2022 KIA EV6 - Driven
The EV6 is a new level of awesome, and things only get better for Kia from hereby Philippe Daix, on
Kia aims to launch 11 new electric vehicles by 2026 and the entire portfolio starts with the 2022 Kia EV6 compact crossover. It rides on the E-GMP platform, so it shares its core with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the soon-to-launch Genesis GV60. That said, the EV6 is a bit of a milestone for the Kia brand as it’s the very first EV from the company to be built from the ground up as an EV first as opposed to previous, EVs that were based on ICE-powered models. The EV6 has its work cut out for it, though, as it has to face models like the Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and – indirectly – the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.
These are all very tough models to compete with, in what’s becoming a very cutthroat segment, but the EV6 isn’t coming to the game half-cocked. It starts out at just $40,900, offers up to 310 miles of range, and can be had with up to 320 horsepower with a range-topping 576-horsepower model on the way. Clearly, the EV6 is geared to be very competitive in this segment, and it’s a space we need to watch. So, we asked Kia if we could spend some time with its new EV, and they were happy to oblige. Is the Kia EV6 truly the gamechanger it seems to be and does it stand a chance against more established EVs already on the market? The answer to these questions might surprise you.
2022 Kia EV6 – What’s New in 2022?
The 2022 Kia EV6 is an all-new model for 2022, and it was released in the U.S. market in the first quarter of this year. The EV6 is available in three trim levels: Light, Wind, and GT-Line, and can be had with either RWD or AWD. Pricing starts from $40.900 with maximum range availability of 310 miles with RWD. There’s no hope for more range as of now since the biggest battery Kia offers is a 77.4 kWh unit. The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated EV, and it’s built on the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP platform, so it’s mechanically identical to the Ioniq 5.
2022 Kia EV6 Trims
|Light||Electric||Single-Speed Direct Drive||RWD||$40,900|
|Wind||Electric||Single-Speed Direct Drive||RWD/AWD||$47,000|
|GT-Line||Electric||Single-Speed Direct Drive||RWD/AWD||$51,200|
Kia EV6 Exterior
EVs may have their limits in terms of core design thanks to the size and weight of batteries and, to a lesser extent, electric motors. When it comes to exterior design, on the other hand, designers have a little more freedom as people are kind of expecting something different. In the case of the Kia EV6, those responsible managed to come up with a design that’s actually almost attractive from every angle. The front end features a sharp look, and the side profile just flows smoothly and naturally. The rear end isn’t the most attractive and it is, arguably, what leads to some people not liking the overall design. The wraparound taillight cluster is pretty cool, though, and I was a big fan of the twisty five-spoke wheels. Speaking of which, 19-inch wheels come standard across the lineup, though the 1st edition comes with 20-inch wheels. LED lighting is also standard across the lineup, though each trim has its own bespoke styling characteristics and personality. GT-Line and 1st Edition models get the cool pop-out flush door handles as well as power tilt and a sliding sunroof.
For the most part, the key dimensions of the EV6 remain the same across the lineup, though there are some minor differences in terms of length due to the different styling options. As an example, all models feature a 114.2-inch wheelbase, though, the length varies from 184.3 – 184.8-inches depending on the trim. The GT Line is also 0.4-inches wider (74.4 vs. 74.0), but all models are 60.8-inches tall and have 6.1 inches of ground clearance. Curb weight has a large range that varies between 4,017 pounds and 4,661 pounds, the former of which is the entry-level RWD Light trim and the latter being the full-loaded AWD GL-Line.
|Length||184.3 - 184.8|
|Width||74.0 - 74.4|
|Curb Weight||4,017 - 4,661 LBS|
The Kia EV6 has a pretty extensive color palette, but unfortunately, the U.S. market only has the choice of 10 different colors, and even then availability is a bit, well, convoluted and confusing. Several of the available hues are “premium” paints, and none of them are exceptionally bright, which is a bit surprising. Steel Matte Gray is only available with the GT-Line, and it comes at a $695 premium. Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl, and Glacier command an extra charge of $495. All three of these can be had on the Wind trim level, but the Light trim level only has access to Snow White, and Glacier can’t be had on the GT-Line. Like a said, convoluted and confusing. P.S. Urban Yellow was a 1st-Edition exclusive and it’s sold out, so don’t hold out hope on taking that option, either.
|Snow White Pearl||Aurora Black Pearl||Glacier|
|Steel Matte Gray||Yacht Blue||Runway Red|
|Urban Yellow||Interstellar Gray||Gravity Blue|
Kia EV6 Performance
The Kia EV6 is available with a somewhat wide range of powertrain configurations that, for the most part, allows the EV6 to be suitable for just about anyone. When the range-topping 550+ horsepower model is launched, that statement will be even more true.
As of now, the entry-level EV6 Light comes with 167 horsepower and RWD. This is the only model than can’t be optioned with AWD and is more suited for people who don’t care much about range and spend most of their time within the city or partaking in short, comfortable suburban drives. It will get you to 60 mph in around eight seconds and has a top speed of 115 mph. The RWD, mid-level Wind trim, and range-topping (for now) GT-Line have the larger 77.4-kWh battery and a more powerful electric motor. These models are good for 225 horsepower and a 7.2-second sprint to 60 mph. Opting for AWD on the Wind or GT-Line will get you a front-mounted electric motor and a total system output of 320 horsepower. In this configuration, the EV6 can hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and carries on to a top speed of 117 mph. In late 2022, Kia will launch the EV6 GT, which is said to have 576 horsepower, AWD, and a 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph in its portfolio.
It should be noted that with AWD, the Kia EV6 has a towing capacity of 2,300 pounds. RWD models, however, are exempt from towing, so if this is on your list of stuff to do, make sure to opt for AWD.
Motor and Transmission
Long story short, the Kia EV6 is designed to cater to a wide range of people from those that want something so city-friendly that it could be considered boring to the rest of us to something that’s more performance-focused and fun to drive – even more so once the EV6 GT launches. The Light RWD model includes the 58-kWh battery and a single motor with 167 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at your disposal. The upper trim levels come with a 77.4-kWh battery pack. In RWD guise, the Wind and GT-Line are good for 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With AWD, however, that same battery pack sends power to a second motor in the front, with entire system output being increased to 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. RWD models do include a limited-slip rear differential, though, so they have that going for them. Finally, the EV6 GT will offer 576 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque.
Our tester was an EV6 GT-Line, so we had a decent amount of power and we can’t deny that it does offer impressive acceleration, especially for a Kia. The acceleration, however, does taper off quite quickly as you start to get up to speed, though, so don’t expect those Tesla-like pulls when you put the hammer down. Make no mistake, the EV6 does feel quick, but it’s more of a comfortable quick than a “holy crap” kind of quick. The EV6 has a direct-drive driveline, so there’s no transmission – think of a single-speed transmission. Kia has included several sound settings so you can replicate the sound of an engine if it makes you more comfortable, but if you’ve never driven an EV the linear acceleration curve might take a bit to get used to. As for the artificial sounds, you can switch between Stylish, Dynamic, and Cyber. Stylish is basically an EV-motor whine that’s amplified, while Dynamic produces a low-range rumble, and Cyber will make you feel like you’re driving a car from the Jetsons. The latter also sounds a lot like one of the sounds offered by the Porsche Taycan,
Handling and Driving Impressions
The Kia EV6 drives like any other compact crossover on the market, and that’s a very good thing. It follows Kia’s typical formula of comfort with a side of fun, the latter of which is emphasized with the higher trim levels. The EV6’s battery is mounted low in the floor, which leads to an impressively low center of gravity and opens the door for some spirited driving – it even handles curves better than most conventional ICE-powered crossovers. Of course, the EV6 was built as a family car first, not a performance crossover, so you’ll still experience some body roll, but the EV6 still maintains its composure well for what it is, and it does fill you with a sense of confidence behind the wheels. Of course, some wider tires, better brakes, and slighter stiffer suspension would go a long way, though, those upgrades will come along with the EV6 GT anyway.
The artificial sounds take a bit of getting used to, as does the linear acceleration that’s common among single-speed EVs but yet somehow different in the EV6. Outward visibility is good, and the tech is super easy to use as well. Upper trim levels equipped with RWD have a sportier character and can even kick out the rear end if you try hard enough, while the AWD models feel a little more utilitarian in nature and more capable even if you care to venture off the beaten path a bit. The EV6 is clearly not a sports car or a sports crossover – if that’s what they are called these days – but it is an impressive vehicle and can be fun to drive.
Kia EV6 Economy
The Kia EV6 is offered with two different battery sizes. There’s a 58-kWh battery that’s only available in the RWD EV6 Light, and it has an EPA-estimated 232 miles of range. It also has MPGe ratings of 136/100/117, city/highway/combined. Going for any trim level other than the Light will get you a 77.4-kWh battery pack that provides extra range. The Wind and GT models come with a total of 310 miles of range while the 1st Edition, which is sold out, is good for 274 miles. The Wind and GT-Line RWD are good for 130/101/117, while the AWD models are good for 116/94/105 MPGe.
How Long Does it Take the Kia EV6 to Charge?
Arguably more important than range – especially once charging infrastructure has increased – is how fast the Kia EV6 can charge. The EV6 is one of the first cars on the market to support 400-800 volt charging at speeds of up to 350 kW. With a fast enough charger, the EV6 can recoup enough energy to travel another 70 miles in just 5 minutes or 217 miles in just 18 minutes. When we plugged it into a local fast charger, the sheer speed of charging was downright impressive. If the battery is at 50-percent or higher, it’ll be fully charged before you can run into a store and buy a burrito. It’s not quite as fast as refueling a car quite yet, but the EV6 has proven that EVs really are catching up and it’s still way cheaper than a Tesla.
On that note, the EV6 will take about six hours to charge from 0 to 100-percent on a level 2 home charger (7 hours if you have the bigger battery), which is more than fast enough for overnight, off-peak charging. A typical DC fast charger takes 63 minutes to charge the 58-kWh battery or 73 minutes to charge the 77.4-kWh battery.
Kia EV6 Interior
While some automakers go a little over the top when it comes to looking so futuristic or falling into the trend of massive infotainment display screens, Kia kept things more…..modern. That’s not to say there’s not some awesome tech here, though. In fact, the infotainment display and digital instrument cluster rival the hell out of the Mercedes MBUX system and even BMW’s new iDrive8 system. All of the surfaces have a clean-cut appearance, and the floating center console is just gorgeous. It contains a gear selector, start-stop button, and a wireless phone charging pad. The two-spoke steering wheel is actually refreshing since the whole yoke thing is starting to become more common, and the two-tone microfiber seats are quite comfortable. Visibility and space are great, and I was quite impressed by the build quality and materials. I can’t stress enough that Kia has come such a long way over the past couple of decades, and the EV6 is, without a doubt, on par with the segment and better in so many ways compared to existing EV manufacturers.
Interior Seating and Space
The EV6 is a compact crossover, so the only seating configuration is two rows with five seats. If you want something bigger, you may have to wait for the EV9, which is rumored to feature three rows of seating. That said, the space inside the EV6 has been maximized that’s to the extended wheelbase (it’s the same as the Telluride), which means it doesn’t have the large or front overhangs. There are 42.4-inches of legroom up front and 39-inches of legroom in the rear. The headroom isn’t the greatest thanks to the low roofline, but it doesn’t feel cramped. The extra space allotted by the lack of a transmission tunnel really makes the cabin feel airy and open, while at the same time giving middle passengers a lot more usable foot space.
|Front Headroom||36.8||Rear Headroom||38|
|Front Shoulder Room||57.8||Rear Shoulder Room||55.6|
|Front Hip Room||54.9||Rear Hip Room||53.2|
|Front Leg Room||42.4||Rear Leg Room||39|
Interior Colors and Materials
Kia has taken an environmentally friendly approach to the EV6, and that’s why you’ll find things like recycled plastic and vegan leather upholstery on the inside. Certain trims even feature up to 100 recycled water bottles. The seat frames, for example, are made from ultra-light giga-steel, to help save space and keep weight down. The base model comes with basic stuff like plastic scuff plates, though the GT-Line and First Edition get something a bit nicer. The latter even gets a specific numbered badge since it is a limited production model.
The Light model comes with cloth and fake leather as standard, but the upper trims come with artificial leather. The GT-Line has a combination of imitation leather and suede and can also be had with white seats that contrast nicely with the darker interior color schemes. Opting for the white seats also gets you bespoke dash trim.
Kia EV6 Trunk and Cargo Capacity
The EV6 might have a flat floor, but in this case, it doesn’t do the cargo room any justice. It’s not the worse in the segment, but it’s not the best either. This comes mainly due to the sloping roofline which does, understandably, eat up a bit of useable space in the back. Behind the rear seats, the Kia EV6 has 24.4 cubic-feet of cargo room. The rear seats do have a 60-40 split, which leads to a maximum capacity of 50.2 cubic-feet. There’s a tiny bit of cargo room up front in the frunk, but it’s big enough for little more than the charging cable. In-cabin storage sort of makes up for this, as there are a ton of little storage areas. You’ve got the traditional door pockets, seatback map pockets, glovebox, and center console storage bucket. The latter is actually very impressive with the flat floor leading way for a two-level storage system here. Very cool, indeed.
Kia EV6 Infotainment and Features
The Kia EV6 is equipped from the start with an impressive lineup of technology and features. The list of standard features, even on the entry-level Light model puts some automakers to shame:
- Wireless phone charging
- Automatic climate control
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- Power tailgate
- Eight-way power driver’s seat
- Heated front seats
Moving up to the Wind trim level will get you a power-adjustable passenger seat and ventilated front seats, while options include a heated steering wheel and hear rear seats – two options that were standard on the First Edition. The Drive Wise system includes forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear occupant alert, automatic emergency braking, and safe exit assist, though you have to opt for the higher trim levels if you want things like rear parking sensors, smart park assist, auto-evasive steering, and auto lane changing. The upper trims are also required for the surround-view camera, blind-spot camera, and AI cruise control. GT-Line models like our tester also have a power sunroom and a very cool, augmented-reality head-up display.
A heat pump, which seems like it would be standard across the lineup given the efficiency gains, especially in colder climates, was only included as standard on the 1st Edtion. It’s not even available on the entry-level Light trim level, and it’s an added option on the other trim levels.
The EV6 is the sole recipient, for now, of Kia’s new “Kia Connect” infotainment system – a very nice replacement for the older UVO system. It looks a lot like the Mercedes MBUX system, with dual curved 12-inch displays and a special blue light filter to help combat eye strain. Over-the-air updates for features like navigation and the operating system as a whole. Oddly enough, the system doesn’t include wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, so both still require a hard cable connection. Standard functions, however, cover the rest of the bases with everything from Wi-Fi hotspot to AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, and voice recognition.
The Light trim level comes standard with a wimpy, barely adequate six-speaker audio system, but if you move up the trim levels, you’ll find yourself enjoying a new 14-speaker Meridian premium surround-sound system. Believe it or not, it’s one of the best systems I’ve used, even when compared to those in much more expensive cars.
Kia EV6 Problems and Reliability
With the Kia EV6 being such a new model, it’s too early to say whether it’ll be riddled with problems or super reliable. However, based on Kia’s previous track record and its aim to constantly improve its products, the EV6 should be as reliable as they come. And, while time will tell for sure, Kia’s warranty will definitely keep you covered – it is best-in-class and an industry-best warranty, warranty, after all. The 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty even includes the battery. There’s a five-year, 60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and more.
|Time||5 Years||10 Years||5 Years||5 Years|
|Mileage||60,000 Miles||100,000 Miles||100,000 Miles||100,000 Miles|
Kia EV6 Safety
As of the time of this writing, neither the IIHS nor NHTSA has performed any type of crash testing or safety review of the Kia EV6 or its twin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The EV6 is loaded with the latest tech, including safety technology, though, which means it should perform well and rank up there with the rest of Kia’s lineup.
Kia EV6 Main Safety Features
The EV6 kicks off the safety battle with a suite of seven airbags:
- Dual front
- Front side
- Side curtain
- Driver’s knee
On top of the airbags, it also comes with industry standards, including ABS braking, traction control, and stability control. A total of 23 standard driver assistance systems also come included with the EV6, with the main highlights being:
- Forward collision warning
- Pedestrian detection
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-keep assist
- Rear occupant alert
- Automatic emergency braking
- Drive attention assist
- Safe exit assist.
The Wind trim can be optioned with a surround-view camera system, blind-spot cameras, and remote parking. The GT-line, which we had the joy of testing, comes with the autonomous Highway Drive-Assist 2 suite that allows for automatic lane changes, among other things.
How Much Does the Kia EV6 Cost?
For what it offers, the Kia EV6 is quite the bargain, with prices starting at $40,900 for the EV6 Light RWD. This makes it quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE, which starts at $43,650. The EV6 Wind RWD commands $47,000 and adding AWD to that model will bring you up to $50,900. The GT-Line starts at $51,200 with RWD, while the AWD model comes in at $55,900. The First Edition, before it was sold out, was going for $58,500, without the destination charge of $1,215.
There are a number of state incentives that could help reduce pricing too, and there is a federal tax rebate of up to $7,500 if you qualify. That’s not available at the time of purchase, but it factors into your tax filing at the end of the year. Either way, with the incentives added in, the EV6 can be quite affordable if you play your cards right. On top of this, each EV6 includes three years’ worth of charging credits or 1,000 kWh, whichever comes first.
|EV6 Light RWD||$40,900|
|EV6 Wind RWD||$47,000|
|EV6 Wind AWD||$50,900|
|EV6 GT Line RWD||$51,200|
|EV6 GT Line AWD||$55,900|
2022 Kia EV6 Model Lineup
The Kia EV6 is offered in three trims here in the United States. There’s the entry-level EV6 Light, mid-range EV6 Wind, and range-topping (for now) EV6 GT-Line. The First Edition model was considered a package and is sold out, but the high-performance EV6 GT is due sometime in the near future to take its rightful place in the throne at the top of the hierarchy.
Kia EV6 Light
The Kia EV6 Light is the entry-level model and comes with a 58-kWh battery and a single rear-mounted electric motor. It has just 167 horsepower at its disposal and is good for roughly 274 miles of range per charge. Standard features include LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, the 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 12.3-inch infotainment display, six- speakers, heated driver’s seat, auto climate control, wireless phone charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Basic driver assistance features include forward collision warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention monitor, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, rear occupant alert, and adaptative cruise control. This model is only available with RWD and starts at $40,900.
Kia EV6 Wind
The EVB6 Wind comes with the larger, 77.4-kWh battery pack and a single electric motor that’s good for 225 horsepower. Opting for RWD, however, will bring an electric motor to the front axle and increase output to 320 horsepower. Standard features start with everything included in the light, plus things like gloss-black exterior trim, a power front passenger seat, front-seat ventilation, power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, and the awesome Meridian 16-speaker sound system. Pricing for this model starts at $47,000 in RWD form or $50,900 with AWD.
Kia EV6 GT-Line
The GT-Line is the range-topping model of the EV6 lineup until the EV6 GT is launched in the near future. It comes with everything included with the lower trims but includes some other cool extras. This includes sportier exterior elements, Automatic pop-out door handles, a power sunroof, model-specific interior trim appointments, a D-shaped steering wheel, and Kia’s Highway Drive Assist 2 suite. This suite includes automatic lane changing, auto evasive steering, surround-view camera, blind-spot camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and AI-based smart cruise control. Pricing for this model starts at $51,200 with RWD or $55,900 with AWD.
EV6 Optional Packages
With the Kia EV6 being so well equipped from the start, is it all that surprising that there isn’t a long list of options to choose from? The First Edition package, which is now sold out, included a standard heat pump, 20-inch wheels, and all the extra safety features along with unique badging and numbered plaques. This package was based on the GT-Line, and came at an additional cost of $2,600. Suede/leather seats will set you back $195 or $295 depending on the combination that you choose, while the mid-range Wind trim level can be optioned with a Technology Package for $1,500 and brings in a heated steering wheel, rear park distance warning, remote smart park assist, a surround-view camera, and blind-spot camera. Kia also offers a heat pump for the Wind and GT-Line, though pricing for this option has yet to be revealed.
Which Kia EV6 Model is Best?
In all honesty, it seems as if the mid-range EV6 with RWD is the best option. It will give you more power than the entry-level Light trim and comes with plenty of extras that you can’t have in the Light. It’s also comfortably below the $50,000 price point at $47,000 which means you can get into it for less than $40,000 if you qualify for the full federal tax credit and can take advantage of some state credits too. The only downside to this choice would be the lack of AWD if you live in a climate where AWD might be more useful. Also, by opting for the Wind or GT-Line you can opt for the heat pump, which will also be a necessity for efficiency if you live in a colder climate. The AWD system does make the EV6 quicker, though, so if you want to take advantage of even more power, the extra $3,900 for the AWD upgrade might be worth it. That said, if you’re someone who sticks mainly to the city or light suburban travel, then the EV6 Light might not be that bad of a buy, especially since the combination of state and federal tax credits could bring the price deep into the affordable low-$30,000 price range.
2022 Kia EV6 Comparison
2022 Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model Y
Tesla cornered the EV market very early, and that’s one of the reasons why the Model Y is one of the best-selling compact electric crossovers on the global market. It offers impressive range, cool technology, and crazy performance in the right trim level. You can only have the Model Y with AWD and dual electric motors, with the Model Y Long Range offering up to 449 horsepower or the Model Y Performance offering 480 horsepower. With this in mind, the EV6 offers a wider range of performance and range offerings but is capable of keeping up with the Model Y when properly equipped and, once the EV6 GT arrives, it will trump the Model Y. This will be a tall order, though, as Tesla says the Model Y can hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.
The Model Y is the more spacious of the two, though, with more cargo room a usable frunk, and the ability to seat 7 people as opposed to the EV6’s five-person capacity. Not that the Model Y’s third row is a nice place to be, but it’s there nonetheless. The EV6 offers more legroom for passengers in both rows, and its warranty casts shade all over the Model Y. Given Tesla’s reputation for build quality, there’s a good chance the EV6 will be put together better. Not hating; it’s just a fact. What’s more important is that the Kia EV6 is still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, which is no longer available to Tesla due to the number of vehicles it has sold. The EV6 might be new, but it’s probably the better choice, especially with that warranty and Kia’s service which, quite honestly, is nowhere near as bad as Tesla’s.
2022 Kia EV6 vs. Hyundai Ioniq 5
It might seem strange to compare the Kia EV6 to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 since the two are related under the skin, but it is still a fair comparison. The Ioniq 5 is the first of three new EVs to be released by Hyundai under the Ioniq sub-brand, and it rides on the same EV-dedicated platform as the EV6. Where the Ioniq 5 really differs is its appearance which, compared to the EV6, is a lot more retro and, arguably, more preferable to some. Both cars feature similar build quality and materials inside, including the technology. Standard features are pretty much the same across both model lines, though the Ioniq 5 offers a little more cargo space.
In its most potent form, the Ioniq 5 offers 301 horsepower and 446 pounds-feet of torque, which is good for a 5.2-second sprint to 60 mph. This makes it a little less powerful than the EV6, which matches the same scenario as range with the Ioniq 5 offering just 303 miles to the EV6’s 320-mile max rating. Finally, we come to trims and pricing. The Kia EV6 is a bit cheaper to start - $40,900 vs. $44,000 – and like the EV6 the Ioniq 5 is available in three trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. The difference here is that even the base model SE can be had with AWD – you’ll just have to pay EV6 Wind prices to get it. Honestly, unless cargo capacity is important to you, it seems the EV6 is the best way to go, but maybe the Hyundai’s retro look does it for you.