AUTO REVIEW: The 2022 Kia EV6: An Affordable, Fun-to-Drive Electric Vehicle

(Tribune News Service/tns) —
Kia EV6
The 2022 Kia EV6

When it comes to battery electric vehicles, it may seem as if the truly sporty ones are reserved for the rich. After all, who outside the upper 5% is buying a Porsche Taycan? But should the rest of us be envious? Of course not. The Taycan is fun, but in the onrushing flood of EVs coming to market, some are sure to be fun to drive while costing a whole lot less.

Granted, the $40,900 starting price of Kia’s new EV6 electric vehicle doesn’t exactly qualify it as a bargain basement contender, but it’s a whole lot easier to swallow than the six-figure sticker affixed to a Taycan. It’s also less than a Tesla Model Y, not to mention more than most people expect to pay for a Kia.

You can excuse the automaker for feeling its oats after the success of the Telluride, an SUV so popular that Kia executives call it the Selluride. Clever quips aside, the Selluride — um, Telluride — has brought in a different, more affluent customer to the Kia brand. And while they’re in the showroom — remember those? — they might just take a fancy to the EV6, and there’s plenty to admire.

The EV6 is far from Kia’s first electric vehicle; that honor falls to the 2014 Kia Soul. It’s no longer offered; the Niro now takes its place is the Kia lineup, joined by the new EV6.

The EV6 is built on the company’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) platform, a skateboard architecture that houses the batteries, motors and other key components below the load floor. It’s shared with other electric vehicles built by Hyundai and Kia. Combine that with the fact that EVs use fewer components than internal combustion engines, and you’ll find that it provides for a cabin that’s far larger than you’d expect. Rear-seat legroom is extremely generous, especially given the car’s overall length. In fact, the sense of space inside the vehicle is akin to a midsize or full-size car, not a compact. This is one of the benefits of EVs, as the powertrain is underneath you, allowing more room for passengers and cargo.

2022 Kia EV6

The overall vibe is minimalist, and trimmed in what the company calls vegan leather. The instrument panel is dominated by a large, horizontal screen that houses a 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster and an equally large infotainment touchscreen.

When it comes time to move, you’ll find the EV6 shares its powertrain with the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Like the Ioniq 5, entry-level models get a 58-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack rated at 167 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A single electric motor powers the rear wheels, providing a comparatively unexceptional 232 miles of range. But buyers can also opt for a larger 77.4 kilowatt-hour pack that generates 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and expands the range to a far more suitable 310 miles. For those who live where weather is an issue, the EV6 is offered as a dual-motor, all-wheel drive variant with the same battery pack producing 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque, but range drops to 274 miles.

 

Full Level 2 recharging from 10% to 100% takes a little over 7 hours. Using a DC fast charger to recharge from 10% to 80% takes less than 18 minutes.

The curvy roads around Napa Valley, California, proved to be the perfect spot to learn about this electric buggy’s capabilities. Since its handling was developed by Albert Biermann, formerly of BMW M, the EV6 is a revelation when tackling the twisties. Steering proves linear, with a quick, sharp feel that’s ideally weighted. Body lean is well controlled, and the instant-on torque provides for rapid off-the-line starts and more than enough punch when you need that extra burst of speed. All-wheel-drive models have noticeably more power, but rear-wheel-drive trims are more fun when carving through corners. But both EV6 models provide one of the most engaging EV driving experiences you’ll have. That said, the Korean-made Kumho low rolling resistance tires do trade off some grip when you need it, but it’s manageable. And it’s unearthly quiet, since there’s no controlled detonation happening under the hood.

2022 Kia EV6

Thoughtfully, the regenerative braking can be adjusted via steering wheel mounted paddles, so that when you lift off the throttle, the cars slows appreciably or not much at all. It’s your choice. The more regen, the more power is generated by braking and funneled back to the battery.

It’s all wrapped in a pleasingly distinctive shell, one where the rear taillamps double as a rear spoiler. Look around the car and you’ll find a wealth of pleasing details. And it’s lower than other EVs, lending it a sportier appearance.

All of this makes for an EV that’s sure to be in high demand and a must-drive for anyone considering an EV. It’s so good, it’s sure to steal sales away from other carmakers’ EVs. Considerate it another Selluride from Kia.

2022 Kia EV6

Base prices: $40,900-$55,900

Power: 168 kWh electric motor

Horsepower/Torque: 225/358 pound-feet

EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 143/101 mpg-e

Range: 310 miles

Charge time (DC fast charger): 18 minutes (to 80%)

Length/Width/Height: 184.3/74/608.8 inches

Ground clearance: 6.1 inches

Payload: 1,080 pounds

Cargo capacity: 24.4-103 cubic feet

Towing capacity: 2,300 pounds

Photos by Kia/TNS

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