Electrifying: Kia EV6 is an almost perfect blend of function and design
Why the new Kia EV6 lands directly at the top of our list as one of the most easy-to-live-with electric cars
The Kia EV6 arrives decked in glory, considered one of the best electric vehicles on the market. Much like its sister car, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, with which it shares its platform, it represents that relatively rare thing: a mainstream manufacturer stepping out of its aesthetic comfort zone to make the most of new technology.
We’ve heralded the Hyundai/Kia design revival many times, but the EV6 is a chance to experience it in the flesh. The EV6 was born out of the expectations that come with the following established niches like sedans, wagons, hatchbacks and SUVs. Instead, it’s a ‘crossover’, a sort of middle ground between all body types that allows for the best of all worlds without committing to any particular shape.
At around 4.7m long, it’s not the biggest vehicle on the road, but it fills its entire footprint and therefore feels a bit larger than it actually is.
Crossovers work particularly well for electric vehicles thanks to the lack of packaging restrictions; the “skateboard” style battery and motor are basically a blank slate on which any body style can be added.
The long wheelbase and flat floor contribute to the car’s spacious and airy interior, but Kia’s design team has managed to treat the exterior with a rarely found panache. Unlike the sharp edges and creases of the Ioniq 5, the EV6 is a much smoother design.
The front end is particularly accomplished, transitioning to a grilleless face that doesn’t look like a masked version of a regular car, with a short, curvaceous bonnet leading into the cabin. At the rear, the body lifts to create a pinch point at the C-pillar, with the chrome detail at the sill rising before it hits the rear wheel and blending seamlessly into the light strip full-width rear. This in turn forms the crest of the integral rear spoiler.
The overall effect is neat and thoughtful, making the whole car a cohesive and uncompromising design.
The dashboard of the EV6 successfully combines avant-garde forms and simple functionalism. Mixing touchscreens with analog controls is a now familiar approach for many manufacturers, with steering wheel buttons doing much of the work without the driver having to bend over to reach the screen. A head-up display with augmented reality navigation arrows completes the package, giving the EV6 the same core capabilities as the Mercedes EQS, a car that is firmly placed in the luxury segment.
The EV6 is futuristic, but not overdone. A large rotary controller selects gear, as in many conventional automatics, and beyond the quiet rush of the electric powertrain, there’s nothing here to scare off the dwindling number of electrophobes.
Kia’s EV6 is a very complete package, but it’s the little details that make the biggest difference. One of them is the highly accurate range display. Many EVs don’t help their cause by offering overly optimistic predictions of how far you can travel on a single charge. Kia says the most efficient EV6 model will travel around 328 miles and is fully compatible with the fastest charging systems. Anxiety always keeps us from pushing this to the limit, but it was rewarding to see the car feel naturally downbeat, with miles stubbornly refusing to roll away.
As with all electric vehicles, less is more, so turning off things like cabin heating and air conditioning can make a big difference. The EV6 lets you kill the heat with a single button, instantly delivering a jump in available range. It also features adaptable levels of regenerative braking, allowing for easy one-pedal riding and the endless satisfaction of seeing your kinetic energy converted back into range. The EV6 is one of the most consistent cars on the market, inside and out.
Recently awarded the European Car of the Year award, as well as the “Best of the Best” award at the Red Dot Design Awards 2022, the Kia EV6 sits directly at the top of our list as one of the most electric cars. easy going. . If you still think owning an EV should come with a huge performance bonus, a 585bhp high-performance GT variant is in the works. §