Kia EV6 review
Kia’s new EV6 electric SUV offers a bold, modern design, a roomy and well-equipped cabin and a good all-round driving experience, plus super fast charging. It’s a great family EV.
What's not so good
Kia EV6: what would you like to read next?
The Kia EV6 is an electric SUV that’s a bit like Tony Stark from the Iron Man franchise in that, like him, it’s stylish and glamorous but also extremely clever.
It’s an all-new model that is sold alongside alternatives such as the Nissan Ariya, Ford Mustang Mach-e and Volkswagen ID.4. It sits above Kia’s other electric SUV, the e-Niro, costing more but dazzling with bold looks, more performance and up-to-the-minute tech.
If you want to make a statement, the EV6 is a good way to do it. Its distinctive face, wide haunches and sloping roof give it presence, while the curved light bar around the rear end makes it look a lot like an Aston Martin DBX. Unlike the Aston, though, the Kia starts from just over £40,000.
If the EV6’s looks aren’t for you, then the closely related Hyundai Ioniq 5 might appeal more with its retro cool. But what makes the Kia so clever?
Well, there’s two things that make it stand out next to similarly priced alternatives. The first is its deeply impressive maximum charging rate of 350kW. If you can find a charger that can deliver that, that means it can add 62 miles of range in just over four minutes. Speedy!
The second clever feature is what’s called a vehicle-to-load (V2L) system. In simple terms that means the car can power household items, such as a kettle or microwave, or even charge another EV, from its charge port. That’ll be seriously handy in a power cut.
The interior isn’t quite as dramatic to sit in as the exterior is to look at, but it is modern and neatly designed. Dual 12.3-inch screens dominate the dashboard, which look posh but are also pretty easy to operate. The dash itself also has nice textures and ambient lighting, while the neat centre console design makes this look and feel more interesting than the interior of a VW ID 4.
The faster all-wheel drive model suits the EV6's fairly sporty set-up better. But I can't wait to try the GT model. 585hp...in a Kia!
It’s roomy, too – there’s loads of space up front, while rear passengers have plenty of legroom, and there’s a completely flat floor so an adult can use the middle seat without too much complaint. It’s only headroom that might be a little tight for tall adults due to that sloping roofline. The boot isn’t as big as a Skoda Enyaq, either, but it’s hardly cramped.
Currently, you can choose between a 229hp rear-wheel drive EV6 and a 325hp four-wheel-drive version, both with a 77.4kWh battery. The lower-powered model has a claimed range of 328 miles, while the more powerful EV6 has a claimed range of 316 miles. If you have a 7kW home charger then it will take around 10 hours to charge your EV6, from empty to 100%.
So far we’ve driven the all-wheel drive 325hp model in pre-production form. It delivers punchy performance, along with decently sharp handling, making the EV6 a sportier car to drive than the Ioniq 5 it shares so much with under the skin.
Direct steering and little body roll factor into this, but the trade-off is a ride that isn’t as soft as some electric alternatives. You might prefer this, however, particularly if you have passengers that get car sick.
Is 325hp not enough for you? You’ll need to wait until 2022 for the EV6 GT. It’ll come exclusively with dual electric motors producing 585hp, 21-inch alloy wheels, more supportive sports seats and adaptive suspension. You’ll need to hand over nearly £60,000 for that one, however.
But the models on sale right now are some of the best electric cars you can buy right now. Take a look at the latest Kia EV6 deals.
For a style-focused electric car the EV6 is pretty roomy, but a Skoda Enyaq is more practical still.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Kia EV6 was a VW Golf-sized electric hatchback, but appearances can be deceptive – it’s quite a bit bigger than that, and not far of a Mustang Mach-e in terms of exterior size.
That pays off inside, where you’ll find a pretty roomy cabin all-round. The front is a very comfortable place to sit; the driver has loads of adjustment in the wheel and seat, while the footwells feel very spacious because there’s a big space in front of the centre console. A neat touch is a one button recline function for both front seats (on GT-Line models and above) so you can rest while waiting for the Kia to charge.
Things in the back are a little less airy, but still respectable. There’s loads of room for your knees, and with a completely flat floor the middle seat passenger won’t be fighting for leg space either. The Kia largely avoids the feeling of the floor being too close to you that some EVs get because of the batteries mounted underneath it. What’s more, the backrest reclines so you can stretch out.
However, you can’t really slide your feet under the seat in front to get truly comfortable, while the sloping roofline means six-footers and above might just find their heads brushing the roofline. A Ford Mustang Mach-e has more head space, but the Kia is far from cramped. A neat touch is that the rear windows slide all the way down, too – that’s not as common as it should be.
Fitting a bulky baby seat isn’t as easy as in taller SUVs due to the relatively low roofline, but the doors open nice and wide. It’s just a shame that the ISOFIX points are a bit tricky to access.
There’s a seriously impressive amount of storage in the front of the EV6. Not only do you have big door bins for large water bottles and a deep glovebox, but there’s a big space below the dashboard and in front of the centre console where larger items can sit.
Not only that, but the centre console between the seats has another storage compartment underneath the armrest. You also get three cupholders of different depths in it, so you can secure shallow or deeper drinks, while there’s also a place to hold (and wirelessly charge) your mobile phone.
In the back there’s a pair of posh feeling seat pockets that are elasticated to hold larger items. There’s also some door bins that, although smaller than those in the front, are a decent size, while the centre armrest storage compartment has a neat sliding cupholder lid.
There’s also plenty of USB sockets dotted about the cabin (including the odd new-spec USB-C), including some neatly positioned ones on the side of the front seats.
The EV6 doesn’t let the side down when it comes to the boot. Not only is it a good size, it’s also thoughtfully designed.
Sure, 520-litres is quite a bit down on the 585-litre capacity of a Skoda Enyaq due to it being rather shallow, but it’s hardly small. There’s also no load lip, which makes lifting things in and out of the boot much easier. Better still, when you don’t need the parcel shelf it stows neatly in its own compartment below the boot floor.
There’s also nets to stop smaller items rolling about and breaking while on the move, plus the usual 12v power socket. Another handy touch is that you can release and fold the rear seats via levers positioned right by the rear edge of the boot.
Once those seats are down, there’s a pretty substantial load area, while you have a continuous flat floor which makes sliding large items all the way to the front seats a breeze.
But that’s not all: pop the bonnet and there’s a ‘froot’ (front boot). Well, sort of. Unlike the deep, sculpted compartment in the front of a Tesla Model 3, it’s a shallow box perched on top of the car’s motor gubbins. It’s 52 litres on the single-motor model, but drops to a measly 20 litres on the dual motor version. Really, It’s only there to store the charging cable.
The Kia EV6 is a sportier drive than its Hyundai Ioniq sister car, which is mostly a good thing
Kia is offering the EV6 in the UK with a single battery option and either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Other markets get a smaller battery size, however.
The sole 77kWh battery option is good for a range of up to 316 miles in the rear-wheel drive, single motor model. That’s only slightly reduced for the all-wheel drive version, however. That’s pretty competitive with alternatives such as the VW ID 4 (which promises up to 322 miles), although the longest-range Ford Mustang Mach E promises up to 380 miles on a charge.
Where the Kia blitzes both of those cars is in its maximum charging rate. The VW tops out at 125kW and the Ford can hit 150kW, but the EV6 is capable of a massive 350kW maximum charging rate. This is thanks to its clever 800V charging system, shared with the Hyundai Ioniq and usually only found on more premium cars. In simple terms, it means the EV6 can juice up its batteries from 10-80% in just 18 minutes – if you can find one of the very fastest chargers around. On a more common 50kW charger that’ll take over an hour.
Another clever feature that most rivals cannot match is the Kia’s vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, which allows the car to put out up to 3.6kW of power. That means it could, say, power a microwave, a kettle or TV from the external charging point, or even charge another EV in emergencies. It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll only get this on GT-Line models and above.
In terms of performance, the single motor rear-wheel drive model puts out 228hp, which is enough for a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds. That’s pretty decent, if if you’re not an enthusiastic driver then it’ll do nicely. But it is significantly slower than the cheapest Tesla Model 3.
The only version we’ve driven so far is the all-wheel drive, dual motor model, which puts out 325hp and a healthy 605Nm of torque. Kia claims a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds for that, and in our experience it’s got plenty of overtaking punch in reserve.
However, if even that isn’t enough for you then, in 2022, Kia will launch a GT version of the EV6. That’ll put out a whopping 585hp and 740Nm of torque, enough for a Porsche-baiting o-62mph time of 3.5 seconds.
The Kia EV6 shares most of its mechanical bits with the Hyundai Ioniq 5. However, whereas the Hyundai is quite soft and not suited to quick cornering, the Kia feels like more of a driver’s car.
The firmer suspension does mean that low-speed potholes and bumps can be felt a bit more than in some rivals, but it’s never uncomfortable. We’re also yet to drive the fully finished production EV6, which may have a slightly smoother ride.
Once up to higher speeds the ride becomes very nicely controlled, feeling less roly-poly than the Hyundai – great if you have passengers that can suffer from car sickness. Road noise is noticeable but not intrusive, and the smaller 19in wheel option is likely to reduce this if it bugs you. Wind noise is pretty well insulated, too.
Handling-wise, there’s little body lean and the steering is nice and direct. Although it doesn’t feel quite as sharp as a lower, lighter Tesla Model 3, this is a family EV that you really can enjoy hustling along a quiet country lane once the kids have been dropped off at school. You can also use the paddles behind the wheel to raise or lower the amount of regenerative braking, which is always a nice touch.
If there’s one bugbear, it’s rear visibility. We have no complaints with the view out the front, but out the back it is very restricted thanks to the sloping roofline, small rear window and giant pillars either side. You’ll be relying on the Kia’s clever surround-view camera system to help you out of tight parking spots.
The EV6 is both high-tech and easy to get along with inside, while quality is generally very good.