Kia is deep into its rebrand now, and the 2022 EV6 is one of the most crucial steps in it. While we know the company is more than capable of building solid SUVs and a throwback rear-wheel drive saloon, a sporty EV is the most important thing it needed in today’s market.
With the EV6, the brand clearly has its new halo car. Clearly a rival to the Jaguar I-Pace not least on looks alone, it’s the sort of swoopy SUV that’s all the rage right now but with a dose of added aggression. Plus, it has the power to back it up.
The full-fat GT model – the fastest car Kia has ever made by some margin – mightn’t be on sale yet, but the GT-Line AWD variant tested here is still more than worthy of consideration as it packs a sizeable punch of its own.
But with recent price rises hitting the entire car market, the 2022 Kia EV6 has been one of the most drastically affected. Across the entire current range – comprised of Air RWD, GT-Line RWD, and GT-Line AWD models – there’s been a $4600 price increase since July.
That increase applies to existing orders as well, and with wait times currently stretching to two years (seriously!) that means plenty will be forking out another stack of their hard-earned.
Those price rises mean the base EV6 Air now starts at $72,590 before on-road costs, pricing it out of state government EV subsidies across Australia. As for the GT-Line AWD tested here, you’re looking at a hefty $87,590 starting price. Clearly, then, it better be worth the money and the wait.
With its undoubtedly futuristic looks, it’s a total eye-magnet on the road. Being an EV, you’ll be on the receiving end of positive and inquisitive looks as well, rather than the eye-rolls a sports car or noisy hot hatch receives these days.
If only those passers-by could see the EV6’s interior, as it would no doubt blow their minds. Your eyes and attention will instantly be drawn to the massive curved display that includes two 12.3-inch displays – one for the instruments and one for the infotainment system. It’s the same as what you’ll find in the new Sportage, and it makes for a brilliantly driver-focused experience.
Also seen in the Sportage is the smaller touchscreen and dials that are interchangeably used for the climate control or infotainment system shortcuts. It’s pretty clever at first when you’re poking around the interior at the dealership, but on the move it’s a bit distracting and needlessly complicated.
However, some of the tech it features is quite cutting edge, with its augmented reality head-up display being the most obvious. As you approach a turn, arrows appear on the HUD and come closer to you as you approach the intersection; once you’re there, they appear to block off the road ahead like a barrier in a video game. It’s a clever application of AR technology, and as long as you’ve configured the HUD in the right spot, it looks fantastic.
The blind-spot cameras are also a brilliant alternative to traditional blind-spot monitoring sensors, which are still present as well. Not only do they offer a much clearer picture – quite literally – of what you can’t see to your side, they also come in handy for reverse parallel parking so you don’t kerb its big 20-inch alloys.
The interior is styled brilliantly with its floating centre console that points the start button right at you and offers a massive storage space beneath it that’s ideal for placing something like a handbag. There are integrated coat hooks in the back of the seats that also double as a place for larger handbags with a long-enough strap.
There’s a good mix of materials as well – a range of white and black plastics, patterned rubber on the dashboard, and black suede seats with white vegan leather accents makes for a very futuristic-looking interior, especially when accented by the customisable ambient lighting.
Naturally, there’s all the other interior comforts you’d expect for such a price tag to round out the package – heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger (although it’s only just able to fit my iPhone 11 Pro Max), 360-degree camera with 3D view, and even a remote controlled parking function which is the ultimate party trick. It might be expensive, but there’s nothing you’re left wanting for.
The power that’s on offer is more than ample as well. It might share a platform with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, but the 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD benefits from an additional 14kW, with 239kW and 605Nm on offer from its two electric motors – one at each axle to give it all-wheel drive. That’s good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 5.2 seconds – only a few tenths off that of the twin-turbocharged Stinger.
Unsurprisingly, it feels utterly brisk. It belies its mammoth 2105kg mass with how potent it feels, squatting down and shooting forward as you plant the accelerator – appropriately emblazoned with a plus symbol, while there’s a minus symbol on the brake pedal. It feels relatively potent for an EV when you apply the right pedal at higher speeds as well.
Admittedly, there’s not much in the way of character to the power delivery, but the chassis more than makes up for it. You look at the weight figure and wonder just how an SUV this heavy can feel so right from behind the wheel.
With the centre of gravity low thanks to the battery pack and a locally-developed suspension tuning to suit it ideally to Aussie roads, it’s surprisingly engaging. It feels pointed and flat through the bends, with its perfectly-weighted steering remaining light yet controlled, and turn-in feeling crisp thanks to there being less weight over the front axle. Plus, while there’s that poised stiffness to it in the corners, it’s still exceptionally smooth for daily driving duties.
I expected the EV6 to be good to drive, but perhaps not quite this good. Kudos to Kia’s engineers, as they’ve worked wonders to make this one of the finest chassis in any EV out there. I can’t help but wonder if the Ioniq 5 would feel this good had it benefitted from local suspension tuning as well.
All EV6 models come with a 77.4kWh battery, which offers a claimed 484km range in this dual motor model. The base Air RWD might only have 168kW and 350Nm, but it can cover 528km on a charge, while the GT-Line RWD sits in the middle with 504km.
As Kia and Hyundai’s electric models have often proved, that’s a fairly easy figure to achieve, so clearly this is as practical and usable as it is brilliant to drive. In fact, over my 450km driving it, I managed to better its energy consumption claim of 18.0kWh/100km with an indicated 17.8kWh/100km.
While there are some fantastic EVs out there right now, the EV6 easily sits among the top of my list of favourites I’ve driven to date. It looks right for the time, feels the most futuristic of the lot, is fantastic to drive, and offers more than enough range to be practical for most people. But of course, it ought to be given just how pricey it is.
What will no doubt beat it in my estimation is the proper GT model with its 430kW power output and 3.5-second 0-100km/h performance, but just how much is that going to cost?
Nonetheless, “the buyer is always right” as they say, and when people are prepared to wait nearly two years to get one of these, they can’t be wrong. Steep price aside, this is the sort of car worth queuing for. Kia, consider this rebrand a job well done.
2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD List Price: $87,590
- Performance - 8.5/108.5/10
- Ride & Handling - 8.5/108.5/10
- Tech & Features - 9/109/10
- Practicality - 8.5/108.5/10
- Value for Money - 7.5/107.5/10
Pros: Locally-tuned chassis feels fantastic for a 2.1-tonne car, truly extensive and futuristic array of technology, plenty of punch from the dual motor setup, enough usable range for the majority of buyers
Cons: It’s very pricey and especially so after a $4600 price rise, currently a two-year wait time to get one, fiddly climate control panel
In a nutshell: It might be expensive and the queue to get one might stretch around the world two times, but if you can eventually get your hands on one, the EV6 absolutely will not disappoint. It’s as futuristic as they come, great to drive, and totally usable with its solid driving range.
Photography by Marcus Cardone.
Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Kia Motors Australia for a week and was fully charged upon delivery.