It may not be the first automaker that comes to mind when you think of electric vehicles, but Kia is no stranger to EVs. The South Korean company has offered battery-powered versions of the spunky Soul hatchback and versatile Niro crossover, though the new 2022 EV6 is this brand’s first dedicated battery-electric offering, meaning no version of this model is offered with an internal-combustion engine. But don’t let that technical footnote scare you; just because the EV6 is electric-only doesn’t mean it’s not a good product, in fact, this vehicle is astoundingly great for a host of important reasons.
Closely related yet totally different
If you keep tabs on the electric vehicle space (and you probably do if you’re reading EV Pulse!), you likely already know the EV6 shares a lot of underlying technology with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60, from batteries to electric motors to software. Providing a sturdy and stable foundation, all three vehicles are built on the E-GMP architecture, though you’d never know it because each model has its own look. The Ioniq 5 wears angular, 1980s-inspired styling, the GV60 dovetails nicely with the broader Genesis lineup and this Kia is gracefully proportioned, wearing smooth, flowing bodywork. Keeping things interesting, LED headlamps are standard, as are 19-inch wheels.
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Just like the Ioniq 5 and GV60, this Kia’s exterior door handles retract for a sleek look and better aerodynamics, though I don’t love the design. The action of the mechanism is awkward and your hand tends to slip off the grip, especially in wet weather. The driver’s side door handle on our EV6 tester also feels a bit loose and creaky after just 4,700 miles of use, which does not bode well long-term durability.
Giving drivers plenty of choice, the EV6 is offered in three trim levels: Light, Wind and sporty GT-Line. Underneath the floor, two battery packs are available. The smaller one clocks in at a modest 58 kilowatt-hours, though the larger unit is a much huskier 77.4. When it comes to DC fast charging, the smaller battery maxes out at an impressive 180 kilowatts, though the larger pack peaks at a claimed 240, which is a stellar figure. In comparison, a Ford Mustang Mach-E can only absorb energy at 150 kW and the Volkswagen ID.4 at 135. About the only competitor that can DC fast charge quicker than this Kia is the Tesla Model Y, which tops out at an estimated 250 kW.
How much range do you get in the EV6? Naturally, it depends on a variety of factors. At the low end, this vehicle can go an estimated 232 miles between charges. The configuration with the longest legs (like this rear-drive GT-Line model) offers a superb 310 miles of range. Finally, if you grab an all-wheel-drive version, expect around 274 miles on a full charge.
When it comes to performance, the EV6 offers plenty. Horsepower runs from 167 in the base model up to 320 for all-wheel-drive variants. The example tested here falls between these extremes, delivering a robust if not awe-inspiring 225 horsepower along with 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to push this Kia to 60 miles per hour in around 7.2 seconds, which is perfectly fine, even if it’s more than a second behind a comparable Mach-E.
Out and about, this Kia is extremely refined, with a quiet interior. The suspension is supple enough to brush off large impacts but still manages to keep the body well controlled, something other EVs struggle with.
The steering is adequate, crisp enough on center and nicely weighted, but like practically every other modern vehicle except for the Mazda Miata, there’s almost no road feel, the wheel may as well be a PlayStation controller.
You can adjust the assertiveness of the EV6’s regenerative braking by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, which is simple and convenient. The vehicle offers basically no regen at all to quite a lot in iPedal. Just like the Ioniq 5, that’s what Kia calls its one-pedal driving mode, which is my preferred setting, as it will slow the car to a stop without having to touch the brake pedal. Curiously, iPedal disables itself whenever you shut the vehicle off or shift from drive to another gear, which gets annoying.
Not surprisingly, this Kia comes standard with a host of advanced driver aids. This includes helpful amenities like lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, a driver attention monitor, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and Cross-Traffic Avoidance Assist, which can automatically apply the brakes to keep you from backing into oncoming vehicles. As for available tech, the EV6 can be had with a 360-degree camera system and a Blind-Spot View Monitor that shows a video feed in the instrument cluster from either side of the vehicle when the turn signal is activated. GT-Line models also come standard with Highway Driving Assist 2, which includes lane centering and automatic lane-change capability, though the latter feature is of dubious efficacy. Still, this enhanced adaptive cruise control system is one of the best on the market today, stable and responsive.
A stellar interior
Matching its elegant exterior is an equally well-designed interior. From the striped material on the dashboard to the liberally applied soft plastics to the illuminated trim, Kia designers did a stellar job with the EV6. The Ioniq 5’s cabin is slightly more distinctive, with its sliding center console and available driver’s seat leg rest, but everything here is beautifully done, with one exception: the piano black trim employed on the door panels, dashboard and center console. If you read my 2022 Toyota bZ4X review, you already know I’m not a fan of this stuff, which collects fingerprints, dust and scratches like a compulsive hoarder.
Making up for that shiny black trim is this example’s optional suede-like fabric seating surfaces. This material feels rich, inviting and about as durable as Kevlar, though if you’re a sweatpants enthusiast like me, be warned, it tends to pull them down as you get in or out. The EV6 is also unexpectedly comfortable, with cushy front seats and miles of headroom and legroom in the back seat.
Storage space is generous in this crossover, clocking in at 24.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 50.2 with the split backrest lowered, something you do from right in the cargo area. This Kia also comes with a small front trunk, but it’s only large enough to hold the charging cable and that’s about it.
Unlike the closely related Ioniq 5, this Kia’s switches for the heated-and-ventilated front bucket chairs are located right on the center console, not hidden in the infotainment system, which makes them much easier to access. The dashboard also features multimodal controls for the audio and climate systems, a super-clever design that saves space. Multiple functions are housed in one area and you switch between them as needed, though sometimes I tend to fumble things and end up increasing the temperature instead of the sound system volume.
Screens and such
In keeping with current trends, the EV6 has a pair of standard 12.3-inch displays on the dashboard, one for the digital instrument cluster and a touch screen that’s home to a familiar infotainment system. Responsive, elegant and intuitive, this multimedia array works great and is hard to complain about, though, curiously, you can’t rearrange radio presets, which is a little annoying. They just show up in numerical order. Naturally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, though both require a cable to work.
If you need power, the EV6 has plenty… plenty of outlets, that is. There’s a standard wireless charging pad, plus a slew of USB ports and a 12-volt socket up front. Rear seat riders also get a couple USB ports integrated into the front seat backrests and in higher-trim models there’s even a 120-volt outlet near the floor so you can run all kinds of devices. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination… or about 16 amps.
You can also power various items using the Vehicle-to-Load adapter, which comes with Wind and GT-Line models. It plugs into the charging port and gives you an exterior 120-volt outlet to use. That said, this solution is kind of clunky, I mean, why not just have an extra outlet under the charging door so you don’t need a separate adapter? Regardless, this is still a nice feature to have and works well.
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One of the coolest standard amenities this rear-wheel-drive GT-Line EV6 comes with is called Remote Smart Parking Assist. Using the fob outside the vehicle, this feature allows you to move the EV6 into or out of tight spaces. To do this, you first lock the vehicle, then press and hold the auto-start button on the fob. After a couple seconds, the vehicle turns on. While standing reasonably close to the EV6, you can then use other buttons on the fob to move the vehicle forward or back. For added safety, this Kia will not hit obstacles; if it senses something in its path it will automatically stop. Remote Smart Parking Assist is super clever and potentially very handy if you live in a densely populated area.
2022 Kia EV6 is a well-rounded EV
Thanks to its roomy and upscale interior, super-speedy DC fast charging capability, excellent adaptive cruise control system and generous range, the 2022 Kia EV6 outclasses many of its rivals. If designers ditched that piano black trim, reworked those exterior door handles and allowed you to rearrange the radio presets, it’d be just about perfect.
Including $1,295 in destination fees, the EV6 starts at $42,000 and change for an entry-level model. This upper-midrange GT-Line version with rear-wheel drive checks out for $53,405 according to the window sticker. Steel Matte Gray paint, a $695 extra, and GT-Line suede seating surfaces for an additional $295 are the only options. Swing for the fences, and the most you can spend on one of these EVs is about 59 grand.
I slightly — emphasis on slightly — prefer the Ioniq 5 over Kia’s EV6 because the Hyundai is a bit more distinctive, though this is still a superb EV, absolutely one of the best you can buy today — emphasis on buy today — because unlike that Hyundai, the EV6 is available in all 50 states. Now, it might be hard to find at dealers, but it is offered across the country.
- Year: 2022
- Make: Kia
- Model: EV6
- Trim: GT-Line RWD
- Type: Compact crossover
- Combined horsepower: 225
- Torque (lb-ft): 258
- MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 134/101/117
- Range: 310 miles
- Pros: Lickety-split DC fast charging, excellent adaptive cruise control, roomy and upscale interior, sleek styling, excellent range
- Cons: Piano black trim, unergonomic exterior door handles, radio presets can’t be rearranged
- Estimated base price: $42,195 (including $1,295 in destination fees)
- Estimated as-tested price: $58,185 (including $1,295 in destination fees)