Electric vehicles have power covered. Even the least powerful models offer effortless acceleration, enabling you to get to freeway speeds (or higher) without any effort. Fun, on the other hand, requires more than just straight-line speed and that’s where the 2022 Kia EV6 comes in. Calibrated more towards a sporting driving experience, it possesses a playful demeanor and tighter road manners than its cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60. Regardless of whether you get the single- or dual-motor configuration, the EV6 wants to have fun and it’s most evident in the former.
2022 Kia EV6: Differences Between Single- and Dual-Motor Models
You can easily distinguish the EV6 RWD from its AWD counterpart in the GT-Line trim. The former gets 19-inch wheels instead of the 20s. Mid-grade Wind models, on other hand, look the same regardless of the drivetrain configuration. AWD models also get a heat pump, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Highway Driving Assist II, which adds automatic lane changing, evasive steering assist, and an adaptive cruise control system that detects onramps, remains exclusive to the GT-Line grade.
RWD EV6s get the same excellent build quality and sound insulation as the AWD cars. GT-Line models include a flat-bottom steering wheel and a two-tone interior white and black leatherette with available suede inserts. The user-friendly infotainment system with two 12.3-inch displays and the awesome 14-speaker Meridian audio system remain on the Wind and GT-Line trims. Both variants also include heated and ventilated front seats, LED headlights, and bi-directional charging. The Wind Technology package adds the surround-view monitor, blind-spot view monitor, remote parking, and rear automatic emergency braking.
Regenerative braking further distinguishes the EV6 RWD from the dual-motor AWD version. Although you get four strength levels, they’re not as strong in the RWD model since you only have one electric motor harvesting energy. Yes, you can still come to a complete stop without pressing the brake pedal. However, you need to ease off the accelerator earlier to do so. In certain driving situations, you need to use the brake pedal more often to slow the car down. Thankfully, you get seamless transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking even during hard stops.
Driving Fun Electrified
You’ll notice the biggest changes from behind the wheel. The most obvious one is the lower power output. At 225 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the EV6 RWD cedes the drag race to its dual-motor sibling, which makes 320 hp and 446 lb-ft. That’s not to say it’s slow. Getting up to highway speeds remains a breeze, especially in Sport mode thanks to the sharper throttle response. It also manages to push you into your seats when accelerating. While not as hard as the AWD model, you still feel yourself sinking into the seat as the car picks up speed.
Despite the smaller wheels, the EV6 RWD remains firmer than the Ioniq 5. This emphasizes its sporting intentions, something it backs up with fantastic road manners and excellent steering accuracy and weighting. Well-controlled body motions and a lighter front end give the car a playful, engaging personality. Getting the rear end to rotate requires a simple prod of the accelerator. Gradually easing into the throttle mid-corner yields controllable drifts. The standard all-season tires sized at 235/55/R19s break off quickly, allowing you to get the EV6 sideways without much effort. Be careful, though, because the instant power delivery from the electric motor causes the car to get unruly in certain situations.
In dual-motor EV6s, you need to feed in more power to get the rear electric motor to overdrive the rear wheels. The additional traction and the wider 255/50/R20 rubber in the GT-Line AWD model allow it to hold the road better. As a result, you must exploit that additional power to help it rotate out of corners.
2022 Kia EV6: Comfortable and Useful
Although the EV6 has a firm ride, it’s far from uncomfortable. Regardless of which version you get, the car does a fantastic job isolating the passenger compartment. You feel the road but not the harshness of road imperfections. Both tire options feature generous sidewalls, giving you additional cushioning. The 114.0-inch wheelbase also enhances the overall ride comfort without sacrificing handling because it does a better job dispersing impacts.
That long wheelbase pays dividends in interior space. You get generous room for four passengers and a flat floor for maximum usable space. Kia added a sizable storage bin below the center console, perfect for your Gucci handbag and other knick-knacks. Like the AWD EV6, I wish the front seats lowered more because the low roofline cuts into headroom, especially with the sunroof on the GT-Line model. Rear seat passengers don’t need to worry about this thanks to the scalloped headliner back there. In terms of cargo space, the EV6 has a usable amount regardless of whether you have the all seats up or down. However, the rear window angle cuts into vertical space, meaning you can’t stack your gear high or carry tall items upright.
Road Warrior and Power Source
The Kia EV6 redefines the car thanks to its bi-directional charging capability. That means the car can power appliances or even a home with the right equipment or via the included adapter on the Wind and GT-Line models. This turns the EV6 into a mobile generator, giving you a power source during outages or while camping (or glamping).
As with other Hyundai Motor Group vehicles on the E-GMP platform, the EV6 uses an 800-volt charging architecture. This allows the car to DC charge its 77.4-kWh battery from 10 to 80 percent in under 20 minutes. During my week with the car, I DC charged from 15 to 80 percent in 17 minutes. The EV6 sustained above 200 kW for nearly the entire session, holding its 235-kW for nearly 10 percent. Even at 75 percent, it remained above 120 kW and didn’t throttle down until after 80 percent. For this reason, the EV6 makes for a great road trip EV. Together with the rear-drive model’s 310-mile EPA driving range rating, it goes the distance and minimizes your downtime. I managed to easily beat the official EPA ratings, doing 320 miles on a single charge.
2022 Kia EV6: The One to Beat
There’s no denying that the EV6 shot up to benchmark status alongside its cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Between its excellent road manners, practicality, premium digs, and incredible technology, it cements Kia’s electrification leadership. The EV6 also enhances the brand’s sporting image, distinguishing it from Hyundai. Best of all, Kia’s value proposition remains. No, it’s no longer the cheapest starting at $42,695 but the substance and content you get strengthen its overall appeal. At $53,405 as tested, this lands right in the thick of the growing compact electric SUV segment and brings a lot of goodness to the table. Regardless of whether you go RWD or AWD, you’ll have one of the cars to beat. A true segment leader that backs its good looks by punching above its weight.