Kia EV6 long-term test review: report 1
We rate this electric SUV so highly that we named it Car of the Year. But does it continue to impress when you live with it every day?...
The car Kia EV6 RWD GT-Line Run by Allan Muir, managing editor
Why we’re running it To see whether the EV6 can live up to its status as our reigning Car of the Year and cement its place among the very best electric cars
Needs to Deliver on the promise of a long range and ultra-fast charging, while being comfortable and good to drive
Mileage 677 List price £44,695 Target Price £44,695 Price as tested £45,370 Options fitted Yacht Blue metallic paint (£675) Test range 285 miles Official range 328 miles
26 May 2022 – Welcome to the big league
If anyone is still inclined to look down their nose at anything with a Kia badge on the bonnet, they must be terrible snobs and I feel quite sorry for them, because they’re denying themselves some genuinely excellent cars.
Since the mid-Noughties, Kia has been working its socks off to build its brand image in Europe, and it has done so by introducing a string of new models that are not only fine value for money but also (mostly) look good, feature cutting-edge technology and deliver in key areas such as comfort, quality and practicality. This led to the brand’s e-Niro SUV making history by being the first electric vehicle (EV) to win our overall Car of the Year award in 2019. And to prove that this was no fluke, the brand’s latest electric SUV, the EV6, walked off with the same award this year.
If a recommendation like that isn’t enough to make me want to run an EV6, its specification provides compelling reasons as well. For starters, this RWD GT-Line version (which means it’s rear-wheel drive with a single 226bhp motor and in mid-range trim – our favourite) offers an official range of up to 328 miles, thanks to a generous-sized 77.4kWh battery. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of other electric cars that can go farther between charges – and some of them cost more than twice as much. On top of that, the EV6 has the ability to top up extremely rapidly: 10-80% in as little as 18 minutes.
Public chargers that can dispense power at the EV6’s peak rate of 239kW or more aren’t yet plentiful in the UK, but all of this is still music to my ears. Even if the EV6’s real-world range is ‘only’ in the 280 to 300-mile bracket, that’s still much farther than I’ve been able to go in any of the other electric cars I’ve run before and well into Tesla territory.
It may be classed as an electric SUV, but I'd describe the EV6 as a cross between an SUV and an executive car. It isn’t as tall as a regular SUV, but when you see it in the metal, you realise just how large and imposing it is. You don’t sit notably high behind the steering wheel, but neither do you flop down into the seat when you get in, like you would in a regular saloon.
In GT-Line trim, the EV6 comes generously equipped, with heated front seats and steering wheel, electric front seat adjustment, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, full LED headlights and adaptive cruise control. As with most new Kias, there are barely any options to choose from; you have to move up to a higher trim if you want more goodies. I’ve gone for Yacht Blue paint (£675) and that’s it.
Considering its specification, the fact that the RWD GT-Line costs a reasonable £44,675 is doubly impressive. That makes it slightly more affordable than the equivalent Hyundai Ioniq 5 and considerably cheaper than the Audi Q4 e-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range and Tesla Model Y. Apart from the closely related Ioniq 5, its closest competition on price and range probably comes from the Volkswagen ID.4.
First impressions are that the EV6’s interior is not only incredibly spacious, especially in the rear seats, but also looks striking and feels higher in quality than you might expect. The only slight question mark at this stage is over the driving position; the seat base isn’t all that generous in size, and I have to set the steering wheel a bit too high in order to see the top of the instrument panel. I don’t imagine these things will be a problem, though.
On the move, the EV6 feels quick (though not Tesla quick) and noticeably quieter than the Volkswagen ID.3 I ran previously. Meanwhile, the ride is on the firm side, but thankfully it doesn’t seem uncomfortable. And the range: wow. Even at this early stage, it’s looking really impressive.
The arrival of my EV6 is something of a watershed moment for me. I feel like a football player who, after years of toiling away in the lower divisions, suddenly finds himself signed to a top Premier League club, and I could hardly be more excited. Let the games commence…
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