Hey”, we said to the MotorTrend test crew as they removed their instruments from the 2022 Kia EV6. “You all have something on your face. Something really weird. My God, are they… smiles?”
Sure enough, the EV6 had elicited that rare nod of positive emotion among our jaded testers, and for the same reason its platform companion, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, earned that same infrequent accolade. Given free rein to its electronic nannies, it turns out the Kia EV6 likes to go sideways, earlier and even more so than the Hyundai.
Unexpected results on the test track
“Wow, I was do not I expected that,” said Chris Walton, Road Tests Editor. “Well, I expected that halfway through because we noticed the rear weight bias [49/51 front/rear]. But I didn’t expect oversteer on the entry and mid-corner. While the Ioniq 5 showed signs of wanting to carve around the skidpad, the EV6, with its 4-inch shorter wheelbase, proved even more spirited than the Hyundai. Walton was so intrigued that he tried to drift the all-wheel-drive EV6 all the way around the circle, but his front engine kept righting the car. third of the lap.” (The Hyundai, which started to recover later, drifted two-thirds.)
We noticed the same happy tail= behavior on our public-road test loop: push the EV6 hard into a corner, and it pulls off the back end. Which isn’t to say you should avoid following Kia EV6s lest one suddenly spins past you – the EV6 has decent grip, generating 0.89g on the skid before Walton does. decides to pretend to be a professional drifter. Its stability control system will prevent tail wagging when fully on and reduce it before it spins out of control in partially off mode. Nothing dangerous here, just good old times to release the teenager having fun.
“It’s a back-to-basics car, amazingly,” Walton said. “You have to do all the braking before you start the corner. It hates trail braking. The steering is a bit lifeless, but it’s very precise and intuitive. It doesn’t feel like the heavy car [4,693 pounds on our scales] that it is.” The EV6’s figure-eight time of 25.9 seconds at 0.71g further underscored its dynamic bona fides, a number just 0.2 seconds behind that of the Hyundai.
How fast is the 2022 Kia EV6?
For our acceleration test, we were curious to see how the EV6 compares to both the Ioniq 5 and the Tesla Model Y, the current benchmark by which dual-motor electric crossovers are measured. With 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque to motivate itself, the EV6 sprinted to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a tenth slower than the slightly lighter Hyundai but with similar acceleration characteristics. Even with the traction control turned off, the test team reported that the EV6’s launch went without drama or wheelspin. While its acceleration didn’t seem as dramatic as the 2020 long-range twin-motor Y-Model we tested at 4.1 seconds at 60, unlike many other EVs, the EV6’s power doesn’t seem stop at higher speeds. That said, the quarter mile clocked in at 13.3 seconds at 101.2 mph, still a tenth of a second (and 1.5 mph) slower than the Ioniq 5 and nearly a second behind the Model. Y.
Braking performance was mixed. The EV6’s 117-foot 60-0 mph best stop was far – better than the Hyundai and Model Y. But our first hard stop raised an ominous concern slam accompanied by a very long stopping distance. The second run gave us the 117-foot figure, but on subsequent stops the performance deteriorated significantly. Although the Kia felt overall more stable under emergency braking than the Hyundai, we felt the pedal should offer more feedback and wish the brakes were more robust in general.
“The brakes definitely won’t last long if you’re driving like a hot hatch,” said road test analyst Alan Lau. “Powerful powertrain but not enough stopping power.”
A sporty SUV in an oddly shaped package
While the EV6’s driving characteristics brought smiles, other aspects of this vehicle seemed to make our scalps itch – yes, this Kia had us scratching our heads. For starters, there’s the price. The tested MSRP for our top-of-the-line AWD GT-Line model just hit $58,000, a far cry from the base model’s $42,115 starting price. Even after the incentives, that seems like a lot of money considering the EV6’s price and packaging.
The packaging itself was another headache. Kia advertises the EV6 as an all-electric SUV, but its limited headroom – thanks to an extremely low roof combined with a high floor under which the battery sits – makes it feel more like a hot station wagon. Even our smallest staff members noted with some trepidation how close their noggins were to the EV6 headliner. That, and the EV6’s half-glass sunroof effectively turns the back seat into a cave.
Some of the ergonomic choices are also really baffling, like the combination of stereo and climate controls. We don’t mean they are combined on one panel; instead, a capacitive touchscreen LCD and a pair of dials switch between these two functions – the left dial, for example, serves as a driver’s side power/volume or temperature control, depending on the mode in which the panel is located. Therein lies the problem: if, when you reach for said dial with the intention of changing the volume, your finger approaches the touch panel of the automatic climate control next to it, the volume remains the same but the temperature changes. I hope you didn’t mean to turn the volume down in a hurry, because you can’t change it (or press it to turn off the stereo) until you press another one section of the screen to return the panel to stereo controls. It hasn’t happened to us just once or twice – it’s happened many times, even after we knew we had to be careful. It’s hard to imagine Kia coming up with a worse idea short of mounting the horn inside the cabin.
Speaking of inappropriate noises, while all EVs are required to have an external low-speed buzzer (to warn the visually impaired of their otherwise quiet approach), Kia pipes in a false note of engine buzzing at all speeds, much like what Audi does in the E-Tron GT. Except in the E-Tron GT, it sounds great. In the EV6, it just got on our nerves.
Kia EV6 may not be a good SUV, but it’s pretty awesome
So yes, the EV6 has some challenges. Maybe if Kia marketed the EV6 as a hot sedan rather than an SUV, we might be a little less confused. As a sporty electric car, however, we’re as happy as it gets with the Kia EV6’s test-track results and their real-world implications. We’ve known for a while now that the speed and smooth power of electric cars can make them great fun to drive, but the Kia’s tail antics weren’t the kind of fun we’d expect from an EV – and we call that a very pleasant surprise, indeed. Hey, Kia, how long before we can get a rear-drive version of the EV6 for testing? Walton can’t wait to drift it all around the skidpad.
This seems good! More details?
|2022 Kia EV6 AWD GT-Line Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$58,105|
|VEHICLE UPFIT||Front and rear engine, all-wheel drive, 5-door and 4-door SUVs|
|TYPE OF ENGINE||Permanent magnet electric|
|POWER (SAE NET)||320 hp|
|TORQUE (NET SAE)||446 lb-ft|
|CURB WEIGHT (DIST FWD/REW)||4,693 pounds (49/51%)|
|Length x Width x Height||184.8 x 74.4 x 60.8 inches|
|QUARTER MILE||13.3 sec at 101.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||117 feet|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89g (average)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.9s @ 0.71g (average)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONOMY||116/94/105 mpg-e|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||274km|