2022 KIA EV6 GT-Line RWD: Compelling new EV
The all-electric vehicle war is over. It has been won by the powerhouse related Korean team of Hyundai and Kia. They are producing the most compelling affordable small EVs today and will undoubtedly dominate when they move into the larger SUV and even luxury markets.
Hyperbole? Then you haven't driven my recent test vehicles, the 2022 Hyundai Ionic 5 and the closely related Kia EV6. Both are striking compact crossover hatchbacks offered in a staggering range of trim levels that deliver between 232 and 310 miles of range, offer between 167 and 320 horsepower, are available with rear- or all-wheel-drive, and can be ordered with luxury levels of comfort and technology.
Yes, there are more expensive EVs with even greater range, power and technology — but those gain are way beyond any kind of reasonable cost/benefit analysis for most buyers. If your goal is saving fuel costs and the planet by eliminating fossil fuels without compromising day-to-day and weekend driving, there is — seriously — no reason to consider more expensive models.
Despite being based on the same dedicated Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 — the focus of this review — are surprisingly different vehicles. Both are aggressively styled four-door hatchbacks, but that's where the similarities end. Compared side-by-side, the Ioniq 5 is more formal, especially in the interior, where the wide display screen dominates the otherwise conventional dash. The EV6 has wilder exterior styling, especially the unconventional hatchback rear end, and a more minimal dash, giving it a sportier feel.
The EV6 is available in five trim levels, beginning with the base level Light RWD that comes with a single motor that generates 167 horsepower and 232 miles of range on a full charge. It starts at $42,155 before state and federal financial incentives.
The next four levels offer the choice of twin motor all-wheel-drive and increasing amounts of power and range. The top-of-the-line GT-Line AWD is available with up to 320 horsepower and 310 miles of range, starting at $57,115.
My tester was a GT-Line RWD, meaning it has one motor that produced 225 horsepower and came with the larger battery that provides up to 310 miles of range. It was plenty fast, especially in the Sport mode, thanks to the 258 foot-pounds of torque. Although enthusiasts will undoubtedly want the more powerful AWD version, most buyers should be easily satisfied with single-motor versions.
Inside the spacious interior, the EV6 was loaded with tech, including a 12.0-inch touchscreen shares a panel on the dash with a 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster, continuing the futuristic look. It came with smartphone-integrated apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and rear camera views down both sides when the turn signals are activated, a great safety feature in cities with a lot of bicyclists.
During a week of test driving the 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD was always inspiring to see and fun to drive. It was also easy to recharge, thanks to its an operating voltage of 800 volts. Kia says its battery can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in under 18 minutes when plugged into a 350-kW fast charger. This same setup is also said to add 70 miles in less than 5 minutes. The 11-kW onboard charger is expected to refill the battery from 10 to 100 percent in seven hours when hooked up to a Level 2 outlet. I added around 40 miles from a fast charger during a quick trip into the Fred Meyer in my neighborhood without any advance planning.
IONIC 5 and Kia EV6 models with the larger battery pack also come with a Vehicle-to-Load (or V2L) adapter that plugs into the charging port and allows electricity to drawn out. It can charge anything from power tools at constriction sites to refrigerators during power outages to other EVs. It might not power an entire home like the optional generator of Ford F-150 pickups, but it could save your day.
The IONIC 5 and Kia EV6 are not the least expensive all-electric vehicles on the market. Both Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf start at thousands less. But they have less power, less maximum range, and cannot come close to competing in terms of styling and quality. I always encourage potential buyers to drive a range of vehicle before making a decision, but I believe the new Korean EVs — especially the 2022 Kia EV6 — will win most shoppers over.
2022 KIA EV6 GT-Line RWD
Base price: $42,155 (base Light, before incentives)
Price as tested: $52,710 (before incentives)
Type: Compact crossover
Drivetrain: Single or dual electric motors, 168 hp to 225 (as tested) to 320 hp.
Transmission: Direct drive
EPA estimated range: 232 to 310 miles (as tested)
EPA MPGe: 105 MPGe to 117 MPGe (as tested)
Drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport
Overall length: 184 inches
Curb weight: 4,646 (as tested)
Final assembly: Hwasung, Korea
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