Tesla’s most convincing competitor to date

2022 Kia EV6 GT Line RWD

DW Burnett

In 2018, I asked a Tesla PR representative what he thought of the upcoming onslaught of electric vehicles from OEMs. The actor was somewhat non-committal. Maybe Audi will prove to be a threat? Maybe not. However, that conversation left them convinced that Tesla was about to deliver their lunch to them.

Although Kia’s new EV6 could finally be the brown bag that has a Tesla recycle at noon.

It wasn’t until the arrival of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2 in 2020, that Tesla had reliable old-school OEM competitors. Now, it’s the EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s sibling, that’s bet on a solid claim to electrical toughness. The EV6 is one of the best electric cars, and one of the best mainstream cars of any kind, and it’s on sale right now.

The EV6 is Kia’s first vehicle built on Hyundai Motor’s E-GMP modular EV platform. As standard, the base Light model gets a 58kWh battery and one motor driving the rear wheels, while the others get a 77.4kWh package and a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive or two-motor all-wheel drive. This tester was a fairly high-spec GT-Line RWD in matte gray, with 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Those numbers stuck, because they’re basically identical to older Volkswagen GTIs. Of course, the Kia weighs about 1,200 pounds more than the Mk7 GTI, at 4,255 pounds, although you wouldn’t think so from behind the wheel. It is something willing, eager, able to run very quickly on a country road, in any country. Even in Sport mode, the EV6 doesn’t have the powerful instant acceleration of performance-focused electric cars, but it’s still very responsive.

Hyundai Motor’s products aimed at enthusiasts – the Kia Stinger, Hyundai Veloster and Elantra N, Genesis G70 – have been dynamically impressive and the EV6 shows its distinction across its three product lines. There’s a real evolution in how the EV6 does the driving work—the steering is well-weighted and precise, and the suspension tuning is spot on.

Good dynamics aren’t the only thing that matters, though. The EV6 excels in almost every area. It is very practical too.

This is, essentially, the long-range version, with an EPA-expected range of 310 miles, which R&T It is met in moderate to cold northeastern weather. Like the Porsche Taycan, the EV6 uses 800-volt electrical engineering, allowing charging speeds of up to 350 kW with a capable charger. Sadly, Electrify America’s fast chargers in Newburgh, NY Wal-Mart, surprise, weren’t broken, but we got charging speeds of about 110 kW at an EvolveNY station earlier in the day. Fast charging doesn’t quite make up for the convenience of Tesla’s Supercharger, though, and although more stations arrive each day, charging an EV6 should (hopefully) soon be just as easy as charging a Model Y.

The car is good at providing real-time range estimates that update based on driving mode and use of climate control. The heat pump helps maintain range as well, although I’ve been constantly playing with the HVAC controls just to increase the number range. I admit to some range anxiety, but I put more than 250 miles on the car to get these photos. In the vast majority of normal use cases, EV6 contains a lot of juice.

The custom EV platform creates an impressive and spacious interior despite the relatively compact exterior dimensions. It has been designed and designed in a great way too. Quiet, comfortable and easy to use, my only interior complaint is the HVAC controls on the dashboard. Either HVAC controls or infotainment shortcuts are available, but not both at the same time. However, this is simple, because I don’t mess with the infotainment once it’s set. The interior is worth a car over $50,000.

2022 Kia EV6 GT Line RWD

DW Burnett

The EV6 also looks great. It’s not immediately as striking as the futuristic Hyundai Ioniq 5, but it has its own sporty flair. It’s muscular in a way that recalls the great performance cars of the past, while still looking completely contemporary. There are all kinds of delightful details that reveal themselves over time, always calling for another look.

In some ways, none of this should be surprising. Kia has been on its way to evolution, so of course it makes a great electric car. But the fact that the EV6 has succeeded where so many other electric vehicles from traditional automakers have failed is an achievement. With the EV6, Kia has created an electric vehicle that is both livable and aesthetically desirable. It’s ultimately more attractive than most gas-powered crossovers.

I was misled when I thought the first wave of electric cars from the big automakers would overtake Tesla. But it turns out I was looking toward the wrong automakers.

Late lunch is better than no lunch.