Honor where credit is due. Drive away, fill up fast, push easily: the combustion engine has more than enough reason to have so many requirements. Even current electrical noise can do little to change that. For many applications, it is simply the most logical choice because it is more practical. But Kia (and thus Hyundai as well) is holding up strong for now. And not in the luxury class, where there is no doubt that cars can be good, but in the size segment. If you can talk about the size. Because while Hyundai’s sister model, the Ionic 5, one of Switzerland’s best-selling electric cars, is growing in size, the Kia EV6, with 94 units replaced so far in the first quarter, is somewhere under “also ran.”
However, you can’t say that the EV6 is hiding in the lower levels, because hiding is not a real thing. Its appearance alone, which has nothing in common with the sunflower that Kia sees so often, warrants that. One could argue whether the body shape of the SUV coupe is really the last word. One thing is clear: in the case of electric cars, it is less important if the problem of using space is intelligently solved. And these are in the EV6. The length of the car is 4.68 meters and its wheelbase is 2.9 meters, which means short overhangs. And with the battery located in the lower part of the chassis and the motors on the axles, the passenger compartment can be made equally spacious. A look at the data sheet reveals a loading volume of only 1,300 liters, which is somewhat surprising, since the car does not feel anything but restrained.
The space in the back is particularly impressive. Even with the front seats fully retracted, there’s still enough legroom for the rear seats to be reasonably comfortable. The Cardan Tunnel, which no longer exists, still creates some space in the rear seats. Due to the sloping roof and raised floor – due to the battery – long-distance comfort for adults in the rear seats is limited because the legs are high and there is little contact with the surface. The box is also surprisingly small, which makes room only for charging cables, although there is enough space under the hood.
But the visual deflection that Kia achieved with the EV6 is even more noticeable indoors. Diffusion of different materials, colors and plastics has been processed and reduced to a harmonious mixture of materials. This also benefits the environmental conscience: leather covers are supplemented with plastic fibers from recycled PET bottles.
The number of buttons has also been reduced – so much so that the heating and air conditioning controls are located on the same touchpad as the infotainment buttons. The button is used to set whether the rotary control adjusts the temperature or the volume. Is this the last word of wisdom? Probably not, but it’s definitely more fun than torturing yourself through what look like seven sub-menus on a touchscreen before you can set the temperature. In the EV6, this is even more useful because the touchscreen is too far from the driver to be comfortable to use. The EV6 also offers a head-up display, which promises to offer augmented reality functionality. However, this has nothing to do with what German competition understands through augmented reality.
In return, Koreans get a head start where that really matters. The Group’s E-GMP platform batteries operate at 800V instead of the 400V that are familiar in the size segment, providing a whole host of advantages. The most obvious is the possibility of charging up to 240 kW, which so far has been surpassed only by the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT (on the J1 platform). However, German models are difficult to compare with the EV6, as they easily cost two to three times as much. Another advantage of higher voltages is that the currents in the car are lower and thin cables are sufficient. This saves weight and materials. Kia sets a charging time of 18 minutes from ten to 80 percent, which corresponds to about 20 kilometers per minute with a larger 77.4 kWh battery.
In practice, it has proven that there is still a great deal of optimism implied in these statements. Maximum charging power is achieved only under ideal conditions, and this rarely happens. This is due to the software, which does not allow to schedule high-performance charging pauses and bring the battery to the optimal charging temperature in advance. It is annoying that the navigation software does not plan smart routes and automatically schedules charging stops when necessary. The fact that the Kia is slipping on this point of all things is even more gruesome, because that’s the only way to take advantage of the cool feature of fast charging. However, Kia is said to be already working on an update to address this shortcoming and give the Stromer’s flagship the lead it deserves. Because the range is quite decent: it should be 527 kilometers according to WLTP, in practice it was more like 450 kilometers in mixed traffic and 330 when driving exclusively on the highway. The Kia EV6 has a very good record consumption of 16.4 kWh / 100 km. Depending on the equipment, a heat pump is either included or provided at an additional cost.
So far, Kia has offered four different engines for the EV6: rear-wheel drive with 125 kW (170 hp) or 168 kW (229 hp) and all-wheel drive with 173 kW (235 hp) or 239 kW (325 hp). The EV6 GT will follow at the beginning of 2023, fighting the Porsche Taycan with 430 kW (585 hp) and 740 Nm. In testing we had the Légère variant with rear-wheel drive and 229 hp.
This already impressively proves the power of the EV6 engine – despite only 229 horsepower and 350 Nm. And that’s one thing above all: driving pleasure. It takes 7.3 seconds to reach 100 km / h. With an unladen weight of just under two tons, the EV6 is nearly lightweight for an electric vehicle in its class. There is still a tendency to squeeze the front axle – until the electronic stability program (ESP) of the regulation intervenes. In Sport mode, however, a controlled drift back can easily be provoked with a blast of gas, as the Corrie demonstrated at the Lignières NE circuit. The three driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) can be selected on the steering wheel; They fundamentally change the characteristics of the throttle.
Incidentally, the brake response can be switched from normal to sporty via the vehicle’s settings on the central touchscreen. The payback force can be adjusted up to one pedal driving through the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. The chassis is sporty and tightly tuned. Especially at low speeds, there are a lot of bumps, and the comfort inside the electric SUV is only moderate. The guidance turned out to be accurate. However, given the solid support, it feels less direct and hardly gives any feedback out of the way.
As usual with Kia, there is already a very wide range of equipment as standard and a clear design at an additional cost with clear options. Several equipment items are already included in the Edition 24 version, such as seat heating in the front and rear, front seat ventilation and a wide range of comfort functions such as electric seat adjustment. An inductive charging base for mobile phones, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (not wireless) are already included in the basic version, as are a full set of safety and assistance systems. The blind spot cam proved practical, but the lane assistant, nervously rocking back and forth between lines, still had some problems.
The base version of the EV6 with a smaller battery of 58 kWh and 170 hp is available at CHF49,950. At least 59,780 francs owed for the 24 version we tested, although the list of extras is short: the Type 2 charging cable was only added for 460 francs. The 580 hp EV6 GT is priced at CHF 76,950.
The test result
Total marks 83.5/ 100
Impressive driving performance, low consumption and high power charging with 240 kW: The Kia EV6’s E-GMP platform takes the car’s electric motor to a new level. What is still missing is the layout of the charging stations in route routing.
The tight tuning provides a sporty feel, but it certainly isn’t for everyone at long distances.
The harmonious combination of materials is a huge step forward for the brand and the space available to the driver and passengers is ample. Extensive comfort equipment.
The complete and wide range of security systems is already included as standard in the basic variant. The adjustable brake response takes a while to get used to.
The big advantage of the EV6 is that there are no endless surcharge lists. Factory warranty seven years.
The Kia EV6 convinces with the well-known strengths of the brand. The Koreans have also proven that advanced electric mobility with long range and fast charging no longer works only in the higher price category, putting competition under pressure.
Our technical data and measured values for this model can be found in the print version and in the electronic sheet of AUTOMOBIL REVUE.