Driven: 2022 Kia EV6 Wind Is The Goldilocks-Standard EV

Test Drive / 4 Comments

Sometimes, less is more.

Welcome to the Goldilocks Kia EV6 - the 2022 Wind model, which frankly, sounds like a lot more than it is. In reality, it's the perfect mid-range trim for the all-new EV6, equipped with some nice tech and sporting eye-catching good looks. CarBuzz has had another crack at test driving the EV6, frankly, because this EV deserves a second look. Kia made waves in the auto industry when it debuted this swoopy EV, and it still holds presence on the road today.

For 2022, the EV6 comes in three trim levels: Light, a RWD-only base model; Wind, the middle child; and GT-Line, the sportiest EV6 sitting at the top of the range. At least for now - the 2023 EV6 GT is coming soon with serious horsepower. But for many, that won't be the one they buy. Instead, we'd put our money on the Wind model, given its pricing, competition, and market positioning. Both the Wind and GT-Line trims can be had in either RWD or e-AWD, but let's find out what makes the Wind "just right," as the fairytale goes.

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Exterior: Styled By The Wind

Like the rest of the EV6 lineup, our loaner did a lot to win us over from an aesthetic perspective. This is an EV that doesn't outright scream that it's an EV, unlike its Tesla and Ford competitors, although the side profile and rear end certainly hint strongly at it. Still, your eyes are rewarded with sleek, low-key styling that turns heads. During our week-long test drive, we got loads of surprised remarks - "That's a Kia?!" became a regular thing, more than we expected, if we're honest.

Our main observation with the design is how wagonesque it looks - which proves that all you need do to get an American to buy a wagon is lift it (Subaru Outback, anyone?). That aside, the details are really where the EV6's looks shine. Take the small winglets on the back; we didn't even notice them until getting up close with the car, but now they're one of our favorite features.

Kia has also proven that lighting is one of its strong suits, with both the head and taillights bringing some real presence to the car with their sleek, futuristic design. However, we think it would really benefit from a broader selection of wheels. These aren't our favorite, although that's quite subjective. We weren't overly enthused with the creamy-gray Glacier paint our loaner came in either, but fortunately, there are more exciting exterior colors available. Finally, there are some clever and practical design elements, and we love the rear-mounted charging port that you'll find under a flap on the right-hand side of the trunk lid.

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Performance: Electric To The Core

The EV6 is a fast car - dual-motor e-AWD versions of the Wind and GT-Line have up to 320 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque and a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. The upcoming GT will shave more than a second off that time.

Even RWD versions of the Wind, like our loaner, have 225 hp and 258 lb-ft from the 77.4-kWh battery. This is just fine by us, and it still felt much faster than it should. And there's the benefit of the standard onboard power generator, too. Kia's V2L power generator is a great addition that more EVs ought to have; using the car's charger and supplied adaptors, you can charge just about anything. It's not quite as useful as Ford's Pro Power Onboard in the F-150, but knowing you can do something like power camping equipment is a nice option to have.

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That's not the only impressive aspect, however, as the rate of charge on the EV6 is equally positive. Thanks to DC fast charging, you can see the battery go from 10 to 80 percent in under 20 mins. We saw this with our own eyes. This is all thanks to Kia and Hyundai's E-GMP global EV architecture, which allows for multi-charging (400V/800V) to add up to 70 miles of range in less than five minutes. Competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, VW ID.4, and Polestar 2 all use 400V architecture; express charging such as that offered by the EV6 is far more effective at combating range anxiety than a big battery.

Still, Kia says the EV6 in RWD configuration can do up to 310 miles on a charge, while e-AWD versions drop to around 275 miles. Our RWD loaner managed to meet the suggested range, despite some aggressive driving. Our average worked out to about 3.5 mi/kWh. Put another way, the RWD EV6 will get 117 MPGe combined and the AWD version averages 105 MPGe. A Mach-E, even with an extended-range battery, manages less in either configuration.

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Driving Impressions: Fast And Rock Steady

If we were asked to describe how the EV6 drives in a sentence, the best answer would probably be, "Like an EV." This is, of course, both good and bad. Because the EV6 is an EV, it accelerates like a bat out of hell, and with loads of torque, it felt like it got off the line just as fast as the Dodge Challenger that replaced it in our test fleet. Of course, and again because this is an EV, it does all of this while making cool Jetsons noises.

Much like its corporate twin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the EV6's chassis makes it way more fun to drive than you'd think an electric crossover would be. The battery is mounted low in the floor and helps it corner with confidence, despite the soft suspension. RWD gives a hint of sportiness, which makes up for the numb steering just a little. Finally, the instant torque makes it fun. Too fun. We had to work to keep our foot off the gas and preserve the battery at times. Earlier, it might have sounded a bit like we were complaining about the 6's ride - we weren't.

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In fact, the EV6 rode better than the double-the-price Mercedes-Benz EQS we tested a while back. The car is supple to the extreme, but it's also not floaty. Bumps and dips are dealt with easily, and you'll seldom hear them despite the silent drivetrain. This is one of those cars you can sit in for hours on end without breaking a sweat. It's relaxing, and Kia knows this. It'll play you the sounds of nature if you ask it to, and the interior is clutter-free and calming. This is the perfect car to sit in if you regularly face slow-moving traffic.

How Kia has done any of the above on a car that starts below $50k is beyond us. Hell, how Kia made much of this car work for that price is impressive. The EV6 feels solidly built, and if you had told us ten years ago that the company making the econobox that was the Forte was going to build this, we wouldn't have believed you.

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Before moving inside, it's worth discussing what the Wind trim comes with. RWD models don't qualify for any package upgrades but still come with the aforementioned power generator, highway driving assist, blindspot detection, auto braking, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and front and rear park distance warning, to name just a few.

On those with AWD, you can specify the $1,500 Wind Technology Package, which nets you some nice safety and tech features. This includes a surround-view monitor, remote smart parking assist, a blind-view monitor, and parking collision-avoidance assist. Of those, the park assist is the party piece. We've stunned patrons of the Home Depot parking lot by reversing the EV6 out of a tight spot without even being in it, holding the key fob's button in our pocket like magicians.

The rest of the features are just as useful. While visibility in the 6 is excellent, we appreciate the surround-view camera as this is a wide car, and it helps to have some assistance getting into tight spots.

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Interior: A Study In Zen (And Design)

Solid driving chops aside, the EV6 has so much to offer inside. Kia clearly put tons of thought into the cabin, from the material selection (the majority of which are sustainably sourced) to the way you interact with the controls, and the clever, thoughtful touches for occupants. For example, the rear cupholders can also double as a storage spot, with the cupholders retracting to create a nice cubby. There are also USB charging ports located on the side of the front seats' backrests. And Kia has taken the trouble to include bag hooks on its floating center console so that the handles of the bag you have stored in the cubby below aren't in the way.

Little things like this add up and make using the EV6 a great experience. The same can be said of the infotainment system, which is simple, clean, and easy to understand. There is a dual integrated 12.3-inch TFT cluster and infotainment display that creates a curved display across the dashboard, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. The native navigation and music app are also fantastic - to the point that we didn't feel the need to use Android Auto/Apple CarPlay at all.

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However, we do have some gripes. Under spirited braking, your phone will fly out of the wireless charger and into the abyss. While you're fishing in the console for your phone, you'll probably notice that the climate controls are missing from the dash, seeing as that's about where your head will be while desperately probing for your phone. That's because they're part of a touch-board that includes the radio controls, utilizing a button to swap between the two. We found this to be quite annoying.

Thankfully, those are really the only two things we felt detracted from our time in the EV6. The interior is genuinely calming, the seats seriously comfy, and the car whisper-quiet. As we said above, the combination of these factors, as well as solid ergonomics (minus the above gripe), make the EV6 the king of commuter cars. We can't imagine wanting to commute in a gas-powered car again.

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Verdict: The Korean Establishment

The Kia EV6 is genuinely a wonderful car. It's not edgy, harsh, or pretentious. The EV6 has won our favor, and it didn't even have to try very hard - and the Wind trim is a great balance in the range. It's competitively priced, too, with the base Light model coming in at just $41,400, the RWD Wind at $47,500, and the AWD version upping that to $51,400. GT-Line models cost between $51,700 and $56,400 before options.

We'd love to have the EV6 back-to-back with the Mustang Mach-E as we feel it's a close contest between them. While we had our gripes with it, Kia has made a car that impresses on most fronts and relaxes you - and when you test sports cars for a living, that is rather nice. Having a little zen capsule that whisks you from one destination to another without straining you or itself is a highly appealing thing, and we imagine that's why the EV6 and Ioniq continue to sell so well. We'd buy one in a heartbeat.

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