2021, has seen the number of electric cars coming to market gather speed. The latest to arrive, is the KIA EV6, the brand’s first dedicated electric vehicle, underpinned by the new E-GMP platform. The EV6 is the first of 11 all-new BEVs to be launched by Kia by 2026, which just goes to show how quickly electric cars are taking over. And, after spending two days driving the EV6, we can say with certainty, that it’s one of the best electric cars yet.
Models & powertrains
There’s a choice of two powertrains: 226bhp RWD single motor or 321bhp AWD dual motor, both coming with 77.4kWh battery packs as standard.
From launch, you can choose from three models; ‘Air’, ‘GT-Line’ or ‘GT-Line S’, with a high-performance ‘GT’ flagship to join the range later. Entry level ‘Air’ is only offered in rear-wheel drive, with ‘GT-Line’ & ‘GT-Line S’ models available with both rear or all-wheel drive.
Battery range & performance
The RWD EV6 can travel up to 328 miles on a single charge. With a power output of 226bhp & maximum torque of 350Nm, it can sprint to 62mph in 7.3 seconds & will go on to reach a maximum speed of 114mph. The AWD EV6 with dual motor, offers 321bhp & 605Nm of torque. It accelerates to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds, with a top speed of 114mph. Battery range is 314 miles on the combined WLTP cycle for ‘GT-Line’ models fitted with 19″ wheels & up to 300 miles for ‘GT-Line S’ models with larger 20″ wheels.
The EV6 comes with a multi high-speed charging system which means that the system is compatible with both 800V ultra-fast charging & more mainstream 400V fast charging, without the need for a special adapter or additional on-board charger.
All models are equipped with a Type 2-to-Type 2 charger, as well as a Type 2-to-Domestic three-pin plug charger. For home use, a 7kW home charger will recharge the EV6 from 10 – 100 % in 7 hours 20 minutes. Out on the road, a 50kW rapid charger will take the car from 10 -80% in just 1 hour 13 minutes. Plug in to a 350kW ultra-fast charger & it only take 18 minutes to recharge from 10-to-80%. Our advice as always is to invest in a home charger & plug in whenever you can. We recommend Rolec; http://www.rolecserv.com/home-charging
Kia has resisted the temptation to over ‘SUV’ the EV6, so what you get is a five door Sportback, with plenty of internal space. The front, comes with a new ‘Digital Tiger Face’, that includes a sequential dynamic light pattern. Below this, sits a low air intake for optimum aerodynamics. A character line runs along the bottom of the doors & at the back, there’s a sloping C-pillar with an integrated black glossy insert, a roof spoiler & rear lights that wrap around the edges of the boot hatch.
The dashboard is uncluttered & comes dominated by the car’s infotainment & instrument cluster screens, which stretch across two-thirds of the car. Below the central touchscreen, sits the car’s new multi-mode display, something which will feature in future Kia cabin designs. This replaces physical buttons with a dedicated ‘haptic’ touchscreen, providing shortcuts to control the EV6’s climate control, the infotainment & SatNav. The good news is, that you don’t need to delve into too many sub-menus to choose what you want, a problem associated with many existing car infotainment systems. It’s easy to work, featuring a small arrow which when pushed, switches from climate to the cars functions, which helps free up dashboard space.
The cabin features a range of sustainable materials. For example, the seats are trimmed in vegan leather, with sections of the dashboard & centre console clad in recycled plastics. We particularly liked the head rests, which are a design item all of their own. Quality-wise, it’s all very decent & premium car customers won’t be disappointed.
Thinking outside the box, Kia have cleverly incorporated premium relaxation seats on ‘GT-Line’ & ‘GT-Line S’ models. At the touch of a button, the seats can lift & recline enabling the driver & front passenger to relax while the EV6 is parked or charging, something electric car drivers, spend plenty of time doing.
Up front, you get a storage tray & on ‘GT-Line’ & ‘GT-Line S’ models, an integrated wireless charging pad. The glovebox comes with 10.5 litres of space & there’s front & rear drinks holders. Connect your device with two USB inputs, a normal & a C version & in the rear, the twin C USB inputs are located on the inside edges of the front seats. There’s also a plug socket which sits in the centre rear, allowing you to plug-in a domestic appliance, useful for festivals, or e-bike charging whilst on the go. Another design feature is the floating front centre binnacle, with additional storage space underneath.
The boot comes with 490 litres of storage. Fold down the 60:40 second-row of seats & this increases to almost 1,300 litres. The EV6 also offers bonus storage. At the front, in the ‘frunk’, providing an additional 52 litres of space in RWD models & 20 litres for AWD models. There’s also space underneath the rear boot floor, perfect for that charging cable.
The EV6 features a new ‘i-PEDAL’ mode. It’s been designed to enable easy one-pedal driving in the majority of driving conditions. As we found out, it works really well, perhaps too well. Luckily, there are three other regenerative levels, of which Level 3, one below i-PEDAL is a great compromise. This allows you to recharge the cars batteries, but not to the detriment of the driving experience. You can go backwards from here, through regen 2, then 1 & can also turn the regen off altogether, which really makes the EV6 a fun car to drive.
We had the opportunity to drive the AWD GT Line S & a RWD GT Line, at the UK press launch in Suffolk. Once sat comfortably behind the wheel, we headed out from Stansted Airport towards deepest Suffolk, a route designed to showcase the EV6’s driving manners.
On the motorway you can utilise the cars ADAS functions, to sit back & enjoy the ride. We seamlessly connected our iPhone to Apple CarPlay & were able to make & receive a number of hands-free calls, the quietness inside the EV6, being a real bonus.
We were able to enjoy the slot-car feel of the all-wheel-drive model, on Suffolk’s winding B roads.which was really accomplished around the corners. Yes, you can still feel the cars battery weight, but it really doesn’t spoil the fun offered by the AWD version, which was particularly accomplished on corners. The comforting ‘Scalextric’ hum of the engine, only increases the enjoyment & I found myself smiling as the journey progressed.
The rear-wheel-drive version is not quite as much fun, making slightly harder work of the same driving route in the opposite direction the following day. Don’t get me wrong, compared to other electric cars, it’s still pretty damn good & sportier overall, than the Hyundai IONIQ 5 that’s built on the same platform.
As we drove along, we switched between the three driving modes; Eco, Normal & Sport Sport. Each does what is says on the packet. The longer you spend in the EV6, the better you’ll get at selecting which driving mode & regeneration level works best for you, or for the driving situation that you’re in. We found that Eco or Normal mode at regen level 3, worked well & was the most satisfying for urban driving or slow moving traffic. On the motorway, level 1 or 2 of regen was better.
The one-pedal mode, which offers the highest level of regen & reduces your need for the brake, is quite heavy & your right foot will begin to ache after a few miles. Plainly, when battery range isn’t your paramount concern, turning off the regen & driving in Sport mode, opens up the performance one associates with electric cars & the EV6 definitely doesn’t disappoint. The cars ability to iron out the shakes associated with large battery EV’s, also shines through.
Like the IONIQ 5, the EV6 uses 800 volt technology, so the the battery can charge much faster, with currently, only a couple of other electric cars able to do the same. For the company car driver, it’s 1% BIK & 300 mile range, make the EV6 a very attractive choice indeed. Furthermore, it’s an exciting looking car, features on-trend tech, comes equipped with high levels of safety & there’s space inside for five.
The i-PEDAL will aid battery range, but makes your right foot work hard for it. Whilst we love how the EV6 looks, some may prefer a less interesting looking car to own.
When we drove the Hyundai IONIQ 5, we were blown away, both by how good it looks & how well it drives. Arguably, the EV6 is even more attractive & thanks to its sleeker profile, is actually more fun on the road as well. However, it’s not all about fun. The EV6 is also realistically priced & looks & feels like a car you could live with every day. Add in a 300 mile real world battery range & it’s a car that offes a compelling argument, to make that switch, from your existing petrol or self-charging hybrid, to a full- electric car.
One of the best electric cars yet 4.75/5