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Kia EV6
$72,590 - $87,590
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Kia EV6 VS Kia Sportage

$32,445 - $52,370

Kia EV6


Kia Sportage

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

Kia Sportage

Kia is on a roll with its SUV line-up. The Stonic light SUV is selling like hotcakes, the Seltos small SUV is hugely popular with long wait lists for higher grades and the large seven-seat Sorento has won a lot of praise from reviewers.

That means there’s a bit of pressure on the new-generation Sportage that just landed in showrooms.

Medium SUVs represent one of the biggest market segments in the country by sales, and with impressive rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Escape, to name a few, any missteps by Kia will be noticed.

The flagship Kia Sportage GT-Line diesel certainly has show-stopping looks, but is there more substance to the Korean contender?

Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.2L/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.


Kia Sportage9/10

Kia has upped its game with the new Sportage, especially in this circa-$50,000 part of the segment. It is absolutely packed with comfort, tech and safety features and it’s hard to beat when it comes to value. The fact that it offers such an engaging drive experience is a bonus, and a credit to the local team. Look out Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, the new-gen Sportage may just be the new dynamic pick of the segment.

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.


Kia Sportage

There sure is. Kia has been known for strong design for some time now, thanks in large part to a brand transformation led by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer a little over a decade ago.

The third-generation Sportage from 2010 was a game-changer for Kia, with its modern design helping elevate the brand in Australia. The fourth-gen version from 2015 built on that with a much sharper take on Kia’s design language, but the latest model takes it to a whole new level.

Based on Kia’s new 'Opposites United' design language, the new Sportage is undeniably modern, almost radically so, and it makes many of its rivals look staid. To say the Sportage received a lot of attention during our week driving it would be an understatement.

The boldest design elements are up front. The gloss black grille graphic introduces a new take on Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, which is surrounded by very cool boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights that hug the LED headlights.

A darkened D-pillar treatment, bulging rear shoulder line, appealing LED tail-light design, rear tailgate spoiler and sexy 19-inch machined alloy wheels cap off the Sportage’s striking look.

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.


Kia Sportage

Kia has been kicking serious goals lately when it comes to interior design, comfort and materials. The Sorento is a stellar example of thoughtful and appealing design. Thankfully, the Sportage follows suit.

As is often the case, particularly with Kia and sister brand Hyundai, the higher grades make the entry-level models look like stripped out, bargain basement offerings.

While the Sportage GT-Line has high-end fittings and a massive connected screen, the base Sportage S has none of the fancy tech, a budget screen and it’s missing armrests and more.

However, we are assessing the GT-Line so best to compare with similar rivals.

There’s a lot to like in the cabin, from the soft-touch materials on the dash, to the gloss black and lovely grey woodgrain inserts. There’s no mistaking this for anything but the top-spec model.

Thank goodness for the digital air con controls that sit between the screen and console. You don’t have to fumble through a menu on a screen like some models.

The nicely laid out centre console houses a drive mode selector, seat heating and cooling controls, gear dial (don’t love) two sizeable cup holders you can convert into one big space, and a gear shifter dial instead of the lever found in lower grades.

Kia’s well-designed three-spoke leather-appointed steering wheel houses clear controls and it feels nice to touch.

Cool retro-looking air vents sit on either side of the main screen, which is curved. Actually, it’s two 12.3-inch screens side by side, seamlessly integrated. It’s an interesting approach from Kia, and it works.

The instruments are clear and configurable to show different vehicle information, but it lacks a head-up display. Kia might think it doesn’t require one, but it wouldn’t go astray.

Kia’s multimedia system is a winner. It’s intuitive, simple to navigate and the graphics and icons are modern and visually appealing. Every single one of Kia’s Japanese rivals, except maybe Mazda, take note.

Connecting the phone to Bluetooth is quick and easy and there were no connection issues with the wired Apple CarPlay. Hopefully Kia and Hyundai add wireless CarPlay to higher grade models soon. Many entry grades have the wireless set-up.

Storage-wise a phone fits neatly in to the wireless charging slot that has a sliding cover, and the central bin has enough room but it’s not huge. Same goes for the glove box.

Door bottle storage is tight up front and we couldn’t get thicker bottles in there.

The perforated leather-appointed front seats with synthetic suede look lovely and offer great upper body support, but could to with more under-thigh bolstering. Regardless, they are very comfortable.

Kia has stretched the new Sportage by 175mm in length compared to the old one, which has added 80mm to the wheelbase, and it shows. The second row is so much more spacious than the model it replaced. There’s plenty of toe, knee and legroom and the panoramic sunroof has no impact on headroom back there, even for my six-foot (183cm) frame.

Conveniences back there include lower air vents, two USB-C ports on the rear of the front seats, map pockets on both sides, a storage nook under the vents, a coat hanger hook on the seat backs and a very handy slot for a phone or tablet in the back of the front headrests. Oddly, bottles slot in to the doors more easily in the rear.

Rear seats have some upper body bucketing and are quite comfortable. The centre armrest folds down with two cupholders and the backrests recline. The 60/40 seats can be lowered easily via levers in the boot and they fold close to flat.

It has a full-sized spare wheel under the boot floor and shopping back hooks. With the rear seats up it can swallow 543 litres – more than the old one – and 1829L with the second row stowed. That’s more than the new Mitsubishi Outlander and slightly more than the Toyota RAV4.

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.


Kia Sportage

The GT-Line turbo-diesel all-wheel drive represents the flagship of the Sportage range. The diesel adds a $3000 premium over the turbo-petrol GT-Line and is priced at $52,370 before on-road costs.

Kia might have shed the cheap and cheerful brand image in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the company has dropped its focus on value-for-money.

As the highest model grade, the GT-Line features niceties like eight-way power front seats, leather-appointed seats with artificial suede, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, alloy sports pedals, an ambient lighting package, wireless phone charging, woodgrain trim, an eight-speaker Harmon Kardon premium sound system, and a curved digital display that combines two 12.3-inch screens – one for multimedia and one for instruments.

The GT-Line is so well equipped that the only available option is premium paint ($520) which was fitted to our test car in striking ‘Vesta Blue’, bringing the total cost to $52,890.

The Sportage competes for sales against a strong list of rivals, including a model that shares its platform and powertrain – the Hyundai Tucson Highlander AWD diesel ($52,000).

Other similarly positioned medium SUVs include the Ford Escape Vignale petrol AWD ($49,590), Honda CR-V VTi LX petrol AWD ($53,200), Mazda CX-5 Akera diesel AWD ($52,580), Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer petrol AWD ($49,990), Subaru Forester S hybrid AWD ($47,190), Toyota RAV4 Cruiser hybrid AWD ($46,415) and Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance diesel AWD ($53,290).

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.


Kia Sportage

This Sportage GT-Line is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine pumping out 137kW of power at 4000rpm and 416Nm of torque at 2000-2750rpm.

In terms of outputs, it matches its mechanical twin, the Tucson, and it’s roughly in line with the VW Tiguan (147kW/400Nm), but it’s slightly down on the Mazda CX-5 2.2-litre diesel’s 140kW/450Nm.

All diesel Sportage grades come with all-wheel drive as standard and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

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.


Kia Sportage

According to Kia’s figures, the Sportage diesel consumes 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

We ended our week of testing with 8.9L/100km, which is considerably more than the official claim. Granted, it was a week of very mixed driving – freeway, heavy traffic, inner city and back road testing – so you’d likely get better results in a less erratic week.

The Sportage emits 163g/km of CO2 and has a 54-litre fuel tank.

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.


Kia Sportage

There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the previous Sportage, but it was middle of the pack when it came to dynamics and overall driver engagement.

While I can only speak for the flagship GT-Line diesel here, it’s safe to say the new model represents a big improvement over the outgoing car.

Quite conveniently, I spent the week prior to the Sportage with the Hyundai Tucson Highlander diesel – the direct equivalent to the Sportage tested here.

While I found very little wrong with the Tucson, it lacked a level of driver engagement that gives a car that fun factor.

Despite the two models sharing so much of their underpinnings, the Kia manages to offer that playful dynamism lacking in the Tucson.

To start, the turbo-diesel engine is more responsive in the Sportage, even though the two have identical outputs. There’s a hint of turbo lag, but the Kia delivers its power and torque in a more linear manner.

This responsiveness comes in handy during daily driving around town, but it’s also useful if you need to overtake on a highway.

Steering is heavy even at low speeds and it feels like it pulls back to centre when turning. It could be a little looser on that front, but it’s direct when required.

One of the reasons for the more engaging driving characteristics is Kia’s local ride and handling program. The Sportage has been tuned by locals for local conditions and the team generally does an exceptional job.

The Tucson didn’t get the usual rigorous local tune from Hyundai’s specialists and that’s given the Sportage the edge.

It feels more planted to the road and given its GT-Line badge, it’s been tuned for more enthusiastic driving.

The Sportage doesn't skip on loose edges, even when cornering, and it remains remarkably flat through the twisty stuff.

The eight-speed auto does a good job for the most part, shifting smoothly, but it occasionally hunts for gears when the engine is pushed hard.

The ride quality also impresses. The Sportage is not bothered by speed bumps in urban areas or potholes. The 235/55 R19 tyres have a decent sidewall and help soak up these bumps.

Despite some noticeable road and tyre noise on coarse chip roads, the cabin has a good level of insulation and is generally hushed. The diesel isn’t as agricultural as some, too, so that helps with noise levels. And there was no vibration detected through the steering wheel.

One gripe is that the auto wipers are all but useless. Even when they are on the highest auto setting, they just don’t seem to detect the rain and you have to engage it manually.

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.


Kia Sportage

All Sportage variants come standard with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, multi-collision braking, a safe exit warning, driver attention alert, speed sign recognition and a rear occupant alert.

The GT-Line adds a surround-view monitor, blind spot view monitor and reverse parking collision avoidance assist. 

It is yet to be tested by ANCAP.

Kia’s driver assistance features are well calibrated, with the lane keep assist centring the vehicle between line markings for the most part, and the latest adaptive cruise control proving that it is more intuitive, and, as a result, much smoother, than the system Kia uses in older models like the Cerato.

You have to opt out of the lane keeping aid every time you start the car, and the reverse parking collision avoidance assist can be a little over-zealous if it detects passing cars or even a bush during urban parking manoeuvres, but aside from that the whole set-up is top notch.

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.


Kia Sportage

The Sportage comes with Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre factory warranty, and free roadside assistance for one year.

It’s also covered by a seven-year capped-price servicing program that will cost approximately $3500 over the seven-year period. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km.