New Kia EV6 vs New Polestar 2 vs Tesla Model 3: interiors
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...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
If you’re used to driving something like an Audi A3 or a BMW 3 Series, you’ll feel perched quite high in the driver’s seat of any of our contenders. In the Tesla Model 3, it’s more that you sit quite high in relation to the dashboard and the rest of the car, whereas the Kia EV6 and Polestar 2 almost feel like a halfway house between a regular hatchback and an SUV.
All three cars have fundamentally sound driving positions, with pedals that line up neatly with their seats and steering wheels. And thanks to powered adjustment, including for lumbar support, moving the seats into the positions you want them is a doddle. The EV6 has a nifty extra trick, too, because when you’re parked up, you can press a button to transform the seat into a business class-style bed – useful if you ever fancy a snooze while waiting for your car to charge.
Dashboard usability is tough to fault in the EV6, thanks to big, chunky buttons that are clearly marked and well spaced out. Adjusting the air temperature is a simple matter of twisting a dial – just as it should be. In the other two, you use the infotainment touchscreen, something that’s more of a faff.
Indeed, in order to keep the Model 3’s dashboard looking so minimalist, everything from the wipers to the headlights are controlled via an enormous, 15.0in central touchscreen. Even adjusting the door mirrors requires you to delve into the touchscreen and then fiddle around with buttons on the steering wheel.
Although the three interiors are very different in design, there isn’t a huge amount in it for quality. The Polestar feels the most upmarket inside, despite its cloth seats (leather adds £4000 to the price), and the most sturdily assembled – but you might be surprised how close the EV6 is in both regards. You won’t exactly be blown away, given the £43k price tag, but you won’t feel shortchanged, either, and the suede seats are a nice touch.
The Model 3’s seats look like real leather at first glance, but they feel more like plastic – and that’s exactly what they are. We don’t think you’ll miss the real thing, though, whether you stick with black or fork out an extra £1100 for white seats. There’s also plenty of soft-touch plastics around the interior, and our test car felt fairly well assembled, although some Model 3s we’ve tested previously haven’t fared as well here.
All versions of the EV6 come with a curved 12.3in touchscreen positioned conveniently high on the dashboard. It’s easy to see and, thanks to an intuitive operating system, mostly easy to use. Unfortunately, the system has lots of bugs and consistently crashed during our tests – particularly when using the smartphone mirroring function – but Kia assures us that a software update is on the way that will hopefully resolve the problem.
This is an Android-based system that also features in some Volvo models. Being a touchscreen, it’s inevitably fairly distracting to use while you’re driving, but the large size of the portrait-orientated display (11.2in) and big icons help to mitigate this. Integration for Android phones is standard, but Apple CarPlay won’t be available until next year. The optional Harman Kardon sound system is great, but to get it, you need to fork out £4000 for the Plus Pack.
Tesla Model 3
Pretty much everything is controlled using a massive (15.0in) touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard; you even have to use it to unlock the charging port or open the glovebox. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of, though, while the graphics are sharp and the screen responds quickly to prods. And while there’s no Android or Apple smartphone mirroring, you do get lots of features. You can even watch Netflix or play video games on it.
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