NewCarTestDrive

2022 Kia EV6

The Kia EV6 is a new electric hatchback with a very high maximum range of 320 miles.

It has a solid stance, with a very long wheelbase, 114.2 inches, for its total length of only 184.2 inches. That wheelbase is the same as the big Kia Telluride SUV that can seat eight passengers, while the EV6 seats just five.

The EV6 can reach 80 percent of full charge in a mere 18 minutes, thanks to its 350-kw CCS-format DC fast-charge connector. On a Level 2 (240 volt) home system, the EV6’s 10.9-kw onboard charger can fully charge the larger of two available battery packs in about seven hours.

There are three powertrains to choose from. The entry-level Light model uses a 58-kwh battery pack and rear-wheel drive to make 167 horsepower. The 77.4-kwh battery pack in the Wind an GT models pairs with a motor for rear-wheel drive and 225 hp, or two motors and AWD with 320 hp.

The Light has an EPA-rated range of 232 miles, while the 77.4-kwh battery will go an EPA-rated 310 miles with RWD or 274 miles with AWD. Rated in MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), that’s 117 MPGe for RWD (either battery size) and 105 MPGe for AWD.

The NHTSA and IIHS haven’t crash-tested it yet. Every EV6 has automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors; a surround-view camera system, automatic park assist, and a head-up display are available.

Model Lineup

Made in Korea, there are five trim levels, but more versions if you count both sizes of battery packs.

The rear-wheel-drive Light, with its 58-kwh battery pack, starts at $42,115, but some drivers may qualify for the federal EV tax credit of $7,500. This version comes with heated front seats and two 12.3-inch screens, one for instruments and the other with wired Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The EV6 also has a wi-fi hotspot, wireless smartphone charging, satellite radio and navigation.

The Wind model has the 77.4-kw pack, and with one motor it’s $48,215. With two motors and AWD it’s $52,415, adding a heated steering wheel.

The Tech Package adds blind-spot and surround-view cameras, parking collision avoidance, remote park assistance, and a 1.9-kw output which can power accessories such as lights, tools, music systems, or camping needs.

The GT-Line comes with two motors and all-wheel drive for $57,115. It adds cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and the augmented-reality head-up display.

The warranty is strong: 5 years or 60,000 miles, plus 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain.

Exterior

The EV6 is sexy, with rakish and curvy proportions. Its head-on and from-the-rear styling is distinctive; it comes off as more refreshing than radical.

Its profile says it’s a fastback/hatchback, with a dropped nose and turned-up tail. Head-on, it almost has a supercar look, with LED lighting that make it look wider. Around the car there’s a lot of sculpting and carving of sheetmetal, especially at the flared haunches.

Interior

The cabin is more traditional, except for the two big side-by-side screens turned slightly toward the driver, each 12.3 inches. The near screen is an instrument panel with car functions controlled at the steering wheel, and the far one is for infotainment, navigation, climate and the like, with a row of buttons on the bottom that respond effectively like a touchscreen.

A tall center console carries the shift selector with a few other controls. The armrest offers deep storage in its compartment, and wireless phone charging in a tray on top.

The cabin offers vast room, especially in the rear, but it sits low. The front seats have excellent support and bolstering.

There’s 24.4 cubic feet for cargo, in a space whose shape reflects the exterior. When the rear seatbacks are folded there’s 50.2 cubic feet in the cabin, plus a hidden cargo bin under the rear floor and a small front trunk that can carry a charging cord but not much else.

One great thing about the cabin is its silence, with hardly any wind or road noise at speed.

Driving Impressions

The EV6 is thrilling to drive. The acceleration is quick, the handling balanced and responsive, and the braking dynamic. A high-performance version on the way; perhaps it’ll have more feedback at the steering wheel.

The base Light, with the 58-kwh battery pack and one motor, makes a slight 167 horsepower; but with the 77.4-kwh battery it makes 225 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque, and can accelerate from 0-60 in about six seconds. And with that bigger battery it can tow 2,300 pounds.

If you add a second motor for all-wheel drive, you get 320 hp and 446 lb-ft. It can shoot to 60 in 4.6 seconds. You think that’s fast? The GT can do it in 3.5 seconds.

Even with its bulky weight of more than 4,600 pounds on heavier models, the EV6 carries itself with composure in corners, and feels almost agile in tight ones. The suspension uses struts in front and multi-links (five of them) in the rear. It’s firm but absorbs bumps well. Rear-drive versions ride best; all-wheel-drive models have a more tense ride with more jostling over speed bumps and potholes.

The EV6 can be tailored to the driver’s taste, too. There are four driving modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, and Snow. Eco runs the climate control at a conservative pace (and uses AWD more sparingly), while Sport makes acceleration livelier. There are no less than six settings for regenerative braking, which are selected with paddles on the steering wheel.

Final Word

The 2022 EV6 flexes Kia’s newfound electric-car strengths. It’s thrilling to look at—and to drive. Check to see if you’re eligible for the big federal tax credit.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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