by Jay Traugott
Kia could have taken the safer route with a more traditional and easy-going 100-percent battery-electric vehicle. But instead it went bold. The 2022 Kia EV6, previewed earlier this month, has now been revealed. It exceeds our expectations and we bet yours as well.
Sharing an architecture with its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6 rides on the South Korean automaker's new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and sports a crossover meets hatchback body style that also features Kia's latest styling language. The company recognizes there's more than one type of EV buyer, hence the decision to offer the EV6 in three unique flavors: Base, GT-Line, and GT. The latter is the real treat for performance enthusiasts.
Like all new battery electrics, Kia stresses the feature-packed EV6 serves as an excellent daily driver with sufficient range, power, and interior space. Will it be a segment changer? Too soon to tell, but there's an awful lot to like here.
Kia wanted to avoid the typical-looking crossover so it charted a new path. Notice the reinterpretation of the brand's "tiger face" grille, now dubbed the "Digital Tiger Face" with an overall sleeker appearance that includes daytime running lights and a sequential dynamic light pattern. A wide and low air intake can be found beneath it.
Moving to the sides, you'll notice a character line running beneath the doors as it heads towards the rear end where it curves upward towards the wheel arches. The sloping C-pillar with an integrated black glossy insert gives the visual impression of extended window glass and a floating roof. Above it is a roof-mounted spoiler that not only looks cool but also helps channel air downwards to a lower rear spoiler placed above rear lights that stretch across the tailgate.
Interior design played a key role not only for technical features but also style, comfort, and cargo space. The slim seats are lightweight and covered in fabrics made from recycled plastics. Kia says 111 plastic bottles are needed to make each set. There are plenty of storage areas throughout the cabin and the second-row seats fold flat, creating 45 cubic feet of space (around 18 cubic feet when in use). There's also some additional trunk space behind the second-row. Additional knee and legroom are made possible because the heating and air conditioning systems are located where an internal combustion normally lies - under the hood.
A pair of curved screens measuring 12 inches each house the driver's gauge cluster and infotainment system. Drivers also benefit from an augmented head-up display that projects navigation instructions and other driver-assist systems on the windshield. A 14-speaker Meridian sound system is optional and over-the-air updates should be scheduled on a fairly regular basis.
The Base and GT-Line (shown here in red) have two battery options: a long-range 77-kWh with up to 316 miles of range on a full charge with rear-wheel-drive, or a 58-kWh unit with a projected 230 miles. Both range estimates are on the WLTP cycle. The top-of-the-line GT only comes with the more powerful battery.
Output-wise, the long-range, RWD base and GT-Line variants offer 225 horsepower motor at the rear wheels while the AWD version for both has a 320-hp motor pushing both axles. The short-range versions have 167 hp and 231 hp for RWD and AWD, respectively. All RWD models come with an electronic limited-slip differential for better overall handling and driver enjoyment. The EV6 GT (pictured in grey) will find enthusiast appeal. Available only in AWD, it produces a total of 576 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph happens in 3.5 seconds and top speed is 161 mph.
Both 800- and 400-volt charging are possible, meaning the larger battery, RWD models achieve a 10-80 percent charge in 18 minutes. And, when the battery is at least a 35 percent charge, the crossover can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The EV6 comes packed with safety and convenience features such as Safe Exit Assist, Lane Following Assist, Highway Driving Assist 2 (aka radar cruise control), and Remote Smart Park, aka "Smaht Pahk." Pricing will be announced before sales get underway in the second half of 2021. Online reservations are already being accepted and production will take place in South Korea.
Aside from the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6 will face off against the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Volkswagen ID.4, and Tesla Model Y. The EV6 GT should give the upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron a run for its money as well.
The 2022 EV6, like the Ioniq 5, is just the start of the South Korean automaker's all-electric revolution. Based on what we're seeing already, Kia is definitely in a prime position for what's going to be an emissions-free future.
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