The electric car has provided a level playing field for car-makers to play catch up or radically alter their image. While the Kia Stinger was a moderately successful sports sedan that managed to gain entry into a genre dominated by the Germans, the EV6 can be termed as a proverbial nightmare for them and also for Tesla– the torchbearer for EVs. In essence, the EV6 is a very good EV that is bursting at the seams with intelligent packaging along with a design that is full of character.
Kia took the correct route by employing a dedicated platform called as e-GMP to bring out a radical styling theme and a roomy cabin. As a result, the designers at Kia had a blank canvas to draw an alluring shape. Unlike its funky Ioniq5 sibling, the EV6 takes a more conventional design path but the edgy proportions are a treat to the eye along with the Aston Martin DBX like rear styling. It’s also bigger than a Jaguar I-Pace while having the same cab-forward design theme including a pronounced nose and slender headlamps.
The interior on the other hand is a tech geek’s paradise with a futuristic vibe including a pair of giant 12.3-inch screens. The cabin also seems well construed and the build quality will pass muster even when compared with its German peers save for the slightly wobbly detached centre console. Kia has also used sustainable materials in the cabin construction including recycled plastics.
Inside, the space is plentiful thanks to the long wheelbase (2,900mm), and sitting three passengers at the back won’t be an issue due to the flat floor. The tapering roofline slightly eats into the available headroom, however, but we do award full marks for a spacious 490-litre boot capacity and a well-sized ‘frunk’ also. Elsewhere, the driver-focused dashboard and the smug cockpit-like feel along with the chunky shift-by-wire drive knob show its sporty pretensions for sure.
Before we get to the driving bit, a cursory look at the equipment list reveals the usual suite of driver assistance features along with surround cameras, blind-spot monitor, remote parking and more. Standard features include the aforementioned dual-screens, wireless charging dual-zone climate control and front/rear parking sensors. The GT Line trim adds a powered tailgate, augmented reality HUD, 14-speaker Meridian audio system, V2L charging, artificial leather and suede upholstery, heated and cooled seats and 64 colour ambient lighting.
Time to get driving and we chose the GT-Line AWD model for our test with dual motors packing in 325hp/605Nm. A standard 77.4kWh battery pack results in a claimed range of 500km with the RWD/single motor version having a slightly better range. Hurling a massive SUV across a racetrack might be heresy but doing so with the EV6 proved to be an eye-opener on how far Kia has come in terms of building a driver’s car. EVs are quick and that’s what we come to expect but with the EV6, the acceleration is controlled yet explosive when you want it to.
When duly provoked, the EV6 feels quick and sheds its inhibitions with excellent body control along with managing its sheer mass. It’s a heavy car, the EV6, yet it feels delicate and lays down the power in a controlled manner. Relentless acceleration is very much par for the course here but the immediate steering along with the stable handling is what ultimately impresses us. On the road, the EV6 has a supple ride with an underlying firm edge to it that separates itself from the more comfort-oriented Ioniq 5.
Within the myriad brake regenerative settings, you can select the ‘i-pedal’ mode for single-pedal driving with the strongest regen being available. There is also an adaptive mode where the regen automatically changes the level. You can also turn it off. Our run with the regen turned at its highest resulted in an impressive near 400km range in the city while a full-on track session dropped it to 300km.
At $82,990 for the GT-line AWD, the EV6 isn’t cheap but it doesn’t need to be in order to compete with other EVs. The sleek styling clearly mimics a sporty driving experience and that’s what ultimately makes the EV6 stand out. It’s got a different character than its Ioniq5 sibling yet covers all the EV bases. Overall, the EV6 is definitely the boldest product from Kia and also one of its more impressive.