The Kia EV6 is built to stand out. It was also designed to be enjoyed while driving, which is fortunate.
The crossover (which is more of a wagon) is a remarkable blend of what the South Korean carmaker has learned from its electric and gas-powered vehicles over the last few years. As a result, the Volkswagen ID 4 is a smart, dynamic, and downright remarkable entrance into a competitive market that includes the Volkswagen ID 4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, and Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV.
The hazard that comes with driving the EV6 is the issue. Don’t get me wrong: the car is perfectly safe. It’s the drivers in the cars next to you on the highway and in town who are trying to take photos and films of your vehicle as you pass by. It appears to be unlike any other vehicle on the road. An aggressive front end gives way to a longer-than-expected profile, which is topped off with a futuristic and eye-catching back end. The lightbar, which is part signal, half spoiler, and begins its journey in the wheel wells, is included.
Because the EV6 is a joy to drive, we hope that the general public becomes more aware of avant-garde looks and stops putting their lives and the lives of their passengers in mortal danger. Looky-looses, take a hike.
NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE PLATFORM
Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) architecture lies at the heart of the vehicle. The EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Genesis GV60 are all based on it. The manufacturer expects to introduce 23 global EVs by 2025, with the first one arriving in December 2020. There are currently two on the road, and the Genesis GV60 is set to arrive in the spring.
The group also made certain that its underlying system was future-proof. Most other automakers employ a 400-volt design, whereas E-GMP vehicles have an 800-volt architecture. The major advantage of an 800-volt system is that it allows the EV6 and Ioniq 5 to charge at a DC fast charging station at a rate of up to 350 kW. That’s faster than a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Ford, or almost any other electric vehicle on the road.
We talk about range anxiety a lot. As infrastructure improves, charge anxiety may replace it, and Hyundai is working to ensure that its drivers aren’t left behind as speedy charging stations proliferate. Most current EVs can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge, but charging a vehicle still takes longer than filling it with fuel.
The EV6 will charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes, according to Kia. I wasn’t able to put this to the test because the 350 kW charging station I came across only had 260 kW of power. Even at that speed, I was back on the road in less time than I had anticipated while charging from 25% to 90%. I only had enough time to take a few photos and get a drink from Starbucks.
The EV6 includes an 11 kW onboard charger for charging at home. It’s fast enough for level 2 overnight charging, which will be the case for the vast majority of these vehicles.
The vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability is a standout feature. You can charge other devices, another EV, and even your house, according to Kia. A 120-volt outlet is located at the bottom and in the centre of the back seats on higher model versions. There’s an adaptor that fits straight into the charging port with an outlet if you’re outside and don’t want cables coming out of your car. It’s perfect for tailgating, camping, and possibly keeping the fans running in your house during a heat wave.
AN EXTREMELY HOT EV HATCH
Wagons are unpopular in America. The EV6 is marketed as a crossover or CUV with this in mind. Although it resembles a wagon in appearance, the fact that it is referred to as a crossover is crucial for marketing purposes. It even features the vehicle’s required high sitting position. But it’s basically just a wagon. A fantastic wagon that gets your heart racing and handles far better than it should.
For testing, Kia provided the RWD (rear-wheel drive) GT version of the EV6, which is the second fastest trim level available. The eAWD (electric all-wheel drive) version has the fastest acceleration. Even though I was only using one motor instead of two, I had plenty of power.
With a 0–60 time of 7.2 seconds, accelerations off the line at a standstill are fine. It’s blast-off every time you push that pedal once you get going, though. The vehicle’s single rear-mounted motor produces 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. During my week with the EV6, there was always enough get up and go when I needed to enter the highway or pass a semi that seemed to have trouble remaining in its lane.
I’ve driven the eAWD GT version previously, which has dual motors, 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque, and a 0–60 time of 5.2 seconds. It’s fantastic, but the RWD GT is more than suitable for day-to-day driving.
When it comes to cornering, the EV6 performs admirably for a car of its size. Only when driving the vehicle hard enough did we suffer excessive body roll and tire squeal. The EV6 seemed significantly more rooted than comparable crossovers on the market, both powered by gas and electricity, on the twisting backroads of Northern California. The RWD variant has enough oversteer to satisfy driving purists, and you can disable traction control if you want to do donuts in abandoned parking lots.
In traffic, busy metropolitan regions, and long interstate travels, the EV6 proved comfortable, agile, and at ease. In all driving scenarios, the steering is firm but not jerky.
Eco, Normal, Sport, and Snow are the four driving modes offered by Kia. Normal and even Eco never felt powerless in town. When Sport was enabled, it revealed enough of a power difference that you could tell without looking down at the dash cluster. While connecting curves on rural roads, the power was always present.
There are four different regen modes for braking. The initial Level 0 is, well, coasting. Levels 1–3 gradually enhanced regenerative braking, while I-Pedal activated the vehicle’s one-pedal driving mode. For the vehicle to come to a complete stop, you’ll need a long runway. It was difficult to master one-pedal driving in the EV6 without hitting the brakes because you had to lift your foot off the accelerator much sooner than planned. As the days went on, I only used the brakes at stoplights and stop signs.
The RWD GT, according to Kia, has a range of 310 miles thanks to a 77.4 kWh battery pack. The corporation hasn’t said whether the 77.4 figure represents gross or useable capacity. I was able to acquire 310 miles of range on a range test that included highway driving with the cruise control set at 70 miles per hour, driving around residential and suburban streets, and exploring the back roads of the region. Kia’s promises are eerily accurate, which is good news for people searching for a long-range vehicle that isn’t a Tesla.
The EV6 excels in any situation and feels far more premium than its sticker price suggests. However, depending on your trim level, the price can vary dramatically.
The EV6 is available in six different configurations from the manufacturer. The top-of-the-line GT starts at $51,200 for the RWD model I drove and rises to $55,900 for the AWD model. The Wind trim levels are listed below GT. The RWD version of the Wind costs $47,000, while the AWD variant costs $50,900. There’s also the Wind, which costs $52,400 and comes with a Tech package. The RWD versions of these vehicles have a range of 310 miles and the AWD variants have a range of 274 miles.
Then there’s the Light RWD trim, which starts at $40,900. The entry-level EV6 features a battery pack with a capacity of 58 kWh, giving it a range of 232 miles. All of the vehicles have a four-mile per-kilowatt efficiency rating, which puts them on par with Tesla.
INTERIOR DESIGN THAT IS SMART
The EV6’s interior, like its exterior, is a design achievement. It’s also very comfy for both the driver and all of the passengers. Even for individuals over six feet tall, there is plenty of leg and headroom. When I’m in the back seat, I usually have to adjust the driver’s seat forward because I’m 6 feet 3 inches tall. I didn’t have to make any modifications in the EV6, and my knees still had a few inches of room.
This is due to the EV6’s length, which is the same as that of a BMW 3 Series. It may not appear large in images due to the wheels being pushed towards the vehicle’s edge, however this is an optical illusion induced by the wheels being pushed towards the vehicle’s edge. When you enter, it’s light and airy, with seating for five if the people in the rear aren’t too frail. There will be enough room for four adults to sit comfortably.
Both Kia and Hyundai have a track record of producing interiors that seem more upscale than their sticker prices suggest. This applies to the EV6 as well. The vehicle’s vegan leather and recycled components felt like they belonged in a far more expensive vehicle.
The available technology is likewise comparable to what I’m used to seeing in higher-priced automobiles. When the blinkers are turned on, an external camera sends a view of the vehicle’s blind spot onto the brilliant 12.3 TFT (thin-film-transistor) dash cluster. We’ve seen this on other Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, and it’s wonderful to see it here.
I’ve also seen something similar in the Mercedes S-Class and EQS, where turn-by-turn arrows in the HUD are supplemented (head-up display). When you enable navigation, arrows will appear in the HUD to help you find your next exit or turn. It’s not quite as slick as Mercedes’ offering, but it’s a pleasant touch, and I found it useful when driving through a succession of roundabouts.
Unfortunately, neither Google nor Apple Maps support it. The car does accept Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (though not wirelessly), but don’t expect flying arrows to assist you while driving.
The conventional Kia infotainment system is housed in the 12.3 TFT touchscreen. The rest of the arrangement is simply a tablet layout of elements organized along a rigid grid, aside from the stunning home screen that shares range data, media information, and the weather. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in my experience, since I was able to rapidly locate functions without having to learn a new UI.
The voice assistant is where things go wrong. It is just a sequence of set instructions with associated defaults, and it feels two generations behind other options on the market. If you say you want the car to be cooler, for example, the system will set the temperature to 64 degrees. If you ask for it to be warmer, it will be adjusted to 80 degrees. Anything beyond that is all downhill or all uphill.
The driving assistance system earns points for providing vehicle follow in stop-and-go traffic without requiring the driver to push the accelerator or resume button. When vehicles cut in front of it or moved out of the way while handling highway traffic, the EV6 reacted safely without excessive acceleration or braking. Because the system was being overly aggressive, I never felt the need to step on the brake or acceleration.
NOW THERE WILL BE NO MORE COMPROMISES
This was my second time behind the wheel of an EV6. The first was for a single day, which is OK for a first impression, but you need a few days behind the wheel to fully assess how well it would fit into potential purchasers’ lifestyles.
However, while they were loading the van, I began to miss it. That’s a lot of automobiles for someone who drives over a hundred a year. We’ve had two types of vehicles for years: good autos and good electric cars. Simply put, the EV6 is a great automobile. There is no longer any need to convey the caveats to potential buyers.
The Hyundai Motor Group decided to invest the extra money in a more durable 800-volt architecture. That bet is paying off, as a series of automobiles featuring amenities found in more expensive vehicles are hitting the market.
The EV6 sets a standard not only for Kia’s future vehicles, but also for every other automaker entering the space. It’s not enough to simply construct an electric vehicle; they must also build a fantastic one.
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