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23 Nov 2022

What We Dislike
Rear end looks like Aston's DBX
Cockpit could feel more special
No wireless Apple CarPlay
Restricted rearward visibility

Kia's latest flagship is a striking crossover, but what makes it so compelling is that despite being the brand's first attempt at a bespoke EV, it has hit it out of the park.


If a brand has made a type of car it's never produced before, it would be forgiven for any minor missteps. In fact, consumers - and the media - would expect said model to have flaws.

Some brands, however, are able to churn out a hit on their first try. Case in point: the Kia Stinger, a sweet-handling, rear-wheel drive fastback. Nobody ever expected Kia to make such a car, but it did.

Now, the carmaker has ostensibly done it again with the EV6, its first flagship electric model.

Distinct details

The EV6's front end is inspired by a tiger's face, but there won't be any 'roars' from the electric motors
Unlike the Niro Electric, the EV6 was conceived and built from the ground up as an electric vehicle. The Niro, on the other hand, is also available as a hybrid, and in overseas markets, a plug-in hybrid.

The EV6 does not resemble any of Kia's current models, and that's a good thing. However, viewed from afar, its silhouette is similar to that of the Jaguar I-Pace.

And, unlike other Kia models that have a 'tiger face', designers have given the EV6 a 'digital tiger face'. If you imagine a tiger baring its fangs while squinting, you'll see the resemblance here.

Meanwhile, the EV6's rear is reminiscent of the Aston Martin DBX's, with curved taillights that extend across the car's rump. Personally, I think the car looks better in the metal than in photos.

The cockpit is neat and has a user-friendly layout, but given the EV6's status as the brand's first ground-up EV, it should have more panache
Unlock the EV6 and the door handles partially pop out. It's an unusual way of opening the doors - depending on where you're standing, you'll either be pulling or pushing the end that sticks out.

Given the model's status, I though the cockpit would have more panache, but there's nothing unconventional it. Inside, you'll discover a high-tech space that resembles the Niro Hybrid's. Everything feels well-assembled, the controls have a functional layout, and the buttons offer a nice tactile feel.

Speaking of feel, the seats are pretty good, too, offering a balance of plushness and support. They are upholstered in suede, and keeping with the car's eco-friendly premise, feature vegan leather for the side bolsters.

The nifty LCD lets you quickly toggle between audio controls (left) and climate settings
Also, Kia supposedly uses 107 recycled 500ml plastic bottles to construct parts of the dashboard and centre console. Who says eco-friendly materials are only found in luxury cars?
 
Facing the driver are a pair of 12.3-inch high-definition displays that are hosted by a curved housing. The coolest component here by far, though, is the LCD keyboard below the centre air vents.

Said display is a switchable one that lets you toggle between infotainment tabs and the climate controls. It's a nifty solution with three advantages: It enables fewer physical controls, lesser menus to dig through, and doesn't attract fingerprints. Yes, this screen is matte. Nice.

If you're feeling groovy, there are plenty of mood lighting hues for you to choose from
Not so nice, on the other hand, is the placement of the USB-A and USB-C charging ports. Instead of locating them in the centre bin or perhaps beside the ignition switch, they are below the console, which is out of your line of sight when you're in the driver's seat.

These ports are important because apart from being able to charge your smartphone, iPhone users need them to access Apple CarPlay. You'd expect a flagship like the EV6 would have wireless CarPlay, but alas, according to Cycle & Carriage, this option was not offered to it by the factory.

Lounging space

The relatively long wheelbase, flat rear floor and slim front seatbacks further enhance legroom
In spite of the EV6 having an overall length similar to that of a medium-size crossover, its wheelbase is an impressive 2,900mm, which is like an executive saloon's.

The EV6's backseat offers enough room for three average-size adults to sit abreast. Thanks to the car's E-GMP platform that's designed to underpin electric models, there's no floor protrusion to make things awkward for the middle passenger and his or her feet.

It's a comfortable bench as well, thanks to the air-con vents on the B-pillars. Having cool air directed at your upper body is much more effective than having it blown at your knees.

The 520-litre boot swallows shopping and sports equipment, and if you fold down the backrests, you can stow flat-pack furniture as well
Now, although the bench here is comfy and cool, it's not very practical for folks who typically carry a lot of loose items.

These things will have to be placed either in the storage point within the centre armrest, or the boot, which offers 520 litres with the rear seats up. Fold them and the capacity expands to 1,300 litres, enough room to stow a full-size bicycle without removing the front wheel.

If needed, there is also an additional 20 litres in the 'frunk' or front trunk. In the EV6 Standard, it's a more useful 52 litres.

Ready to rip

The cover is marked 'EV', but instead of an electric motor, it's actually a 20-litre frunk
Two variants of the EV6 are being sold in Singapore. The less-powerful Standard model that has a single motor and a smaller battery pack, and the GT-Line, which has a larger battery and two motors.

The GT-Line, with its front and rear-mounted electric motors, can instantly unleash 321bhp and 605Nm of torque. With all-wheel drive, it'll finish the century sprint in relatively quick 5.2 seconds.

Feeding these electric motors is a 77.4kWh lithium-ion battery, which Kia says can provide a driving range of up to 506km. Thanks to the car's 800V architecture, using a 50kW fast charger can juice up the battery from 10% to 80% in an hour and 13 minutes.

Firm damping aids in handling, yet the EV6 surprisingly still provides a pliant ride
For those who plan to charge at home, a 7kW charging point lets you go from 10% battery to 100% in seven hours and 20 minutes.

Charging times and acceleration figures aside, what makes the EV6 GT-Line so compelling is the way it drives. Considering how this is Kia's first EV, 'polished' is the word that comes to mind.

The EV6 responds to steering and throttle inputs with linearity, making it both controllable and exciting to drive. There are four levels of regenerative braking, which recovers energy and uses it to recharge the battery.

Levels 1 to 3 provide increasing levels of braking force, but if you want greater convenience, activate i-Pedal, which lets you one-pedal drive the car. Whenever you lift your foot from the accelerator, the electric motors bring the car to a halt, reducing the need to use the brakes.

Designers managed to include cute details here - the brake pedal has a '-' sign, while the accelerator gets a '+' symbol
For daily commutes on congested roads, this lessens the effort required of the driver. Once you get the hang of it, you'll only need to depress the brake pedal after the car has come to a halt.

And when it's time to have fun and deploy the EV6's potential, the car is willing to play along. The 605Nm of torque is plenty without being overwhelming, and the car tidily tucks into corners with little complaint. Despite being all-wheel drive, it feels a bit more like rear-wheel drive.

There's lots of grip from the standard 19-inch wheels, so you needn't worry about the EV6 losing its composure.

The car is equipped with firmer dampers and thicker anti-roll bars compared to other models built on the E-GMP platform, enabling it to offer sportier handling, while retaining a relatively pliant ride.

Overall, the EV6 is easy to pilot and parking is a breeze with the 360-degree camera view. The only thing I needed to mind was the limited rear visibility caused by those wide C-pillars.

A charged conversation

The price tag might deter you, but the quirky styling shouldn't - drive it and you'll find the EV6 to be a convincing electric crossover
One can argue that making an EV perform well is easier than making an internal combustion engine (ICE) model do the same, since a carmaker does not need experience building and tuning, say, a V8 or V12 engine.

But to conclude that about the EV6 would be unfair. An electric car may have fewer moving parts, but I do not for a moment believe that manufacturing one is less complicated.

The EV6's platform, design, powertrain and handling all work in conjunction and in sync with one another. That is why it feels like a polished product.

To be sure, we can expect future EVs to be even better, and hopefully, more affordable, too. But eye-watering price tag aside, the EV6 deserves to be feted, for despite being the first pure electric model built on an all new platform, Kia still managed to knock it out of the park.


Looking for more EV reviews? Perhaps these stories will interest you

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plus Electric has a smaller battery, but remains a delight to pilot on our roads

Volvo C40 Recharge offers performance and intuitiveness

Mercedes-EQ EQB350 combines an adaptable interior with an appealing design and a strong all-electric drivetrain

The Peugeot e-2008 is would be well-suited to a first-time EV owner
Car Information
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Kia EV6 Electric GT-Line 77kWh (A)
Rate it

Price

: $289,999

Engine Type

:

Electric Motor

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

239kW (321 bhp)

Torque

:

605 Nm / 4400 rpm

Transmission

:

Single-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.2sec

Top Speed

:

188km/h

Energy consumption

:

n/a

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