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Kelley Blue Book: The stylish 2022 Kia EV6 takes on Tesla with fast charging and a 310-mile range

Pros

Up to 310 miles of electric range

Ultra-fast charging capability

1,000 kilowatt-hours of free charging via Electrify America

Rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive

First all-electric Kia on a dedicated platform

Stylish, with excellent driving manners

V2L connector lets you charge your electric bike (or power your blender) at the campsite

Cons

A tad pricey

Less cargo room thanFord
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+3.24%

Mustang Mach-E or VW ID.4

What’s new?

The EV6 is an all-new electric vehicle

Available in all 50 states

GT model with big power and performance coming in late 2022

Price: The 2022 Kia EV6 Light starts at $40,900.

The 2022 Kia EV6 is possibly the boldest and most exciting move Kia has made. Yet it’s not surprising.

This is a car company that’s gone from making meek econoboxes (older iterations of the Rio) to class-leading crossovers (the Telluride) and fascinating drivers’ machines (the Stinger). Now it’s created an all-new electric vehicle — that’s what the EV in EV6 stands for — on a specific platform. And it’s not competing with underwhelming efforts like the Nissan
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+4.70%

Leaf. It’s going up against Tesla.
TSLA,
+4.78%

In terms of body style, it could be described as a high-riding hatchback. The Tesla Model Y occupies a similar functional and stylistic niche. But the importance of what it sounds like soon dissipates when we see what it looks like. Sleek, sharp, and bearing no resemblance to any other Kia
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+0.42%
.

The Kia EV6

Kia

Maximum range of the Kia EV6 is 310 miles. The Tesla Model Y can manage 326 miles. The new Kia EV6 is available in all 50 states. A high-powered GT model follows late in 2022. This sporty electric Kia shares a platform with the all-electric Hyundai
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+1.47%

Ioniq 5. As well as the Tesla Model Y, the Kia EV6 competes with the Volkswagen
VWAGY,
+5.56%

ID.4 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. And yes, partially autonomous driving is available.

Put simply, the electric EV6 is among the boldest and most exciting Kias we’ve seen. It’s a spacious and sleek Tesla rival with fast charging capability, excellent power, and an anxiety-reducing maximum range of 310 miles. Additionally, we like the EV6’s portfolio of technology, which includes smartwatch connectivity and abundant active safety features. The 2022 EV6 also comes with 1,000-kWh of free charging (over the course of three years) via the Electrify America network.

Come late 2022, there will be a GT version of the EV6, with all-wheel drive from a pair of motors — the rear unit generating 362 horsepower by itself — and the gutsier battery. This combination endows the EV6 GT with a phenomenal 576 horsepower in total, plus the ability to flash from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.

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2022 Kia EV6 pricing

The new Kia EV6 starts at $40,900, plus a destination charge for the rear-wheel-drive Light model.

Moving up a step to the rear-drive EV6 Wind version bumps that price to $47,000. An EV6 Wind with all-wheel drive begins at $50,900. An EV6 Wind e-AWD Tech Package, which has a 360-degree camera system, Remote Smart Park Assist, blind-spot view monitor, and a parking collision-avoidance system, starts at $52,400.

At the top of the line is the EV6 GT-Line, which starts at $51,200 in rear-drive guise and $55,900 with all-wheel drive.

Interested parties will have to wait until late 2022 for the 576-horsepower Kia EV6 GT version.

The Kia EV6

Kia

At these prices, the 2022 Kia EV6 costs more than the Hyundai Kona Electric subcompact crossover and Chevrolet Bolt EUV. The Tesla Model Y starts around $59K, the Ford Mustang Mach-E about $45K, and the Volkswagen ID.4 begins in the $42K region.

SeeAll the companies that are making or planning electric vehicles

The new Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6’s corporate cousin based on the same dedicated new EV platform, starts at $43,650. Whereas some electric vehicles are only sold in certain states (like the Hyundai Kona Electric), the Kia EV6 is available nationwide.

Remember also that there are various federal and state incentives to offset the initial cost. A federal tax credit could be as much as $7,500.

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out how much others in your area paid for their new 2022 Kia EV6. Electric vehicles tend to have strong resale values.

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Driving the 2022 Kia Ev6

KBB’s Andy Bornhop drove the Kia EV6 recently in California. Reports Andy:

I had a chance to drive two different 2022 Kia EV6 models: a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) GT-Line with a 77.4-kWh battery, 225 horsepower and a range of 310 miles. The other EV6 was also a GT-Line with the same lithium-ion polymer battery, but it was a dual-motor all-wheel-drive (AWD) model with 320 horsepower and a range of 274 miles.

When I first sat in the EV6 and pressed the start button, the fully charged car indicated that it had a range of 316 miles. While that’s more than the stated maximum for the car, we’ve found that it’s not unusual for Kia to underestimate the actual range of their EVs by a little bit.

Even though the A-pillars are a bit thick, the view forward in the new Kia EV6 is excellent. The view looking back through the rearview mirror isn’t as expansive, obstructed a bit by the rear headrests.

Nevertheless, the overall EV6 drive experience was excellent. Sporty, in fact. Not once did I feel like I was driving a crossover SUV.

The EV6 is quiet and it accelerates with grace. While you can choose among several levels of simulated powertrain sounds, I liked it best with it off entirely or in the quietest setting. Although this 225-horsepower model is far from Tesla quick, the excellent torque of the EV6 (258 lb-ft) brings it up to speed with relaxed confidence. According to Kia, the rear-drive EV6 GT-Line hits 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 117 mph.

When the EV6’s battery is full, there’s no regenerative braking, so all braking that takes place is traditional friction braking. With regen or without, though, the EV6’s brake pedal felt natural, responding with a consistent and easy-to-manage stopping force.

Also impressive were the overall dynamics of this electric Kia’s E-GMP modular chassis, which carries its heavy battery pack below the flat floor and between the front and rear axles. Aided by this low center of gravity, excellent 49/51 fore/aft weight balance, and some superb tuning by the chassis engineers (under the guidance of former R&D boss Albert Biermann), the new Kia EV6 is a delight to drive without being too firm for comfortable everyday use.

Read: What is EV, BEV, HEV, PHEV? Here’s your guide to types of electric cars

The EV6 has a natural level of steering assist, and the car turns in beautifully as you come off the brakes. What follows is excellent cornering balance with just a hint of body roll, enough to tell you you’re having some good old-fashioned driving fun. In an EV, you might remind yourself. The grip level from the 235/45R-20 tires is excellent, helping to keep the back end planted as you power out of corners with the rears on the limit of adhesion.

There are four levels of regenerative braking, ranging from 0 (basically coasting) to 4 (maximum deceleration) — each accessible via paddles behind the steering wheel. In my drive, I tried to use level 4 as a 1-pedal arrangement in which I never planned to use the brake pedal. While that sort of worked, there were times when I needed to reduce the regen to help the EV6 coast with a bit more speed down a hill. There were also times, such as on a twisty road, when I liked being in level 2 or 3 so I could use the left paddle to increase regen as sort of a simulated downshift to reduce speed before a corner.

The rear-drive Kia EV6 GT-Line impressed me as a practical EV with great driving manners and enough range to pretty much eliminate any anxiety. But does this new electric Kia need more power and AWD to complete the package? I found that out in the afternoon, in an EV6 GT-Line equipped with what Kia calls e-AWD.

The dual-motor EV6 GT-Line is considerably quicker. According to Kia, this EV6 hits 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, more than two seconds more quickly than the single-motor rear driver. No surprise, really, as this AWD EV6 GT-Line has 320 horsepower and a staggering amount of torque — 446 lb-ft.

Dynamically, the AWD Kia EV6 feels similarly good, although it is about 250 pounds heavier than the rear-drive model, with more weight on its nose. There are notable differences in feel among the Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes, and the range is reduced to 274 miles (versus 310 in the RWD model). Of note, a disconnect system constantly couples and uncouples the front motor for added stability or maximum economy, as needed. This disconnect system is said to increase the AWD EV6’s maximum range by about six percent. Both models, interestingly, have a max towing capacity of 2,300 pounds.

Both single- and dual-motor Kia EV6s have a handy but small front trunk, even though the latter model has a motor up there as well.

So, which EV6? I’d opt for the rear-drive GT-Line model, as it’s plenty quick and has a range of more than 300 miles. But if I lived in an area with inclement weather and had a sincere need for speed, the AWD EV6 GT-Line makes good sense. And the dual-motor Kia EV6 GT-Line e-AWD costs only $4,700 more than the single-motor rear-drive EV6 GT-Line.

Interior comfort

Because the new EV6 is built on a dedicated platform that never had to accommodate internal combustion engines and driveshafts, the cabin can take up even more of the car’s length. It has the same wheelbase as the 3-row Kia Telluride midsize SUV/crossover: 114.2 inches. And a flat floor.

So there’s plenty of space in which to luxuriate, maximized by a special front seat design that uses ultra-light steel and a thin frame to create a seat back slimmer than a regular counterpart. A freestanding center console enhances this open feel with no physical connection to the dashboard. Buttons take the place of a gear lever to make it even tidier.

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The dashboard’s main feature is a twin 12-inch screen arrangement — one for driver information, the other for the infotainment system. Yet they’re integrated as one unit, set horizontally, curved slightly, and covered in glare-reducing glass. It feels like we’re describing a Mercedes-Benz here, which indicates how far Kia has come.

Another luxury touch is that Kia offers a Meridian 14-speaker surround-sound system in the EV6, a brand regarded highly in audiophile circles. The other car company with Meridian systems is Jaguar.

Sustainable materials take a front seat and a back seat, with fabrics made from recycled plastic. Or the availability of vegan leather.

Behind the 60/40 split/folding rear seats is a luggage area measuring 27.7 cubic feet. With those seats folded, cargo space expands to 53.5 cubic feet. There’s also a small front trunk under the EV6’s hood. While it’s small (less than a cubic foot), we appreciate it, especially in an environment in which some EV makers don’t even allow the hood to be opened.

Exterior styling

Kia says the EV6’s exterior design was inspired by the contrasts and opposites in nature and life. Considering electricity has its positive and negative polarities, that makes a kind of sense.

However any such inspiration translates to actual shapes, it’s clear that the treatments of the headlights and taillights (all LED) are markedly different from anything else. Yet the tailgate (available with hands-free operation) also emphasizes the practical side of the new EV6. And the way the tail kicks up allows it to pull double duty as a rear spoiler.

Kia has kept the front and rear overhangs short for a well-planted stance, and the GT-Line models have flush-fitting door handles to minimize clutter along the sides. Alloy wheel sizes range from 19 to 21 inches.

Favorite features

800-volt fast charging
This is the new gold standard of electric vehicle charging. When connected to a special DC fast charger, the EV6 can take on board 70 miles of range in under five minutes or go from 10 percent capacity to 80 percent (which could provide 217 miles of range) in less than 18 minutes.

Vehicle to Load function (V2L)
Electricity doesn’t just flow into the EV6’s battery. It can also flow out to charge other appliances, even another electric vehicle. A V2L connector comes standard with the Wind and GT-Line trim levels.

Standard features

In the entry-level Light trim, the 2022 Kia EV6 comes standard with a heated and cooled 58-kWh battery, a single rear motor with 167 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and a range of 232 miles. This entry-level EV6 rides on 19-inch allot wheels, and it has LED headlights/taillights, manual tailgate, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, wireless charging, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and navigation-based smart cruise control.

In mid-level Wind trim, the 2022 Kia EV6 gets a larger 77.4-kWh battery, a single rear motor with 225 horsepower, and a range of 310 miles. What’s more, the EV6 Wind comes standard with a gloss-black lower front fascia, powered tailgate, vehicle-to-load (V2L) external power port (with connector), artificial leather seat trim, vented front seats, and a premium Meridian audio system.

The GT-Line versions of the new Kia EV6 get the same battery and motor as the Wind, but they are even better equipped. Standard equipment on the GT-Line includes automatic pop-out door handles, body colored wheel arches, powered sunroof, flat-bottomed steering wheel, deluxe scuff plates, suede and vegan leather seat trim, rear parking sensors, Highway Driving Assist 2 (the partially autonomous driving system with automatic lane changing), head-up display, 360-degree camera system, and an enhanced version of the forward-collision avoidance system.

Factory options

Most options for the 2022 Kia EV6 begin with the mid-level Wind trim.

In addition to a heat pump for the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system that significantly reduces the load on the vehicle’s battery, the EV6 Wind is available with all-wheel drive, heated steering wheel, rear parking sensors, Remote Smart Parking Assist, 360-degree camera system, and a blind-spot view monitor.

As a GT-Line model, the EV6 is available with the same heat pump, plus AWD, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a choice of seat upholstery. You can also get artificial leather (with suede trim) or suede (with artificial leather trim) upholstery. Other GT-Line options include a heated steering wheel and heated outboard rear seats.

Tech offerings are extensive, such as Find My Car, weather information for more than 25,000 cities, voice control (for functions that cover things like the heated steering wheel, climate control, phone, and audio system), Wi-Fi, over-the-air updates, last-mile navigation (with walking directions if the ultimate destination is a little distance away) and Kia Pay. This last item allows users to pay remotely from the comfort of their car seat.

Battery power, charge times, and range

There are two strengths of battery available in the EV6: 58-kWh (kilowatt-hour) and 77.4-kWh. Pairing the higher-level battery with one motor boosts output to 225 horsepower. The combination of a 77.4-kWh battery and two motors creates all-wheel drive, 320 horsepower, and a standstill-to-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds.

Come late 2022, there will be a GT version, with all-wheel drive from a pair of motors — the rear unit generating 362 horsepower by itself — and the gutsier battery. This combination endows the GT with a phenomenal 576 horsepower in total, plus the ability to flash from zero to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds.

Cold weather impacts battery life. The EV6 has an ingenious heat pump that transfers otherwise waste heat from the coolant system to the battery. According to Kia, an EV6 in temperatures of 20 degrees F (about minus 7 degrees C) would retain 80% of the battery’s energy than it would have at a pleasant 77 degrees F (25 degrees C).

Using 800-volt DC fast charging from a 350-kilowatt charger, the EV6 owner can add 70 miles of charge in less than five minutes.  Up to 217 miles (10% to 80%) can be added in less than 18 minutes.

Using the 11-kW Level 2 onboard charger, the larger 77.4-kWh battery can be raised from a 10% charge to 100% in seven hours and 10 minutes (240 volts, 40 amps).

The EV6’s electric motors are oil-cooled and feature square-section wire, which increases the amount of copper and their torque density. They also operate at 15,000 rpm, which is up from 11,000 rpm in the Soul EV.

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Note: All EV6 buyers will receive from Kia a charging credit of 1,000 kWh. Usable over a 3-year period, this credit, done in collaboration with Electrify America, equates to about 4,000 miles of driving in the RWD EV6 with the 77.4-kWh battery.

Permanent magnet electric motor (Light, RWD)
58-kWh battery
167 horsepower
EPA city/highway ratings: 136 MPGe/100 MPGe
Range: 232 miles

Permanent magnet electric motor (Wind and GT-Line, RWD)
77.4-kWh battery
225 horsepower
EPA city/highway ratings: 134 MPGe/101 MPGe
Range: 310 miles

Two permanent magnet electric motors (Wind and GT-Line, AWD)
77.4-kWh battery
320 horsepower
EPA city/highway ratings: 116 MPGe/94 MPGe
Range: 274 miles

Two permanent magnet electric motors (GT, AWD)
77.4-kWh battery
576 horsepower
EPA city/highway ratings: N/A
EPA range (estimated): 200 miles

This story originally ran on KBB.com

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