The most compelling Tesla rival yet

kia ev6 gt line 2022

DW Burnet

Back in 2018, I asked a Tesla PR representative what he thought of the upcoming onslaught of electric vehicles from established OEMs. The rep was pretty evasive. Maybe the Audi would be a threat? Maybe not. However, I left that conversation convinced that Tesla was about to get his lunch.

The new Kia EV6 could finally be Tesla’s brown recyclable lunch bag.

It wasn’t until the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2 arrived in 2020 that Tesla had any credible rivals among old-school OEMs. Now it’s the Hyundai Ioniq 5 sibling EV6 that boasts electrified toughness. The EV6 is one of the best electric vehicles and one of the best consumer cars of any kind currently on sale.

The EV6 is the first Kia built on Hyundai Motor’s modular E-GMP platform. As standard, the base Light model gets a 58kWh battery pack and a single motor driving the rear wheels, while all others get a 77.4kWh pack and the option of single-motor or dual-motor rear-wheel drive. a twin-motor all-wheel drive. . This matte gray tester was a fairly high-end GT-Line RWD model, with 225 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

These figures struck me, because they are basically identical to the old Volkswagen GTIs. Of course, the Kia weighs around 1200 pounds more than a Mk7 GTI, at 4255 pounds, although you wouldn’t think so behind the wheel. It’s a willful, eager thing, capable of great pace on a country road, in any country. Even in Sport mode, the EV6 lacks the instant, blistering acceleration of more performance-oriented EVs, but it’s still responsive and snappy.

Hyundai Motor’s products aimed at enthusiasts – the Kia Stinger, Hyundai Veloster and Elantra N, Genesis G70 – have been dynamically impressive and the EV6 shows that their excellence has spilled over into the triple product lines. There’s real sophistication to the way the EV6 handles the ride – the steering is nicely weighted and precise, and the suspension tuning is spot-on.

Good momentum isn’t the only thing that matters, though. The EV6 excels in almost every way. It’s extremely convenient too.

This is basically the long range version, with an EPA projected range of 310 miles, which R&T corresponds to fairly mild to cold weather in the northeast of March. Like the Porsche Taycan, the EV6 uses an 800-volt electrical architecture, allowing charging speeds of up to 350 kW with a capable charger. Unfortunately, Electrify America’s fast chargers at the Newburgh, NY Wal-Mart were, unsurprisingly, broken, but we got charging speeds of around 110kW at an EvolveNY station earlier that same day. Fast charging doesn’t quite make up for the convenience of Tesla’s Supercharger network, though with more stations arriving every day, the EV6 should (hopefully) soon be as easy to charge on the go as a Model Y. .

The car is good at providing real-time range estimates that update based on driving mode and climate control use. A heat pump also helps preserve range, although I was constantly turning the HVAC controls just to increase range. I admit some range anxiety, but I put over 250 miles on the car to get these photos. In the vast majority of normal use cases, the EV6 has plenty of juice.

The dedicated EV platform creates a pleasant and spacious interior despite relatively compact exterior dimensions. It is superbly built and fitted out too. Quiet, comfortable and easy to use, my only interior complaint is the HVAC controls on the dash. HVAC controls or infotainment shortcuts are available, but not both at the same time. Still, that’s minor, because I don’t mess with the infotainment once it’s settled. The interior is worthy of a car priced over $50,000.

kia ev6 gt line 2022

DW Burnet

The EV6 also looks fabulous. It’s not as striking as the future retro Hyundai Ioniq 5, but it has a sporty character of its own. It’s muscular in a way reminiscent of the great performance cars of the past, while remaining thoroughly contemporary. There are all sorts of delightful details that reveal themselves over time, always inviting another look.

In some ways, none of this should be surprising. Kia has been on a roll, so of course it produces a great electric vehicle. But the fact that the EV6 succeeds where so many other electric vehicles from mainstream automakers have failed is an achievement. With the EV6, Kia has created an electric car that’s both easy to live with and aesthetically desirable. It’s ultimately more appealing than most gas-powered crossovers.

I was wrong when I thought the first wave of electric vehicles from major automakers would eclipse Tesla. But, it turns out I was looking at the wrong automakers.

A late lunch is better than no lunch.