First Drive: 2022 Kia EV6

The roads north of Sonoma, California are a wonderful place to test pretty much any vehicle. It’s a greener part of California as the hills look healthy with growth. You are surrounded by some of the best wineries on the planet. The people seem happy. And the roads twist and turn around gorgeous hills that never seem to relent. And it doesn’t matter what you’re testing, because this is a great place to drive anything, even a vehicle that doesn’t sound thrilling on paper like the new 2022 Kia EV6. Paper stats though can be deceiving.

The Kia EV6 is the automaker’s first shot fired from its Plan S. This is a goal by Kia to have 11 new electric vehicles sold globally by 2026. And Kia wants to be 100% EV by 2040. It’s ambitious, to be sure, but the EV6 is a hell of a start to this journey.

This is a car with great style on the outside. A well laid out and comfortable interior. And a driving experience that’s far more entertaining than I expected. There’s not a ton of power, but it’s put down well and the chassis is wonderfully tuned without being too aggressive for what the EV6 really is… and that’s a day-to-day commuter machine that just happens to look pretty sweet and be fun when it needs to be fun.

The base Light model is rear-wheel-drive only. It features a 58-kWh battery pack and a rear-mounted motor that delivers 167 horsepower and 230 miles of range. The more common versions you’ll see are the Wind and GT-Line, which are offered as either rear or all-wheel-drive. These both utilize a larger 77.4-kWh pack. Rear-drive models feature a 168-kW rear motor that produces 225 hp and returns 310 miles of range. On the e-AWD versions, you add in a front 74-kW motor and the combined power output is 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque. Range drops to 274 miles, but the fun definitely ramps way up.

And charging speeds are great too. The EV6 can handle 350-kW DC Fast Charging. This will see an EV6 receive 217 miles of range in just 18 minutes.

The price spread is fair here, as EVs are still premium machines with premium pricetags. A base Light starts at $42,115. The Wind is $48,215 and $52,115 for RWD and AWD respectively. The top-spec GT-Line runs $52,415 and $57,115 for RWD or AWD. And these prices are before the available $7,500 federal tax incentive or any additional state rebates that might be offered up.

7 Comments

  1. I agree with a lot of what you said in the video, this is my favourite, reasonably priced new car right now (looking forward to the EV5 wagon though). The “rotational feeling” when pushing the RWD through corners is amazing, and it’s even present in the more docile sister car, the Ioniq 5. It also feels safe because the slippage is well controlled; idiot safe and that fits me well.

    The pedals for regen levels are a genius solution Kia has used on all their EVs. Witness how Polestar and others have butchered their approach with screen menues…

    The EV6 is a fantastic product and I really hope Kia has great success with it. In the end, we didn’t buy one because we have this insanely steep driveway that can’t be used in winter – and we need to put a dedicated charger somewhere, none of our neighbours wants to sell a patch of land though. Our Leaf is still charged on a 250V outlet, that won’t do with the 60kWh EV6 we wanted to buy. Might get a lightly used example later once we’ve figured out the charging.

    1. EV5 wagon is (going to be) a thing? Is that a CUV with a Rhodus behind tastefully added, or a sleek, low longroof?

  2. I prefer the Hyundai Ioniq 5 because of better visibility and maybe a more comfy ride. One little feature the Kia has is rear seat releases in the cargo area. Both desperately need a rear wiper.

  3. Hard to tell, spy shots look like an EV6 with clothes on. But I figure it could be the right size, and with my enthusiasm for the 6, expectations are high for the 5. Agreeing with the Duke on a rear wiper though.

  4. Full disclosure: I’m a V8 lover with a strong bias for manual transmissions. I shouldn’t have any interest in this car, but for a realistic commuter, this ticks a LOT of the right boxes (RWD helps considerably, IMO). The EV6 makes a much stronger argument for EVs (at least for me) than does the Mach E or anything Tesla builds. I could actually envision buying this.

    1. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed driving it. Though later this week, I do spend time with the Mach-E GT which should be interesting.

      1. I think I’d be more open to the Mach-E if Ford hadn’t branded it as a Mustang. I’m not one of the ponycar’s faithful or anything, but I feel like it was a bullshit marketing move that dilutes the Mustang brand and poses the Mach-E as something that it isn’t. It’s an electric crossover (something the Mustang has never come close to being before) and Ford should have instead elected to create a new forward-thinking sub-brand for their EVs. They could have even resurrected the Mercury name for the task, or if they didn’t want any baggage that carried, come up with something new. But Mustang, really?? I’d rather that name die with the traditional RWD ICE muscle car rather than live on as a few styling elements tacked onto an affluent soccer mom’s minivan substitute.
        What I like about the KIA EV6 is that it’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s not obviously trying to look different (the Prius and Leaf already exhausted the ugly-equals-electric styling route) nor is it a bland fill-the-grille-and-trim-it-in-blue riff on a normal car already in the stable. It’s fresh looking without being weird and without borrowing another successful car’s legacy.

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