2022 Kia EV6 First Drive Evaluation | Units the electrical SUV bar even greater

HEALDSBURG, Calif. — It might be tough, even disingenuous, to put in writing concerning the 2022 Kia EV6 with out mentioning the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. As such, we gained’t even attempt to keep away from it. They use the identical underpinnings, Hyundai Group’s Electrical International Modular Platform (E-GMP), which, as we discovered with the Ioniq, is a powerful basis for an environment friendly, succesful, long-range and (maybe most significantly) wholly entertaining electrical automobile. The 2 EVs share plenty of the identical infotainment and security expertise as properly, which we’ll dive into later. With the bar already set fairly excessive by its Hyundai cousin, our expectations had been excessive as we traveled to California’s Sonoma wine nation for our first drive within the Kia EV6.

Probably the most noticeable distinction between the EV6 and Ioniq 5 is, in fact, the looks. Whereas the Hyundai has hatchback-adjacent proportions and the type of futuristic vibe that might have been conceived of by the “Robocop” manufacturing designer, the Kia seems extra like a standard if sporty compact crossover. It seems moderately small in footage, however in particular person, you possibly can higher admire that the EV6 has the identical 114.2-inch wheelbase because the Kia Telluride three-row SUV. Apparently, the Ioniq 5’s is almost 4 inches longer than that despite the fact that its general size is almost 2 inches lower than the EV6.

So what does that imply for inside area? The EV6 is roomy, with 103 cubic ft of passenger area, which is analogous to the Ioniq 5’s cavernous 106.5 cubes. The EV6 boasts 24.4 cubic ft of cargo area behind the rear seats, and 50.2 cubes with the rear seats folded — lower than the Hyundai’s 27.2/59.3-cubic-foot cargo capability. 

The inside design additional differentiates these two automobiles. Whereas the Ioniq 5 feels open, ethereal and lounge-like, the Kia EV6 feels extra standard, albeit sporty and targeted. The plastic items in our testers had fascinating patterns. Vegan leather-based upholstery is the usual in all however the Mild (which will get fabric seating surfaces), however each of our testers had the GT-Line’s elective microfiber suede seats, which had been each snug and trendy, with black perforated suede trimmed with white leather-based.

One piece of weirdness is the distinctive, dual-purpose management contact bar on the backside of the middle stack that controls both the audio and local weather techniques. In audio mode, the contact bar has shortcut buttons for numerous infotainment menus and observe in search of. To the left of which are bodily buttons for entrance and rear defrost, air recirculation and auto local weather management. The left and proper knobs management quantity and tuning/observe in search of, respectively. Lastly, amongst all of it is a button that switches your complete contact bar to local weather controls. On this mode, the knobs management the dual-zone temperatures, whereas the audio buttons rework into controls for warmth, A/C, driver-only or temperature sync modes, in addition to fan speeds. When you don’t know the place to look, you may need hassle discovering these local weather controls, and the contact button that switches between the 2 modes must be larger with symbols that make it extra apparent what the button truly does.

The EV6 is obtainable with two battery choices, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and three trim ranges. Probably the most inexpensive mannequin is the Mild trim with RWD and the 58-kilowatt-hour battery. At $42,115 after vacation spot however earlier than any incentives (just like the $7,500 federal tax credit score), that’s good for 232 miles of driving vary, with 167 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and a 0-60 time of 8.0 seconds. 

Shifting as much as the Wind trim will get you a similar 77.4-kWh battery as the remainder of the lineup. In RWD ($48,215) it provides 225 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and a 0-60 time of seven.2 seconds, in addition to 310 miles of driving vary. The Wind AWD ($52,115) will get a further motor up entrance for a complete of 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque, a 0-60 dash of 5.1 seconds. AWD sacrifices some driving vary, although, at 274 miles. 

The GT-Line RWD ($52,415) and AWD ($57,115) have the identical efficiency and effectivity specs because the Wind, however provides options like auto-pop-out door handles, a sunroof, distant good parking help, the augmented blind-spot warning system that gained our 2020 Expertise of the Yr Award, and the extra superior Freeway Driveway Help II suite of driver help tech that features cruise management machine studying, computerized lane altering and evasive steering help.

Whatever the model you select, each EV6 has the identical 800-volt battery structure that enables for ultra-fast DC charging, able to filling the battery from 10% to 80% in simply 18 minutes at a 350-kW charger. All of them have the identical MacPherson entrance and five-link rear suspension, twin 12.3-inch curved shows, a wi-fi telephone charger and heated entrance seats. All however the Mild trim get vehicle-to-load functionality, which lets you energy home equipment with a three-prong plug at both the outlet under the rear seats, or by an adapter on the car’s charging port. 

We began our day within the GT-Line RWD in a vigorous Runway Crimson (one in every of 9 out there exterior paint colours). Creeping away from the paths surrounding the younger grapevines and previous the principle foyer of the Montage Resort, we handed a household checking in to the resort. Their eyes landed on the crimson EV6, and the daddy loudly proclaimed, “Wow!” earlier than he got here to his senses and moved out of the best way. We pulled out of the resort and onto Sonoma County’s low-lying roads, which wind their approach between farm and winery with close to fixed adjustments in altitude. 

Finally we’d work our approach greater into the hills, the place locals hurl their historic pickups by blind curves and snaking paths with the form of confidence that solely comes with years of retracing one’s tire tracks sufficient to banish ideas of barreling down a wooded cliff. Right here, the EV6 chased these locals like a canine chases a rabbit. The steering feels related, gentle and exact sufficient to confidently transition from one nook to a different. It is a extra feelsome automobile than the Ioniq 5, although not fairly as pinned down. The marginally shorter wheelbase made this EV6 just a bit bit extra keen to rotate, and getting stabby with the accelerator on the proper time whereas exiting a nook will get the tires to spin and the rear to wiggle playfully.

Later, we’d get right into a Metal Matte Grey GT-Line AWD. The largest profit to the all-wheel-drive model of the EV6, not less than on these dry, well-paved California roads, is the added motor’s further energy. The additional 95 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque shave 2.1 seconds off the 0-60 time. In apply, this implies you want a shorter runway of dotted yellow lane markings to make your transfer previous that field truck that’s been holding you up by the mountains. For all sensible issues, we’d be blissful to dwell with the still-quick acceleration of the RWD EV6, however the AWD model lends itself to extra straight-line confidence and seat-stuffing giddiness.

Whereas the EV6, no matter drivetrain, may simply sustain its velocity by these mountain roads, we needed to work for the rewards. Enter a nook too quick, and the automobile would start to plow, till we utilized simply sufficient accelerator that the wheels would shove the burden of the car again on the right track. These corrections got here somewhat simpler within the AWD automobile, with the tug of the entrance tires serving to to realign the car, with much less of the unruly habits on the rear finish.

Pulling the left steering wheel paddle summons full regenerative braking power, making slowing for every nook a smoother, extra intuitive course of than attempting to completely time when and by how a lot to carry off the accelerator to interact regenerative braking. The result’s smoother driving and cleaner, extra fluid corners. You can too flip off such lift-throttle regenerative braking and do it all of the quaint approach with Coast mode. There are 4 ranges of regen out there. 

When not flogging it by the mountains, the EV6 provides a calming drive. Shared with the Ioniq’s 5’s two prime trim ranges and numerous Genesis fashions, the GT-Line’s Freeway Driving Help II system is a wonderful adaptive cruise management system with equally adept lane-centering and consists of semi-automated lane adjustments triggered by the flip sign. For the latter, it checks for a gap in site visitors and easily strikes the automobile into the subsequent lane. The out there augmented actuality head-up show offers a wealth of helpful info at an easy-to-read distance in entrance of you, together with highlighting the automobile you’re following and offering useful navigation cues to let you know the place and when to show.

When you’re contemplating including an EV to your driveway, it might be exhausting to do higher than the Kia EV6 … or its Hyundai Ioniq 5 cousin. Which you decide is a matter of non-public style, for essentially the most half — and for those who’re questioning, we nonetheless favor the Hyundai (not less than in AWD, as we haven’t pushed a RWD Ioniq 5 but) for its seems, barely extra refined cruising really feel, open-feeling cabin, and the truth that the totally loaded worth is available in $1,390 lower than that of the Kia. The Hyundai additionally consists of three years of free 30-minute charging periods on the Electrify America community, whereas the Kia EV6 comes with simply 1,000 kWh of free charging on the identical community. That may possible work out to fewer than 20 fees from 10-80%.

There’s one enormous benefit the EV6 has going for it, although: availability. Whereas the Ioniq 5 is initially solely out there in 18 states, Kia will provide the EV6 in all 50 starting in a couple of weeks. In reality, Kia hopes to have an EV6 in each dealership within the nation by the point its huge TV spot airs throughout Tremendous Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022. Relying on the place they dwell, which may simply be the deciding issue for buyer out there for a enjoyable, quick, high-tech electrical crossover.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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