From follower to leader
Most electric cars are tall to offer space to the batteries in the floor and to cater to the demand for SUVs. The EV6 is in fact taller than the average car, but a lot lower than its competitors. By emphasising the length, the EV6 is way more elegant. Additionally, the many original details give the EV6 character. For example, pay attention to the line that runs from under the doors with a small interruption to the back wheel to in the taillights. The taillights are integrated into a raised edge on the tailgate that makes an important contribution to the aerodynamics. In this way, a necessary element is turned into a decorative element!
The cabin is original and has a modern design as well. Even the seats have a unique form. The backside has been made so that the seats lay firm in case it's used as a bed and the headrests can be used as clothing hooks. The space in the front is fine, but the seating position might be the weakest point of the EV6. The steering wheel is placed at a normal hatchback height, while the seat is actually at the height of an SUV. This creates an unnatural seating position, with many people trying to lower their seats every few minutes in vain. Note that the optional panoramic roof also reduces headroom, causing even tall to medium-sized drivers to sit uncomfortably in the EV6. Nothing but compliments for the space in the back: the legroom is exceptionally good!
The luggage compartment is long and wide, but shallow. This is because the EV6 has rear-wheel drive by default, therefore a motor is placed under the luggage compartment. The upside to this: when a model with only rear-wheel drive is chosen, one can find extra storage space under the bonnet (52 l) with enough space for, for example, a trolley or shopping bag. This so-called “frunk” is in the version with four-wheel drive only sufficient to store a charging cable.
The cabin is layed out in such a way that the EV6 showcases its technology. The floating centre console and two slightly bent screens allow for an outspoken modern look. Still, the equipment is in fact no more modern or innovative than that of other Kia models. All luxury items and safety features are available, including cameras around, an infotainment system and all common driver assistants. Completely new is the audio system from specialist Meridian. This is evidently digital as well, because the sound is extremely artificial. It is noticeable that the electronics analyse the music and determine which filters will be used. This sometimes leads to the average built-in speaker of a mobile phone sounding better. But when the brain of Meridian works, the sound is fantastic!
Kia offers everything that makes driving electric appealing, beginning with the performance. First, the 229 hp / 350 Nm strong “basic version” is driven with only rear-wheel drive. By choosing the economic, normal or sporty mode, the character varies from calm and modest to viscous and lightning-fast. The 325 hp / 605 Nm strong version is silent, manageable and comfortable when driving calmly. However, when this faster version is driven in a sporty way, performance is stunning.
The driver can choose in five steps to what extent energy is recuperated by releasing the throttle. At level 0, the EV rolls like a traditional car with a combustion engine. At level “max”; the car decreases speed so strongly that the brake lights turn on. Not useful, but really fun: the driver can choose if the EV6 produces engine sounds. Kia provides several ufo-sounds, a rumbling engine noise, or allows drivers to design a sound themselves.
Regardless of the chosen engine, power consumption varies strongly. When driven calmly on an undemanding route, the consumption can be as low as 14 kWh / 100. Without effort, 400 km can then be covered on a full battery (77 kWh). When fully utilizing the power (and that temptation is hard to resist!) consumption can climb to 25 or even 30 kWh / 100! Fortunately, the EV6 can charge really fast. Because the battery makes use of the 800 Volt technique, a quick charger can (under the ideal circumstances) charge in 18 minutes from 10% to 80%.
The EV6 differs from the other electric cars by giving the driver a lot of choices in acceleration and recuperation. The most distinct factor, however, is road holding. Kia offers dampers with variable operation instead of an advanced, electronically controlled (and costly) chassis. At repeated, short ripples, the chassis is soft, while it is firm under all other conditions.
As a result, the EV6 manages to disguise its huge weight well. Even though the feeling in the steering is mediocre, the feeling with the car is excellent. That is why it’s immediately noticeable that the EV6 is capable of a lot. As soon as that is put to use, one notices that the limits are really far, which gives a pronounced superior feeling.
Lastly, the brakes. Electric cars are heavy due to the battery and therefore need stronger brakes. However, many manufacturers install simple brakes on the rear wheels, because braking is usually done by the engine (“regenerating”). Kia actually provides extremely strong brakes and that is why the EV6 is also suitable for intense sporty driving. This is partly why driving the EV6 never gets boring, just like looking at a beautiful work of art or listening to beautiful music never gets old.
The Kia EV6 wants to be different from the existing electric cars. For example, the EV6 has a distinct appearance making it more desirable than most electric SUVs offered by the competition at first glance. This is not at the expense of the interior space, which is good. However, the seating is flawed because the height of the steering wheel does not match that of the seat. The equipment is not innovative, but the EV6 does offer all luxury and safety systems that can be expected of a modern car in this segment. On top of that has the EV6 the necessary “toys” that make driving not better, but surely a lot more fun.
By nature, the EV6 is just as fast, quiet and comfortable as other electric cars. An important difference is that the driver has a lot of influence on the characteristics, which in turn varies from comfortable to sporty. There were no cutbacks on the battery or charging options: the EV6 can cover large distances and can be charged quickly. The strongest point is road holding. Thanks to smart chassis technology, handling is excellent and the driver communicates well with the car.
Summarised: Kia combines all strong points of driving electric, betters where needed and adds a strong character as well. The EV6 is therefore just as practical and sensible as other electric cars but also has a serious fun factor. With that the mission is accomplished: Kia sets the trend with the EV6!
- Big range, quick charge
- Vibrant, thrilling character
- Consumption rises above average with sporty driving
- Shallow door pockets, causing stuff to easily fall out