The Kia EV6 is designed to be seen. Luckily, it was additionally engineered to be loved whereas behind the wheel.
The crossover (which is de facto extra of a wagon) is a formidable mixture of what the South Korean automaker has discovered over the previous few years from its EVs and gas-powered autos. The outcome is a brilliant, thrilling, and downright excellent entry into an more and more crowded market that features the Volkswagen ID 4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, and Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV.
The difficulty with driving the EV6 is the hazard that follows it. Don’t get me fallacious, the automobile itself is a lot secure. It’s the drivers within the adjoining autos on the freeway and on the town making an attempt to shoot images and movies of the automobile as you drive by. It appears in contrast to anything on the highway. An aggressive entrance finish provides method to a longer-than-expected profile and is wrapped up with a rear finish that’s equal elements futuristic and crowd pleasing. It consists of the lightbar that’s one half sign, one half spoiler, and begins its journey on the wheel wells.
Hopefully, most of the people grows not less than a bit cautious of the avant-garde appears to cease placing their lives and the lives of their passengers in mortal peril as a result of the EV6 is a pleasure to drive. Looky-loos be damned.
A New EV Platform
On the core of the automobile is Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP (Electrical World Modular Platform) structure. It’s the premise for the EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Genesis GV60. Launched in December of 2020, the automaker plans on introducing 23 world EVs by 2025. There are already two on the highway, and the Genesis GV60 is anticipated within the spring of this yr.
The group additionally made positive to future-proof its underlying system. E-GMP autos use an 800-volt structure, whereas most each different automaker is utilizing a 400-volt system. The most important profit to an 800-volt system is that it permits the EV6 and Ioniq 5 to cost at a charge of as much as 350 kW at a DC quick charging station. That’s faster BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Ford… virtually each different EV on the highway.
We discuss loads about vary nervousness. Because the infrastructure continues to develop, which may be changed by cost nervousness, and Hyundai is ensuring its drivers received’t really feel left behind as fast charging stations seem on the panorama. You possibly can take most trendy EVs tons of of miles on a single cost, nevertheless it nonetheless takes longer to cost a automobile than fill it with gasoline.
Kia says the EV6 will cost from 10 % to 80 % in 18 minutes. I wasn’t capable of check this for the reason that 350 kW charging station I encountered topped out at 260 kW. However even at that velocity, I used to be again on the highway faster than I anticipated whereas charging from 25 % to 90 %. I had sufficient time to snap a couple of images, get a drink from Starbucks, and that’s about it.
For at-home charging, the EV6 has an 11 kW onboard charger. It’s fast sufficient for degree 2 in a single day charging, which is how a majority of those autos will probably be charged.
A novel characteristic is the vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality. Kia says you may energy different gadgets, one other EV, and even your home. The upper trim ranges have a 120-volt outlet on the backside and in the course of the rear seats. In the event you occur to be exterior and don’t need wires working out of your automobile, there’s an adapter that plugs instantly into the cost port with an outlet. It’s nice for tailgating, tenting, and probably preserving the followers getting in your home throughout a heat-wave-induced blackout.
A Scorching EV Hatch
America doesn’t like wagons. With that in thoughts, the EV6 is marketed as a crossover or CUV. Positive, it appears a bit like a wagon in actual life, nevertheless it’s essential for advertising that it’s often known as a crossover. It even has the requisite excessive sitting place within the automobile. However, actually, it’s a wagon. A fantastic wagon that quickens the heart beat and handles much better than it ought to.
Kia provided up the RWD (rear-wheel drive) GT model of the EV6 for testing, the second quickest trim degree out there. The quickest distinction belongs to the eAWD (electrical all-wheel drive) model. Nonetheless, whereas rolling with one motor as a substitute of two, I wasn’t wanting for energy.
Accelerations off the road at a standstill are high quality with a 0–60 of seven.2 seconds. When you get going, although, it’s blast-off each time you hit that pedal. The one rear-mounted motor within the automobile affords it 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Throughout my week with the EV6, whereas coming into the freeway or after I wanted to go a semi that appeared to have points staying in its lane, there was all the time sufficient stand up and go on the prepared.
Beforehand, I’ve pushed the eAWD GT model with its twin motors, 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque and 0–60 time of 5.2 seconds. It’s excellent, however for day-to-day driving, the RWD GT is greater than ample.
Tackling corners, the EV6 handles splendidly for a automobile its dimension. Extreme physique roll and tire squeal had been solely encountered when actually pushing the automobile. On the twisty back-roads of Northern California, the EV6 felt way more planted than different crossovers available on the market, each powered by gasoline and electrons. For driving purists, the RWD model has sufficient oversteer to maintain them glad, and you’ll flip off the traction management in the event you’re into doing donuts in deserted parking tons.
Round city, the EV6 was snug, agile, and relaxed in visitors, dense city areas, and on lengthy freeway drives. The steering is tight with out feeling twitchy in all driving conditions.
Kia affords up 4 driving modes: Eco, Regular, Sport, and Snow. Round city, Regular and even Eco by no means felt underpowered. Sport unveiled sufficient of an influence distinction that, when enabled, you knew it with out wanting down on the sprint cluster. On again roads, the ability was all the time there whereas linking corners.
On the braking entrance, there are 4 regen modes. Effectively, the primary Degree Zero is coasting. Degree 1–three elevated regenerative braking in gradual steps, whereas I-Pedal turned on the automobile’s one-pedal driving characteristic. You want a protracted runway for the automobile to come back to a whole cease. Mastering one-pedal driving within the EV6 with out touching the brakes was powerful since you actually needed to raise up on the accelerator a lot earlier than anticipated. As the times progressed, I ended up simply utilizing the brakes at stoplights and indicators.
As for its vary, Kia says the RWD GT has a spread of 310 miles through a 77.four kWh capability battery pack. The corporate hasn’t revealed whether or not that 77.four quantity is the gross capability or usable capability. Throughout a spread check of blended driving environments of freeway driving with the cruise management set at 70 miles per hour, driving round residential and suburban streets, and hitting the again roads of the area, I used to be capable of get 310 miles of vary. Eerily on the dot with what Kia guarantees and excellent news for these searching for a long-range automobile that isn’t a Tesla.
In any surroundings, the EV6 shines and looks like a automobile far dearer than its sticker value lets on. However the value can fluctuate wildly relying in your trim degree.
The automaker affords six variants of the EV6. The highest of the road GT begins at $51,200 for the RWD model I used to be driving and climbs to $55,900 for the AWD model. Beneath GT are the Wind trim ranges. The RWD Wind will set you again $47,000, whereas the AWD model begins at $50,900. There’s additionally the Wind with a Tech bundle that prices $52,400. For all of those autos, the RWD variations have a spread of 310 miles, whereas the AWD variations have a spread of 274 miles.
Then there’s the $40,900 Gentle RWD trim. The entry-level EV6 has a smaller 58 kWh capability battery pack, which interprets into a spread of 232 miles. All of the autos have an effectivity score of 4 miles per kilowatt which is up there with Tesla.
Like its exterior, the inside of the EV6 is a design triumph. Extra importantly, it’s snug for each the motive force and all passengers. Leg and headroom are greater than ample even for these over six ft tall. At 6 ft, three inches tall, I sometimes have to maneuver the motive force’s seat ahead when sitting within the again. Within the EV6, no changes had been wanted, and I nonetheless had a couple of inches of house for my knees.
This has to do with the scale of the EV6, which is identical size as a BMW three Collection. It may not appear that enormous in images, however that’s a trick of the attention brought on by the wheels being pushed in the direction of the sting of the automobile. If you get inside, it’s spacious and ethereal, with room for 5 if the parents within the again are on the skinny facet. 4 adults will match comfortably with none issues.
Kia and Hyundai each have a historical past of delivering interiors that really feel extra upmarket than their value would recommend. That carries over right here to the EV6. The vegan leather-based and recycled supplies within the automobile felt just like the choices you’d discover in a way more costly automobile.
The out there tech can also be what I’m used to seeing in dearer autos. Within the vivid 12.three TFT (thin-film-transistor) sprint cluster, when the blinkers are turned on, an exterior digicam feeds a view of the automobile’s blind spot within the cluster. That is one thing we’ve seen on different Hyundai Motor Group autos, and it’s good to see it right here.
There’s additionally one thing that I’ve seen within the Mercedes S-Class and EQS, increase turn-by-turn arrows within the HUD (head-up show). With navigation enabled, arrows will seem within the HUD that can assist you discover your upcoming exit or subsequent flip. It’s not fairly as polished because the providing from Mercedes, nevertheless it’s a pleasant contact, and I discovered it useful after I occurred upon a collection of roundabouts whereas driving.
Sadly, it doesn’t work with Google or Apple Maps. The automobile does help each Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (though oddly, not wirelessly) — simply don’t count on floating arrows that can assist you as you drive.
The 12.three TFT touchscreen homes the standard Kia infotainment system. Outdoors of the attractive residence display screen that shares vary knowledge, media info, and the climate, the remainder of the setup is actually a pill format of options aligned alongside a inflexible grid. In my expertise, that’s not essentially a nasty factor, as I used to be capable of rapidly discover options with out having to study a brand new interface.
The place issues fall flat is the voice assistant. It feels two generations behind different choices available on the market and is actually a collection of set instructions and corresponding defaults. For instance, in the event you say you need the automobile to be cooler, the system will set the temperature to 64 levels. Say you’d prefer it hotter — it’ll be set to 80 levels. Something past that’s all of the down or all the best way up.
The motive force help system does get marks for providing vehicle-follow in stop-and-go visitors with out having to press the accelerator or resume button. Whereas navigating freeway visitors, the EV6 reacted safely with out an excessive amount of acceleration or braking when autos reduce in entrance of it or once they moved out of the best way. I by no means felt the necessity to step on the brake or accelerator as a result of the system was being too aggressive.
No Extra Compromises
This was my second time driving the EV6. The primary was for the day, which is ok for a primary impression, however you want a couple of days behind the wheel to actually see how nicely it will combine into the lives of potential consumers.
As they picked up the automobile, although, I began to overlook it. For somebody that drives over 100 automobiles a yr, that’s saying loads. For years, we’ve had two courses of autos: good automobiles and good electrical automobiles. The EV6 is an efficient automobile, plain and easy. There’s not an inventory of caveats that should be defined to potential house owners.
The Hyundai Motor Group made the choice to spend the additional cash to put money into a strong 800-volt structure. That guess is paying off with a collection of autos which are coming to market with options discovered on dearer autos.
For Kia, the EV6 units a bar not just for its personal future autos however for each different automaker as they enter the house. It’s not sufficient to only construct an EV — they need to construct an amazing EV.
That’s what Kia constructed: an amazing EV.
Pictures by Roberto Baldwin / The Verge