching off the traction control. The all-wheel drive GT Line S model as tested offers more power, more torque, and more grip, making it an even more capable car than the rear-wheel drive model. The EV6 has a premium feel and this is another reason why its price tag represents good value. Aside from not being able to ‘officially’ fit a roof rack, there really are no bad points about the EV6. The Kia EV6 is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.