by Michael Butler
The Kia EV6 is the first step towards an all-out electric assault from the South Korean brand. This compact crossover tackles a hot market segment, with competitors to the Kia EV6, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla Model Y, and corporate sibling, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. With these adversaries in mind, the EV6 features handsome styling, an athletic personality, and impressive driving range of up to 310 miles. Available in single-motor RWD or dual-motor AWD configurations, power outputs of 225 horsepower and 320 hp, respectively, are available. For those who want even more spice, we review the new Kia EV6 GT separately as its 576 hp places it in an entirely different league. With an asking price starting at $48,500 for the new year, it's not as affordable as rivals, but innovative technology like Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability and rapid charging via an 800-volt electrical architecture helps establish the 2023 EV6 as one of the best contenders in its segment.
The big news for customers in the USA is the addition of the EV6 GT, a magnificently quick performance version that produces 576 hp and gets from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds.
With the Inflation Reduction Act coming into effect, the EV6 is no longer eligible for federal tax rebates. Fortunately, the entry-level Light trim is priced at just over $42k. Kia compensates for higher costs with 1,000 kWh of free charging via Electrify America stations.
The base Light trim gives the Kia EV6 a starting price of $42,600, with the Wind models coming in at $48,700 (RWD) and $52,600 (AWD), respectively. No EV tax credits are available, meaning you don't get any chunk of change back. RWD GT-Line models cost $52,900, and things top out at $57,600 in GT-Line AWD guise. These prices exclude the $1,325 destination charge.
See trim levels and configurations:
Kia has proven that it can build fun-to-drive cars (look at the Stinger), and the EV6 builds on the brand's image as a premium car builder that knows a thing or two about chassis balance and handling dynamics. The EV6 features a battery pack that sits low in the body, giving this EV a low center of gravity. That equates to predictable handling and lots of grip, and the overall driving experience is more entertaining than that of your average ICE-powered compact crossover. The intuitive chassis is let down by a set of relatively skinny tires and a lack of performance braking, but if you're after true electric performance, you'll have to stretch for the new GT model. As an everyday family car, the EV6 feels comfortable and offers easily modulated regenerative braking and light steering.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The electric compact crossover market is becoming more competitive by the day, but Kia has entered at just the right time. The 2023 EV6 is offered in various trims and is a car that delivers on almost every front. It looks great and sports excellent build quality, is packed with tech, and, thanks to 350-kW charging capability, is convenient to live with. Behind the wheel, the EV6 is exciting to drive yet comfortable enough to make the perfect family crossover. The interior is stylish and well-built, but we wish the infotainment system was a bit more up-to-date. But it's not all roses; not being assembled in the USA means the EV6 is more expensive than some rivals, most notably the Ioniq 5. This could count heavily against it in the eyes of American buyers.
The GT-Line has many nice-to-haves, but you won't feel short-changed with the mid-level Wind model. If you live in a cold region, the AWD variants are a must, not for the extra power but for the heat pump that improves efficiency while heating the car. For everyone else, the base RWD variants are more than plentiful and save you a chunk of change too, especially in the cheapest $42,600 entry-spec trim.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Kia EV6: