Auto123 updates2022 Kia EV6 all-electric crossover test drive.
Our first day with the new 2022 Kia EV6 was in white, and the snow fell quickly and profusely less than an hour after we picked up the all-wheel-drive version of the new GT-Line electric model. The snow stayed with us until the evening. This gave us the opportunity to test how the crossover performs in harsh winter conditions – all the better since it has a snow mode – but to really test its performance, we had to wait another day.
The EV6, which looks and performs quite enticingly, joins the Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5, another product from the Hyundai group, in a fierce battle to entice buyers who have not yet become attached to the Tesla brand. And maybe even some of those who are.
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The first thing to know about the Kia EV6 is that it is a close relative of the recently introduced Ioniq 5; most of the mechanical parts and powertrains are shared.
The second thing to know, and it’s quite obvious when you first see the EV6, is that the exterior styles of the models are completely opposite. The Ioniq 5 uses — quite successfully, by the way — the retro-futuristic appeal of a Hyundai concept from another era. It’s like the car of the future, as it was imagined in the 1970s. I like him.
But I also love the look of this EV6. Its design is more modern, and there are certain similarities with the Jaguar I-Pace. The EV6 is long and stocky, like it thinks it’s a raised Porsche Panamera, and its front and rear send a clear message: it’s a dynamic, sports car. Think about it: although it is about the length of the Volkswagen ID.4, Mustang Mach-E and Ioniq 5, it is several centimeters shorter than all these rivals in height. It’s a shame automakers can’t get over their fear of calling their products cars as if the term were some form of prank, because this EV6 is essentially a hatchback. But good.
I had the opportunity to sit in the next generation Kia Sportage SUV on the same day I first drove the EV6 and found the same system in both media and the same basic dashboard and console layout. Let’s say, then, that the interior furnishings are modern, but not radically different from any other contemporary Kia product.
Touch controls on the console
One unique element that makes it difficult for new users is the horizontal row of controls on the console below the main screen. These controls are invisible when you sit in the EV6. There is only a black stripe framed by two buttons. Okay, does that mean everything has to be done on the media screen?
I hope no. Because when you start the car, this bar lights up and shows the touch controls. In addition, there are TWO rows of controls, only one of which is visible at a time. To move from one row (for audio controls) to another (for climate controls), you need to swipe up or down on a specific control. Thus, each point of this strip and each of the two physical buttons perform a dual function.
Except that when you’re driving paying attention to the road and NOT paying attention to which lane is involved, you can turn the heat all the way on when you wanted to turn up the volume. I did it more than once.
That annoying detail aside, we’re dealing with a comfortable, modern interior that’s not as disorienting as some of the other new EVs hitting the market. The seats are comfortable and easily adjustable for comfortable driving, and the flat-floor rear row offers plenty of room. The EV6’s flattened exterior silhouette doesn’t seem to come at too much of a price to pay; Congratulations to the Kia designers.
As already mentioned, there are many similarities between this Kia and Hyundai. Comparisons cannot be avoided. For example, while the Ioniq 5 we drove was equipped with a panoramic roof (optional) that cannot be opened but provides a very airy and open interior, especially in the second row, the EV6 is fitted with a smaller sunroof. This means that when you’re lounging in the spacious, comfortable back seat, you don’t have the same feeling of open skies above you. On the other hand, you can open this hatch, unlike Hyundai.
The EV6 is the very first new car produced by Kia since last year’s massive rebrand, and the first battery-electric model based on the all-new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). This means that the car is designed from the outset as an electric car, which is a significant advantage in terms of both design and ergonomics, as well as performance.
The EV6 is a car with a low center of gravity, reliable and agile on the road, with strong acceleration, especially off-piste, and little to no body roll in corners, which it can handle with confidence. Also, while it almost looks like a hatchback from certain angles, it actually has a wheelbase equal to that of a Telluride midsize SUV. However, this is where the similarities end, with the exception of the steering, which is a bit light in both cases. But here we are talking about a very common curse of modern cars, so it is difficult to single out the EV6. Don’t expect intimate conversations between the pavement and your hands.
This Kia GT-Line’s performance package is really impressive, and it almost – almost – made us forget about the 576 horsepower coming later in the GT version. This is sure to be a real bomb on the road and we can’t wait to try it out.
For reference, the GT-Line AWD version we rode offers 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque.
The Kia EV6 offers the driver a choice between several driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow. We tried the first one for a short time and found that while it’s great for switching between traffic lights in the city, driving down the highway in this mode feels like the car is being pulled by an open parachute. In Normal mode, we cut this parachute, and in Sport mode, we are sent back to our place a little. The choice is yours, but I suspect most people will stay away from eco mode unless their remaining miles get dangerously low. Snow mode locks in 50/50 torque distribution for traction and reduces regenerative braking.
Speaking of which, like the Ioniq 5, here you have a choice of levels of regenerative braking (which returns a bit of charge to the battery) from zero to maximum, which effectively becomes one-pedal riding. Again, the choice is yours. The level is adjusted using the petals located behind the steering wheel.
The last word
The Kia EV6 has just been voted “Car of the Year” by those in the know in Europe, and it’s hard to argue with their choice. It’s an extremely well-engineered crossover that offers really positive driving dynamics and a comfortable interior that’s modern but not too pretentious to enjoy. And to top it all off, it looks great on the outside, artfully drawing inspiration from the Jaguar I-Pace and Porsche Panamera.
One comment I’ve heard is that the rear row of seats doesn’t quite live up to expectations in terms of space on offer, questioning its practicality for families. To be clear, the second row is by no means cramped, but at this level the EV6 suffers a bit compared to the Ioniq 5, which benefits from a higher ceiling, that panoramic roof and a more minimalist interior.
Simplifying to the extreme, families may end up choosing Hyundai, while EV buyers looking for a more sporty and tech-driven experience will turn to Kia. In a way, this narrows down the choice too much, since both of them are quite dynamic and roomy, but sometimes the choice when buying comes down to this. Especially when you have two vehicles that share so many elements.
The big news, of course, is that there are now two great new all-electric options on the market, both of which are eligible for federal and provincial government incentives for electric vehicles.
SEE ALSO: 2022 Kia EV6 Canada Pricing Announced
See also: Kia EV6 range: EPA announces 373 to 499 km figures.
Comfortable front and back
General feeling of quality
We love less
No optional panoramic roof
The double row of touch buttons-switches take some getting used to.
Autonomy suffers in winter (so what’s up)
No rear wiper
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