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Kia EV6 2022 review: GT Line AWD

Along with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 shares its electrical architecture with the Genesis GV60. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)
  • DrivetrainFull electric
  • Battery Capacity77.4kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range484km (WLTP)
  • DC charge rate350kW
  • AC charge rate10.5kW
  • Motor outputs239kW/605Nm
  • Efficiency18.0kWh/100km
Complete Guide to Kia EV6

If the Kia Stinger looks wistfully to the past like some alternate-universe Holden Commodore SS, then surely the forward-looking Kia EV6 electric vehicle is simply another side of the same coin?

After all, both are five-door, five-seater, rear-drive-based family cars with a strong focus on sports sedan performance and style.

Indeed, both leverage Hyundai technologies, though not so you’d know it at a glance, as the Genesis-based Stinger and Ioniq 5-derived EV6 are clearly completely Kia in their look and feel.

But where the Stinger 200S starts from $51,250 (all prices are before on-road costs unless otherwise stated), the EV6 Air from $67,990 picks up from where the $64,960 Stinger V6 GT flagship ends, taking in the $74,990 GT-Line and then topping out to the $82,990 GT-Line AWD.

Kia arrived long ago. Now it’s pulling ahead. Ahead of the Stinger. Ahead of most rivals. Ahead of the EV curve. We drive the GT-Line AWD to find out how and why.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

At over $90K driveaway, the GT-Line AWD is – for now – the most expensive EV6 you can buy, though the high-performance GT flagship will likely be the first Kia to crack $100K.

In contrast, the costlier of the Ioniq 5s – the ‘AWD’ ­– starts from $75,900, putting the Hyundai at an immediately advantage.

However, the EV6 strikes back with a seven rather than five-year warranty; a so-called Australianised suspension tune courtesy of a local ride and handling specialist; vehicle-to-load capability that allows the car to power appliances in and out of the car; and a slightly larger battery for better range at 77.4kWh versus 72.6kWh.

Note, though, that the last two advantages will likely vanish when the already sold-out Ioniq 5 gains them for the 2023 model year.

So, what else do you get in the EV6?

All three grades feature a 77.4kWh ‘Long Range’ battery, along with a rear-mounted electric motor delivering 168kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

On the safety front you’ll find Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with junction turning (to help stop collisions with on-coming vehicles when turning right), rear cross-traffic alert/assist, blind-spot detection, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, parking collision avoidance, auto high-beam, safe-exit alert (to warn of looming cyclists and other road users before opening the door), multi-collision braking, driver-attention alert, traffic sign recognition, front/rear parking sensors, rain -sensing wipers and remote window control.

19-inch alloys. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) 19-inch alloys. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

These come on top of anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, and dual-front/front-side/curtain and front-centre airbags.

The base $67,990 EV6 Air’s specification list includes vegan artificial leather upholstery, powered lumbar support for the driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, LED lighting, two integrated 12.3-inch displays, satellite navigation, digital radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, USBs galore, wireless phone charging, powered folding mirrors, regenerative braking paddles that promote one-pedal driving, a powered charging flap (housing Type 2 and CCS charging ports), 19-inch alloys and a tyre mobility kit.

Featuring LED headlights with auto high-beam. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Featuring LED headlights with auto high-beam. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

For a $7000 premium, the $74,990 GT-Line adds items such as a body kit, powered front seats, relaxation front seats (that promote napping when stationary), suede-style trim, a head-up display, 14-speaker Meridian audio system, a powered tailgate, remote-control parking, heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, a blind-spot view monitor, powered child locks, a surround-view camera, an external V2L power point, a stainless-steel luggage sill, augmented motor sound options, automatic folding flush door handles, laminated front door glass, privacy glass, ambient mood lighting and 20-inch alloy wheels.

The safe-exit warning is also upgraded with safe-exit locking that will keep the door from opening until the danger has passed. Clever.

Going the GT-Line AWD as tested from $82,990 adds a front-mounted electric motor, boosting total power and torque outputs to 239kW and 605Nm respectively, as well as a large sunroof.

Two grades then, three models to choose from, and all very competitively equipped at the price point. Yes, it’s the most expensive Kia in history, but almost everything you’d want or expect is there.

Probably two notable exceptions are wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (it’s a proprietary thing when imbedded sat-nav is fitted to Kias and Hyundais, so the Ioniq 5’s in the same boat) and heated/vented rear outboard seating.

 Adding metallic paint costs $520 extra.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Just look at it!

Based on the same E-GMP all-electric architecture as the origami-esque Ioniq 5, the EV6 could not appear less related, with the Hyundai’s squared-off edges ousted for a sleeker and far-sportier shape. It looks muscular and even menacing as a result.

Whether the Kia ages as well as the elegantly crisp lines of its arrestingly designed cousin remains to be seen.  

With length/width/height/wheelbase coming in at 4695/1890/1550/2900mm. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) With length/width/height/wheelbase coming in at 4695/1890/1550/2900mm. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Let’s talk dimensions. With length/width/height/wheelbase coming in at 4695/1890/1550/2900mm (compared to the Ioniq 5’s 4635/1890/1605/3000mm respectively), the EV6 is 60mm longer, no wider, 55mm lower and 100mm shorter between the axles.

Plus, while there’s only 5mm difference in wheelbase in the Stinger’s favour, the EV6 is 135mm shorter, 20mm wider and 150mm taller, meaning it possesses true crossover proportions, placing it in the middle ground between the SUV-esque Ioniq 5 and sedan-like liftback Stinger. Ground clearance echoes the Hyundai’s at 160mm.

The frowning full-length LED tail-light bar best betrays the Kia EV’s real bulk… which, of course, pays handsome dividends inside.

How practical is the space inside?

If you find the EV6’s design fresh and inspiring on the outside, the interior is certain to please.

Our GT-Line’s electrically actuated door handles seem EV de rigueur nowadays, but they work well enough, opening up to a spacious and inviting cabin that is very much its own thing. Clock the E.T. alien-esque front headrest shape, two-tone vegan suede/leather upholstery, vast single-piece twin-screen display set-up, drive-by-wire gear selector roundel and driver-angled start button; they all help give the EV6 identity as well as a sense of modernity.

But no so it intimidates or flummoxes new users. Unlike some other contemporary cars, the Kia’s dash is user friendly in its drive to look simplified, with clearly marked buttons and knobs where you need them, with some – like the climate control and multimedia set-up – operable via a clever single switchable mode system. Once identified it’s ingeniously simple to operate.

A spacious and inviting cabin that is very much its own thing. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) A spacious and inviting cabin that is very much its own thing. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Yet the basics are presented in a time-honoured way. Excellent, electrically actuated front seats provide comfort and support as you’d hope, allowing for a great driving position. And though their occupants are slightly raised up, the vibe is still laid-back and sporty if desired. And the front passenger doesn’t miss out either, since one press will reline and tilt the seat into the aforementioned ‘relaxation’ lounging mode. Nice for a speedy siesta.

Storage is almost preposterously abundant, with the pleasingly flocked door bins big enough for medium-sized bottles, while the glovebox, sub-console tray and centre box are also notably commodious. Nobody will complain about a lack of places to put stuff in or on. Yay for EV packaging smarts.

Other notable details include the thoughtful placement of the starter button and wireless smartphone charger, Ferrari-esque drive mode button beneath the (distinctively toothless-looking) steering wheel boss, and four ports (USB A, USB C, 12V and cigarette lighter) outlets under the dash, and right in front of a tray to facilitate charging devices securely.

Storage is abundant in Kia EV6. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Storage is abundant in Kia EV6. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Downsides? Vast exterior mirrors, thick pillars and fixed rear-seat headrests do affect the driver’s rear vision, particularly when reverse-parking; some of the glossy lower black plastics look too cheap in a mid-$80K luxury crossover; and – though thoroughly legible and comprehensive in its data presentation – the instrumentation configuration could use a bit more variety. Be a bolder aesthetic inspiration or the inclusion of traditionally shaped dial options for buyers with soberer tastes, further imagination is required in such a progressive vehicle.

Overall, though, the ambience and finish are mostly of a high-enough standard overall, with a sense of serenity and quietness even on the move that defines the EV6 as a premium modern electric family car experience.

Stepping into the second row made easy thanks to a wide-opening door and higher-than-expected roofline, the 60:40 split backrests also recline (but not as much, and without the seat base tilt of the front left seat). While the cushion is deep and supportive and the seat itself comfortable, with lots of space for legs and feet, a knees-up posture for taller folk is forced by the flat, high floor, which can become tiresome after even short trips.

Stepping into the second row made easy thanks to a wide-opening door and higher-than-expected roofline, the 60:40 split backrests also recline. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Stepping into the second row made easy thanks to a wide-opening door and higher-than-expected roofline, the 60:40 split backrests also recline. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Otherwise, Kia’s put a lot of effort back here too – witness the well-placed elbow rests, a sturdy pair of cupholders, high-level vent outlets, overhead reading lights and grab handles, two additional USB ports (located on the rear of the front seats near some of the several scattered minor storage areas for smaller devices), windows that go all the way down and even a Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) three-pin domestic appliance outlet beneath the rear seat.

But no auto-up/down function for the electric window switches smacks of penny pinching, while the drab black plastic syndrome mentioned earlier is also obvious in the back seat.

  • 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot
  • 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot
  • 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot 2022 Kia EV6 I Boot

Further back, families are likely to appreciate the height-adjustable electric tailgate lifter, remote rear seatback releases, low, wide and flat load area, sturdy retractable luggage cover, 12V outlet and underfloor storage for the various cables and tyre mobility kit. Yep, as with most electrified vehicles, there is no spare wheel/tyre provided.

Still, with a practical cargo capacity ranging from 480 litres to 1260L (10L less than in the Air), the GT-Line AWD is properly people focused in its packaging smarts.

What are the key stats for the drivetrain?

The Hyundai Group’s E-GMP all-electric architecture is just that – there are no internal combustion engine (ICE) alternatives, meaning no petrol or diesel EV6s, or hybrid combinations. It’s all battery EV.

Being the GT-Line AWD, there are two electric motors fitted – one near the front axle and the main motor by the rear one. Both are permanent magnet synchronous, with the rear producing 165kW/350Nm (which is down 3kW on the RWD versions) and the front motor adding 74kW/255Nm.

Being the GT-Line AWD, there are two electric motors fitted – one near the front axle and the main motor by the rear one. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Being the GT-Line AWD, there are two electric motors fitted – one near the front axle and the main motor by the rear one. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

The result is a total system output of 239kW and 605Nm, with drive going through a single-speed automatic transmission (reduction gear) with a final drive ratio of 10.65. With a tare weight of 2105kg and a power-to-weight ratio at 113.5kW/tonne, the GT-Line AWD needs just 5.2 seconds to accelerate from standstill to 100km/h.

The EV6’s 800V electrical system is shared with the Ioniq 5, and is double what rival EVs offer. Only the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT fraternal twins match the South Korean brands in offering this.

Its 477kg, 77.4kWh Lithium-ion battery pack (tucked underneath the floor) is both AC and DC charge compatible, with the former needing a Type 2 while the latter needs a CCS Type 2 plug. 

How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel?

The 2.1-tonne GT-Line AWD is not the most range-efficient EV6 available, with a WLTP figure of 484km compared to 504km and an impressive 528km for the RWD version and base Air respectively.

Our trip computer showed an average energy consumption of about 18.5kWh/100km, which is only slightly more than the WLTP combined average of 18.0kWh/100km. The lowest figure was 13.5kWh/100km and the highest about 24.5kWh/100km.

During our week with the EV6, we decided to drive it as per a normal ICE car in both inner-city and open-road conditions, with the air-con running constantly due to an unseasonably humid Melbourne autumn, no special eco driving except when trying out the Eco mode, balanced out with plenty of hard acceleration in Sport mode. Most of the time there were two occupants on board, sometimes with some extra weight in terms of cargo. Result? From a full charge, we managed 372km.

Earlier in the year, an 85kg-lighter Ioniq 5 RWD and with a 4.8kWh-smaller battery managed 425km in similar conditions.

Driving a 45km course on a rising elevation of 435 metres and with 20km of that at freeway speeds of up to 115km/h, the EV6 range was slashed, from displaying 110km at the beginning of this journey to just 15km.

Only required 30 minutes using a 75kW charger for a useful 35% top up, or 155km of range. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Only required 30 minutes using a 75kW charger for a useful 35% top up, or 155km of range. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

However, while a DC fast charger was 13km away, it was also another 145m of elevation to climb away, and with 10km of that driving very anxiously to it in similar highway conditions. Without exceeding 90km/h to maintain some semblance of traffic flow, and with the final 5km of that featuring a “-- km" (zero) range display and the Kia in turtle mode that limits throttle and battery load to a bare minimum, we managed to reach our destination with still some mystery charge left  

Plus, we only required 30 minutes using a 75kW charger for a useful 35% top up, or 155km of range. Taking us back home 45km away and on a constant gentle downhill slope from 580m to 8m, we arrived showing 130km of range remaining.

With its sizeable 77.4kWh battery, the EV6 would need over 37 hours using a regular 10-amp household plug, or just under a day with a 16A upgrade. Fitting a 7kW wall box (from around $1000 before installation) at home needs about 12 hours, or under eight hours for an 11kW item. There is a scheduled charging timer to control when it starts and stops.

If AC’s too slow, Kia says a 50kW DC fast charger will replenish from 10 to 80 per cent charge in 73 minutes, or just 18 minutes if you find a rare 350kW charger.  

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Kia EV6 has yet to be publicly scored by either the Australasian New Car Assessment Program or EuroNCAP.

On the safety front you’ll find Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with junction turning (to help stop collisions with on-coming vehicles when turning right), rear cross-traffic alert/assist, blind-spot detection, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, parking collision avoidance, auto high-beam, safe-exit alert/locking (to warn of looming cyclists and other road users before opening the door), multi-collision braking, driver-attention alert, traffic sign recognition, front/rear parking sensors, rain -sensing wipers and remote window control.

These come on top of anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, and dual-front/front-side/curtain and front-centre airbags.

Two rear-seat ISOFIX points as well as three top tethers for straps are fitted to the rear seats.

 Note that the EV6’s AEB is reportedly operational from 5-200km/h and lane support systems from 60km/h.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Kia has offered a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty since 2014 in Australia, with roadside assistance included in the first year with the option of a free annual renewal of eight years if the vehicle is taken to an authorised Kia dealer.

Kia has offered a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty since 2014 in Australia. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Kia has offered a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty since 2014 in Australia. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Service intervals are set at 12 months or every 15,000km, whichever comes first. The annual average cost for the duration of the EV6’s warranty is $226.

The Kia’s battery pack is guaranteed for seven years/160,000km.

What's it like to drive?

Kia’s engineers have created a highly-impressive round-town and highway tourer alike.

Immediately quick off the line, nimble when zipping between traffic gaps and instantly responsive on the brakes, the EV6 feels born for the urban commute, aided by a well-nuanced adaptive cruise control system with an easy traffic flow function.

Three driving modes are offered­ – Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco only engages the rear motor/rear-drive combo to minimise energy consumption, while the other two modes use both motors to drive all four wheels.

Whichever is engaged, the EV6 surges forward serenely, without scrabbling for traction or grip, but the level of speed seems most unbridled in Sport, predictably, with enough instant forward thrust at full throttle to pin you back into your seat. It’s rapid and responsive, accompanied by a turbine whoosh that’s, well, electrifying. Kia also offers several levels of different electronic sounds to enhance the soundtrack, though this may not be to everybody’s taste. It’s not necessary as the natural noise of the electric motor is musical enough.

The so-called i-Pedal mode allows the driver to go or slow down to a stop again with the accelerator pedal only, by either pressing down or lifting up, without the need to apply the brakes. It’s operated using the paddle shifters, with several levels of regenerative braking to bring some satisfying manual manipulation.  

To aid parking and manoeuvring vision, huge screens can provide 360-degree camera views, including left- and right-hand indicator vision to help stop you from pulling out in front of cyclists and/or other traffic. Nice.

The Kia features a trio of steering modes, from light to weighty, for handling that is always direct yet reassuringly measured, but the EV6 doesn’t really connect intimately with the driver due to the steering’s lack real feel and feedback. Though impressively agile for a 2.1-tonne crossover, with terrifically flat and tenacious roadholding (an upshot of the twin-motor AWD configuration), this isn’t a thrilling sports car to throw from corner to corner. Merely a supremely capable one. 

Kia’s engineers have created a highly-impressive round-town and highway tourer alike. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis) Kia’s engineers have created a highly-impressive round-town and highway tourer alike. (Image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Better to instead enjoy the grand touring characteristics provided by the quiet, relaxed and ultra-smooth nature of the Kia out on the open road. In this respect, the Kia's outstanding, backed up by relatively low levels of wind, road and tyre noise intrusion. These are usually heightened in an EV due to the dearth of ICE sounds.

Which is why the firmer-than-expected tune from the (strut-front/multi-link rear) suspension system seems a little unnecessary; fine on slick surfaces, there’s an unmistakable stiffness over bumps and other road imperfections, meaning the GT-Line doesn’t quite possess the softness or suppleness we’d experienced over the same test course in the Ioniq 5 RWD and BMW iX. While not uncomfortable, the chassis is too skewered towards sports sedan territory – which is something this EV6 simply isn’t.

Maybe the all-out GT powerhouse flagship coming soon will be the biggest benefactor of this level of suspension tune.  

That said, though not perfect, the EV6 is an incredibly well-sorted car to ride and drive in. A monumental effort from a brand that not too long ago traded primarily on cheapness.

A mentor for other mainstream makers to aspire to, then.

  • DrivetrainFull electric
  • Battery Capacity77.4kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range484km (WLTP)
  • DC charge rate350kW
  • AC charge rate10.5kW
  • Motor outputs239kW/605Nm
  • Efficiency18.0kWh/100km
Complete Guide to Kia EV6

Make no mistake. Thanks to Kia and Hyundai, the electric car has come of age in Australia.

Yes, the EV6 is expensive, but it is a world-class technical achievement that attempts to reduce the many compromises of EV ownership better than most luxury brands can. And it does this with an attitude that is Kia’s own. Even compared to the brilliant and beautiful Ioniq 5.

If you want to go electric and can afford/find one, then go for it. The EV6 is the cheapest of the best EVs available right now. As it’s no sports sedan, we’d gladly trade some of the AWD’s twin-motor muscle for the extra distance (and savings) going RWD brings, but whichever you decide, this is the Kia to make you focus on the future and forget about the past.

In more ways than one then, a Stinger GT the EV6 GT-Line AWD resolutely is not.

$82,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

4/5
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