Kia has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to electrification – from the EV version of the quirky Soul in 2015 to the game-changing e-Niro of 2018, plus hybrids along the way.
Now the South Korean car company is on the money again with its EV6 – Kia first’s electric-only vehicle with a 300-mile plus range.
At launch the futuristic fastback is available as either a 321bhp four-wheel-drive (dual motor) or a more affordable 226bhp rear-drive (single motor). The usable battery capacity is 77.4kWh, regardless of which configuration you choose.
The single motor has the greatest range (328 miles compared to 314 miles). The top speeds for both are 114mph, while the 0–60mph time for the four-wheel-drive version is 2.1 seconds faster at 5.2 seconds.
Charging from 10-80% takes as little as 18 minutes via 350kW ultra rapid charger (it’s future-proofed with 800-volt charging infrastructure). A more common 50kW charger will take one hour 13 minutes, or if you can plug-in at home (7kW) it will take seven hours 20 minutes.
Priced from £40,840 to £51,840, its rivals include everything from the Ford Mustang Mach-E to the Jaguar I-Pace, Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen ID.4 and its cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
A smidgen smaller than an I-Pace, the boldly styled EV6 also shares the stubby nose, short overhangs, pop-out door handles and big wheels of the Jag.
Inside, it’s spacious and slick, with plenty of room for five adults. Our only gripes are that we’d like the driver’s seat to lower a little more and rear visibility could be better.
Elsewhere, there’s a generous 490 litres of space in the deep, but shallow boot, expanding to 1,300 litres with the rear seats folded.
The EV6 also features extra storage at the front – a front boot, front trunk, or ‘frunk’ – providing an additional 52 litres of storage space for RWD models and 20 litres for AWDs – more than enough space for charging cables.
Inside the cabin it has a classy feel and it’s well put together, but there are more hard plastic surfaces than we would like.
On the plus side, it is trimmed in a range of sustainable materials, such as “vegan leather” seats, and sections of the dashboard and centre console are clad in recycled plastics, equivalent to 107 plastic 500ml water bottles per car.
There’s a large, curved touchscreen on top of the dashboard, alongside a digital driver’s display. Both are 12.3-inches and feature Kia’s usual clear graphics. Generally, it looks state-of-the-art and delivers a good mix of dials, buttons and touchscreens.
Standard equipment with the entry-level EV6 includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, LED lights, heated front seats and steering wheel, sat-nav based smart cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Goodies further up the range includes wireless smartphone charging, privacy glass, blind-spot collision warning, a panoramic sunroof, remote smart park assist, a powered tailgate, a 14-speaker Meridian audio system and a head-up display.
On the road the EV6 is comfortable, refined and turns heads for all the right reasons. There really is nothing like it on the market at present.
We tested both the single and dual motor versions and frankly there’s not much between them. If money is no object and the loss of 14 miles of range makes no difference, then go for the all-wheel drive version which is a tad faster and offers extra traction.
A button on the steering wheel allows you to choose between Sport, Eco and Normal drive modes. Normal is just fine and Sport is fun for overtaking, while Eco is strictly for Scrooges and motorway runs.
The steering wheel paddles let you choose between six levels of regenerative braking, the last of which switches to “one-pedal” driving, which harvests maximum energy when you lift off the accelerator, bringing the car to a stop without touching the brakes.
The EV6 does a decent job of hiding its two-tonne weight, feeling agile and staying flat in faster corners. However, when really pushed the crossover origins it shares with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are more obvious. No doubt the upcoming GT version will unleash the EV6’s full dynamic potential.
That said, the steering is light enough in town, yet adds weight at speed, while the brakes are more progressive than many an EV.
No car is perfect and the EV6 is no exception, but it’s still an impressive all-round package with a range far exceeding many premium rivals.
Verdict: The all-new, all-electric EV6 is another great value game-changer from Kia – a winning blend of style, performance, practicality, technology and long-range capability.
Review in association with www.automotiveblog.co.uk