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Kia EV6 2023 review: GT

  • DrivetrainTwin electric motors
  • Battery capacity77.4 kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range424km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeCCS Type 2
  • DC charge rate350kW
  • AC charge rate10.5kW
  • Motor output430kW/740Nm
  • Efficiency(20.6 kWh/100km)
Complete Guide to Kia EV6

Kia’s EV6, launched in 2021, was an early signal from Kia that its talk of rearranging car-buyers’ perceptions was more than an idle boast.

Sure, the South Korean brand had gone from budget also-ran a couple of decades ago to a brand that represents reliability and quality in a very short space of time.

But a brand that was technically innovative and EV-savvy? Or capable of family cars with supercar performance? Let’s wait and see, we all said.

And now the latest member of the all-electric EV6 family has arrived, and with it Kia’s big chance to prove its point, as well as convince us that its flagship products are worthy of a six-figure price-tag.

With shattering straight-line performance and all the hallmarks of a thoroughly modern take on the electric vehicle concept (including all-wheel-drive and electronic control of everything from the suspension to the rear differential) the EV6 GT makes the technical statement it needs to.

But does it have the quality, the specification and the overall appeal to justify a price-tag that was unimaginable in a South Korean car until very, very recently?

The fact is that technical merit is not enough – never has been – when it comes to making a macro price-point shift in the minds of consumers.

Any model seeking to reset the value proposition of an entire brand needs to be more than the sum of its parts. But does the EV6 GT achieve that rare distinction? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10

The elephant in the room, of course, is that price-tag which is just a posh meal for two shy of the magic $100K, at $99,590, before on-road costs. Of course, EVs aren’t cheap to purchase in the first place, but then neither are cars with supercar performance. And the Kia is arguably both those things.

And let’s not forget that it’s also possible to spend a lot more than $100,000 and not go anywhere near as fast as the Kia does. At which point, the whole car falls into place.

This is also a car that is very well equipped, making that price-tag a little easier to swallow. You get techy gear like LED matrix headlights, acoustic and solar glass (laminated in the front doors) no less than seven USB charge ports, digital radio, twin 12.3-inch screens, a head-up display (with augmented reality function) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front and rear seats, and Kia’s 'Sounds of Nature' ambient noise generator.

The EV6 GT features twin 12.3-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The EV6 GT features twin 12.3-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What’s missing? Cars with this much performance often have carbon-ceramic brakes. But to be honest, the savage regeneration potential of the GT means it doesn’t really need them.

Power front seats would seem to be AWOL as well, but as we’ll explain later, the manual seats are there to save weight and free up headroom. The lack of an electrically adjustable steering column is a bit harder to explain away.

Six figures is a bit of a sticker-shock when you first encounter it, but when you dig deeper, like all EVs, the picture changes the more you know.

The manual seats have been put in place of power front seats to save weight and free up headroom. The manual seats have been put in place of power front seats to save weight and free up headroom.

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10

Perhaps the most poignant element of the GT’s design is that Kia has lavished lots of Australian input into the final product.

Like Kias before it, the EV6 GT benefits from plenty of Nth-degree local suspension tuning which, given the way some imports buck and crash on Aussie roads, is commendable and clever.

It’s also interesting that Kia has remained committed to this approach, especially since the new GT features the brand’s 'Electronically Controlled Suspension' (ECS) the first for an all-electric Kia.

The synthetic soundtrack Kia has chosen for the GT includes three different, selectable background noises linked to motor speed. The synthetic soundtrack Kia has chosen for the GT includes three different, selectable background noises linked to motor speed.

By looking at real-time road speed, cornering forces, braking and acceleration forces and the actual road surface, the ECS can tailor the dampers’ behaviour to maximise dynamics, grip and ride quality. For some carmakers that would be enough, so full marks to Kia for taking the next step with local calibration input.

Perhaps the other design element of note is the fact that Kia sees the GT as not just a high performance family car, but also a vehicle that it is happy to describe as 'track worthy'.

And even with the straight-line speed involved, that’s a big statement for any car weighing north of 2.1 tonnes. Testing at the infamous Nurburgring in German underlines Kia’s determination to give the GT the smarts to handle a track day.

Kia sees the GT as not just a high performance family car, but also a vehicle that it is happy to describe as 'track worthy'. Kia sees the GT as not just a high performance family car, but also a vehicle that it is happy to describe as 'track worthy'.

The use of high-performance Michelin tyres backs this up when a conventional EV tyre would improve range but at the expense of grip in corners.

To further underline how serious Kia is about that claim, the GT features a completely different steering set-up to lesser EV6 models.

The GT gets a variable ratio steering rack with a faster ratio than the other EV6s and variable levels of power assistance to improve feel. There’s even additional bracing on the GT to stiffen the body and make full use of that sportiness.

The GT looks pretty much like any other EV6 apart from a slightly different grille, lower bumper and matrix headlights up front. The GT looks pretty much like any other EV6 apart from a slightly different grille, lower bumper and matrix headlights up front.

Another big part of any track-day car revolves around the braking system, and to that end Kia has fitted the GT with huge brakes.

The knock-on effect, of course, has been the requirement to fit 21-inch wheels for rotor clearance as well as a new front suspension system that features a double ball-joint design to complete the clearance for the 380mm front discs. Four-piston front calipers are also part of the GT braking package, identifiable by the bright green hardware.

In specific detail terms, other design standouts include the sequential LED indicators, flush-folding door handles, solar glass, intelligent headlight system and 64-colour ambient interior lighting.

One design standout of the EV6 GT includes the flush-folding door handles. One design standout of the EV6 GT includes the flush-folding door handles.

If there’s a design disappointment it’s that the GT looks pretty much like any other EV6.

Yes, the 21-inch wheels and tyres are pretty easy to spot, but from the front, only a slightly different grille, lower bumper and matrix headlights give the game away.

That doesn’t make it an unattractive car (by any means) but it doesn’t automatically mean onlookers will know you’ve spent the extra gold for the extra performance.

And over in the Swing-and-a-Miss column is the synthetic soundtrack Kia has chosen for the GT. There are three different, selectable background noises linked to motor speed, but, to us, they simply sound like three different stages of wheel-bearing failure.

Practicality - How practical is the space inside? 6/10

Perhaps the biggest practicality hurdle is the car’s range. At an optimum 424km, it’s okay but not stellar. And if those kilometres are highway ones, you can forget about 424km; it’ll be a fair bit less than that.

Meantime, the long wheelbase of the basic EV6 platform means there’s lots of legroom in the rear, making the car a comfy four-seater (the rear-centre seating position is decidedly last place) with enough knee space for adults in the rear.

The cabin is dotted with USB and charging points and there’s wireless charging in the double-layer centre console. There’s a also a bottle-holder in each door, map pockets in the front seat-backs, a luggage net and retractable cargo cover.

  • There’s plenty of legroom in the rear, making the car a comfy four-seater with enough knee space for taller occupants. There’s plenty of legroom in the rear, making the car a comfy four-seater with enough knee space for taller occupants.
  • In the boot there is a luggage net and retractable cargo cover. In the boot there is a luggage net and retractable cargo cover.
  • The sunroof gobbles up precious headroom. The sunroof gobbles up precious headroom.

Kia’s insistence that the GT be capable of track-day work means the headrests on the front seats allow for a helmet to be worn, while the lack of power adjustment for the front seats mean they can be mounted closer to the floor.

Even so, the sunroof gobbles up precious headroom, and the cabin is a bit tight in that direction even without a helmet.

The digital dash and head-up display is clear and legible and the menu system contained within the touchscreen has a positive action and is logically laid out. Only the gear selector makes us wonder with its dim indicator lights that are hard to discern in some ambient light conditions.

The silver steering wheel buttons are also a bit hard to fathom when light reflects off them. The starter button is also not where you instinctively look for it.

Drivetrain - What are the key stats for the drivetrain? 9/10

A purely electric car, the EV6 GT is all-wheel-drive courtesy of having one electric motor across the front axle, and a second motor driving the rear wheels.

Add it all up and at maximum power, you have 430kW/740Nm at your disposal.

It’s worth remembering those numbers are precisely the same power and torque as that produced by the last of the locally made muscle-cars, HSV’s final, 6.2-litre, supercharged V8 F-Series line-up back in 2015.

The EV6 GT is all-wheel-drive courtesy of having one electric motor across the front axle, and a second motor driving the rear wheels. The EV6 GT is all-wheel-drive courtesy of having one electric motor across the front axle, and a second motor driving the rear wheels.

Compared with the non-GT versions of the EV6, that output is almost double the 239kW of the EV6 AWD Dual Motor.

There’s no multi-ratio transmission (just a single-speed arrangement) but there is an electronically operated rear differential to make the most of the 270kW contributed by the rear electric motor.

There’s also a Drift mode built into the car which, as well as courting controversy from the authorities, manages to shift 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels at small steering inputs to allow the car to be driven sideways.

At maximum power, you have 430kW/740Nm at your disposal. At maximum power, you have 430kW/740Nm at your disposal.

As the car exits the turn in question, some torque is shuffled forwards to the front wheels to pull the vehicle straight.

A set of paddle shifters control not the gearbox ratios (there are none) but instead the rate of regeneration on deceleration, and turned up to its maximum, can make the Kia a one-pedal car once you get the hang of it.

The GT also features drive models, which tailor the car’s behaviour in terms of steering feel and aggressiveness, suspension firmness, throttle sensitivity and even the stability control’s intervention threshold.

The built in Drift mode manages to shift 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels at small steering inputs to allow the car to be driven sideways. The built in Drift mode manages to shift 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels at small steering inputs to allow the car to be driven sideways.

There’s also a steering-wheel mounted GT button which ramps all those settings up to DEFCON 3, placing them at their most dynamic calibrations in the interests of an exciting drive.

In fact, the GT button is the only way to get the full 430kW of power, too.

In the other drive modes, the spare Kilowatts are stored away for you, just waiting for that GT button to be pressed.

There’s a steering-wheel mounted GT button which ramps up all settings for a more exciting drive. There’s a steering-wheel mounted GT button which ramps up all settings for a more exciting drive.

Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel? 5/10

Like the other electric Kias on sale now, the EV6 GT has a Lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 77.4 kWh. Located under the floor, the battery-pack accounts for no less than 479 of the GT’s 2185kg.

The on-board charger can handle 10.5kW and takes about seven-and-half hours to go from 10 per cent to 100 per cent charge.

Using a 50kW fast charger, you’re looking at 73 minutes to go from 10 to 80 per cent charge and if you can find a 350kW fast charger, that time drops to just 18 minutes.

Kia claims energy consumption of 20.6kWh per 100km which is higher than many EV rivals.
Kia claims energy consumption of 20.6kWh per 100km which is higher than many EV rivals.

On a full charge, Kia claims a combined range of 424km which is okay, but not exactly stellar. That range will also fall pretty quickly if you start to use the awesome stomp on offer.

And let’s not forget that, in running-cost terms, the GT is front-loaded. That is, the car itself costs more, but it’ll be cheaper to run over the years.

Meantime, as oil-based fuels cost more and renewable electricity becomes more prevalent, the financial and environmental running cost of an EV starts to fall.

On a full charge, Kia claims the EV6 GT has a combined range of 424km. On a full charge, Kia claims the EV6 GT has a combined range of 424km.

Okay, so the jury is still out in terms of the environmental impacts of a 77-plus kWh battery, and if the power you’re using is not the green variety, things change again. It’s a moving target, to be sure.

Either way, Kia claims energy consumption of 20.6kWh per 100km which is higher than many EV rivals but reflects the dual motors and even elements like the 21-inch performance tyres (Pirelli Pilot Sports) rather than the lower-resistance EV-specific tyres of most others.

The GT is also a bit of a hero when it comes to regeneration during braking. The car is capable of producing 0.6G from regeneration alone, and as much as 320kWh of regenerated energy during full braking.

Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 8/10

As a high-tech product of a forward looking company, it’s no surprise to learn that the EV6 GT is loaded with the latest safety tech, including driver aids.

Those include autonomous emergency braking (with identification function), blind-spot dentification, lane-keeping assist, multi-collision braking, active speed-limit assist, on-board tyre pressure monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors.

Seven air-bags are fitted, including full-length side bags and a centre-side air-bag to prevent head clashes between passengers in a side-impact.

The EV6 GT is equipped with an intelligent high-beam system that is aimed at reducing the risk of dazzling oncoming vehicles. The EV6 GT is equipped with an intelligent high-beam system that is aimed at reducing the risk of dazzling oncoming vehicles.

There’s also a 3D surround camera system, active cruise-control and an indicator-triggered monitor to provide a display of whatever is lurking in the traditional blind-spot over the driver’s shoulder.

Even the car’s headlights have been designed with safety in mind, with a bright LED light source for the driver, but also an intelligent high-beam system that is aimed at reducing the risk of dazzling oncoming vehicles.

Essentially, the front-mounted camera on the GT can spot approaching vehicles and modify the output of individual LEDs within the high-beam cluster to manipulate the shape and spread of the lights’ beam, avoiding blinding the oncoming driver while still providing maximum illumination everywhere else.

While the rest of the EV6 range was given a five star ANCAP test score, that rating doesn’t apply to the GT variant. While the rest of the EV6 range was given a five star ANCAP test score, that rating doesn’t apply to the GT variant.

The electronically operated rear differential is also being touted by Kia as a safety measure by being able to improve high-speed stability as well as reduce wheelspin on super slippery surfaces.

While the rest of the EV6 range was ANCAP tested last year and scored the full five stars, that rating doesn’t apply to the GT variant thanks to the specific front seats.

Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 8/10

Like all modern EVs, the Kia should be cheaper to maintain than conventional cars purely because there are fewer moving parts.

Energy costs will come down to where you charge from and whether you have access to home solar panels.

The warranty is typically Kia-good, though, with seven years and unlimited kilometres on the basic car and seven years and 150,000km on all high-voltage components.

Kia offers a three-year, five-year and seven-year servicing plan at $733, $1371 and $2013, respectively.

Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

Kia provides the GT with a seven years and unlimited kilometres warranty on the basic car and seven years and 150,000km on all high-voltage components. Kia provides the GT with a seven years and unlimited kilometres warranty on the basic car and seven years and 150,000km on all high-voltage components.

Driving - What's it like to drive? 8/10

Let’s cut to the – literal – chase: Acceleration. Any car with a nought to 100km/h time of 3.5 seconds is a serious performer, but even then, the first time you launch the GT, the sheer ferocity of the car’s response will surprise you.

It’s more like being shot out of a cannon than leaving the start-line, thanks to that instant torque, but the Kia also does it incredibly easily and fuss-free.

Where a lot of truly powerful cars struggle with grip, scrabbling and fighting against the traction control as they battle to get moving, the Kia simply takes off for the horizon.

The EV6 GT has a nought to 100km/h time of 3.5 seconds. The EV6 GT has a nought to 100km/h time of 3.5 seconds.

There’s little squat, no loss of grip and just a seamless supply of Newton-metres. Your grandmother could launch this car as hard and fast as Lewis Hamilton could.

But where a lot of electric cars offer similar levels of traction and acceleration, the EV6 GT adds a whole new dimension.

Where much of the competition becomes a victim of its own kerb mass and the weight shift that comes with it, the Kia is an altogether more dynamic contraption, putting to the sword the theory that EVs are for straight-line stuff only.

Where a lot of electric cars offer similar levels of traction and acceleration, the EV6 GT adds a whole new dimension. Where a lot of electric cars offer similar levels of traction and acceleration, the EV6 GT adds a whole new dimension.

The big, sticky Michelin tyres and the beautifully considered damper calibrations (the local experts’ work) combined with the quick steering rack and better-than-average steering feel and feedback, means the GT can not only be driven quickly around corners, it can also maintain its composure (and pace) even on a patchy, lumpy surface.

Where its velocity and steering angle suggests it should start sliding, it doesn’t. Where a corner-exit bump and lots of throttle would make other cars lift a front wheel, the Kia almost senses the road before it and tailors its damper responses.

In fact, that ability to predict the road surface is closer to reality than you might think. While the GT’s adjustable suspension remains passive (or reactive) rather than truly active (seeing into the future) the algorithms that control the dampers are smart enough to look at steering angle, speed, throttle position as well as examine the road surface in ultra-quick real time and adopt a posture that irons out the worst and keeps the wheels on the road.

The big, sticky Michelin tyres and damper calibrations means the GT can be driven quickly around corners and also maintain its composure on a patchy, lumpy surface. The big, sticky Michelin tyres and damper calibrations means the GT can be driven quickly around corners and also maintain its composure on a patchy, lumpy surface.

Talking to the engineers who achieved this feat reveals a lot about what goes into making a two-tonne, high-horsepower car behave itself. As in, hundreds of passes over the same piece of road with full instrumentation on board and the brain power to interpret that data.

But if a car with so much roll stiffness can also offer the ride composure that this one does on 21-inch tyres, then those hundreds of passes have been well worth the effort.

As per Kia’s claim of track-readiness, we also got the chance to drive the EV6 GT at the tight, twisting, narrow Haunted Hills hillclimb circuit in Victoria’s Gippsland.

The EV6 GT's on-road encouragement and dynamic poise is enough to convince us that this is one of the first EVs to actually speaks the same language as the enthusiast driver. The EV6 GT's on-road encouragement and dynamic poise is enough to convince us that this is one of the first EVs to actually speaks the same language as the enthusiast driver.

Frankly, the Kia simply has too much power for this track and we reckon it’s better left in Sport rather than GT mode where the power is a little softer and the car is not as fervent in chasing torque from the front axle to the rear and back again to dial out sliding.

It would be a different matter on a faster, flowing circuit like Phillip Island, but at Haunted Hills, driving the GT was a bit like trying to land a four metre shark in a three metre tinny.

Either way, however, the car’s on-road encouragement and dynamic poise is enough to convince us that this is one of the first EVs to actually speaks the same language as the enthusiast driver. And you can pretty much thank the Aussie suspension engineers for that.

  • DrivetrainTwin electric motors
  • Battery capacity77.4 kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range424km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeCCS Type 2
  • DC charge rate350kW
  • AC charge rate10.5kW
  • Motor output430kW/740Nm
  • Efficiency(20.6 kWh/100km)
Complete Guide to Kia EV6

A hundred thousand dollars used to be big money. And for a family SUV, it still is. But don’t make the mistake of confusing the Kia badge with pedestrian motoring. The EV6 GT is proof that Kia can make high performance cars that work, and make the most of modern EV tech in the process.

We’re a bit disappointed in the real-world range of the car, and there’s no doubt the vast majority of drivers neither need nor want a car as focussed as this one. But as an example of how a modern, digital electric car can feel more like an old-school analogue performance car, the GT is Exhibit A. And for those of us for whom it’s about the journey, not the destination, this is indeed good news as EVs continue to take over the world.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with meals provided.

$68,500 - $112,609

Based on 88 car listings in the last 6 months

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Score

3.7/5
Price Guide

$68,500 - $112,609

Based on 88 car listings in the last 6 months

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