First Drive: Kia’s EV6 arrives to take the EV segment by storm

·6-min read

What is it?

Kia EV6
Distinctive LED headlights sit up front


This electric car race is heating up, isn’t it? A few years ago things were pretty limited in terms of EV selection, while these days there are more offerings coming to the market than ever before – and here’s another one, Kia’s EV6.

Utilising the same basic platform as the one you’ll find under the Hyundai Ioniq 5 but swathed in a strikingly different body, the EV6 looks to extend Kia’s already wide range of electrified cars and push things in a slightly sportier direction. We’ve been finding out what it’s like.

What’s new?

Kia EV6
The EV6 is physically quite a large car


The EV6 arrives as Kia’s first electric car to sit on a dedicated EV platform. That means it’s been designed around battery power from the off, rather than adapted from an existing model and converted to run on electricity. As a result, it can deliver more in terms of space and practicality, while its powertrain should – in theory – be as refined as it can be.

You’ve got two powertrains to choose between – a rear-wheel-drive version with 226bhp (which we’re looking at here) and an all-wheel-drive variant with a heady 321bhp. Whichever one you opt for, you’re getting the same 77.4kWh battery.

What’s under the bonnet?

Kia EV6
The charging port is handily located


Underneath this rear-driven EV6 is a single electric motor with 226bhp, linked to a 77.4kWh battery. Kia claims a 0-60mph time of just over seven seconds and a top speed of 114mph, but one of the main points here is range and, in that sense, the EV6 does very well. It has a claimed range of 328 miles and it has the capacity to be charged at speeds of up to 350kW. Find one of these ultra-rapid chargers and a 10 to 80 per cent charge can be conducted in just 18 minutes.

Hook it up to an 11kW home charger and a full top-up of the batteries from flat will take seven hours and 20 minutes. There’s also the option to add a heat pump. A £900 optional extra, this will help to get the most range out of the batteries when the temperature drops.

What’s it like to drive?

Step up to the EV6 and you’ll notice that it is, in fact, quite large – far larger than the pictures would lead you to believe, in fact. It sits in between a full-fat SUV and a crossover, but its sheer size can prove intimidating, to begin with. However, great seat adjustment means you’re quick to get comfy and those initial worries soon fade away.

The electric powertrain brings a predictably instantaneous throttle response and plenty of torque means that the EV6 isn’t a slouch away from the line. But where it differs from competitors is its lightness in the bends. This is no featherweight car – it’s knocking on the door of two tonnes in fact – but it manages to be nimble and exciting in the corners. The ride is decent too – if a touch firm at lower speeds – but it’s the driver involvement that really shines through here, bringing a real level of enjoyment to the whole driving experience.

How does it look?

KIa EV6
The EV6 wears Kia’s new badge


The term ‘concept car for the road’ has been worn smooth in car reviews, but the EV6’s design leads us to think that we can use it just once more. As mentioned it’s a big car, but the long athletic lines help to disguise its overall heft well. We particularly like the curved, full-width rear light bar and the intricate daytime running lights at the front of the car.

Some of this design does serve a more practical purpose, mind you. The front lip of the car actually channels air through and underneath the EV6’s flat floor, which helps to make it more slippery in the air and, therefore, more efficient.

What’s it like inside?

Kia EV6
The cabin is wide and spacious


You get a great sense of space inside the EV6. Because it’s based on a dedicated EV platform, there are neat storage touches that you don’t get in conventionally-driven cars, such as the large cavity underneath the gear selector which is great for storing items you don’t want to lose.

In the back, you’ve got loads of legroom too. Plus, because of the car’s flat floor, there’s plenty of room for your feet while the tapered roofline lends the cabin to feel slightly cocoon-like. Certainly, over longer journeys, the EV6 should prove comfortable for passengers. In terms of boot space, there are 490 litres to play with, extendable to 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded down.

What’s the spec like?

Kia EV6
The infotainment features Apple CarPlay as standard


We tested the EV6 in mid-range GT-Line specification. As with most Kia models, the EV6 is jam-packed with standard equipment, with highlights here including 19-inch alloy wheels, dual LED headlights and a full suite of driver assistance systems.

The standout feature here, however, is the 12.3-inch infotainment system. It’s curved, too, and comes complete with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the in-house system is easy and simple to navigate too. There are a few touchscreen-style buttons underneath – and a single panel controls both the infotainment’s major functions and the heating and ventilation – but these are a touch tricky to operate and are quite small too, so can be tricky to hone in on when you’re moving.

Verdict

The EV6 feels like the real deal. It’s got a decent range, excellent charging speed and – most importantly – it’s fun to drive, too. Add in a well-specified cabin with plenty of bells and whistles and you’ve got a package that is hard to beat.

Prices for the EV6 start from just under £41,000. This puts it squarely up against many other EV rivals, but given its breadth of abilities, we can see the EV6 fending them off exceptionally well.

  • Model: Kia EV6

  • Base price: £40,945

  • Model as tested: Kia EV6 GT-Line

  • Price: £43,945

  • Engine: Electric motor with 77.4kWh battery

  • Power: 226bhp

  • Torque: 350Nm

  • Max speed: 114mph

  • 0-60mph: 7.1 seconds

  • MPG: N/A

  • Emissions: N/A

  • Range: 328 miles

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