We Review the Kia EV6

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The Car.co.uk verdict:

4.6

Kia started off in the electric car market with its Soul EV, a good first attempt in the early days of EVs but not on a par with leaders like Tesla and Renault/Nissan. Then the e-Niro came along and quickly became really popular, but now Kia, together with its sister company Hyundai have really stepped things up. The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the World car of the Year in 2022, but Kia has this, the futuristic and sporty EV6. 

It’s more practical than its coupe-like design would appear, great to drive and has a range of up to 328 miles in this, the GT-Line 77.4kWh rear-wheel drive version. Its build quality seems a match for premium German rivals and it comes with Kia’s usual long warranty and reliability promise. So is it as good as it looks?

Pros

  • Really great design
  • Practical and stylish interior
  • Up to 459 miles of driving range

Cons

  • Firm ride can highlight all the bumps
  • Irritating lane keeping system
  • Compromised boot space

At a glance

  • Looks
  • Practicality
  • Interior
  • Equipment and options
  • Engine and power
  • The drive
  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Cost
  • Why buy

Looks

5 out of 5

Futuristic and sensual

The design is stunning and it’s no bad thing that many have compared the rear to that of the Aston Martin DBX. Hyundai Motor Group head of design, Luc Donckerwolke, recently told us is more about sensuality than the geometric shapes of the Ioniq 5 and that’s easy to see. 

There are lots of different lines in the styling, but they all work well and they line up perfectly, better than many German saloons and SUVs we’ve driven recently. It looks powerful, muscular, all those kinds of cliches you expect of a sporty SUV. In the case of our test model, it's the GT Line so it looks a little bit more sporty than entry-level versions.

Practicality

4 out of 5

More practical than it’s coupe-like design appears

That coupe-like profile does mean some compromises in terms of practicality, but only really in the boot. There’s loads of space in the back seats and good visibility, even for smaller kids who can complain if they can’t see properly out of the windows. 

Boot space is good but definitely not a match for traditional SUV designs. You will struggle to get some larger suitcases in and we found that we couldn’t fit in one bag that usually fits perfectly in a Volkswagen Golf estate. There is a rather odd space beneath the boot floor that has the narrowest of gaps that you could pretty much only get a thick hardback book underneath. Up front is a frunk that can hold the charging cables or a laptop bag. 

Also on the subject of practicality, if you get to the car and you have a bag in your hand, trying to use those door handles which flip out one handed can be really tricky and on a couple of occasions the kids caught their fingers in them. Nice design, but not so practical.

Interior

4.5 out of 5

Cool but sensible

The interior is as well designed as the exterior. You have a wide pair of screens for the instrumentation and infotainment, both of which are relatively easy to use and there are remote controls on the steering wheel. The various menus took a bit of getting used to but we found our way around everything eventually

The EV6 is spacious, well designed and has a feeling of premium-ness combined with a sporty ambience. There are nice graphics on the dash which does feature some hard plastics, but this is a Kia, not a BMW, although there are many elements that compare well to German rivals including the soft-touch materials on the door trims

You can slightly recline the rear seats, the headroom is surprisingly good and there’s masses of leg room back there. You could put your kids in and still be able to put their bags on the floor. In terms of storage there’s loads, with a deep centre bin, lots of cupholders and more storage beneath the floating bridge console which runs up almost to the dashboard.

Equipment and options

5 out of 5

Lots of standard equipment and tech that doesn’t go overboard

The GT-Line is fully equipped with everything from LED headlights to a wireless charging pad. It has front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera system with dynamic assistance, digital instrument cluster, Kia Connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - the list goes on. There are even USB ports in the back of the front seats for those sat in the rear. Our test model also had really nice black suede seats with white vegan leather. Called Premium Relaxation seats, they are indeed, very comfortable and relaxing. 

Then there’s the cherry on the cake, Vehicle-to-Load. Essentially this means you can plug your electric bike or scooter in to charge it up from the batteries in the car. You could even plug in the kettle if you’re out camping. As you can tell, there are options, but the standard equipment is very extensive.

Engine and power

4.5 out of 5

Lots of power on tap with plenty of range

This version has 229hp and 350Nm of torque from its electric motor and a 77.4kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. There are 384 battery cells in total if you want the real tech stuff and with a nominal voltage of 697V and a CCS connector, so it will charge quite happily on a 350kW charger, if you can find one. We put it on a 150kW charger where it took around 15 minutes to get up to full charging speed and then whizzed up to 80% before slowing dramatically for the top-up to 100% It was an MFG Group charger which added 60.28kWh at a cost of £29.54. Charge at home and this will be significantly cheaper but for now we are reliant on public charging.

Kia is claiming a city range of up to 459 miles, although the combined range of 328 miles is more realistic and even then, it’s dependent on how often you hit that Sport button and enjoy its 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds. The best we actually saw on the range meter was a prediction of 240 miles though and we averaged 3.4m/kWh which isn’t far off Kia’s combined claim of 3.76. 

The numbers don’t tell the whole story though. Pottering around over the course of a week with the car we had not range anxiety even with a fair bit of motorway driving. It was great to live with and showed real potential as a stylish daily driver.

The drive

4 out of 5

Sports car feeling in a practical family vehicle

The drive is fantastic, providing a good combination of performance with comfort. The ride is a bit on the firm side though, although it’s easy to get used to and not uncommon among heavy electric models. Kumho tyres, MacPherson struts in the front suspension with multilinks at the rear all contribute to good handling, but it does feel every bump in the road which is a little bit disappointing.

Driving Modes are Eco, Normal and Sport and if you press and hold the drive mode button you can go into Snow mode, but we tested it in summer so no need for pulling any sledges. Eco is good and not surprisingly provides the best driving range from the batteries. We spent most of our time in Normal, which provided good response, although nothing too athletic in terms of acceleration. Switch it into Sport though and it really has all that electric acceleration and plenty of grip to make the most of it. If you are an enthusiastic driver and let's face it, many are going to buy the EV6 based on the fact that it looks athletic, it’s impressive. It's great fun in the corners, great if you want to hustle along on on a nice weekend drive and it’s equally good at driving around town. Also, it cruises nicely at motorway speeds.

It’s not as compact as it might look in the pictures though. At almost 4.7m long, nearly 1.9m wide and 1.5m high, it’s wider than Tesla Model Y and while it all means a wheelbase of 2.9m, which is great for interior space, it is a big car. On country lanes you're going to find your lane departure assistant flashing at you, then beeping at you and then occasionally even trying to guide you back into the lane even though you haven't actually crossed any line. It can be switched off and try as we might over the week that we had it, we couldn’t figure out what the formula was that the computer was applying in terms of how it was supposed to work

That aside, the EV6 is one of the best electric cars we've ever driven. It is responsive when you want it to be, comfortable enough to daily driving and practical in most aspects.

Safety

5 out of 5

Safety as standard

There’s loads of safety kit from the basics like Isofix child seat anchors to multiple airbags. Active safety includes Forward Collision Avoidance, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Lane Following, driver attention, the the list goes on. You've got pretty much every electronic system you want here, some you don’t but can switch off and the EV6 has a five-star EuroNCAP rating.

Reliability

4.5 out of 5

Expect good reliability

It’s too early to confirm longer term reliability, but the EV6 comes with Kia’s seven-year/100,000 mile warranty as well as roadside assistance for the first year. The South Korean brand also has a great reputation for reliability, so we’d say you’re pretty much covered.

Cost

4.5 out of 5

Style that doesn’t come at a premium

Pricing is good, with the EV6 GT Line 77.4kWh RWD costing  £43,945. You do get an awful lot of car for your money. If you're going to look at other rivals like the Volkswagen ID4 or Tesla Model Y then it’s more than a match in pricing, specification and drive, plus it’s way better looking. Add in that it’s one of the best EVs we’ve driven and the EV6 is looking like a great option.

Why buy

5 out of 5

What’s not to like

Well partly because it looks amazing but also because the EV6 is great to drive and excellent value for money with everything you might need. Even the kids will love it - mine did, even though it doesn’t have Tesla's games. It's comfortable most of the time, plus it responds to your demands for enthusiastic driving when you want it to. If you're wondering if we would buy it over a Tesla Model 3, yes we would, even if it doesn't have any games. The EV6 is a brilliant thing and if you can’t tell, we really liked it.