Kia EV6 GT Line RWD
The Kia EV6 marks the next step in the Korea brand’s shift towards electrification. Kia was among the first mainstream car makers to give serious attention to the idea of electric cars, with the first Soul EV going on sale seven years ago and the electric version of the Niro selling out before some rivals had a single EV to market.
In 2022 the brand sells electrified (EV or hybrid) versions of six models and by 2026 it plans to bring 11 pure EVs to market. The EV6 is the first among them and is Kia’s first model built on the dedicated E-GMP platform.
Design and interior
Straight away, the EV6’s looks set it apart from several of those rivals. Like the Ioniq 5, the EV6’s body shape is hard to pigeonhole. Kia calls the slippery but muscular shape “crossover-inspired” and makes references to the EV being an SUV. There are hints of that in the pronounced wheel arches and slightly tall ground clearance but mostly the EV6 looks like a (very) large hatchback – think Polestar 2 rather than Ariya. It’s a sleeker, sportier alternative to the retro boxiness of the Ioniq 5 or the more deliberate SUV styling of the Skoda Enyaq. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but there’s no question that it has presence.
The interior is less avant garde than the Ioniq 5 and there’s clear parts sharing with other new Kias such as the Sportage. The EV6 sports the same huge twin-screen display that curves gently towards the driver and houses a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and matching media/navigation screen. It also has the same dual-function controls that flick between heating or media at the press of a button, offering a mix of physical dials and touch-sensitive panels. There’s a massive central console that houses the drive selector, wireless charging pad, heated seat/steering wheel controls, cupholders and a massive floor-level storage bin. Overall, it’s a fairly straightforward arrangement, with lots of gloss black plastic and chrome coloured trim, with only a patterned and textured dashboard (made from recycled bottles) and part vegan “leather” upholstery to add some individuality. The Enyaq’s interior is more stylish, the Kia’s easier to use.
It’s also hugely spacious. Kia says it has the most spacious cabin in its class and while we didn’t get the tape measure out, it feels cavernous. Front and rear passengers have acres of legroom and shoulder room. Even the freakishly tall will fit with ease and the plunging rear roofline will only cause headroom issues for those well over six feet. Behind the passenger space there’s 490 litres of boot – plenty for most uses although behind several SUV-styled rivals.
EV6 powertrains, performance and range
The EV6 has a couple of powertrain options that follow the same pattern as several rivals. There’s a rear-wheel-drive version with 226bhp and a 321bhp all-wheel drive option. There’s also a 577bhp GT version on its way.
Tempting as more power sounds, the rear-wheel drive model never feels underpowered, responding with the immediate linear shove that’s common to all electric cars. Covering the 0-62mph run in 7.3 seconds, it’s quick enough and offers between 14 and 28 miles more range than the all-wheel-drive variant, depending on wheel choice.
Smart regenerative braking allows for one-pedal driving in most situations and there’s a choice of eco, normal or sport drive modes. These make a noticeable difference to the car’s throttle and braking behaviour but don’t affect its passive damping, which errs on the firm side and can be caught out occasionally by sharp changes in the road surface. That stiffer ride does however mean impressive body control for such a large vehicle.
All versions of the EV6 use a 77.4kWh battery. In the tested RWD GT Line spec, that offers an official range of 328 miles and consumption of 3.76 miles per kWh. Often these lab-based figures are hard to replicate in the real world but although we were never promised more than 301 miles of range, we easily bettered the official consumption figure on a multi-day tour of the Scottish Highlands. We were by no means thrashing the car but nor were we creeping around at 40mph with the air con off (as I’ve done previously to preserve charge). Over the course of more than 400 miles on twisting A roads that rise and fall through the landscape, we averaged 4.1 miles per kWh – better than any other EV I’ve tested. Even at its worst – on a long motorway run, the EV6 happily returned 3.5m/kWh.
Of course, the warm weather and road conditions were in our favour, so it will be interesting to see how a follow-up test in chilly November affects that performance but, nonetheless, it’s an impressive use of power for a car of this size.
Along with that impressive consumption and large battery, the EV6’s unerring accuracy in predicting real-world range takes a lot of the stress out of driving an unfamiliar EV. When it says you’ll get 296 miles on a charge, you really will, which makes planning charging stops easier.
And when you come to charge the EV6 has some of the fastest charging speeds around. Thanks to the E-GMP platform’s 800V architecture, the EV6 can charge at a maximum of 350kW, allowing a charging time of just 18 minutes to get from 10% to 80%.
Kia EV6 price and specification
It all makes for a mighty impressive EV experience, backed up by the usual Kia values of a long warranty, high spec and relatively good value. At nearly £48,000 no-one is pretending the EV6 is a cheap car but, as usual, it’s competitively priced against rivals and even mid-spec GT Line packs in most of the equipment you’d want. Highlights include adaptive LED headlights, vehicle-to-load capability, navigation-based smart cruise control and “premium relaxation seats” which lift and recline so you can stretch out in comfort while waiting for the car to charge.
The world of EVs is still changing rapidly as brands bring more and more models to market with ever-improving performance, range and ability. The EV6 is an impressive opening salvo in the latest stage of Kia’s electrification plan, offering a complete package of space, comfort, efficiency and value that rivals struggle to match.
Kiat EV6 GT Line RWD
Price: £47,195 Motor: Single synchronous electric motor; Battery: 77.4kWh; Power: 226bhp; Torque: 258lb ft; Transmission: Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive; Top speed: 114mph; 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds; Range: 328 miles; Consumption: 3.76m/kWh ; Charging: up to 350kW
- Impressive real-world range
- Cabin space
- Generous specification
- Smaller boot than some rivals
- Interior styling is a little plain
- Looks not to everyone’s taste