If you’re a fan of the impressive range and charging figures of Hyundai’s new IONIQ 5 but don’t quite get the styling, maybe it’s sibling, the 2022 Kia EV6, is the electric auto for you. After making it’s official American debut at the 2021 LA Auto Show, this sleek electric crossover is slated to hit American roads within months. The new year brings so many more EVs to the market. Here’s what makes the Kia EV6 so distinctive among its peers in the crowded electric crossover segment.
Korean Partners: Kia and Hyundai’s EV Investment Comes to Life
The 2022 Kia EV6 is built on the new e-GMP electric platform engineered by Kia and Hyundai to power their vehicles for the next several years. Previously, Kia EVs like the 2021 Kia eNiro were merely EVs adapted to a chassis engineered for a combustion vehicle. This all-new platform offers decent efficiency and range, and exceptional fast-charging speeds. We’re talking even better than Tesla! In early 2022, only the Porsche Taycan, Lucid Air and Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 are capable of charging at 800 volts. Soon, the EV6 will join them.
Considering that nearly all variants of the Porsche and Lucid cost over $100,000, it’s amazing how far Kia has come to be a leading innovator in the industry. For the 2022 Kia EV6, charging from 10% to 80% (adding about 200 miles of range) takes just 18 minutes. Early tests at InsideEVs show a peak charging rate of 239 kW at public level 3 DC fast chargers. Those are worthy bragging rights for Kia!
Over 80% of EV charging is done at home with level 1 or 2 chargers. Some drivers rarely ever use level 3 fast chargers. With a 240 volt dryer outlet, the EV6 can charge from empty to full in 7 hours. Without giving it much thought, that may sound like a long wait. How many hours each night does your car sit in your garage or driveway? With EVs, most drivers wake up with a full ‘tank’ of electricity every single morning. It’s just like plugging in your phone when you hit the hay. Plus, electricity is much cheaper than gasoline. With myth-busting charging speeds both at home and on the road, the Kia EV6 will help turn the tide in the battle between gasoline and electricity.
Specs: The Kia EV6 Is a Spacious and Sporty Crossover
The 2022 Kia EV6 has a premium feel to it, and that’s something we’re still learning to expect from Kia. If someone told me back in 2006 that in 2022, Kia would be making one of the most sought-after electric vehicles on the market, I’d be skeptical. But stepping inside the EV6 welcomes drivers and passengers alike to a sense of spaciousness. The cabin is open and airy, yet the driver’s seat and surrounding controls remain driver-focused.
Cargo room is generous at 27.7 cubic feet, or 53.5 cu. Ft. with the rear seats down. Rear passengers have ample room, and it’s slightly more than you’d expect in a traditional crossover. However, the 61” height of the vehicle is two inches shorter than its Hyundai sibling. The Hyundai IONIQ 5 has a bit more room for rear passengers.
The EV6’s front dash consists of dual high-definition 12.3” screens, one for infotainment and another for the instrument cluster. Higher trims also include an augmented reality heads-up display that projects driving directions and basic info onto the windshield within the driver’s line of sight.
Kia is proud of the ambiance they’ve created in the EV6, and they highlight the intuitive user experience. “Convenience features such as keyless entry with touch-sensitive entry buttons, programmable driver profiles, relaxation seats and ergonomic design create an experience that puts the driver first. From the automatic flush handles that emerge from the car body, through to the intuitive touch-sensitive interfaces and the Augmented Reality head-up display, every journey in EV6 is designed to improve the human-machine interaction and promote a sense of well-being.”
The EV6’s 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery is produced by SK Innovation, a leading manufacturer of batteries that also supplies Ford. With a curb weight of 4255 pounds, the 310-mile EPA rated range of the 2022 Kia EV6 is very good. That works out to 117 mpg-equivalent on a per unit of energy basis. That’s what you can expect from the rear-wheel drive version, which produces 225 horsepower (168 kW) and 258 lb-ft of torque, or 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Adding an additional motor to the front increases power to 313 hp and a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds, but range drops to 274 miles on a charge. Unlike combustion-powered vehicles, EVs get better range in city driving. The EV6 will likely get well over 300 miles of range cruising around town.
Pricing for the EV6
Kia has said that it will announce US pricing soon, however we do have a good idea of what the starting price may be based on the already announced (but not yet delivered) limited First Edition EV6. The First Edition is a top of the line version fully spec’d with all-wheel drive and the larger 77.4 kWh battery, and it starts at $58,500. Once again, as we’ve seen with the top-trim Hyundai IONIQ 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, automakers seem to be cornering buyers into a familiar shopping comparison with Tesla. Do buyers want a base-trim Tesla Model Y for about $60,000, or a fully-loaded alternative from a legacy OEM?
As of January 2022, we know that the ‘EX+’ trim options include rear-wheel drive, 310 miles of range, premium sound, heated and ventilated seats, and an onboard power generator that can power laptops, cooking devices, party lights or whatever else you need to plug in. The more premium GT line tacks on a large power sunroof, surround-view and blind-spot monitoring, heads-up display, park assist and highway drive assist, all while riding around on 20-inch wheels. We still don’t know the starting prices for either variant of the EV6, but we’ll update this resource as we learn more.
Crossover Competition: How Does the Kia EV6 Compare?
With official US pricing pending, it’s too soon to know if the 2022 EV6 will be a real contender for crossover market share. Early access owners in the UK love their cars, and many point out the advantages over the elephant in the room (Tesla). While Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y both have an ultra-minimalist dash and plain interior, the EV6 is full of gadgets and customization. If the EV6 base trim starts well under $45,000, that would signal that Kia intends to get serious about sales. If buyers are forced into comparing the Model Y and EV6 for roughly the same price, who knows what could happen.
Another likely challenger is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which sold 24,791 units in America through November 2021. The Mach-E has a few more feet of cargo capacity, but many reviewers note that the ride is quite firm. Shoppers looking for a softer ride and more leisurely handling will probably prefer the EV6. Those looking for a sporty Model Y alternative may find what they desire in the Mach-E. Range figures appear to be similar between the two, but the Kia has a clear advantage when it comes to charging time.
We do know a lot about the EV6’s e-GMP platform sibling, the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5. With a starting price of just $40,925 and roughly the same charging and range specs as what the EV6 has to offer, buyers will find that both interior and exterior styling language is the big differentiator. Those who love a retro look with a hatchback flare will instantly fall in love with the IONIQ 5. If you prefer a sleek, aggressive-looking EV that is a family-mover in disguise, the Kia may suit your needs. And then, there’s the supply factor. In the end, whichever OEM can ship more vehicles to America may win out in terms of sales.
When Will the Kia EV6 Be Available for Purchase?
Like a few other EVs, ‘early 2022’ is about all we know for now. Select dealerships have a pre-ordering process set up, so it might be worth a stop by your local dealership. If you’re hoping to drive an EV6 home in 2022, bear in mind the threat of additional dealer markups. If you are able to place an order, have in writing the out-the-door price your dealer will commit to. Our team of consumer advocates at YAA is ready to help you through this very important process. Don’t let surprise add-ons and ‘market adjustments’ keep you from getting into the driver’s seat.
With some automakers chasing Tesla and others stuck with heartless compliance EVs and struggling to get with the game, it’s refreshing to see EVs blossoming into compelling, fun-to-drive vehicles. The one big problem we see is the prohibitive price. EVs remain out of reach for many, and it doesn’t appear that the EV6 will help on that front. But then again, it doesn’t look like a ‘cheap’ car, so buyers will have to decide if it’s worth the pricing that Kia will announce.
The Kia EV6 brings a new perspective to the crossover EV segment, and it’s one that consumers should definitely check out. The level of detail that the EV6 presents in both the driver-focused interior and eye-catching exterior serves as a reminder that not everything needs to aspire to Tesla. Kia is showing that our electric future is not set in stone. There’s still plenty of room for innovation as we charge ahead.
What do you prefer, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 or the Kia EV6? Let us know in the comments, or hop on over to the YAA Community Forum at joinyaa.com.