Kia EV6 long-term test
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 5856 List price £48,195 Target Price £48,195 Price as tested £45,370 Test range 248-286 miles Official range 328 miles Dealer price now £46,650 Private price now £41,500 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Electricity £580
19 October 2022 – Ending on a Supercharged note
One thing I wanted to do before I (reluctantly) parted company with my Kia EV6 was to try charging it using a Tesla Supercharger. The brand’s public rapid chargers have a reputation for being fast and reliable, and availability never seems to be a problem, but until this year they’ve been exclusively for the use of Tesla drivers. Now, though, a few of them are available for owners of other electric cars to use, and I was keen to see what all the fuss was about.
So, while passing through Oxfordshire last weekend, I stopped off at the Supercharger site at a retail park in Banbury, just off the M40. At 9am on a Sunday, the place was almost deserted, although I was trailed in by a Jaguar I-Pace.
Because the devices are positioned to suit Teslas (which have their ports on the left rear), the short cable wouldn’t reach the port on the right rear of my EV6, so I had no choice but to use the one in the bay next door to where I was parked. I didn’t feel too bad about this because the place was so quiet (and the I-Pace owner was doing likewise), but I’d have been in trouble if most of the devices were in use.
Getting the charging process going was easy via Tesla’s phone app, but I was disappointed to find that the 250kW device was dispensing electricity at a relatively slow rate of only 42kW and that I was being charged an eye-watering 77 pence per kilowatt hour. I therefore didn’t linger, thinking “Thanks but no thanks” as I continued on my way.
Regardless of how or where I’ve charged it, the EV6 has been exceptionally good to live with, proving significantly more versatile than any of the previous electric cars I’ve run, thanks largely to its generous range. Although it didn’t manage to average the 300 miles plus that I’d been hoping for, the EV6’s range of around 280 miles was still more than enough for all of my everyday use, with each full charge seeming to last for an incredibly long time.
Even on long trips, there was no need to push my luck with the battery’s state of charge or worry about where the next top-up would come from. True, top-ups usually took longer than they should have – but that was only because very few public chargers could get close to delivering the sort of power the EV6 is capable of accepting.
Being able to adjust the regenerative braking (something all electric cars have to harvest energy under deceleration) through several levels, and having a full ‘one pedal’ mode strong enough to bring the car briskly to a standstill when I lifted off the accelerator, was a boon, too, giving me better control over the car’s speed and making me feel more involved in the driving process.
And the EV6 is a car you can really enjoy driving, disguising its weight better than many rivals and feeling well balanced and precise along winding roads. Yes, the ride could be a touch knobbly at low speeds, but on the whole I thought the EV6 struck a near-ideal balance between poise and comfort.
Despite being the least powerful model in the line-up, my single-motor, rear-wheel-drive EV6 was so punchy at any speed that I’d never feel the need to upgrade to the dual-motor, four-wheel-drive version (much less the bonkers-fast Kia EV6 GT).
If I had my time again, though, I would be tempted to upgrade to range-topping GT-Line S trim – mainly for its more convenient door handles. Although my mid-range GT-Line model has keyless entry, I found the manual pop-out door handles awkward to operate, even with familiarity. On the GT-Line S, they pivot out automatically to meet your hand – which really should be the case on all versions.
Other grumbles were few and far between. In an otherwise spacious, well-appointed and very user-friendly interior, the front seats weren’t quite wide enough for someone my size (6ft 1in tall, 90-something kilos), and the steering wheel blocked some of the instrument panel unless I had it set unnaturally high. But despite these small compromises, I still found the driving position comfortable, even on long journeys.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever run a car that has impressed me as much as the EV6, or suited me better. Not only has it been a piece of cake to live with, but I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’d choose one over the ubiquitous Tesla Model 3. Especially now that I know for sure that I don’t need the use of the Supercharger network to be a happy electric car driver.
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