Kia’s new EV6 makes a bold statement in the EV category.
If it has been a while since you ran the rule over a Kia, then you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised, if not seriously impressed, by the brand’s new battery electric EV6.
The Korean car maker is in the process of a repositioning designed to shake off the old “cheap and cheerful” view of the brand in favour of a more aspirational, upmarket and technical one.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the new EV6, which went on sale in February in a simple two-grade, three-variant model line-up.
The range starts with the single-motor rear-wheeldrive EV6 Air ($67,990), rising to the single-motor rear-wheel-drive GT-Line ($74,990), and topping out with the dual-motor all-wheel-drive GT-Line tested here, priced at $82,990.
If you’re thinking, “that’s a lot of money for a Kia”, you’d be right, as this new model takes Kia into previously uncharted territory.
However, the EV6 is priced competitively with battery electric rivals like Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 and Tesla’s smaller Model 3 sedan.
Front and centre in any conversation about EVs is battery size and range and here, the EV6 doesn’t disappoint with a 77.4kW high-voltage battery pack standard across the range, endowing the GT-Line AWD with a 484km range.
That’s good by EV standards, but it’s the least of the three models, with the more-affordable EV6 Air managing 528km.
That’s because the GT-Line AWD boasts two electric motors (one at each axle), which endow it with all-wheel-drive capability and an additional 71kW/255Nm, for peak outputs of 239kW/605Nm.
The additional oomph shaves 2.1 seconds off the single-motor models’ sprint time, stopping the clock in just 5.2 seconds, but chews more energy.
Like most EVs, the Kia’s acceleration is smooth, rapid and linear, but the EV6 is also remarkably quiet, even by the hushed standards of the class.
It’s also a very polished drive, as we discovered during a test run on challenging back roads around Canberra. Kia is one of the few brands that invest in local suspension tuning, with the benefits evident in the EV6’s compliant ride and disciplined handling.
It helps, of course, that the 470kg battery is sited low in what is Kia's first dedicated EV platform. helping prevent body roll and giving the car a very sure-footed feel when cornering.
The polished driving manners are matched by handsome exterior styling with GT-Line variants distinguished by 20-inch alloys, rear-door privacy glass and a body kit.
Inside, a pair of 12.3-inch digital displays hold pride of place in the roomy and hi-tech five-seat cabin.
An advanced 800V battery pack means the EV6 can use super-fast 350kW DC chargers, enabling a charge from 10-80 percent in less than 18 minutes – although such chargers are still rare. Recharging from 10-100 percent on a more readily available 11kW AC charger will take seven hours 20 minutes.
There’s much to like about Kia’s new direction as charted by the EV6, but one thing potential buyers won’t appreciate is that just 500 units are available in the first year, with expressions of interest and actual deposits already far outstripping supply.
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