The 2022 Kia EV6 is the beginning of Kia's electric path forward, with a fresh approach to go toe-to-toe with the competition.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are beginning to make headway in the US market as of late thanks to rising gas prices and an increasingly accessible charging infrastructure. Kia’s next entry into the EV market is the EV6, with a clean-sheet design that enabled daring choices. This is not Kia’s first EV though - the Niro EV and Soul EV came before the EV6, but those EVs felt more like afterthoughts. That's not too much of a stretch, given that they were essentially EV conversions shoehorned into a chassis originally engineered for a gas engine. The EV6 feels like Kia’s first attempt at taking an electric vehicle seriously and it has paid off.
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Disclosure: Kia provided Bestcovery.com with a 2022 EV6 GT-Line RWD to test out for a week.
- Starting MSRP excluding destination: Light RWD $40,900, Wind RWD $47,000, Wind AWD $50,900, GT-Line RWD $51,200, GT-Line AWD $55,900
- As tested price: $53,405
- 168 kW electric motor 225 horsepower/258 lb-ft torque
- 235/55R19 all-season tires, 19” alloy wheels
- 1st row/2nd row Headroom (Inches): 36.8/38.0
- 1st row/2nd row Legroom (Inches): 42.4/39.0
- Cargo volume rear seats up/down (CU.FT.): Behind 2nd row: 24.4/50.2
- (City/Highway): 134/101, 310 miles total range
- NHTSA Overall Safety Rating: Not rated as of publishing
Many aspects of a car are subjective: what it looks like, the way it rides, and how much space (or lack thereof) it offers. When it comes to EVs, two things really matter the most: range and charging. Thankfully, Kia did their homework. Not only did they analyze the competition thoroughly, they've gone a step above and have future-proofed the EV6. There are two battery pack options: the smaller one features a capacity of 58 kWh, while the larger one measures 77.4 kWh. The smaller battery pack is offered solely with RWD, with a resulting range of 232 miles. The larger battery pack can be had with either RWD (310 miles) or AWD (274 miles). Our tester was a RWD variant with the 77.4 kWh battery.
With 310 miles of range from a fully charged battery, the EV6 offers plenty of potential travel distance to alleviate any range anxiety concerns. Personally, I still don’t see EVs as road trip vehicles thanks to a limited (but ever-growing) infrastructure, but the EV6 certainly tries to make a case for itself. Kia states that it can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 mins on a 350 kW charger. Sadly, those chargers are less prevalent than the standard public 150 kW charger. Road trips aside, if you are looking for a commuter car that is quiet, comfortable, and economical to operate (not including purchase price), the EV6 should be at the top of your list.
At this point, Kia has a well-established reputation for being generous with standard equipment. The EV6 is no different, yet somehow manages to offer up an unexpected feature list across the board. Our GT-Line tester came with the best technology Kia has to offer, including machine-learning smart cruise control, Highway Driving Assist 2, an augmented reality head-up display, Blind-Spot View Monitor, and Lane Keeping and Lane Following Assist. All these features make for a convenient and hassle-free drive even in dense stop-and-go traffic as you're certain to encounter in LA.
The interior of the EV6 is a very pleasant place to spend time in, whether you're eating up highway miles or stuck in gridlocked traffic. Kia's design team has managed to create an environment that's neither retro nor overly futuristic - a rarity in interior design these days. There are just enough design touches scattered throughout to remind you of the fact that this is very much a modern take on a vehicle interior, but all of the touch points are reassuringly familiar and require very little adjustment. The benefits of the bespoke EV platform are clear as well, with expansive storage room enabled by the fact that the EV6 does not require a transmission tunnel or exhaust piping. The center console is cantilevered over a spacious compartment that can swallow a laptop, tablet, handbag, or possibly all three at once.
One aspect that drew repeat criticism is the center stack controls - specifically, it's the row of buttons directly under the air vents. While it looks like a traditional interface at first glance, it's actually a screen that forces the HVAC and infotainment controls to compete for the same space and the two physical knobs. The main frustration centers on the fact that if you’re not on the correct screen, turning the knob to adjust the volume will adjust the temperature instead, or vice versa. This is an unfortunate oversight on Kia's part, and we're hoping that the inevitable mid-cycle refresh will allow the design team to go back to the drawing board.
As with many of Kia's latest vehicles, the EV6 was a pleasure to drive overall. The single motor RWD configuration offers a respectable 225 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque in the up-level Wind and GT-Line trims with the larger battery. As with many other EVs, the EV6 is certainly no featherweight, with a curb weight that crushes the scales just north of 2 tons. Given this unfavorable power-to-weight ratio, the EV6 still delivers surprisingly brisk acceleration, though it's nowhere near the aircraft carrier catapult launch simulation that other EVs are infamous for. The AWD EV6 ups the ante with a second motor that can deliver a combined 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque; this model can go toe-to-toe with other popular high-power EVs in terms of outright acceleration.
The EV6 is also dynamically satisfying, with no real glaring faults to be found anywhere. The suspension offers a decent amount of compliance to allow the EV6 to ride comfortably over even the roughest roads that Southern California has to offer, and it feels completely buttoned-down and keeps body motions in check when you pick up the pace. Because the battery is mounted lower in the chassis, there's not much body roll and the vehicle feels reassuringly glued to the road in pretty much any driving situation.
Cargo capacity was never an issue, though we have reservations about the aggressive swoop of the rear glass that can potentially hinder taller items being stored in the cargo area. That’s the price you pay for a sporty exterior. Minor gripes about the oddly-shaped cargo area aside, rear seat passengers are treated to plenty of space to stretch out. Legroom is also plentiful - there's enough space for the front passenger to sit comfortably when a rear-facing child seat was installed in the seat directly behind.
Kia nailed the things that matter the most to potential EV shoppers. Range is competitive and near the top, and charging speeds are equivalent to much more expensive vehicles from Germany. The only issue we see for the near future for Kia is keeping up with the demand.