2022 Kia EV6 First Drive Review: Heart Eyes Emoji

A gorgeous EV with the performance and technology to match.

2022 KIA EV6 First Drive Review 2022 KIA EV6 First Drive Review


9.2 / 10

The 2022 Kia EV6 is worthy of a double-tap, a thumbs-up, an upvote, or any other social media cliche that applies. Kia introduced its first sporty EV only a year ago, but already this car is making waves online thanks to its outrageous, audacious styling.

But what's underneath the metal is just as impressive: an advanced 800-volt electric vehicle platform with up to 240-kilowatt fast charging. While those details might not draw as many likes on Instagram, that forward-thinking battery tech – and the varying capacity and power levels that go with it – means the EV6 offers a bit of everything for everyone. It’s an instant front-runner in this rapidly growing segment.

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2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line Quick Specs
Motor Two AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet
Output 320 Horsepower / 446 Pound-Feet
Battery 77.4 Kilowatt-Hours
0-60 5.1 Seconds
As-Tested Price $57,115

Like Wow

The EV6 is as dramatic in person as it looks online. The sleek LED headlights and ubiquitous "tiger nose" grille nod at other Kia products like the K5, while the LED light bar and tapered rear are as distinctive as distinctive come, and the 20-inch wheels of the GT-Line look sharp. This might be Kia's best-looking car to date.

But what's strange is that the EV6 is much bigger than I initially thought. From the photos, it resembles a hatchback, but in reality, this car sits 6.4 inches off the ground, which is higher than the Mustang Mach-E (5.7 inches) and just shy of the Volkswagen ID.4 (6.7 inches). And its 114.2-inch wheelbase is massive, equal to that of the three-row Telluride.

That unusual size, though, does make for great interior dimensions. An ample 38.0 inches of headroom in the front compartment provides an airy driving experience, while the second row has a hearty 39.0 inches legroom, more than enough for adults of all sizes to sit comfortably.

A standard leather-wrapped steering wheel keeps the EV6 from going full vegan, but faux leather seats with eight-way power adjustability and lumbar support are standard across the board. The GT-Line is the only model with an optional suede-and-faux-leather combo, and these are the seats to get. The front chairs are supportive, well-bolstered, and comfy.

The EV6 is as dramatic in person as it looks online.

Beyond that ample space and all-around comfort, the cabin is a cacophony of high- and low-quality materials cluttered together almost inexplicably. The floating center console looks great, but it mixes brushed aluminum and hard piano black plastic with a chintzy dial gear selector. Surrounding that is an equally cheap silver plastic trim, with that same hard black plastic carrying over to the door panels. Designers might have benefitted from a bit more simplicity here.

Touch This

Two ultra-slick 12.3-inch curved displays come standard in the EV6, with the central touchscreen utilizing a new Kia Connect infotainment system. This fresh setup replaces the Uvo interface found in some other Kia products and will be the new standard moving forward.

The basic layout is the same, with options arranged neatly on the home screen and touchscreen functionality as quick as ever. But now things like over-the-air updates for maps and infotainment come baked in, as does a Wi-Fi hotspot, updated voice commands, and a stolen vehicle recovery feature. You even get smartphone and smartwatch functionality. But it's still odd that Kia doesn't offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality on its largest infotainment screens. Both of those features come standard with a wired connection, but asking owners to plug in is so 2021.

Another gripe with this setup is that it lacks tactile volume and tuning knobs. Kia replaced the former with a steering wheel-mounted volume rocker that works okay, but the old-school method is still superior. And instead of buttons for things like climate control, Kia added a needlessly complicated touchbar at the base of the console that is impossible to use without taking your eyes off the road. The cooling and heating functions are touch-capacitive buttons at the end of the center console too, another unnecessary feature that would have benefitted from physical controls.

Tipping The Scales

The entry point of the EV6 is the base Light model, which features a 58.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack good for 167 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Rear-wheel drive is the lone configuration for this model. The EV6 Wind features a bigger 77.4-kWh battery pack good for 225 hp and 258 lb-ft in the rear-wheel-drive configuration or 320 hp and 446 lb-ft with all-wheel drive courtesy of an extra motor on the front axle.

At the top of the EV6 range is the car I drove: the GT-Line. It uses the same 77.4-kWh battery pack and has the same specs as the mid-range Wind model – 225 hp with rear drive or 320 hp with all-wheel drive. However, it adds sportier styling cues, including larger 20-inch wheels and those faux-suede seats mentioned earlier. And that’s about it.

On the road, the EV6 is an absolute charmer.

On the road, the EV6 is an absolute charmer. It's smooth, refined, and quiet, minus a bit of road noise from that larger rolling stock. There's a six-step regenerative braking system with the most aggressive "i-mode" bringing the car to a full stop and an advanced suite of active safety equipment – including an updated Highway Driving Assist – that allows for minimal driver interference on especially boring stretches of road.

Unlike its corporate cousin the Hyundai Ioniq 5, though, the Kia EV6 handles twisty roads with more poise. It has a wonderful steering feel – perfectly weighted, quick but not twitchy, and easygoing in Eco and Normal modes – and a suspension tuned specifically for sportier driving.

Speed freaks will definitely prefer the dual-motor model. Ticking the dial to Sport mode and hammering the throttle unleashes all 446 pound-feet of twist, launching the crossover to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds. For context, the Kia EV6 is just as quick as a base Porsche Taycan.

The EV6 with power at all four corners does have noticeable heft, like the Mach-E, tipping the scales at 4,661 pounds fully loaded (and as tested). But the firmed-up suspension does a good job of keeping body movements in check, limiting roll to a barely noticeable degree.

If you want something more flingable, though, the rear-wheel-drive GT-Line is the trim to get. I hit that same stretch of road in the single-motor model later in the day and found it to be the more enjoyable option of the two – even if you do have to sacrifice power.

With just 225 hp and 258 lb-ft, this version slows its 60 time to 7.1 seconds. But on the flip side, it sheds more than 400 pounds over the all-wheel-drive model, tipping the scales at 4,255 pounds total. And that weight loss is noticeable; the EV6 two-wheeler feels lighter on its feet, more agile, and less inclined to throw its weight around than the heavier alternative.

For context, the Kia EV6 is just as quick as a base Porsche Taycan.

Once the fun is done, the EV6 delivers impressive charging rates. With a max charging capacity of 240 kilowatts, the EV6 will juice from 10 to 80 percent in under 18 minutes at a compatible DC fast charging station. And getting to 100 percent yields you 232 miles of range in the base Light model, 274 miles in either of the dual-motor models, and a hearty 310 miles of range in the rear-drive models with the larger 77.4-kWh battery pack.

During my test – which included some city driving, but mostly canyon carving – the all-wheel-drive car returned 3.0 miles per kilowatt-hour, while the rear-drive was a bit more efficient at 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour. Those aren't stellar numbers, admittedly, but flogging any EV up and down mountains will do that.

Pricing On Par

So, sublime style, impressive dynamics, and 240-kilowatt fast-charging – how much will that cost you? The base EV6 Light starts at $42,115 with the $1,215 destination fee included, which undercuts the Mustang Mach-E ($44,995) by a few thousand dollars. The Volkswagen ID.4 ($41,955) is still a touch cheaper to start.

The EV6 Wind with the larger 77.4-kWh battery pack costs $48,215 with rear-wheel drive and $52,115 with all-wheel drive. And if you want the GT-Line, that will set you back at least $52,415 for rear-drive or $57,115 with power at all four wheels.

Even with so many electric crossovers populating the market, the Kia EV6 stands out. This car is stylish, sporty enough, and offers some of the most advanced battery technology available today. Plus, things will only get better; the company says it’s working on an EV6 GT that will be the most powerful production car the company has ever built. Kia’s EV future looks bright.

EV6 Competitor Reviews:


What Kind Of Batteries Does The Kia EV6 Have?

The Kia EV6 has two different battery packs. The base Light model uses a 58.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack while the rest of the range gets a larger 77.4-kWh battery pack.

How Fast Does The Kia EV6 Charge?

The Kia EV6 has a maximum charging rate of 240 kilowatts, which means it can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in under 18 minutes at a DC fast charging station. 

What Is The Range Of The Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 has a maximum driving range of 310 miles with rear-wheel drive and the larger battery pack, or 274 miles with all-wheel drive. The base model with the 58.0-kWh battery pack has 232 miles of range.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line
Motor Two AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet
Output 320 Horsepower / 446 Pound-Feet
Drive Type All-Wheel Drive
Battery 77.4 Kilowatt-Hours
Speed 0-60 MPH 5.1 Seconds
Maximum speed 117 MPH
Efficiency 116 City / 94 Highway / 105 Combined MPGe
EV Range 274 Miles
Charge Time 68 Hours @ 110 Volt / 7 Hours @ 240 Volt / 44 Minutes @ DC Fast Charger
Charge Type 110 Volt / 240 Volt / 240 Kilowatt-Hours DC
Weight 4,661 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 24.4 / 50. 2 Cubic Feet
Towing 2,300 Pounds
Base Price $40,900 + $1,215 Destination
Trim Base Price $52,415
As-Tested Price $57,115
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