New Kia EV6 vs New Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3: costs

The class-leading Tesla Model 3 is being challenged like never before by promising new electric rivals from Kia and Polestar. Can it fend them off...

New Kia EV6 side shot

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you’re in a lucky enough position to pay for one of these cars up front, the Tesla Model 3 will work out cheapest to own over three years. That’s partly because it’s the cheapest to buy initially, but mainly because of its slower predicted depreciation and more efficient use of electricity. The Polestar 2 will end up costing you an extra £1000 or so to own over the same period, while relatively heavy depreciation means the Kia EV6 will add a further £3100 to the bill.

It’s a totally different story if you’re buying on PCP finance, though. Put down a £5000 deposit on a four-year term with an annual limit of 10,000 miles and it’s the EV6 that will cost you the least per month, at £626. You’ll need to find an extra £52 a month for the Model 3, while Polestar was unable to provide us with a PCP quote for this test – although it plans to offer this method of financing in the near future.

New Polestar 2 side shot

EVs make a huge amount of sense to company car drivers paying benefit-in-kind tax. Indeed, as a 40% rate taxpayer, you’ll currently need to sacrifice only around £15 a month to run any of our contenders, and there won’t be any nasty rises until at least April 2024. Compare that with the £400 to £500 per month that you’d pay for an equivalent petrol BMW 3 Series and the appeal is obvious.

But what do you get for your money on the equipment front? Well, all three cars have dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and heated front seats. The EV6 is the only one with a heated steering wheel, and it also comes with a clever device that you can plug into the main charging port and in effect turn the car into a domestic plug socket. And we’re not talking about the type that would struggle to charge a phone; you can pull enough power (up to 3.5kW) to boil a kettle, run a fan heater or even charge another EV.

Tesla Model 3 side shot

Disappointingly, Polestar charges extra for adaptive cruise control and blindspot monitoring, things you get as standard on the other two. However, it did score very well in its Euro NCAP safety appraisal, with particularly impressive marks for child occupant protection. The Model 3 was awarded high marks too, albeit under an older scoring system. The EV6 hasn’t yet been tested.

Tesla as a brand finished mid-pack in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, with the Model 3 scoring slightly above-average marks in the EV class. Reliability is hard to gauge on the other two because of their newness, but Kia offers the longest warranty of seven years or 100,000 miles on most components, including the battery. The batteries in the other two are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, but there are shorter four-year (Tesla) and three-year (Polestar) warranties on other components.

New Kia EV6 vs Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3 costs

One advantage of choosing the Model 3 is access to the company’s proprietary Supercharger network. There are around 800 charging points at 85 locations throughout the UK, and from one of these you can get a 10-80% top-up in around 25 minutes. The EV6 is capable of accepting much more power (up to 233kW), meaning you can charge its much larger battery from 10-80% in just 17 minutes. The catch is that, at present, there aren’t many charging points in the UK capable of delivering that much power. 

The Polestar’s battery is almost as big as the EV6’s, yet it can’t even accept power at the same rate as the Model 3; a 10-80% charge will take at least 32 minutes. Charging from 0-100% at home using a regular 7kW wallbox will take around 12 hours in the Polestar and EV6, compared with just over nine hours in the Model 3. 

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