EV6
EV6

Kia EV6: A charge of pace

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What is it?

The Kia EV6 is an impressive piece of engineering that not only reduces harmful emissions but also provides a quiet, spacious interior along with high levels of comfort and clever technology.

Electric vehicles are the way of the future, after all we will eventually run out of fossil fuels – but never run out electricity if it’s produced by harnessing energy from the Sun.

Okay the Sun will run out of energy in about five billion years and swell up and swallow the Earth. But that’s a problem for our great, great, great . . . grandchildren.

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What’s it cost?

The Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are South Korean cousins under the skin.

While their overall shape is similar, there are noticeable styling differences.

The EV6 has a taller rear hatch topped by a strip of LED brake lights that loop right along then merge into the turn indicators.

The Kia has a neat frontal look with a hint of a ‘radiator grille’ in its shape.

It seems that the public still prefer to have a car that looks like a conventional car.

It remains to be seen how the stylists will overcome this and give us a car that’s unashamedly electric.

EV6 comes in three trim levels: Air RWD, GT-Line RWD or AWD.

Our test vehicle was the EV6 GT-Line AWD, priced from $82,990.

The Air comes with 19-inch machined alloy wheels and GT-Line with 20-inch ones.

Two 12.3-inch screens within a unit stretch two-thirds of the way across the top of the dashboard.

The left-hand one is a touchscreen to let you control the infotainment features.

The right-hand screen has a digital instrument cluster.

There’s wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all models together with satellite navigation, and DAB digital radio.

The Air comes with six-speaker sound, the GT-Line has a premium 14-speaker Meridian unit with a sub-woofer.

Sound output it excellent, all the more so because it doesn’t have to compete with the noise from an engine.

It’s easy to tune into radio, but as is often the way in our home area DAB+ can frequently cut in and out — to the extent that we gave up and turned it off.

EV6 has seven airbags, multi collision braking, blind spot collision warning and avoidance, rear cross traffic warning and avoidance.

There’s also safe exit warning, driver inattention alert, intelligent speed limit assist, safe exit warning, as well as autonomous emergency braking that sees cyclists and pedestrians.

The GT-Line also has reverse parking collision avoidance, surround view monitor, blind spot view monitor and child-proof rear door locks.

Reverse parking collision avoidance makes sense, but when you’re coming out of a tight parking spot, in a shopping centre for example — it jams on the brakes too often.

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What’s it go like?

The entry-level Air has a single-motor and rear-wheel drive, while the higher-spec GT-Line comes with the choice of RWD with a single motor or AWD with dual motors — one at each axle.

Our test vehicle was the GT-Line AWD.

RWD models have combined system output of 168kW and 350Nm with zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds.

Air has a claimed range of 528km and the GT-Line 504km.

GT-Line AWD has 230kW and 605Nm and 0-100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds.

There’s a high-class look both in the dashboard and the trim.

The seats are large and comfortable and there’s good legroom front and rear.

The Type 2 charge port is located at the driver’s side rear of the car.

The fastest charge time (10-80kW), through a 350kW DC Fast Charger, is listed at 18 minutes.

A 50kW DC unit gets the same job done in 73 minutes.

As I’ve pointed out in previous reports on full electric and plug-in hybrids, the apartment building where I live poses real problems.

There’s no powerpoint near my basement parking spot and having one installed would cost about $3500 because it’s a very long way from where the power comes into the building.

And there would be no way of metering how much electricity I used.

Much newer buildings (our dates back to the late 1990s) are often designed with electric vehicles in mind.

I feel this should be compulsory in all new buildings now. Let’s see what happens.

Range was given as 484km when we picked it up in Brisbane and it had 98 per cent charge.

It had been sitting ‘idling’ for about 10 minutes before we started our test on a drive home to the Gold Coast.

The computer had decided that our speed of zero km/h was taken into account.

Estimated range was therefore 484km not the official 508km.

This eventually balanced out and we could have done close to the official 508km by the end of our 428km test drive.

Apart from the obvious environmental benefits of owning an electric vehicle the drive experience runs a close second.

We love the silent running and the overall luxury feeling which the EV6 provides in spades.

Then there’s the instant torque when you hit the ‘throttle’ and are pressed back against the seat.

EV6 has been put through the Australian Ride and Handling Program, but without the physical presence of Korean engineers.

They were unable to travel because of COVID-19 restrictions, but were in regular communication throughout with their Australian counterparts.

As is the norm in electric vehicles the EV6 uses regenerative braking to contribute to battery charging.

Two modes are available, Normal during routine driving and Sport for more dynamic use.

The degree of intervention can be controlled through steering wheel paddles and includes the option of an Intelligent Pedal, or i-Pedal mode which allows the vehicle to slow to a stop without applying the foot brake.

Another feature is Smart Regenerative Braking which adjusts the braking level depending upon forward traffic flow.

EV6 gets the industry-leading Kia seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Somewhat oddly, the battery is covered for the same period rather than the eight years provided by most of its competitors.

Perhaps the importer should do something about this?

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What we like?

  • Hint of a radiator grille
  • Silent running
  • Super responsive
  • Overall luxury feeling
  • 14-speaker Meridian sound

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What we don’t like?

  • Constant digital radio dropouts
  • Reverse parking collision avoidance

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The bottom line?

I love the idea of electric cars and the Kia EV6 in particular, but I need somewhere to charge it.

Strata are you listening?

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CHECKOUT: Kia Cerato GT: Firmer and pricier

CHECKOUT: Kia Picanto GT-Line: Cute and cheap (but old)

Kia EV6 GT-Line, priced from $74,990
  • Looks - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Safety - 8/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 6/10
    6/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Tech - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 6/10
    6/10
Overall
7.8/10
7.8/10

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