2022 Kia EV6 Review: Best Foot Forward


Believe it or not, Kia drew inspiration from the Lancia Stratos of all places when designing the EV6, and honestly, I can see it. The EV6’s wildly styled taillight design, which protrudes beyond the body panels, bears more than a passing resemblance to the Stratos’ wing. There’s some inspiration in the shape of the cabin, too, as a chunkier rear pillar gives way to a greenhouse that looks a bit like a helmet visor. The front end is its own beast, but it’s also lovely, thanks to some exaggerated shapes on the hood ending in an aggressive little nose. Throw in my GT-Line tester’s specific 20-inch alloy wheels and some Runway Red paint, and there’s quite the aesthetic here. It’s a far cry from the blockier, almost pixelated Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Kia looks far less SUV-ish than the Volkswagen ID 4.

The EV6’s interior carves its own path, as well. The floating center console lacks the sliding capability of the Ioniq 5, but I don’t miss it. Instead, I’m appreciating just how much crap I can leave in the massive lower-level tray and the sizable cubby under the armrest. The dedicated spot for the wireless device charger is a nice touch, too. My tester’s seats are wrapped in a comfortable, grippy microfiber (a $295 upgrade) that plays well with the black-and-silver motif. The rear seats offer plenty of space, too. I’m also a big fan of the climate controls, which live in a touch panel below the multimedia screen and can be swapped to control the volume and infotainment with a single tap. Also unlike the Ioniq 5, the EV6 has direct controls for the heated seats and steering wheel, making chilly mornings go away that much faster.

Out back, the EV6’s trunk offers 24.4 cubic feet of storage, which is enough for a few suitcases or a whole lot of groceries. However, it comes in a few cubes behind the Ioniq 5 (27.2 cu. ft.), and both lag behind the VW ID 4 (30.3 cu. ft.). There’s a frunk, too, sort of; it’s actually a small box surrounded by other random hardware, and with just a couple cubic feet of capacity, its presence neither makes nor breaks the car.

The EV6 isn’t going to win any cargo-capacity awards, but the trunk is easy to load things into, and it’s more than enough for a couple or a family on the grow.

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The Kia EV6 is available in a single-motor, rear-wheel drive configuration with a choice of battery sizes, but my tester packs an additional motor and the largest battery on offer. Its 77.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery delivers juice to the two motors, generating a net 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. With that much power, it’s no surprise the EV6 can scoot, reaching 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. It’s not hard to be the first car away from every red light, and that torque can be accessed whenever my right foot desires, making every passing maneuver a breeze. Despite a curb weight north of 4,500 pounds, the Kia feels quite light on its feet. The static suspension setup does a great job of keeping things smooth and composed, whether the car is putting down the highway or heading into some curvy backroads. It’s pretty darn fun to drive, with well-weighted steering and pedals that are easy to modulate.

However, in many scenarios, you may only need to use one pedal. Like the Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6 relies on a multi-stage regenerative braking system that can be adjusted by the steering wheel paddles. In its strongest setting, it enables one-pedal driving that does a great job teaching drivers how to provide smoother and smoother inputs. Each vehicle restart requires the driver to re-enable one-pedal mode, but that’s hardly a complaint.

Ready to juice up? The Kia’s port is located under the taillight, so hopefully it’s a space you can back into.

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Being smaller than the Ioniq 5 gives the Kia EV6 an efficiency advantage. Whereas the 77.4-kWh, AWD Ioniq 5 receives a 98-MPGe rating from the EPA with 256 miles of estimated range, the similarly equipped Kia EV6 bumps those figures up to 105 MPGe and 274 miles. Both are more efficient than the VW ID 4 AWD Pro, as well. The EV6’s onboard computer measures efficiency in miles per kilowatt hour, and my personal driving style elicited an average of 2.9 mi/kWh, not far off the EPA’s 3.1 mi/kWh.

When it comes time to charge, the EV6’s underlying 800-volt architecture is capable of accepting up to 240 kilowatts of juice, enough to send the battery from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. Most of the chargers around me top out at 62.5 kW, though, which takes me from 50% to 100% in about an hour, and the lion’s share of that time is spent between 80% and 100%, where the charging speed gets progressively slower. Some folks don’t like how the charging port’s flap integrates into the taillight assembly, but I think it’s cool. Just make sure you back into the parking space.

With the exception of what’s on the dual displays atop the dashboard, the Kia EV6 bears very little interior resemblance to the Ioniq 5.

Andrew Krok/CNET

As for cabin tech, the 2022 Kia EV6 packs it in spades. A pair of 12.3-inch screens span half the dashboard. The gauge display on the left is pretty much a carbon copy of Hyundai’s, which is not a bad thing at all, as it does a great job displaying all the pertinent information in a few different ways. The screen on the right runs Kia’s latest infotainment system, which I quite enjoy and which is also shared between Genesis, Hyundai and Kia. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but they can’t be done wirelessly, which is a bit of a bummer. Further frustrating the smartphone-mirroring experience is the sole USB-A port for data, which is located near the floor under the HVAC controls. There’s a USB-C port up front for fast charging, as well as two USB-C ports for the rear, which are cleverly embedded into the front seatbacks.

Safety tech abounds, as well. The EV6 comes standard with Kia’s Drivewise suite of active and passive driver aids. This covers automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, remote parking assist and lane-keeping assist. The ACC will work in conjunction with its other systems to hold the vehicle in its lane and keep pace with traffic, including stop-and-go situations, and it performs admirably for a hands-on setup.

The EV6 oozes cool from every pore.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Even though Kia is known for offering some of the most value-laden vehicles on the market, EVs are still an expensive proposition and the 2022 EV6 is no outlier. Base models start at $42,115, including $1,215 in destination charges. My tester, a top-of-the-line GT-Line AWD with the upgraded suede seats, waters the eyes a bit with an out-the-door price of $57,410. That’s a smidge more expensive than the Ioniq 5 in comparable trims, and it’s a few thousand dollars more than what you’d pay for a VW ID 4 AWD Pro S.

Kia did an excellent job with the 2022 EV6. Despite sharing many of the same bits as its sibling from Hyundai, the Kia stands apart with its styling, more compact body and slightly boosted range. The EV6 is great to drive, great to look at and its in-car technology doesn’t disappoint.

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