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Kia EV6 2023 review: GT-Line AWD long-term | Part 3


After spending three months, over 2300km and 75 hours with the ignition running, I can say I have enjoyed my time with the EV6. While it wasn’t quite the right fit for just myself and my partner, it's still one of a new generation of cars which feels like it offers more than just a fully electric drivetrain.

This element of ‘more’ is constantly reflected in the way it looks and feels. It’s a head-turner. It’s spectacular to drive. It feels more like a premium car (in most ways…) than you might expect from the Kia badge.

In this way it earns its tall price-tag. Yes, nearly $90,000 for what isn’t even the top-spec EV6 is a lot of money to part with. But as someone who is consistently driving new cars of all shapes and sizes, I can at least tell you the EV6 is one which feels consistently like it’s a cut above. If you’re paying this much, it’s a feeling you’d want to have.

Then there’s the features. The Kia EV6 has pretty much all of them. Big screens, heated and cooled seats. For me the real headline feature is V2L, which can very competently power external devices. I’d routinely use the internal household power outlet to power my laptop when on-the-go, enabling me to work from the back seat if need be.

This opens up the opportunity to work while you’re charging, or leave the car running the air-conditioning while you hang out on the back seat. Invaluable on hot days. For the record, the air-conditioning doesn’t use heaps of range. I left it on for over an hour straight once and it only consumed about 3 - 4km of range all up.

How has the Kia EV6 been to drive?

Great. I know there’s a full-fat GT version now with even more power, but the GT-Line I’ve been living with already has plenty of thrust. With 239kW/605Nm on tap, as well as the traction of the all-wheel-drive system, it’s easy to have a great time piloting this big SUV around corners. Torque sometimes seems limitless as you power out, with the only thing holding it back from really feeling like a supercar being the overall weight.

I haven’t driven the GT yet, but from what I hear it does take things up to supercar performance. If your coin (circa-$100K) stretches that far.

The GT-Line offers 239kW/605Nm. (image credit: Tom White) The GT-Line offers 239kW/605Nm. (image credit: Tom White)

As with many electric cars, the ride in the EV6 is quite firm. It’s deliberately tightened up from its Ioniq 5 relation, which is a tad softer. This imbues the EV6 with a more serious character, it feels like it’s ready to attack the road and keep things all shapely should you want to push it. In comparison, the Ioniq 5 is a bit more springy and playful, but not as keen a handler when it comes down to it.

The result is a car which is reasonably comfortable compared to something like a Tesla or a Polestar 2 - which are notoriously stiff - but still tight enough to control its weight when it gets thrown about a bit by poor road conditions.

  • The EV6 somehow feels bigger than it is. (image credit: Tom White) The EV6 somehow feels bigger than it is. (image credit: Tom White)
  • You won’t feel the giant wheels the EV6 wears. (image credit: Tom White) You won’t feel the giant wheels the EV6 wears. (image credit: Tom White)

You won’t feel the giant wheels it wears or the firm EV tyres, and sound deadening is very good in the cabin. After spending many hours on the freeway in this car now, it’s one of the ones you can get out of after a long drive and still feel relatively comfortable.

Again, though, it is a big car. Overall, its dimensions are pretty similar to an upper-mid-size SUV (think Santa-Fe, Sorento, or Kluger), but the wheels extend all the way to the edges of the frame to make for a 2900mm wheelbase, the same as the Hyundai Palisade large SUV.

This makes the EV6 somehow feel even bigger than it is, and a little cumbersome when it comes to navigating in tight quarters, like doing a three-point turn, reverse parking, or parking sometimes several times daily in my tiny unit parking spot. That I won’t miss.

Are there any issues with the EV6?

Aside from the size of it which was inconvenient for me, I was better off with my previous long-termer, the Niro small SUV, the EV6 does have a handful of small annoyances which get on your nerves over time. 

The biggest one is perhaps the lane-keep assist system. If you don’t stay in what the car thinks is the dead centre of the lane, it will try to correct the steering with some force automatically. While it’s not the most annoying of these systems I’ve ever used, it is a bit too overzealous, and frustratingly the system is always on when you hit the ignition and requires flicking through a submenu on the main screen to get rid of it.

The other thing which got on my nerves a bit is the rotary gear shifter. If you don't firmly plant your foot on the brake before rotating it, it won’t shift, or it will stick the car in neutral. It sounds a chime to warn you the gear didn’t shift in this situation, but it seems risky. If you weren’t paying attention and were in a hurry, it might be easy to accelerate into a bollard or something.

If your foot is firmly planted on the brake, the rotary gear shifter won't move. (image credit: Tom White) If your foot is firmly planted on the brake, the rotary gear shifter won't move. (image credit: Tom White)

Lastly, while the car’s overall feel and ambiance seems to deserve the tall price-tag, there are still some of those signature Kia hard plastics in the door cards and elsewhere. It makes you wish the brand had just placed a padded surface along the door and centre console to make it feel just a little bit more upmarket, as is the case in its Ioniq 5 relation. The same goes for the overuse of piano-black gloss plastic on the centre console. This at least looks nice, but is prone to getting dirty and scratched quickly.

  • The synthetic suede material on the seats needs to be frequently cleaned. (image credit: Tom White) The synthetic suede material on the seats needs to be frequently cleaned. (image credit: Tom White)
  • The EV6's interior feels like the price-tag suggests. (image credit: Tom White) The EV6's interior feels like the price-tag suggests. (image credit: Tom White)
  • Kia does overuse piano-black gloss plastic on the centre console. (image credit: Tom White) Kia does overuse piano-black gloss plastic on the centre console. (image credit: Tom White)

Speaking of things needing to be frequently cleaned, the synthetic suede material on the seats might be a bit of a short-sighted choice for those with families. Even with just myself and my partner it very obviously collected sand which stood out against the black finish, and it frequently required vacuuming. I can’t imagine how grotty it would get with kids or a dog. At least standard cloth or leather seat trims are easier to clean.

Each of these complaints are pretty mild, but they are ones you should keep in mind if you’re considering the EV6 against an Ioniq 5 or Tesla Model Y.

Does the EV6 have enough range? How energy efficient is it?

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, the EV6 has plenty of range. 484km is the official number, and unlike some EVs, this one will actually hit or exceed this number with some ease.

Even on the freeway it proved to be remarkably reliable, losing just 15km from its total estimated range displayed on the dash over 200 plus kilometres. Given how much less efficient EVs can be on the open road (due to the relative lack of distance travelled using regenerative braking), a loss of less than 10 per cent is pretty good.

I also ran some numbers in my previous chapter to show it costs me around $21 to charge the EV6 at my local DC fast-charger, which takes around an hour and a half. Technically you can charge the EV6 in 26 minutes from 10 per cent, making it one of the fastest charging EVs on the Australian market, but you can only do that on a rare 350kW charger.

With a 350kW charger, the EV6 can charge in 26 minutes from 10 per cent. (image credit: Tom White) With a 350kW charger, the EV6 can charge in 26 minutes from 10 per cent. (image credit: Tom White)

The good news is in my travels with the EV6, I have discovered the network is rapidly expanding. For example, I stumbled upon not just a new charger which wasn’t there a handful of months ago, but an entire network of new chargers being rolled out in BP petrol stations along the east coast. They’re even 75kW units, meaning I can charge up even faster than on the usual 50kW ones.

It almost makes up for all the times I’ve shown up to NRMA’s old chargers to find them out of service…

You can use the EV6's V2L feature to power a coffee machine. (image credit: Tom White) You can use the EV6's V2L feature to power a coffee machine. (image credit: Tom White)

The EV6 is also very energy efficient considering its size weight and power. Having now covered nearly 2500km, its dash-reported consumption figure of 17.4kWh/100km is even lower than the official combined claim of 18.0kWh/100km, and this is despite the fact most of my last month with the car was spent on the freeway (where EVs are less efficient).

I’m sure this has a lot to do with the EV6’s excellent regenerative braking system, which really utilises every last moment of deceleration to put energy back in the battery. I spent a lot of my time with the car in the highest single-pedal driving mode setting, or in the second highest level 3 regen setting.

Acquired: November 2022

Distance travelled this month: 720km

Total distance travelled: 2303km

Odometer: 7175km

Average energy consumption overall: 17.4kWh/100km

I can’t responsibly afford an EV6 GT-Line, but I would definitely consider one if I could. Realistically, something smaller like the Niro EV or Hyundai Kona EV are more suited to my needs, but neither feel as special or are as deeply capable to drive as the EV6.

If you’re looking for flagship EV thrills and a car which ticks pretty much all the new-age feature boxes, the EV6 comes at a fraction of the cost of an Audi e-Tron or BMW iX, but in the context of the brand, feels almost as special. It gets a glowing recommendation from me. 

Who would it suit? I think think the right buyer is someone who still wants to be at the forefront of EV adoption. They'll be wanting a car which sets them apart on the road and feels truly special every day to drive, but values more space, perhaps for a family, than its smaller rivals from Tesla or Polestar.

$64,990 - $115,990

Based on 87 car listings in the last 6 months

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Score

4.3/5
Price Guide

$64,990 - $115,990

Based on 87 car listings in the last 6 months

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