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Kia EV6


Cupra Ateca

Summary

Kia EV6

Strap in, folks. This one is going to be electrifying.

Gawd, that's a terrible pun. But don't give up on me yet, because this really is pretty exciting. I promise.

We're getting our first proper taste of the new EV6, which isn't just a new Kia vehicle, but the start of a whole new Kia – one filled with electric powertrains, and higher prices.

But it starts here, and with this, the Kia EV6, which is a close sibling of Hyundai's equally brand-defining Ioniq 5.

It's new, it's exciting, and there's already a waiting list as long as your arm for it in Australia.  So let's not waste time, shall we? Let's go figure out exactly what we're dealing with here.

Safety rating
Engine Type
Fuel TypeElectric
Fuel Efficiency—L/100km
Seating5 seats

Cupra Ateca

Meet the new Cupra Ateca. Actually, scratch that. Meet the new Cupra, the VW Group's Spanish performance brand that will be launching in Australia around the middle of this year.

Picture a pyramid, and then put VW at the top of it. Bottom left you've got Skoda, a brand that prides itself on practicality and clever features. Bottom right you've got Cupra, which promises to be the fun, sporty and energetic cousin, and to focus on performance, electrified or otherwise. But both are fed from Volkswagen.

Make sense?

The Ateca, then, is a nearly Tiguan-sized SUV that will launch in one hi-po trim level, and a significantly lower starting price than its better-known, R-badged relative.

It also promises to marry family duties with a fun-to-drive attitude. So how does it measure up?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.8L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Kia EV68/10

At first glance, the EV6 deserves its many accolades, and its lengthy – and growing – waiting list.

Part spacious, family friendly cruiser, part potent and pretty sporty weekender, it sits in both camps comfortable, and performs both roles admirably.

Honestly, it's the kind of EV that will encourage more people to make the all-electric switch. And that can only be a good thing.


Cupra Ateca7.6/10

It's a racetrack taste test rather than a comprehensive road drive, but there's plenty to like about the Cupra Ateca, which fulfils its brief of injecting a little driving fun into the SUV space. The only question is whether its sportiness will be too sporty for your day-to-day, but for that, you'll have to wait and see.

CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.

 

Design

Kia EV68/10

The EV6 is destined to be constantly compared to the Ioniq 5, but which one looks better is a matter entirely for you. One thing is certain, though - the two sure look different.

Bizarrely, the EV6 is actually considered a large SUV (based solely on its dimensions), but it sure doesn't look like one. In GT-Line spec, especially, it cuts a handsome on-road figure, with its wide-and-low front end, raked-style roofline and fat-bottom rear-end - accentuated by the cool light bar that stretches from brake light to brake light.

It kind of looks hard to classify, too. Part swollen hatchback, part coupe-style SUV, and entirely different to most everything in the Kia family.

The real highlight is the cabin experience, both front and back. Kia's twin-screen set-up looks clean and modern, but you don't have to rely on it to control the car's key functions. Instead, an active bar below with a dial at each end controls the air-con, or the stereo, depending on which you're using.

The eco materials that span the dash feel high-quality to the touch, as do the seat materials, and the entire experience feels modern and new.

Downsides? The cabin in the EV6 Air is a noticeable downgrade (reminder, it's a $68k entry-level model), with lesser materials and design flourishes. And I know this is going to sound petty, but the use of Kia's traditional graphics and fonts simply don't do the new screens justice.


Cupra Ateca7/10

Cupra talks about its born-in-Barcelona design inspiration, but you can still see plenty of VW in the Ateca's side profile. But that's no bad thing, with the Cupra managing to look both polished and performance focused, but without looking like it's trying too hard.

The big change is in the front-end treatment, with a smaller centre grille that houses the Cupra badge (which looks a bit like a fox, and a bit like the Decepticon badge from Transformers, but which was actually "modelled on the attitude of tribal civilisations.")

The cool DRL designs, the two-tonne bronzed alloys and the quad exhaust tips all point a pretty strong picture of performance here, and for mine, the Ateca cuts a handsome figure.

Inside, though, it definitely feels a little less premium than modern VW products, with a greater use of hard plastics, and last-gen air-con and media controls, which – if you've driven the new Golf, for example – feel a little old-school by comparison.

Practicality

Kia EV68/10

It's pretty practical in the cabin, a little less so in the boot. Simple.

The EV6 is a sizeable beast, riding on the Hyundai Group's E-GMP platform and stretching 4695mm in length, 1890mm in width and 1550mm in height, and it rides on a big 2900mm wheelbase – all of which is good news for cabin space.

The front seats are spacious and airy, but the big win is for backseat riders, where there was miles of leg-room behind my 175cm driving position, and , thanks to the lack of a tunnel, enough room for three passengers. The raked roofline does impact headroom a little. Not enough to trouble me, mind, but perhaps taller people might find it a little tight.

More numbers? Kia reckons the EV6 will tow 1600kg braked, and 750kg unbraked, with a 100kg downball. Cleverly, the EV6 will automatically detect the weight of the trailer, and then adjust your range estimate accordingly.

There are some slight quirks in the cabin, though. I counted four USB-C connections - two in the front, and two in the sides of the front seats for rear passengers - but the only port that allows you to access Apple CarPlay is the sole USB-A connection. Which means, if you use a new iPhone and MacBook, then you'll be packing an older-style cord just to connect your phone to the car.

A wireless connection would solve that, of course, but it's missing from the EV6 inclusion list, though there is a wireless charge pad.

I do love the traditional house-style power point for backseat riders, which means you can run bigger laptops or gadgets, and I love the external V2L port in the GT-Line which allows you to power your campsite, or even trickle-charge someone else's EV. There's the usual array of cupholders and bottle holders, too.

Open the boot and you'll find a wide space that will swallow between 480 and 490L of cargo, depending on your trim level. It's joined by a frunk (or froot?) storage space under the bonnet that will store another 52L in rear-drive variants, or 20L in the twin-motor GT-Line.


Cupra Ateca8/10

The Ateca measures 4386mm in length, 1599mm in height and 1841mm in width, and there is some 485 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, and a substantial 1579 litres with the back pews folded flat.

It's a strong back-seat story here, too, with ample leg and headroom, individual device charging ports, and a pull-down seat divider that houses two cupholders.

There are two more upfront, as well as storage in every door, along with the ISOFIX attachment points in each window seat in the back.

Now it must be said that our test was conducted on a racetrack, with limited laps, no on-road driving, and no chance to fill the vehicle with passengers or baggage, so for a full practicality play-by-play, you'll have to wait until we get the Ateca through the CarsGuide office for a more comprehensive test.

Price and features

Kia EV68/10

When it comes to EVs, pricing is comparative, and bargains are relative, which is my convoluted way of saying the near-$70k asking price for the cheapest EV6 actually isn't quite as steep as it sounds.

You can get into a Polestar2 for less money, or a Tesla Model 3, but the pricing here has been more closely modelled on what is expected from the Tesla Model Y.

The EV6 arrives in Australia in two trim levels - the entry-level Air ($67,990) and the GT-Line ($74,990 RWD, $82,990 AWD) - and all share the same battery and platform, but with differing levels of performance and range.

The Air rides on 19-inch alloys, gets LED headlights and taillights, flush-fitting door handles and power folding mirrors. In the cabin, you get a round gear selector, paddle shifters (that actually control the regen-braking), part vegan leather seats, LED interior lighting and a clever V2L power point that helps keep devices topped up.

On-board tech is handled by twin 12.3-inch curved displays, and there's dual-zone climate, on-board navigation, wireless phone charging and USB charging.

Step up to the EV6 GT-Line and you'll get bigger, 20-inch alloys, and you get the GT-Line body kit with an external V2L power point. The seats are trimmed in suede and vegan leather, there's a stainless steel luggage sill, and you get Active Sound Design that allows you to dial up or down the driving soundtrack.

You then add an augmented-reality Head-Up Display, a 14-speaker Meridian sound system, a smart tailgate, a more advanced version of Kia's Remote Smart Park Assist, a heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated front seats - which also have a leaned-back relaxation mode for when you're recharging.

Kia also homologated a smaller (which means cheaper) battery version of the EV6 for Australia, but with the brand holding some 25,000 registrations of interest, and with only around 500 vehicles to be delivered this year, there's little chance of them adding it anytime soon. If you want an EV6 now, then it will be one of these ones.


Cupra Ateca8/10

Cupra describes itself as an "unconventional challenger brand", and it essentially sits below the mainstream VW line-up, with cheaper pricing and a focus on fun over finery.

So the Ateca – which is about the same size and offers similar outputs to the Tiguan R – lists at $60,990, or $65,990 drive-away, which is significantly cheaper than the VW product, which lists at $68,990 before on-road costs, or – according to Volkswagen's website – $77,279 drive-away for a NSW shopper.

Interestingly, Cupra has launched an agency model in Australia, which means you buy the vehicles from the brand itself, with the transition occurring online and for a fixed price with no negotiation, rather than from a dealer.

The Ateca might not deliver quite the same grunt as VW's R product, but that's a significant saving. Oh, and metallic paint is free, too – as is servicing for the first three years – which means more savings.

So what do you get? The Ateca arrives in a single VZx trim level, and outside you'll find 19-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting front and rear, roof rails, a powered boot, quad exhaust exits, auto headlights and keyless entry and start.

Inside, there's three-zone climate, blue leather-wrapped sports seats that are heated in the front, wireless charging for your devices and ambient interior lighting.

You're well served for tech, too, with the VW Group's 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit, a 9.2-inch centre screen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that works wirelessly as well as when you plug in, a nine-speaker (plus sub) Beats sound system, as well as Dynamic Chassis Control and custom driving modes - including full-attack Cupra mode.

Engine & trans

Kia EV68/10

All models get an 800-volt architecture and a 77.4kWh "Long Range" battery, but you do have to choose between one (RWD) or two (AWD) motors.

The Air and the GT-Line RWD are powered by a single electric motor at the rear axle, good for 168kW, 350Nm and a 7.3-second dash to 100km/h.

 The GT-Line AWD adds a second electric motor, and produces a total 239kW and 605Nm - enough to deliver a sprint to 100km/h in just 5.2 seconds.


Cupra Ateca8/10

Right, so the Ateca's 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine produces 221kW and 400Nm, which is slightly less than the 235kW and 400Nm generated by the new Tiguan R.

But the Cupra is faster, knocking off the sprint to 100km/h in 4.9secs compared to the VW's  5.1secs – and it feels plenty quick from the driver's seat with your foot pinned to the floor.

That power is fed through a seven-speed DSG, with AWD standard fit on the Ateca.  

Fuel consumption

Kia EV6

Energy consumption here is measured in Wh/km, and the Air needs 165, the GT-Line RWD requires 172 and the GT-Line AWD needs 180. More commonly, we state these in kWh/100km, because that's what is more understandable. Thankfully, the maths is easy: Air - 16.5kWh/100km; GT-Line RWD - 17.2kWh/100km; GT-Line AWD - 18.0kWh/100km.

But what does that actually mean? Well, the Air will give you the best driving range, at a claimed 528km between charges. Interestingly, the GT-Line RWD shares the same battery and motor, but will travel 24km less, at 504km. Finally, the GT-Line AWD will travel 484km between charges.

When it does come time to plug in, Kia reckons a 50kW charger will take you from 10-80 per cent in around one hour and 13 minutes. A 350kW charger will do the same in around 18 minutes. Using an at-home wall box will take you to full in around 11 hours.


Cupra Ateca7/10

Cupra is yet to reveal official fuel figures for the Ateca in Australia, but international guides claim an 8.9-9.5L/100km figure on the WLTP cycle.

That's not a small number, and it's one that will no doubt be made worse if you drive it the way you're almost certainly going to drive it, but such is the price of performance.

The Ateca will also demand 98RON fuel, which will sting at the bowser, too.

Driving

Kia EV68/10

The mark of a sorted car is often how well it hides its size and weight. Some vehicles seem bigger from behind the wheel, but the good ones seem to shrink around you.

The EV6, then, is definitely in the "good ones" camp. Despite lugging two-tonne-plus with it wherever it goes, it somehow manages to feel constantly eager, mostly lithe and impressively sorted.

Yes, there are moments when the weight makes itself known (especially on the outside-front tyres when you're getting carried away in corners), but most of the time it's up to you to remember you're driving something pretty big and heavy, and to adjust your brake points accordingly.

Helping massively in that department is the rich flow of power generated by the EV6's electric motor, or motors. We took on a whole heap of roads and conditions, and never discovered any kind of flat spot in the power delivery, with the EV6 happy to keep accumulating speed in a refreshingly quiet and dignified manner.

I would argue that, for most people, most of the time, the single-motor models produce more than enough grunt for everyday driving. Not lighting fast, perhaps, but the power delivery feels so constant, so plentiful, that you never feel like you're really stretching its limits.

Yes, the AWD GT-Line is more fun powering out of corners, but it's also more to think about as your barreling towards one, too, with speed arriving pretty quickly whenever you plant your right foot.

There are no ludicrous modes or anything like that — just a rich seam of power ready to be mined when you need it. And for mine, it's a better car for it.

What is fun, though, is the Sport Mode, which doesn't just unlock more power (which is super noticeable when you swap from Normal to Sport with your foot flat), but also a much louder Jetson's style soundtrack.

Praise must once again be heaped on Kia's localisation program. We piloted some seriously dodgy road surfaces, and it's only the really major imperfections that make themselves known in the cabin.

The steering, however, isn't as brilliant. It's not terrible, either, it just doesn't feel all that linear, and it's super-sharp when you first turn the wheel, which can actually catch you off guard, before becoming a little more vague as the corner continues.

Honestly, I had just jumped out of another brand's hybrid before climbing into the EV6, and the all-electric drive was a much smoother and satisfying experience all around.


Cupra Ateca8/10

Choosing to launch your new SUV on one of Australia's fastest racetracks shows either supreme confidence or bewildering foolhardiness, but in this instance, it was also a necessity.

See, Cupra is mere months away from official launch now, with orders for launch editions to open in May, and the only vehicles the brand could secure for its media preview were brought in from New Zealand, and unable to be driven on public roads.

And so Sydney Motorsport Park would play host to our first experience behind the wheel of the Ateca, and after only a handful of flying laps it was beginning to feel like a masterstroke.

This is not your average family SUV, and any vehicle in which you can drop the kids at school before clipping 200km/h-plus down the main straight of your closest race track is something to be celebrated.

The downside is that it's next to impossible to tell you what the Ateca is going to be like on your local streets, or whether the sporty suspension is going to be firm enough to shake the hairs loose from your head should encounter some questionable road surfaces.

But I can safely report that the power is prodigious, the steering smooth and confidence inspiring, and the AWD grip impressive in both tight and high-speed bends.

But perhaps the most surprising thing about the Ateca is its ability to feel both planted and agile in dynamic driving situations, with the SUV feeling altogether more stable than the smaller Cupra Leon, and hanging onto the tarmac in corners with more tenacity than the 140kW Cupra Formentor.

On first blush, engagement and enthusiasm are standard fit here, and that's likely no bad thing no matter what your daily commute looks like.

Safety

Kia EV68/10

The safety story here starts with driver and passenger airbags, along with front-side, curtain and a centre-side airbag.

The Air then adds clever stuff like a reverse camera, AEB, blind-spot collision with rear cross-traffic alert, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Following Assist, multi-collision braking, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise with speed limit assistance, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The GT-Line models build on that again, adding a Blind Spot View Monitor, a 3D surround-view camera and powered child locks.

No ANCAP rating yet, but Kia will adopt the European crash scores in its bid for a five-star rating.


Cupra Ateca8/10

The Cupra Ateca arrives with a swag bag of advanced safety kit – helped, no doubt, by only launching with one top-tier model – as well as the expected stuff like airbags (there are seven), and the traction and braking aids.

Expect active cruise control, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, side and exit assist systems, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree parking camera.

On the road, functions like Lane Assist will help keep you between the lines, Travel Assist provides freeway autonomy, while a fatigue monitor will tell you if you're getting tired behind the wheel.

The Cupra Ateca is yet to be ANCAP crash tested.

Ownership

Kia EV68/10

Have you heard EVs are cheaper to service than ICE cars? They are.

The EV6 is covered by Kia's seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with its "high-voltage" bits covered for the same time, but the kilometres are capped at 150,000km. The battery, by the way, is guaranteed to maintain 70 per cent capacity at the seven-year mark.

Servicing costs are pretty impressive, with Kia inviting owners to pre-pay their maintenance costs for three years at $594, five years at $1089 package, or  $1584 for seven years. That comes out at around $226 per year.


Cupra Ateca7/10

Cupra are trying to minimise the stress here, so the Ateca wears a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with three years of complementary servicing built into the purchase price, with five-year packs also available to purchase.