- Offers comparable range and performance for less than premium EVs
- Promises up to 310 miles of range and rapid charge times on the go
- The only question that remains is how much the 576-hp GT model costs
Kia kicks off an ambitious electric vehicle future with the 2022 Kia EV6 — the brand's first vehicle designed to be an EV from the ground up. Featuring a sleek, funky hatchback/crossover profile, the EV6 promises up to 310 miles of range and a starting price of $42,115 including destination charges. It's eligible for sale in all 50 states, and unlike rivals from Tesla and Chevrolet, it's eligible for both federal and state tax credits.
That kind of price-to-performance ratio slots the EV6 between the Nissan Leaf and newer EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. It's also a few bills more than its corporate cousin, the new Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Offering two battery packs and three quizzically named trim levels — Light, Wind and GT-Line — the EV6 outputs up to 320 horsepower in its top-trim, all-wheel-drive configuration. Kia says it can cover 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, a few ticks faster than a pricier base trim Tesla Model Y, which does the same dash in 4.8 seconds.
A 58-kWh battery pack underpins the rear-wheel-drive EV6 Light base model ($42,115), delivering a modest 167 horsepower but competitive 232 miles of range. Moving up to the rear-drive Wind ($48,215) or GT-Line ($52,415) trims adds a larger 77.4-kWh pack that offers up to 310 miles of range. It's paired with a more potent motor good for 225 hp.
Wind and GT-Line trims also offer all-wheel drive, with the big battery powering front and rear motors rated at 320 hp and 274 miles of range. The Wind AWD and GT-Line AWD are priced at $52,115 and $57,115, respectively.
These prices make the base EV6 quite a bit pricier than the Leaf Plus, which starts at around $33,500 and offers more power with comparable range (226 miles), but south of the Tesla twins. It's also several thousands less than the entry-level Mach-E and offers longer range, although the Ford packs more power. A forthcoming GT trim, available later this year, will serve up 576 horsepower and cover 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds.
The EV6's nearest competitor might actually come from within its family. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 comes comparably equipped, with slightly less range, and starts at about $1,000 less than the Kia. This choice will largely come down to feature details and style preferences, with the Ioniq 5 adopting a decidedly more compact Audi hatchback look.
The EV6 benefits from Kia's philosophy of giving buyers a lot for less, starting with the well-stocked Light base model. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors and heated front seats, a Mercedes-like curving 12.3-inch infotainment and driver display, Apple/Android/Alexa integration, a wireless charging pad and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Standard driver aids include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert and braking.
Moving up the trim ladder burnishes the EV6's green cred with vegan synthetic leather upholstery and panels made from recycled plastic. A hands-free power tailgate eases loads to and from the 24-cubic-foot cargo area, while more advanced tech wizardry includes predictive traffic navigation, semi-automated driving with automatic lane changes, remote parking (allows driver to control parking and exiting from outside the car), and a head-up display featuring 3D images of landmarks and road features.
The EV6 offers plenty outside of what you'll find on a specs sheet. Take its 800-volt architecture, for instance, which allows the EV6 to realize the potential of today's most powerful DC fast-charging stations. Tapped into a 350-kW charging station, an EV6 with the bigger pack can recharge from 10% to 80% — about 217 miles worth of range — in fewer than 18 minutes. Compare this with a Level 2 charger like you might install at home, where the EV6 will fully recharge in about 7 hours. But you pay extra for the rapid delivery of DC — good thing Kia is including a 1,000-kWh credit with every EV6 purchase.
There's also the nifty vehicle-to-load (V2L) feature, which turns the car into a mobile power source for computers, devices, camping/tailgating accessories and tools. It can even charge other EVs at a trickle rate of 1.1 kW, similar to recharging from a standard household outlet.
Kia finds the sweet spot between economy and premium EVs with the EV6.