The all-electric Kia EV6 is excellent to drive, the interior is well designed, it has a 328-mile range, and it’s available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
As well as the Kia Soul EV, we’ve had the Kia e-Niro, an all-electric family-friendly SUV with a 300-mile range; now Kia has brought us the EV6; is this a more sporty-looking version of the e-Niro, or is this pushing the boundaries to the next level?
Whereas Kia’s all-electric offerings so far, the Soul and the e-Niro, were based on petrol cars and were front-wheel drive, the EV6 has a new electric platform – shared with the Hyundai IONIQ 5 – and it’s rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
A 77.4kWh lithium-ion polymer battery sits in the floor and the electric motor generates 226 bhp.
The styling of the IONIQ 5 is angular, whereas the EV6 is more curvy and sporty (and seems to merge a number of different design styles including a Volkswagen-like front end). Kia describes the EV6 as a crossover, but in our view it’s more like a sporty family hatchback.
The Kia EV6 appears to be quite a bit longer than the more compact-looking IONIQ 5, although there is only 60mm difference: the EV6 is 4,695mm long compared to 4,635mm for the IONIQ 5, but the IONIQ 5’s boot is slightly larger at 527-litres, compared to the 490-litre boot of the EV6.
The EV6 has lots of rear legroom, with a flat floor, and there’s space under the boot floor to store the cables, which is good, as it saves the cables cluttering up the inside of the car.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is very refined and comfortable to drive, but with very neutral handling it’s not a driver’s car. The Kia EV6 – with the same platform – is also very refined and comfortable to drive, but the big news is that the EV6 is a driver’s car. The rear-wheel drive EV6 felt more agile, sporty and rewarding to drive than the IONIQ 5, and it’s not because the EV6 is lighter, because it isn’t (the EV6 weighs 1985kg v 1910kg for the IONIQ 5).
Rear-wheel drive is much better than EVs with front-wheel drive as it prevents wheelspin from lots of torque going through the front wheels. The EV6 has very well engineered traction control: you can enjoy the rear-wheel drive handling, but the car controls any slippage of the rear tyres very effectively. There’s a button to disengage the traction control, but even after doing this and pushing the car on a series of tight hairpins up a mountain in mid-winter there was negligible slip of the rear wheels. And there was none of the harsh interruption to power deliver that you often get in this situation with petrol cars when the traction control cuts in abruptly.
Thanks to the battery in the floor, there’s minimal roll through corners, and the EV6 also has slightly stiffer front and rear spring rates than the IONIQ 5. However the ride quality is comfortable on the vast majority of roads – helped by the long (2,900mm) wheelbase – only very extreme road surfaces cause problems with the secondary ride. Even the steering feels well-weighted and responsive, and the braking feels more linear than some EVs.
All the above means that the EV6 is excellent to drive on some of the best roads in North Wales and the Lake District, where it was tested, but also on the M6 motorway between these two places, when it was quiet, refined and stable.
There’s a drive mode button on the steering wheel, which is a brilliant place for it, as it’s so easily accessible. Drive modes are Eco, Normal and Sport, with an option to hold down the button for snow. Acceleration from the rear-wheel drive EV6 is good (0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds), but the all-wheel drive model offers more performance (0-62 mph in 5.2 seconds). There’s also a button on the steering wheel to banish the lane departure warning system. You can adjust the level of brake regeneration with steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The design of the interior is excellent – it looks modern and premium. You can get a good driving position thanks to the adjustability of the electric seat and the steering wheel, although the steering column could extend slightly further. The start/stop button is situated between the two front seats near the gear selector and it’s easy to see, compared to most start/stop buttons that are typically hidden behind the steering wheel. The buttons for the heated seats and heated steering wheel are located close to the start/stop button – again, easily accessible places. The gear selector is a rotary dial, which works well.
There’s a large/wide (12.3-inch) central touchscreen – which features a clear view from the reversing camera – and underneath this there are shortcut buttons for the infotainment and for the heating and ventilation. Both sets of controls actually occupy the same position and there’s a button to allow you to toggle between the two. Again, this all works really well. The car’s own navigation, like that of the IONIQ 5, has dark grey roads on a black background, which isn’t great; if you project Google maps from your phone on to the screen it looks much better.
There’s really no bad news, but we do wonder why there’s no wiper for the rear window.
The Kia EV6 has an official combined driving range of 328 miles, and a highly impressive city driving range of 459 miles. Our test took place during a week of storms and snow (more on that below), so with the heating constantly on, we didn’t achieve 328 miles in the real-world; our best driving range was 291 miles, which is still very impressive.
The EV6 can utilise 400V fast charging and 800V ultra-rapid charging. Kia’s figures say that the EV6 can charge from 10-100% in 7 hours and 20 minutes using a 7kW home charger. If you’re using public charging, a 50kW charge point should give a 10-80% charge in 1 hour 13 minutes, and if you can find a 350kW charger, a 10-80% charge can be achieved in just 18 minutes. Extra range of 62 miles can be provided in just four and a half minutes.
Kia’s partnership with the IONITY charging network offers EV6 customers access to reduced prices at over 400 high power charging stations across 24 European countries via the Kia Charge app.
The charging flap is neatly designed into the rear driver’s side corner of the car under the lights, with a release button on the dashboard, and a button to close the flap inside the charging compartment.
Kia EV6 prices start at £40,895. The Kia EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh RWD costs £43,945. There’s also an all-wheel drive EV6 which costs £47,445 in GT-Line trim (with a range of 314 miles) or in GT-Line S trim at £51,945, with a 300-mile range. The AWD model also has 321bhp and 605Nm of torque compared to 226bhp and 350Nm for the rear-wheel drive model. Trim levels are Air (rear-wheel drive only), GT-Line and GT-Line S. Only one battery size, 73 kWh, is available.
A high-performance GT is due to join the range in the final quarter of 2022, with 577bhp, 740Nm of torque and an expected 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 162mph.
The EV6 is well equipped, with an augmented Reality Head-Up Display as standard on ‘GT-Line S’, and an optional heat pump on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, which aids efficiency in colder seasons. However the EV6 has one item of equipment that proved particularly useful: a 3-pin plug socket, which is located under the front of the rear seats. Why did this prove useful? Well, the EV6 was in the Lake District on the night of the Storm Arwen, which resulted in a power cut lasting many hours. Without electricity, how do you make a cup of tea? If you have a Kia EV6, this is easy – simply plug the kettle into the EV6’s plug socket. Thankfully the EV6 was charged before the power cut. The EV6 also has Vehicle-2-load in the form of a 3.5kW power outlet that can be used to charge another EV, or domestic appliances or camping equipment.
We won’t talk about the slight misfortune that the EV6 suffered as a result of a roof tile being dislodged in what was claimed to be the worst storm in Windermere in 30 years… (sorry Kia…).
One important thing to note about the Kia EV6 is that you can’t fit a roof rack.
The Kia EV6 is a brilliant car. It’s excellent to drive – and more of a driver’s car than the IONIQ 5 – the interior is well designed (and spacious), and the exterior looks good. The rear-wheel drive model has an official combined range of 328 miles, and at £43,945, this is better value than many rivals. You can also choose an all-wheel drive model. We have no hesitation in awarding the Kia EV6 a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.
It wasn’t that long ago that Kia was seen as a budget brand in the UK. But the EV6 is one of the best electric cars that you can buy – and much, much better than an internal combustion-engined car. While we’re on that subject, it seems that Kia has taken the new EV platform shared with the IONIQ 5 and thrown some magic dust on it from the excellent Kia Stinger, resulting in the EV6. The EV6 is the first of 11 all-new BEVs to be launched by Kia by 2026. A number of mainstream manufacturers should now be very, very worried…