Kia’s Newest EV is a Winner
First impressions pretty much set the stage for how opinions are formed–good and bad. So I had a very satisfying rush of good feelings seeing, getting into and driving the all-new 2022 Kia EV6 electric crossover. There aren’t any perfect vehicles, but the EV6 is close.
The EV6, with an electric driving range up to 310 miles, arrived at Kia dealers in all 50 states in late January 2022. This is the first of the new breed of EVs from Kia, where electrified vehicles have been offered since the 2015 Soul EV.
The EV6 has it coming and going
Power and Range
There are three Kia EV6 models–Light, Wind and GT-Line-that come with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) with one motor or all-wheel drive (AWD) with two motors.
232 miles range
58.0 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese (LiNiCoMn) battery
Single electric motor
167 horsepower (hp) and 258 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque
Electronically controlled top speed: 115 mph
Long range and fast charging
Wind and GT-Line RWD
310 miles of driving range
77.4 kWh LiNiCoMn battery
225 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque
Top speed: 115 mph
Wind and GT-Line AWD
274 miles of driving range
77.4 kWh LiNiCoMn battery
320 hp and 446 lb.-ft. of torque
Top speed: 117 mph
The 10.9 kW onboard charger can charge up to 800 volts, which when used with a 350 kW charger can deliver 70 miles of range in about five minutes and 217 miles in under 18 minutes.
The EV6 can be plugged into a 120V common wall plug, but expect replenish times to be long and slow. The best bet for owners will be to install a Level 2 (240V) home charger that will take the battery from 10-to-80% charge in about seven hours.
The EV6 also has Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability or exportable power, where power can flow out of the battery and charge e-bikes, camping and outdoor equipment or run your office while traveling. It can also be a home electricity source during a power outage.
Out On the Road
Clean Fleet Report spent several hours on a beautiful January day in the Sonoma Wine Country, driving through Northern California’s Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. Departing the Montage Healdsburg, we headed-out on State Route 128 winding our way to the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, continuing onto SR 29 for a quick lunch stop at the Boutique Winery, where there was an outstanding collection of wooden power boats. Our journey continued around Clear Lake and then onto SR 175, which provided some challenging mountain twisties as we headed towards Highway 101 and then back to Healdsburg. With this combination of flat and mountainous terrain we averaged a respectable 3.7kW per mile.
A “new faithful” road warrior
The EV6 is a true driver’s car with three drive modes of Eco, Normal and Sport. Where Kia shines is in its development of one pedal driving. With three pulls of the left side steering wheel paddle, the brake regeneration force reaches the maximum regen setting. Regenerative braking, which uses the electric motors—not the brakes—to slow the car, recharges the battery when slowing or coasting, converting kinetic energy into electric energy, which is stored in the battery. The degree of regenerative braking can be controlled by steering wheel paddles.
Whether around town driving or attacking mountain curves like we did, this is the most convenient, efficient and fun way to drive the EV6. Over 145 miles we tapped the brake pedal only a few times. Kia has perfected one-pedal driving, and once you play with the different settings of 1, 2, 3 or I-Pedal (least amount of braking to the most) this will be the go-to driving mode where your right foot on the accelerator (don’t call it gas!) is all you need. The EV6 also has the very handy Auto Hold feature where, at a stop light the brakes are automatically applied, relieving the driver of having to press on the brake pedal and reducing leg fatigue.
While not designed nor marketed as a performance crossover, the EV6 easily will handle all daily driving needs. Zero-to-60 times are between 7.2 and 4.6 seconds, depending on if you are driving an EV6 with the RWD single motor or the AWD dual motor. Those are plenty fast enough for freeway merging and spirited driving. It will reduce the range, but opting for Sport mode is the most fun place to be.
The handling on the all-wheel drive model, weighing-in at 5,556 pounds, planted the EV6 solidly to the road as we climbed and descended curvy mountain roads. The front-to-rear torque vectoring seamlessly provided the needed power to whichever wheel had the most demand. There was a confident feel when cornering, with minor body roll when taking the most aggressive corners, and 2.7 turns of the steering wheel (lock-to-lock) made for sharp and precise turning. We also drove the EV6 RWD that weighed 5,335 pounds, which had comparable handling with reduced speeds when attacking the tightest of corners.
The EV6 has standard ABS and power-assisted ventilated front and rear solid discs. Handling and driving confidence were aided by the standard electronic stability control, electronic brake-pressure distribution, and brake assist. When Clean Fleet Report has the EV6 for a week or more, we will post a more detailed report on its efficiency, driving range, handling and performance.
Movement That Inspires
All the right angles
Kia’s slogan “Movement That Inspires” fits well to describe the 2022 EV6 exterior design. First up is the seamless clamshell hood that, when closed, reveals a small tiger nose grille and rectangular LED lights peeking out from the far edges of the curved nose. The sides reveal flush (automatic pop-out) handles that sit above a subtle line running across the doors.
The sculpted rear features a high deck which morphs into a spoiler and incorporates the full-body tail lights. Optional 19, 20 or 21-inch silver alloy wheels with black inserts and gloss black heated and power outside mirrors finish the look. The power hands-free lift gate is sleek and smooth, but lacking a wiper it could be visually challenging when things get sloppy.
The 2022 EV6’s three trim levels of Light, Wind and GT-Line offer exterior colors of Steel Matte Gray, Interstellar Gray, Steel Gray, Glacier, Snow White Pearl, Runway Red, Gravity Blue, Yacht Blue and Aurora Black Pearl. There were 1,500 1st Edition models that sold out in 11 hours after being announced, and a high performance GT model is “forthcoming.”
The EV6 carries an interesting distinction of having an 114.2-inch wheelbase and an 184.8-inch overall length. The interesting part is comparing it to the taller and wider midsize Kia Telluride SUV (that seats up-to eight people) that has the same wheelbase and only a foot longer overall length. The result is the EV6 looks smaller than it is, but plays-out in a spacious interior.
A dash that works
The 2022 EV6 is built on the Hyundai Group’s all-new EV-only platform, which will see service on future EVs from Kia plus models from sibling brands Hyundai and Genesis. The EV6 has a completely flat floor and provides ample leg, shoulder and head room for five occupants.
The interior has an eco-friendly theme where the seats, headliner, dash, door panels and flooring are made from sustainably sourced materials such as recycled plastic and vegan leather. Color options are Black and White, Black, and Charcoal/Misty Gray. In the top GT-Line trim level the seats can be ordered with a suede trim. Both front occupants get 8-way power adjustable, heated and ventilated seats with power lumbar that also fully recline, while the driver gets two-position memory.
Wide second row access lead to the comfortable rear seats that have the option of outbound heated seats. The split 60/40 rear bench seat slides and reclines, producing 50.2 inches of cargo space when folded-down. Without an engine up front there is a front trunk, or frunk, for stashing small items.
The low slung dash has dual 12.3-inch horizontal color, thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display screens that look like one piece. Standard on all trim levels, one screen is for the digital instruments and the other for the infotainment system. In the Wind and GT-Line models, sounds come from a 14-speaker Meridian premium audio system with AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM/HD Radio, with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth connection for up-to two devices, and USB power and data ports, wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot complete the technology.
Kia has a clever design to go between the dual-zone climate controls and infotainment controls. On the narrow horizontal screen below the main touch screen, there are capacitive touch points for the temperature and fan, and then the radio controls, which include volume and channel knobs. This space saver had a short learning curve, quickly showing its benefits.
The color head-up display included augmented reality where the driver can opt-to project relevant information, such as turn-by-turn navigation and advanced safety alerts about the EV6’s surroundings.
Kia Connect provides access to vehicle systems, including remote start and remote charging, and connects to a smartphone app for Apple and Android operating systems. The electro-chromatic auto-dimming rear view mirror is Homelink-equipped, which is an integrated transceiver (a transmitter and receiver) that can be programmed to activate radio frequency (RF) devices such as garage doors, estate/community gates, entry door locks, home/office lighting, security systems or other RF devices.
Style and substance
The Kia EV6 comes with an extensive list of standard safety features, beginning with seven airbags–front, side impact, driver side knee and side air curtain with rollover sensors. Kia’s Drive Wise safety tech is robust with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including lane keeping assist, blind spot detection, forward collision avoidance and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist. Other safety features are hill start assist, surround and blind view monitor with parking sensors, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The outstanding new car warranty of five years and 60,000 miles is accompanied by the 10 years and 100,000 miles on the powertrain, which includes the battery.
The top GT-Line model comes with Highway Driving Assist that can automatically change lanes when the driver has their hands on the wheel and activates the turn signal.
The 2022 Kia EV6 comes in three trim levels with rear or all-wheel drive options for two of those. These base prices include the $1,215 freight charge.
Light RWD $42,115
Wind RWD $48,215
Wind AWD $52,115
GT-Line RWD $52,415
GT-Line AWD $57,115
Observations: 2022 Kia EV6
The EV6 is the first of a full line-up of Kia electric vehicles built on the dedicated Electric Global Modular Platform. The EV6, which qualifies for Federal and State incentives, will sell directly against the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Volkswagen ID4, and the Polestar 2.
The 2022 Kia EV6 sits lower than its competitors and will make you do a double take trying to determine if it is a crossover, station wagon or a sports sedan. It is a bit each. Performance-wise, it is a blast to drive, to the point it is now my favorite Kia. This includes the slick handling K5 GT and Stinger sport sedans. Performance for most owners will come behind efficiency, where the EV6 shines with a 310-mile range and fast-charging capability. In independent testing by AMCI, Kia achieved an excellent 339 miles.
So how does the EV6 stack-up against its competition? You will be doing yourself a disservice if not considering it when shopping electric vehicles. If you qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, the price could be $34,615 for the base model with rear-wheel drive and the single motor. Even less if your state or local area offers incentives.
As a 50-state car, your local Kia dealer should have a 2022 EV6 available for a test drive. We are confident you will like the experience.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Kia.
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