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2022 Kia EV6 first drive review: Don’t let me let you go

You are all going to need to bear with me for a second. When Kia first announced its newest electric car, the EV6, it raised the ire of the late 1990s alternative rock group Eve 6. In fact, they launched a Twitter campaign to “pay them.” While it’s all in good fun — at least we think it is — it did get us thinking about the artist’s discography when driving the all new EV6. It turns out both the artist and the car are quite good.

The EV6 is the second car from the Hyundai Motor Group to ride on the company’s E-GMP platform. It has the exact same underpinnings as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, but tuned for a completely different experience when it’s wearing a Kia badge.

How different? Well the Ioniq 5, in this author’s opinion, is designed to be a comfortable cruiser that looks bananas. The EV6, on the other hand, is designed to be the sporty version that looks a bit more subdued, but still pretty.

The EV6 lineup starts with the Light trim, making 167 hp and rear-drive only. It also only has a 58 kWh usable battery pack. Kia claims its good for 232 miles.

The rest of the lineup is available in either rear-drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The rear-drive models make 225 horsepower and have a range of 310 miles. The all-wheel drive models up the power to 320, but the range drops to 274.

We spent our day in both rear- and all-wheel drive GT-Line models.

The rear-drive GT-Line is the driver’s car of the entire bunch. While it only makes 225 horsepower, it’s handling is on point. It does an excellent job of hiding its weight, and while acceleration isn’t brisk it’s enough.

Carry speed into a corner and the front end goes right where you point it. Steering is quick, like on an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and you can feel the weight building on the front axle as you head toward the apex.

If you need a bit more rotation, mashing your right hoof causes the back end to let go and predictably rotate where you want it to go. The traction control will intervene if you really, really, get it wrong. But the rest of the time it’s just a faithful servant for you to drive faster and faster.

Someone who really likes to drive, and drive well, engineered the handling dynamics of this car. And it shows. It’s no Porsche Taycan, but it’s a lot closer than you’d think for the price tag.

The only reason to opt for all-wheel drive is you need the additional traction, and live in cold climates where a heat pump would help with range. Only the all-wheel drive cars come equipped with a heat pump, just like on Ioniq 5.

That’s not to say the AWD doesn’t hustle, but you can feel the weight of the larger battery and the steering isn’t quite as light or as direct. It’s good, but it’s not as brilliant as the rear-drive car.

The EV6’s E-GMP platform is an 800-volt architecture, meaning that charging speeds could be as high as 350 kW in the future. For now, the EV6 charges at up to 235 kW, and has a beefy charging curve.

Like the Ioniq 5, Kia claims a 15% to 80% charge time of just 18 minutes.

The EV6 isn’t quite as airy inside, especially when equipped with a power opening sunroof. Headroom isn’t as great as in the Hyundai alternative, and the Kia has a larger center console that extrudes out providing key driver controls, like the gear selector, heated and ventilated seat controls, and the wireless charging pad.

The sloping rear roof design does make rear view visibility a bit worse than in the Hyundai, but both cars can be equipped with the amazing blind spot camera system. This system projects what is in your blind spot onto the instrument cluster so you can see what is there. Combined with traditional blind spot monitoring and your eyeballs, you shouldn’t have to worry about lane changing into anyone.

The infotainment system is easy to use, and the screen is the same size as the instrument cluster. It supports wired Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and has built in navigation and satellite radio.

Hyundai Motor Group doesn’t yet offer trip planning for charging stations like some competitors, like Tesla does, but the software is updatable by an over-the-air update so it’s possible it’ll be added in the near future.

A dynamic heads up display with Augmented Reality navigation is a lovely option so you can see everything going on without having to look away from the road.

As you approach a junction with the navigation system engaged, it’ll project an arrow on the windshield where you need to turn. As you get closer, the arrow gets bigger.

Driver assistance software comes standard, and the EV6 also has the brand’s newest updated Highway Driving Assistant function. As long as your hand remains on the steering wheel, you can trigger the car to do automatic lane changes on the highway, in addition to the full suite of lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance.

The EV6 Light starts at $42,115 with delivery. The EV6 Wind, the least expensive AWD option, starts at $52,115. The all-wheel drive GT-Line starts at $57,115.

Like Eve 6’s song, “Here’s to the Night,” which is about a couple who get to spend a night together before they have to go their separate ways, the EV6 is one of those cars that you don’t want to just spend a day with.

It’s as brilliant as the Ioniq 5 is, but just catered more to a driving enthusiast. If this is the future of E-GMP, then the future is looking as bright as ever.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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