As the EV market continues its rapid expansion, manufacturers are hustling to get in early and get a piece of the action. Kia is among them, entering the market with its first mass-market electric car in the U.S., the EV6.
Like its platform-sharing cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 is available in single or dual-motor configurations with two battery sizes: 58.0 and 77.4 kilowatts. In this InsideEVs video review, we explore the EV6 GT-line, equipped with rear-wheel drive and the larger battery pack to determine if this is the spec to get. While it does require a sacrifice in outright performance, the claimed 310 miles of range will be a worthy trade-off for most.
Go Farther, Not Faster
That EPA rating is an important selling point for the EV6. In simple terms, this is the least expensive way to get over 300 miles of range in an EV.
This EV6 has a 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack, powering a single electric motor on the rear axle. The setup is good for 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. As mentioned, Kia also sells a dual-motor version, putting out a more robust 310 hp and 448 lb-ft which is rated at 274 miles. I reviewed that powertrain in a recent comparison test with the Ioniq 5.
Despite a relatively small difference in horsepower, the lack of torque in the single-motor version is definitely noticeable. With over 5,000 pounds of car to push along, getting up to speed is a more laborious process. The tepid acceleration sets the tone for the rest of the driving experience which feels more like an economy car than a performance car.
Low-resistance Kuhmo tires are the main culprit in the matter. There’s a little less grip in the corners than desired; with even the slightest bit of aggressive driving, the rubber starts to squeal and traction fades. A consistent heavy right foot leads to inevitable oversteer, but the EV6 feels out of its comfort zone when that occurs. Add in a healthy amount of body roll and it’s evident that spirited driving should wait until the EV6 GT arrives later this year.
The rear-wheel-drive EV6 feels much more at home during an everyday commute. The ride quality is supple with plenty of give over bumps in the road, and outside noises hardly enter the cabin, even at highway speed. This little spaceship is impressively serene during a typical trip from A to B.
One of the EV6’s biggest selling points is that its design and hardware will still be modern years down the road. Kia’s use of round bodywork that contrasts sharp edges culminates in a car that looks like nothing else on the road. Smaller details like the LED running lights and C-pillar fins add even more unique flair to the EV’s contemporary look.
The interior has a similar vibe with funky shapes and contrasting material colors. It’s much more lively than some of its competitors, which will be the jam for some, but not everyone. The twin displays are easy to operate and work through menus, but for some reason, Kia only offers Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity via USB-A port. Aside from that misstep, the rest of the tech suite is wonderful, including the Highway Driving Assist II.
Equipped with 800-volt architecture, the EV6 charges with urgency at level 3 stations. Past charging curve analyses have shown speeds up to 233 kWs – and Kia says replenishing the battery from 10 to 80 percent takes just 18 minutes. That’s on the impressive side of things looking at the entire scope of EVs on sale today.
Choose Your Fighter
I prefer the dual-motor EV6, but that comes with a personal bias toward enjoying sportier driving. For anyone who wants a great-looking, comfortable EV with exceptional charging speed and range, the EV6 GT-Line RWD is hard to pass up.
The single-motor EV6 starts at $51,200 before incentives, and my test car’s matte gray paint and suede seats brought the as-tested price to $53,405. That’s right in line with the 314-mile Mustang Mach E California Route 1 Edition at $52,450. A Tesla Model 3 and its 334 miles of range costs $55,990. But even with those options on the table, the EV6 is still the one to have.