Keep in mind that all three brands of the group are applying their touches to the E-GMP platform.
No matter how you slice it, Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis may have the best battery-electric vehicles sold by any legacy manufacturer right now.
That’s quite the claim. In a sense, it is true. Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform is a huge hit. We already put it to the test in the IONIQ 5…and we loved it!
Keep in mind that all three brands of the group are applying their touches to the E-GMP platform. Hyundai took a practical approach, while Genesis is slathering the luxury on their GV60.
What about Kia? What about their EV6?
And, is RoboDog riding along this time?
Before I dive into the latest Kia electric vehicle, here is a little musical interlude by…ahem…Eve 6.
When the name of this car was announced, my mind immediately went to this one-hit wonder band from Southern California (rather, from the La Crescenta-Montrose area). That’s what you get when an automotive journalist has too much pop culture and music on his mind…
While I’m at it, shall I add The X-Files reference about the character of Eve 6 in one of their episodes from 1993?
Anyway…about the 2022 Kia EV6, it is a crossover-ish hatchback built in the E-GMP platform. Stretched on a 114.3-inch wheelbase, the long-ish roof vehicle has a lower profile than the IONIQ 5 and GV60 and a few design departures from other Kia models. One could consider this the replacement for the sporty mid-sized Stinger sports hatchback sedan – well, maybe it is?
The profile seems almost right. That roofline is a throw-off from its supposed replacement status. Yet, it all works. The EV6 is sportier than its E-GMP sibling by intent. Yet, it is also a departure from most of the Kia lineup.
The front end is uncharacteristically Kia, removing the Tiger grille altogether for a sleeker front profile. The rear end is also full of shapes and angles unseen on previous Kia models. Yet, you can see its influence in the 2023 Sportage – perhaps using the EV6 as a platform for a future design language.
The door handles pop out when you unlock the EV6. Recharging is done though a pop-out corner panel next to the hatch/liftgate. This GT-Line tester sports aerodynamic 20-inch alloy wheel. All of these details point to how clever Kia created the EV6 to be.
Clever is also a term used for the cabin of the EV6. Similar to the IONIQ 5, the instrument panel starts with a long flat panel finished in piano black. Two 12.3-inch screens are located on this panel. The left screen houses the instrumentation, vehicle information, charging levels and range. The one of the right houses the infotainment system, which includes wired smartphone integration. I also like the flat-bottom, wide spoke steering wheel.
One surprise I found on the EV6 GT-Line tester. Meridian is usually a very high-end audio brand, normally found on Jaguars and Land Rover products. Imagine my shock seeing that Kia equipped this EV with 14 speakers of fine sound throughout the cabin. Talk about aspiration!
The center console – if you can it that – is raised above the lower section of the entire center stack. The more tactile part houses the ignition button, a rotary shifter, and a few other controls. You can put a huge purse or a man bag in the space below. The front seats offer comfort and a decent amount of bolstering for support. Rear seat room is good, except the lower roof does limit head room. The suede-like surfaces on the seats are pretty good to the touch.
However, there are some challenges in terms of getting in and out of the EV6. The A-pillar is raked quite a far back and the upper parts of the doors are on the small side. Let alone, the roofline is lower and could challenge us taller folks. That made rear door access more interesting. Once inside, you’re fine – unless you’re taller than me at six-foot-one-and-a-half.
In the cargo hold, you get 24.4 cubic feet before you fold down the rear seats. With those seats folded, cargo space expands to 50.2 cubic feet. Up front, there is a small secure storage area – short of a cubic foot – that actually looks like an engine cover.
Somewhere underneath the “engine cover” is one of two electric motors that propel this GT-Line tester. Combined, they put out 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. Eac h motor drives its own axle, creating an electronic all-wheel drive system.
The extended range battery pack on the GT-Line has a capacity of 77.4 kWh. I was able to get as much as 285 miles of range out of it with a 100% state of charge. Recharging is quick with a run from 34% to 80% in about 15 minutes. That same session took about 30 minutes to get to 100% state of charge.
While this vehicle has been touted as a “sporty” model, the EV6 rides smoothly in reality. No firmness, just solidity thanks to its higher ride height. However, the handling is a mix of solid to soft, depending on the maneuver. While the battery pack anchors the EV6, you do get a better center of gravity overall.
One thing I wished the EV6 had was a faster steering rack. It’s fine, but its long wheelbase does give it a larger turning radius than one would like. On-center feel is good overall, as the EV6 keeps its lane just fine. If you do not turn on the one-pedal driving mode or play with the steering wheel paddles to adjust the regeneration rate, the brakes react very well at the wheels. Pedal feel is very good for an EV.
My 2022 EV6 GT-Line AWD tester came with a sticker price of $57,410 before any tax incentives. The EV6 is priced slightly higher across the board compared to the Hyundai IONIQ 5, which are comparable to the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Kia starts the EV6 at $41,400 with five trims to choose from. In the next quarter, expect the high performance EV6 GT.
During my time in the EV6, I could not help from comparing it to the IONIQ 5. While they share the same E-GMP platform, there are clearly more differences than similarities. That was intentional on the part of all three brands under the Hyundai Group. For Kia, you get a sportier vehicle that could be a good replacement for the Stinger, while offering more practicality overall.
As George and I work with other EVs, we are getting used to how they are in terms of the driving experience, as well as the recharging and “living with it” experience. Luckily, the E-GMP platform offers quick recharges to its extended battery pack. That will pip the difference between the Kia EV6 and its competition from both legacy and start-up manufacturers.
Even with a RoboDog to ride along with – while avoiding playing Eve 6 through the 14-speaker Meridian audio system – one cannot deny the Kia EV6’s place among battery-electric vehicles. Will it be your choice? I would applaud that, if you chose it over anything else.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Kia America
All photos by Randy Stern