The 2022 Kia EV6 will launch in the US as the most expensive vehicle in the brand's entire lineup, as top-tier pricing eclipses both the Sorrento, a popular mid-size crossover SUV, as well as the Stinger, a high-performance hatchback.
Electric vehicle incentives will help to lower the cost of the EV6, but the question of whether or not enough customers will accept a $50,000+ vehicle with a Kia name badge remains to be seen. After all, Kia has made its reputation on selling reliable, well-built vehicles at affordable prices and is generally viewed as a value brand, and the EV6 moves the brand significantly upmarket.
|2022 Kia EV6
|AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet Motor(s)
|RWD: 167hp - 225hp / 258 lb-ft; AWD: 320hp / 446 lb-ft
|RWD: 8.0 sec.(Light) - 7.2 sec.(Wind); AWD: 5.1 sec.
|232 miles to 310 miles, depending on trim & configuration
|$42,115 to $59,715
An EV6 for all tastes
Kia is offering the EV6 in five different configurations, six if you count the 1,500 copies of the introductory First Edition ($59,715) which quickly sold out. Beyond that, customers have the choice of the entry-level EV6 Light RWD (232-mi EPA range rating) with a 58 kWh battery up to the top of the line EV6 GT-Line AWD ($57,215 & a 274-mi EPA range rating) with the 77.4 kWh pack. The EV6 Light RWD is the only version of the EV6 in which you can get the smaller battery (in the North American market) and the base MSRP is $42,115 including destination.
The longest driving range of the lineup is shared by two models, the RWD EV6 Wind and the RWD EV6 GT-Line, both of which boast an EPA-rated range of 310 miles per charge.
Additionally, Kia is going to offer a GT version of the EV6 at some point down the road, and they have already teased us with a video showing it drag race a lineup of supercars. In the video, the EV6 GT lines up against a Lamborghini Uris, a Mercedes AMG GT, a McLaren 570S, a Porsche 911 Targa 4, and a Ferrari California and comes in 2nd behind only the Mclaren 570S. Proving again just how incredibly fast electric vehicles can be - even those that are mainly designed to be daily drivers.
It's also worth noting that EV6 pricing is slightly higher than comparable models of its sibling, the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
|2022 Kia EV6 Light RWD 19" (58.0 kWh)
|2022 Kia EV6 Wind RWD 19" (77.4 kWh)
|2022 Kia EV6 Wind AWD 19" (77.4 kWh)
|2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD 19" (77.4 kWh)
|2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD 20" (77.4 kWh)
|2022 Kia EV6 1st Edition AWD 20" (77.4 kWh)
Along with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 employs the new E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) which will underpin a variety of future vehicles from both brands. The E-GMP platform uses a skateboard design with a compact and lightweight power electronics system. In all-wheel-drive models, the front motor has a disconnect actuator device, which decouples the front motor when appropriate. This is done automatically by the vehicle and Kia tells us that it adds 6% more range as compared to having the front motor connected and contributing all of the time.
The liquid-cooled battery packs (58.0 kWh and 77.4 kWh options) are positioned between the front and rear axles, with an integrated drive axle and an oil-cooled rear electric motor. On all-wheel-drive versions, an additional electric motor is used, powering the front wheels and creating an electric all-wheel-drive system that can switch on and off for maximum efficiency.
The rear-wheel-drive EV6 Light has 167 horsepower with 258 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds. The rear-wheel-drive EV6 Wind and GT-Line have 225 hp and the same 258-lb-ft of torque and can dash to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
All versions of the EV6 with all-wheel-drive have 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque, and, according to Kia, can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds. In my time driving the all-wheel-drive EV6 GT-line, it felt like I was reaching 60-mph in slightly under 5 seconds, but that wasn't using any instruments - just my gut.
Gallery: 2022 Kia EV6 (US)
Excellent charging capabilities - but something's missing
On 240-V, level 2 charging, the EV6 can accept 10.9 kW which, when paired with a 48-amp or greater charging station, will recharge the 58 kWh battery pack in a little under 6 hours, and the 77.4 pack in a little over 7 hours.
The EV6 can also be charged from a standard 120-V household outlet, albeit slowly, adding about 4 miles of range for every hour of charging. However, you'll have to buy a 120-V level 1 charging cord if you wish to charge the EV6 that way. That's because the EV6 doesn't come standard with any portable charging equipment.
In fact, it's the first electric vehicle that we've ever encountered that doesn't come with any charging equipment. Therefore, if you plan to buy or lease an EV6, make sure you have your home charging equipment figured out before you drive the car home because there's nothing for you to use to charge it while you decide which equipment to buy and install.
High-speed DC fast charging is where the EV6 really shines. As Hyundai does with the Ioniq 5, Kia promises a recharge time of 10% to 80% in only 18 minutes, when charging from a 350 kW DC fast charger. The 58 kWh EV6's maximum charging rate is 180 kW, while the 77.4 kW pack can accept a peak charging rate of 240 kW. Kia also states that you can add nearly 70 miles (113 km) of range in less than 5 minutes when plugging in at a low state of charge.
However, we really wanted to test out the EV6's fast charging prowess and got permission from Kia at the end of the day to take the car to a nearby Electrify America charging station and plug into a 350 kW DC fast charger. We were only able to get the state of charge down to 20% and had planned to record a 20% to 90% DC fast charge session to see how well that lined up to Kia's 10% to 80% promised charging time.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to achieve anything close to the promised charging rate. When we initially plugged in, the vehicle was charging at 173 kW, but that only lasted for about a minute before dropping to 113 kW where it remained for 24 minutes until the state of charge reached 78% at which time the charging rate dropped to only 57 kW and held that until the battery was at 88%.
The charge rate then plummetted to only 1 kW and stayed at that level for 5 minutes so we just unplugged and never reached the 90% SOC we wanted to achieve. We're not sure if the disappointing charging session was caused by a faulty Electrify America charging station or the EV6 itself and we've reached out to both Electrify America and Kia for comment.
We'll be posting a video soon of the entire charging session recording, with charts on the charging power and charging time. However, we do believe this session wasn't representative of the EV6's charging capabilities on a 350 kWh charging station, but it is what we observed, so we're reporting it.
I'll get this right out of the way - the EV6's regenerative braking system is outstanding, perhaps the best regen implementation I've experienced to date.
I really appreciate when the regenerative braking system is selectable because different people prefer different levels of regeneration. Additionally, some people (myself included) prefer different levels of regen depending on what type of driving I'm doing. For daily driving, I like my regen like my coffee, as strong as possible. However, on long, high-speed highway driving, I prefer to coast a little when I lift off the accelerator.
Some EVs don't offer the option of selectable regenerative brakes, while others that do, sometimes force you to scroll through screens on the infotainment center to adjust it, which isn't really optimal while you're driving.
Kia uses steering wheel paddles to scroll through the five different regen settings: 0,1,2,3, and Max, or I-Pedal as Kia calls it. In 0 mode, the vehicle nearly coasts, I say nearly because you really cannot feel the regen at all, but the driver's display does register some energy recuperation, so it's not exactly freewheel coasting.
As you select 1 to 3 by pulling in the left paddle, the regen increases, and pulling in the paddle one more time puts you in I-Pedal mode, which is a true one-pedal drive mode. In I-Pedal, the vehicle will decelerate to a stop and hold in place until you accelerate away. In the other drive modes, the EV6 will only slow down to about 5-mph and creep along at that speed until you apply the friction brakes.
Additionally, if you pull in the left paddle and hold it, the vehicle goes into I-Pedal mode and employs the most aggressive regeneration force. You can use that to slow down quickly, or to bring the vehicle to a stop for a traffic light, for instance. When you release the paddle, the EV6 returns to the regen level you had previously selected, allowing you to remain in the regen setting you're most comfortable with, while still using the strong I-Pedal regen to rapidly slow down when you need to.
The system is also a smart-blended system, which increases the regeneration when you depress the friction brake pedal and also adjusts the regen strength based on the drive mode and the battery state of charge. Overall, I give the EV6's regenerative braking an impressive A+.
|2022 Kia EV6 Light RWD SR 19"
|2022 Kia EV6 Wind RWD LR 19"
|2022 Kia EV6 Wind AWD LR 19"
|2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD LR 19"
|2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD LR 19"
|2022 Kia EV6 First Edition AWD LR 20"
|265 mi *est
On the road
Kia picked out a beautiful driving route for the media first-drive event in the hills of Sonoma County in California wine country. We had the opportunity to spend about 90 minutes driving a rear-wheel-drive GT-line EV6 and the same amount of time in the AWD version of the same trim level.
The EV6 has four drive modes to choose from: Eco, Normal, Sport, and Snow. Sport mode provides the most dynamic driving experience by adjusting the torque split between the two motors and increasing the weight of the power steering for the most direct steering response. The all-wheel-drive model handled noticeably better than the rear-wheel-drive did, more so than I was even expecting it would.
In addition to having all four wheels powering the EV6 through the turns, the AWD GT-Line EV6 I drove had larger wheels and wider tires (255/45R20) than the RWD GT-Line (235/55R19), adding to its advantage in the turns. The AWD EV6 performed admirably, with nearly no body roll and crisp, precise handling through the winding mountain roads on the course. The 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque were more than enough to provide plenty of fun, while not exactly as overwhelmingly powerful as a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E GT.
I can't say the same for the RWD GT-Line. I came away mostly underwhelmed with it after spending the first half of the day in the AWD GT-Line. Even in Sport mode, the acceleration was timid and felt slower than a Volkswagen ID.4 at low speeds - which the stats say it shouldn't be. I found myself plowing through the same winding mountain turns that I took earlier in the day but this time with a significant amount of oversteer. The tires were eager to lose grip and I had to back off the power on numerous occasions when I really wasn't expecting to have to.
My takeaway was that the AWD EV6 is a competent performer, and one that would satisfy most people looking for a sporty compact crossover SUV to haul the family around and on occasion, have some fun tossing it around on weekends.
However, the RWD EV6 is much better suited for more commuting and family duties than it is raising the adrenaline level, so be sure to test drive both before buying. For my money, the $4,700 price difference isn't enough savings to opt for the RWD. The AWD EV6 simply provides a much better all-around driving experience.
Power your home? Well, not exactly
Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 has vehicle to load (V2L) capabilities and can power small electrical devices through an adapter that plugs into the charge port. It's not quite like the Ford F-150 Lightning, which can power your entire home during a power outage. But the EV6 can provide up to 1.9 kW (1,900 watts) of power, and that is enough to power anything that you would normally plug into a standard 120-volt household outlet. The adapter comes standard on all EV6, except the 58 kWh RWD Light base model.
There's also a 120-volt power outlet below the rear seats on all Wind, GT-Line, and Forst Edition models, but not on the EV6 Light.
Kia does offer a heat pump system for the EV6, however, it's not available on the 58 kWh RWD Light base model, it's optional on the Wind and GT-Line, and standard equipment on First Edition models. There are nine color options: Glacier Off-White, Steel Gray, Interstellar Gray, Gravity Blue, Snow White Pearl, Aurora, Black Pearl, Runway Red, Yacht Blue, and Steel Matte Gray.
The EV6 also comes with a full suite of standard driver-assist features including lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot collision warning, driver attention warning with lead vehicle departure alert, and more. There's even an augmented reality head-up display. Unfortunately, our limited time and the rural route didn't allow us to use the systems much. We'll offer a more thorough review of these features once we have more time with an EV6.
Brilliant or bust?
The EV6 is a very good electric vehicle. It has excellent charging capabilities (or so we're told), a long driving range, and the all-wheel-drive version is a very good performer that's fun to drive. The passenger compartment is spacious (102 cu-ft), the seats are very comfortable, the displays are bright and responsive and both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are compatible.
On the downside, the RWD versions seem a bit underpowered for an EV - maybe I'm just spoiled by how powerful most EVs are, and the cargo volume isn't all that great compared to other EVs in its class (24 cu-ft behind the rear seats and 50.2 cu-ft with the rear seats folded down). The cost is also at the higher end of the price range of its primary competition.
There is a frunk, but it's so small that it's practically useless. You couldn't even store a portable charging cord up there if one came with the EV6, which, unfortunately, it doesn't. We think EV6 owners will not be happy about the vehicle not coming with portable charging equipment. Even if they never use it, EV owners (especially first-time EV owners) like the security of carrying around a portable charging cord, just in case.
If Kia was able to bring the EV6 to dealerships priced about 10% lower than they currently are, I'd feel a lot better about its success. Will customers be willing to pay $50,000 to $60,000 for an electric Kia that, while it's a very good EV, does have its flaws? We'll soon find out because the EV6 will be showing up at dealerships in the US the second week of February. Kia is doing a simultaneous national rollout of the EV6, they aren't just sending it to CARB states as Hyundai is initially doing with the Ioniq 5.
Let us know your thoughts on the EV6 in the comment section below, and keep an eye out for our EV6 charging video review coming out next week.