Kia EV6 GT-Line
Featuring a high-tech platform with ultra-rapid charging capabilities usually reserved for more expensive cars, as well as long ranges, the Kia EV6 brings with it the dawn of a new era for the South Korean company. Richard Gooding samples the newcomer which ushers in Kia’s bold, and brave, new age
What is it?
Along with parent company Hyundai, Kia has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past few years. Unrecognisable from the company it was when it first appeared in the UK during the 1990s, its latest range of cars combine neat styling with cutting-edge technology. The EV6 undoubtedly embodies this shift the most.
Styled unlike any other Kia past or present, and built on the Hyundai Motor Group’s new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) which allows for 800V high voltage charging tech to slash charging times, it heralds a seismic shift in what a Kia should be. Available in either single motor rear-wheel drive (RWD) or dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations.
What range does it have?
All versions of the EV6 use the same 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery, whether it’s mated to a single motor on RWD models or a pair of motors on AWD cars. These two variances in powertrain make-up are the only factors affecting range, along with wheel size.
Rear-wheel drive models fitted with 19-inch wheels have an official WLTP-tested single driving range of up to 328 miles on the combined cycle, which dips to 313 miles when the wheels are an inch larger. The AWD models manage up to 314 miles on 19-inch wheels on a full charge. This figure drops to up to 300 miles when fitted with 20-inch rims.
Helping drivers get the most range is Kia’s latest regenerative braking system. Keeping to the tried-and-tested pair of paddle shifters behind the steering wheel – why change an intuitive set-up – there are six levels of regeneration to choose from. These include an ‘i-Pedal’ one-pedal setting which harvests the maximum energy from the brakes to slow the car down and bring it to a stop. It’s a well-judged system and takes little getting used to.
Efficiency is pegged at 3.4-3.7 miles per kWh, but it’s worth noting that an EV6 was the most efficient car on the 2022 Great British EV Rally, scoring 5.0 miles per kWh. However, it was driven by a pair of pro-economy drivers.
How long does it take to charge?
Any cars based on the new E-GMP platform architecture have a lead when it comes to charging. Using 800V technology – twice the voltage of most EVs – when plugged into a 350kW ultra-rapid charger, the EV6’s battery can be refilled from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes. When using a 50kW fast charger, the same capacity can be reached in one hour and 13 minutes.
Connect the EV6 to a 7kW home wallbox and the battery charge can be replenished to 100 per cent in seven hours and 20 minutes. A £900 optional heat pump on higher-spec GT-Line and GT-Line S models can help the car’s efficiency in colder temperatures, and all EV6s come with a five-metre Type 2-to-Type 2 charging cable, as well as a Type 2-to-three-pin plug charger.
The new 800V technology also allows higher-specification EV6 models to support Vehicle-to-load (V2L) charging. Small electrical devices can be powered by 220V of current direct from the car itself, the 3.6kW of energy is enough to run a large TV or medium-sized air conditioning unit for up to 24 hours.
How does it drive?
There’s no mistaking the EV6 for any other car. The shape is neither SUV, MPV or family hatchback. Combining a fastback shape with the stance similar to that of an SUV, it is hard to pigeonhole Kia’s electric newcomer. The rear is perhaps the EV6’s most striking angle, the ribbon of LED tail lights a striking new departure.
Inside, the generous, almost three-metre wheelbase means that there is plenty of space. Twin 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreens with curved panoramic displays are standard, with top-line GT-Line S cars fitted with a head-up display. One clever touch is the haptic touch information display control panel below the navigation system screen which switches between the air conditioning and infotainment shortcut buttons. A future feature on all new Kias, it’s a neat piece of design.
At upwards of £40,000, the EV6 takes Kia into largely uncharted pricing waters, but the materials are what you expect to find in a car of this size and price. Sustainable elements include vegan leather as well as recycled plastic dashboard and centre console coverings; the latter housing the neat rotary gear selector. Practicality hasn’t been forgotten either; there is up to 490 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in place, and up to 1,300 litres with them folded. There is even a front ‘trunk’, providing an extra 20 litres of storage space on AWD versions, 52 litres on RWD models.
Even if you choose the RWD model, there is 226bhp, which is plenty. There is 258lb ft (350Nm) of instant torque to get you on the move quickly, AWD versions upping this to 446lb ft (650Nm) and a 321bhp power output. The AWD EV6 can accelerate to 62mph from rest in 5.2 seconds, but if that isn’t quick enough for you – and it should be – a 577bhp GT model will arrive later this year (see ‘Grand Designs’).
Despite weighing over two tonnes, the EV6 feels like a much smaller car. It changes direction precisely with little body roll, and feels much less like the high-riding car it is. Grip is good, too – especially on AWD models – and the big Kia flows through corners both safely and securely. Even top-spec models that ride on 20-inch wheels have excellent refinement, and the overall impression is one of supreme quiet and comfort.
What does it cost?
In addition to its choice of two powertrains, the EV6 comes in three trims. The £44,195 Air is only available with the RWD drivetrain, and features 19-inch wheels, driver’s seat power lumbar support, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, and vegan leather upholstery.
Move up to the RWD £47,195 GT-Line, and you’ll gain special exterior styling, black suede seats with white vegan leather bolsters, rear privacy glass, front parking sensors, power-adjustable front seats with two-way electric lumbar adjustment, a wireless smartphone charger, and blind-spot collision avoidance, rear-cross traffic and safe exit assistance safety systems. If you want the extra reassurance of AWD, GT-Line AWD models are priced from £50,695.
GT-Line S versions of the EV6 cost from £51,695 for the RWD model, rising to £55,195 for the AWD. Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels, automatic pop-out door handles, a powered tailgate, an augmented reality head-up display, 14-speaker Meridan premium sound system, and 360-degree and blind spot view monitoring systems.
How much does it cost to tax?
In line with all electric cars, the Kia EV6 is free from VED charges in its first and following years of registration. For fleet drivers, the electric hatchback attracts a two per cent Benefit In Kind (BIK) value under current 2022-2023 company car taxation rates and this rate also applies for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.
Why does my fleet need one?
Spearheading Kia’s new age of electric models, the EV6 is a very impressive standard bearer. Daring styling, a newfound quality feel, lots of space, and high levels of interior and powertrain technology all vie for your attention. It’s unlike any Kia before it, and most drivers will find that not a bad thing. There is a lot to like about Kia’s new headline electric car.
Kia’s line-up of electrified cars will include 14 BEV models by 2027, and if the EV6 is anything to go by, there will be lots to look forward to. A practical, comfortable, spacious and advanced new milestone in Kia’s fast-moving recent history, it takes the South Korean company’s new confidence to a higher level. It deserves to be a success.