Kia has been on a roll with its latest products. From the Stinger to the latest Sportage, every model punches above its segment and some offer plenty of excitement. With electrification, the brand aims to redefine its identity and it starts with the 2022 Kia EV6. This vehicle serves as the paradigm shift for an automaker once known only for affordable cars with long warranties. Now, the tides changed and Kia rose to the top as a leader in electrification alongside sibling brands Hyundai and Genesis.
2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD: Futuristic Inside and Out
Loosely based on the Imagine Concept, the EV6 looks futuristic and athletic, especially in GT-Line trim. Clean lines, unique taillights, and a techie new face give the car a distinct but tastefully sporty appearance. That carries over inside thanks to the floating center console and dual 12.3-inch displays housed on a single curved glass panel on the dash. The low roofline, however, means you need to duck to enter regardless of your height.
Once inside, you’ll find plenty of room for passengers. While five can technically fit, tall people need to watch their heads because the exterior styling and optional sunroof cuts into the available headroom. You also don’t get much vertical space for stacking cargo with all seats up due to the rear window’s angle. Thankfully, the rear seats fold flat and small-item storage areas abound. The EV6 also has a sizeable cubby underneath the cargo floor to hide your belongings.
In typical Kia fashion, the EV6’s fit and finish punch above their weight. Everything you touch feels expensive and the controls possess a satisfying level of tactility when you operate them. Generous amounts of smooth soft-touch plastics and padding add to the cabin’s premium ambiance, especially when combined with the high levels of sound insulation. Kia made extensive use of animal-free materials throughout the cabin, adding to the EV6’s eco-credentials. White accents and contrast stitching add a pop of color and pair well with the black suede and vegan upholstery.
Cutting-Edge Tech Minus Complexity
Hyundai Motor Group’s infotainment systems minimize complexity by keeping things as simple as possible even with additional functions found in EVs. This negates the need to consult the owner’s manual to figure out how to use the interface in the EV6 because everything is within easy reach. Between the main touchscreen’s quick responses and minimal submenus, learning to use this system is a cinch. The available 14-speaker Meridian audio system, on the other hand, provides one of the clearest, most immersive listening experiences in the mainstream segment.
Kia’s Drive Wise suite of active safety technologies remains among the best. The lane-centering component nudges you back gently into place and helps you navigate curves on the highway. Highway Driving Assist II, a semi-autonomous system, does a fantastic job following traffic flow even in gridlock. It proactively maintains your set distance and reacts to vehicles cutting you off by slowing down to prevent accidents. The system also includes automatic lane changing and evasive steering assist to help you get around obstacles and other drivers.
2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD: Fun Comes Standard
Although the EV6 shares the same E-GMP platform with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60, its road manners couldn’t be more different. This car cements Kia’s sporting image thanks to its playful handling, exceptional body control, and quick yet sharp steering. It loves to dive into corners to slice them gleefully. Since the dual-motor AWD model has a rear power bias, this spaceship-looking hatchback likes to rotate and will happily kick its tail out whenever you desire.
Despite its fun-loving calibration, the EV6 remains a fantastic daily driver. Even with its firm suspension, 20-inch wheels, and wide rubber on the GT-Line AWD model, the car rides comfortably. Unlike the Ioniq 5, you get plenty of road feel but without any harshness when driving over rough surfaces. Part of the credit goes to tires with generous sidewalls, giving you extra cushioning on top of the finely balanced chassis.
You can choose between four levels of regenerative braking including one-pedal driving mode. Turning on the latter gives you better control of your speed, minimizing the need to use the brake pedal. Additionally, you get plenty of energy recuperation when going downhill to gain back a bit of charge. Most importantly, transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking happen seamlessly, allowing you to input the right amount of stopping power.
Speed and Sensibility
Long-range EV6s use a 77.4-kWh battery backed by either one or two electric motors. This GT-Line AWD test car uses two, one mounted on each axle, giving it 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque for effortless power in all driving situations. However, due to the EV6’s sporting nature, you get a sharp throttle response in all modes. Floor the accelerator and you’ll get pinned into your seat regardless of whether you do it from a standstill or on the move. Sport mode gives the accelerator pedal near hair trigger-like response, meaning you’ll get everything right away.
As with other E-GMP-based vehicles, the EV6’s powertrain impresses beyond straight-line performance. Thanks to its 800-volt charging architecture, it DC charges at up to 235 kW. That allows you to go from 10 to 80 percent in roughly 18 minutes, something I saw during one session on a 350-kW charger. Although it didn’t hit its peak rate like the Ioniq 5 did, the speeds remained on the higher end. It didn’t throttle down until after 80 percent. Together with the AWD model’s 274-mile EPA range rating, road trips beckon. During my week, I squeaked past the EPA rating, averaging 280 miles on a charge.
The EV6’s usefulness goes beyond carrying people or cargo. Thanks to its bi-directional charging capability, you can turn the car into a mobile power source for running appliances via the included adapter or the outlet below the rear seats. Kia says the EV6 to power a home for five days or 80 percent of the battery’s total capacity.
2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD: New Image, Familiar Formula
Kia shows off its new sporting image with the EV6. From the looks to the driving dynamics, the car oozes athleticism. Yet somehow, the car manages to appeal to a broad range of consumers with its exceptional levels of livability. Starting at $42,195 for the base single-motor Light grade with the 58-kWh battery, it’s fairly affordable. The value proposition only strengthens on the Wind and GT-Line models, both of which get the larger 77.4-kWh pack and up to 310 miles in single-motor configuration. This loaded dual-motor GT-Line test car checks in at $58,105, which remains an incredible buy, provided you get one without any pesky dealer markups.
Kia says it’s no longer a value brand because of the increased prices of its vehicles. However, that’s only partially true. Yes, its vehicles no longer have bargain basement but they’ve come so far over such a short time that they ended up remaining incredible value plays because they give you so much. Most importantly, this shows Kia’s mastery of price control, a factor many of its competitors forgot about.