Kia's Plan S (Shift) will include 11 new electric vehicles by 2026, but it all starts with the 2022 Kia EV6 compact crossover. Based on the E-GMP platform that also underpins the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and upcoming Genesis GV60, this is the first Kia EV to be built as an all-electric model from the ground up. As it arrives on the market in 2022, the EV6 already faces some competition in the growing affordable EV space. Some indirect rivals include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, aforementioned Hyundai Ioniq, 5, Volkswagen ID.4, and to a lesser extent, the Tesla Model Y.
Battling the likes of Tesla for EV dominance while also taking on those other newcomers sounds like a tall order, but the EV6 is armed with some serious firepower. A $40,900 starting price, up to 310 miles of range, and horsepower ranging from 167 to 320 (and 576 in a future GT model) make the EV6 highly competitive in this booming segment. CarBuzz had the chance to sample the new Kia EV6 in two flavors to find out if it's a true game-changer for the Korean automaker and the EV market as a whole.
The 2022 Kia EV6 is an all-new EV model and is set to enter the American market in the first quarter of 2022. The new EV will be available in Light, Wind, and GT-Line configurations and will come in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. Prices will start from $40,900, and the EV6 will have a range of up to 310 miles. The EV6 is the brand's first dedicated EV, built on the Hyundai Group's E-GMP platform, meaning the EV6 shares underpinnings with the Ioniq 5.
See trim levels and configurations:
EVs have been taking on all kinds of weird shapes and sizes, so it's a relief to see that Kia has managed to develop a design that is attractive from almost any angle. We like the sharp styling of the front end and the flow of the side profile. There will be some who have a few bad things to say about the EV6's bum, but we think it looks pretty cool especially that wrap-around tail light cluster. The fanned five-spoke wheels are also a cool touch and match the rest of the funky exterior. 19-inch wheels are the standard fare on LIght, Wind, and GT-Line trims, while the 1st Edition rolls out on 20-inch items. LED lighting is standard across all, but each trim gets bespoke styling items, like a lower front bumper finished in plain black, gloss black, or body colors, gloss black wheel arches on upper trims, a power tilt and slide sunroof on the GT-Line and 1st Edition models, and automatic pop-out flush door handles on the latter two as well.
Certain dimensions differ based on trim, but the key metrics of the Kia EV6 remain the same. A wheelbase of 114.2 inches is identical across all, but length varies from 184.3 inches on Light, Wind, and 1st Edition models to 184.8 inches on the GT-Line courtesy of bespoke styling elements. Likewise, the GT Line is wider at 74.4 inches to the standard 74 inches of other trims, but all models are 60.8 inches tall and have 6.1 inches of ground clearance. Curb weight ranges from 4,017 lbs on the RWD Light trim to 4,661 lbs on a fully-loaded AWD model.
The EV6's color palette is more extensive in other markets, but the US still gets some attractive colors. Kia will offer Aurora Black Pearl, Yacht Blue, Gravity Blue, Runway Red, Glacier (white), Steel Gray, Snow White Pearl, Interstellar Gray, and Steel Matte Gray. Urban Yellow is also available for the 1st Edition, which is sold out. We spent our day driving two Steel Matte Gray cars; this color stands out without attracting too much attention. Several of these hues are premium paints and are limited by trim. Steel Matte Gray, for example, costs $695 for the GT-Line, while Snow Hite Pearl, Aurora Black, Pearl, and Glacier all cost $495. All three can be equipped on the Wind edition, but the Light only gets access to Snow White and the GT-Line misses out on Glacier.
Thanks to its wide range of motor configurations, the Kia EV6 promises a driving experience ranging from perky to potent and everything in between. The 167-hp RWD entry-level model will be perfect for those sticking to the city limits and mostly suburban roads, with a 0 to 60 mph time of eight seconds and a top speed of 115 mph. With a larger battery, the RWD Wind and GT-Line models get 225 hp (0 - 60 in 7.2 seconds) while stepping up to all-wheel drive on either trim (the 1st Edition comes standard with the same dual-motor powertrain) bumps the output to 320 hp. Kia claims 60 mph comes up in 5.1 seconds with the top speed raised marginally to 117 mph. For those who want all-out performance, the 576-hp EV6 GT (late 2022 arrival) promises massive performance and will have an estimated 0-60 mph sprint time of only 3.5 seconds.
The EV6 can tow too, albeit only in AWD configuration. Here, it's capable of a 2,300-pound braked towing capacity.
There are a variety of power outputs and drivetrain options on offer, ranging from city-friendly to performance-focused. Light RWD models get a 58 kWh battery with a single motor producing 167 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Wind RWD and GT-Line RWD both get a 77.4 kWh battery paired to a rear motor producing 225 hp and 258 lb-ft while AWD versions equip an additional front motor to bolster outputs to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft. The latter powertrain is the only one available on the 1st Edition Those keen on an entertaining drive will be pleased to note that RWD models come with a rear limited-slip differential. If you're after some serious power, the forthcoming EV6 GT will join the lineup with 576 hp and 538 lb-ft.
We started our day driving the GT-Line Dual Motor e-AWD model, which rockets off the line with gusto. That acceleration trails off considerably the faster you go, but the EV6 still feels quick when you mash the accelerator. Kia includes several sound settings that replicate the noise of an engine; the EV6 has Stylish, Dynamic, and Cyber sound modes, which emit different tones depending on your preference. Stylish sounds like a louder EV motor whine, Dynamic is a low rumble, and Cyber is a futuristic Jetsons-style noise that sounds somewhat like a Porsche Taycan.
Kia is no stranger to building comfortable commuter cars that are also surprisingly fun on a back road. The EV6 is no exception. With the batteries mounted low in the floor, the EV6 maintains its composure around the bends more than most conventional gas-powered crossovers. This isn't a purpose-built sports car, so there's still some body roll, but once the suspension setlles in, we felt supreme confidence in the EV6 on some of Northern California's serpentine back roads. We'd love some wider tires and more substantial brakes to truly take advantage of the well-balanced chassis, but those upgrades will come on the upcoming GT model.
Though it's slower off the line, the GT-Line RWD we switched into for our afternoon drive ended up as our favorite. With less weight up front and those wheels allowed to focus only on changing direction,, we felt the steering in this model was more natural without the secondary motor. The RWD EV6 loves to kick its rear end out a bit without feeling scary or sudden. This is no sports car, but for a "mainstream" crossover, it's astounding.
Kia offers two battery sizes in the EV6. The smallest, a 58-kWh unit found only in the RWD Wind trim, delivers an EPA-approved 232 miles with MPGe ratings of 136/100/117 city/highway/combined. The larger 77.4kWh battery found in Wind, GT-Line, and 1st Edition models provides additional range, with the former pair attaining 310 miles on a charge in RWD form and MPGe ratings of 134/101/117. AWD models see overall range decreased to 274 miles at 116/94/105 MPGe.
More important than the EV6's range is how quickly it charges. This is one of the first cars to support 400-800-volt DC charging, with charging speeds up to 350 kW. That means if you have a fast enough charger, you can recoup 70 miles in just 5 minutes or 217 miles in 18 minutes. Gas cars can still refuel quicker, but EVs are catching up! If you have a slower L2 charger at home, a full battery from 0-100% will take around six hours for the Light trim and seven hoursfor the remainder of the, while a typical DC fast-charger takes 63 minutes on the smaller capacity battery and 73 minutes on the larger one.
The interior of the 2022 Kia EV6 is suitably futuristic-looking and is filled with displays and clean-cut surfaces. The floating center console features a gear-selector, a start/stop button, and a wireless phone charging pad. We like the two-spoke steering wheel, two-tone seats upholstered in microfiber, and clever storage solutions such as the extra compartment below the trunk floor and the storage bin underneath the center console. Visibility and space are impressive, and the overall build quality and material selection are good. Kia has come a long way, and the futuristic space it has created here is on par with its peers and better than a fair number of existing EV manufacturers.
The EV6 is strictly a two-row crossover with five seats, though the company has hinted at a future EV9 model will three rows. Kia maximized space inside the EV6 by pushing the wheelbase to the same length as a Telluride without including large front or rear overhangs. Front occupants get a whopping 42.4 inches of legroom and rear passengers receive a generous 39 inches. Headroom is slightly less spacious due to the EV6's low roofline, but 39 inches up front and 38 inches in the back feels far from cramped. Since there's no transmission tunnel, the EV6's floor is completely flat, aiding the sense of openness and practicality, particularly for a middle occupant on the rear bench.
Like most other EVs, Kia takes an environmentally conscious approach to the interior design and the materials used in the EV6. The clever flat-floor design of the EV6 is accompanied by forward-thinking materials such as recycled plastic and vegan leather upholstery. Kia says the interior (depending on the trim) contains up to 100 recycled water bottles. Even the seat frames have been constructed out of ultra-light "giga-steel" to increase rear legroom. Base models get trim details like plastic scuff plates, while the GT-Line gets Deluxe items and the 1st Edition gets bespoke ones to denote its specialness along with a numbered badge in the cabin.
Combination cloth and artificial leather seating are standard on the Light model, while the Wind, GT-Line, and 1st Edition get artificial leather instead. The GT-Line has optional faux leather/suede combination seats, with the suede either on the outer edges of the main panels, per your choosing. This trim also has a white seat option, in contrast to the standard colors of black or Charcoal/Misty Gray schemes. Selecting this also adds bespoke dash trim.
Cargo capacity in the EV6 is at the lower end of its segment despite the flat floor of the EV platform. This is largely to do with the sloping roofline. There's 24.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which trails its platform stablemate, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. You can fold down the rear seats in a 60/40 split, opening up 50.2 cubic feet. Other EVs in this class boast more space. There's a tiny frunk under the hood that's barely big enough for the charging cable and not much else.
The EV6 redeems itself with in-cabin storage. In addition to traditional door pockets, seatback map pockets, and a glovebox, the center console has tons of space due to the flat floor beneath it, creating two-level storage with a massive bin underneath the main console.
From the base model up, the EV6 comes with some pretty impressive standard features. Tech such as wireless phone charging, automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a power tailgate, an eight-way power driver's seat, and heated front seats are all standard. The seating can be enhanced further, with power passenger adjustment and ventilated front seats from the mid-spec Wind model while the steering wheel can be opted as heated, as can the rear seats - both options made standard on the First Edition. Driver assistance tech such as forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear occupant alert, automatic emergency braking, and safe exit assist are included under the Drive Wise banner, but rear park sensors, a smart park assist, auto-evasive steering, and auto lane changing for the highway driving assistant are only available on the upper trims, as is a surround-view camera, blind-spot camera, and an AI cruise control that learns from the way you drive. GT-Line cars feature a power sunroof and an augmented-reality head-up display.
It's important to note that only the 1st Edition gets a heat pump as standard, meaning those living in colder climates will need to spend extra to unlock the EV6's efficiency. The base Light can't be equipped with this.
The EV6 debuts a new infotainment system called Kia Connect, which replaces the older UVO system. It's housed on dual curved 12-inch displays with a special blue light filter to prevent your eyes from getting strained. As the name suggests, the new system is more connected with over-the-air-updates for features like the navigation maps. One feature still missing is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; both still require a cable. Standard functionality covers all the bases with HD Radio, SiriusXM, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and standard AM/FM radio, plus a Wi-Fi hotspot
This is also the first Kia to include a new 14-speaker Meridian premium surround-sound system. It's among the best systems we've tested on any mainstream car, and outmatches any audio system available in rivals. It comes standard from the Wind trim, while the Light gets a basic six-speaker setup.
The Kia EV6 has barely hit international markets, so there's no telling how reliable it will be, but judging by Kia's track record of continual improvement, we're hopeful the EV6 will be reliable. However, only time will tell. Kia covers the EV6 with a best-in-class (and industry best)10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty including the battery, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty, a five-year/100,000-mile limited anti-perforation warranty, and a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan.
At the time of writing, neither the NHTSA nor IIHS has performed a safety review of the Kia EV6, nor of the Ioniq 5. However, loaded with the latest tech, we expect the EV6 to perform well, matching the high standards of Kia's other products.
Along with a suite of seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain, and driver's knee and industry standards such as ABS braking, traction control, and stability control, the 2022 Kia EV6 will also feature 23 standard driver assistance systems such as forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-keep assist, rear occupant alert, automatic emergency braking, driver attention assist and safe exit assist. Optional on the Wind trim is a surround-view camera system, blind-spot cameras, and remote parking. The GT-Line comes with Kia's semi-autonomous Highway Drive-Assist 2 suite, allowing automatic lane changes.
Is the 2022 Kia EV6 a good SUV? Let's answer that question as quickly as the car hits 60 mph; YES! Launching a new electric crossover in 2022 is pretty difficult, especially with the looming specter of the Tesla Model Y always haunting the conversation. The EV6 arrives sporting a competitive price, eye-catching styling, stellar technology, strong range, ultra-fast charging, and a premium interior. If you were cross-shopping a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model Y, or Volkswagen ID.4, we'd implore you to test drive an EV6.
Unlike Hyundai with the Ioniq 5, Kia plans to launch the EV6 in all 50 states, meaning you should be able to buy one no matter where you live. We think the EV6 has the potential to change buyers' opinions on the Kia brand and electric vehicle ownership. It's likely the most comprehensive affordable EV on the market.
The price of the Kia EV6 starts at an MSRP of $40,900 for the EV6 Light RWD, which is significantly cheaper than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE RWD at $43,650. Next up is the EV6 Wind RWD at $47,000, while the Wind Dual Motor e-AWD breaches the $50k mark at $50,900. The GT-Line goes for $51,200 in RWD form and $55,900 in AWD guise. If you were lucky enough to get the 1st Edition, you would've paid an MSRP of $58,500, excluding a destination charge of $1,215.
Various state-specific incentives reduce the price of purchase depending on where you reside, and a federal tax rebate of up to $7,500 is available depending on your tax profile. While not available at the time of purchase, it makes the EV6 remarkably affordable in the long run, especially compared to the likes of Tesla which no longer qualifies for such. Buyers also receive three years worth of charging credits to the value of 1,000 kWh.
The EV6 is available in the US in three trims: the EV6 Light, EV6 Wind, and EV6 GT-Line. The limited First Edition is considered a separate package and not a trim.
The EV6 Light uses a single rear electric motor and 58 kWh battery and produces 167 hp. Standard exterior features include LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels. On the inside, the Light gets a standard 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch central touchscreen, six speakers, a power front driver seat with heating, automatic climate control, wireless phone charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention monitor, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear occupant alert.
The EV6 Wind is fitted with a 77.4 kWh battery pack and a single rear motor producing 225 hp or a dual-motor AWD powertrain developing 320 hp. The EV6 Wind comes with standard features such as gloss-black exterior trim, a power front passenger seat with front ventilation for both seats, a power liftgate, and a Meridian sound system, and front and rear park sensors.
The range-topping GT-Line shares its powertrain options with the Wind trim and adds features such as sporty exterior design elements, automatic pop-out door handles, a power sunroof, bespoke sporty interior trim, a D-shaped steering wheel, and Kia's Highway Drive-Assist 2 suite with automatic lane-changing function, auto evasive steering, a surround-view camera, blind-spot camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and AI-based smart cruise control.
Based on three well-specced trims, Kia keeps the options list short and sweet for the EV6. one of the biggest upgrades is the 1st Edition package which is now sold out, giving the EV6 special numbered plaques and badging, a standard heat pump, 20-inch wheels, and all the available safety features for an extra $2,600 over the GT-Line and can only be equipped in concert with AWD. Speaking of the GT-Line, white seats in combination suede/leather cost $195 or $295 depending on which parts of the seat you want in which material. The mid-sec Wind can be equipped with a Technology Package for $1,500 which adds a heated steering wheel, rear park distance warning, remote smart park assist, a surround-view camera, and blind-spot camera.
A heat pump is available on the Wind and GT-Line, although pricing is unconfirmed at the time of writing.
We only had a chance to sample the EV6 with its larger battery in the GT-Line configuration, so we can't speak to how the base Light and mid-level Wind models drive. However, the 167-horsepower rating on the Light model strikes us as lacking for the vehicle's weight, and the lack of an available heat pump on this won't work well for buyers in colder climates. We do recommend the heat pump, because, without it, you'll never see the claimed range or anywhere close to it in colder states. For these reasons, we'd recommend stepping up to the more powerful Wind model with the larger battery and increased range. Adding AWD makes the EV6 significantly quicker and more powerful, but we think driving enthusiasts will prefer the RWD model. If you are trying to keep the EV6 at a reasonable price, check out the Wind RWD model for $47,000. With the $7,500 federal tax credit, you can possibly pull the effective price below $40 grand.
The Tesla Model Y is one of the best-selling compact crossover EVs globally and offers impressive range and blistering performance. This EV is offered exclusively with all-wheel-drive and dual electric motors. The Long Range model provides 449 hp. While the performance version delivers 480 hp. The EV6 thus offers a broader range of performance levels but is capable of matching the Model Y's range claims in the right configuration. And the forthcoming EV6 GT should be a superior performer, despite Tesla also claiming a 0-60 mph sprint of 3.5 seconds. The Tesla Model Y is the roomier car with a lot more cargo volume, a usable frunk, and the potential to seat seven, although we wouldn't wish the third row on our worst enemies. The EV6 has more legroom for occupants in the first two rows, though. The Kia is an unknown quantity as far as reliability goes, but a class-leading warranty bodes well for the newcomer. What swings the argument massively in the Kia's favor, however, is price. It's more affordable to get behind the wheel and is still eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax rebates. Tesla is no longer eligible for this. It might be new, but we'd put our money on the EV6 as the better buy.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the first of three new EV models to be released by the Korean brand in the US under the Ioniq sub-brand. This attractive battery-electric five-door crossover rides on a new dedicated EV global platform which it shares with the EV6. In terms of styling, we prefer the retro look of the Hyundai, but looks boil down to personal preference. Inside, both these cars offer similar build quality and a vast array of digital displays. The standard feature list should also be closely related. The Ioniq 5 does, however, offer more cargo space. The Ioniq 5, in its most potent configuration, puts out 301 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque and will zoom to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Max range is pegged at 303 miles. That means that Kia has the upper hand when it comes to performance. The Hyundai has price in its favor, at several grand cheaper across the board. Both cars are similar, and we wouldn't begrudge the decision to buy either, but the Hyundai is the on-paper champion here.
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