The average car journey in the UK is, according to government estimates, just 8.4 miles. Yet so much of what we predicate car buying decisions upon exists way outside of that reality. What if you suddenly need to traverse muddy fields and hillsides? You’ll need an SUV. What if you suddenly need to lap the Nürburgring in under eight minutes? You’ll need a supercar. What if you suddenly need to drive from London to Edinburgh quickly and comfortably? You’ll need a GT. Yet, what if we accept our lot and get a car that blends in? That’s where the Kia EV6 comes in.
Selecting something on the basis that it’s remarkably unremarkable doesn’t exactly stir the emotions, granted. Yet the Kia EV6 ticks so many boxes as to make it stand out in its own kind of way. The model tested, the Kia EV6 GT Line S AWD, rocks in at £55k and comes fully loaded. We recently reviewed the Ford Mustang Mach E and, for similar trim level but slower car, you’ll be parting with at least an extra £10k. With Liz Truss hellbent on wrecking the economy, such thriftiness cannot be dismissed out of hand. There’d have to be an awful lot of trickling down to justify the added expense of something else.
Now, that might be enough to end the review on. Fully loaded? Great value? Kia offers a seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty? Where do I sign? Allow us to take a closer look.
Living with the Kia EV6
First things first, I like the way that the Kia EV6 looks. It flows pleasingly and maximises the resources available. Without the need for an engine, the distance between front bumper and front wheel arch is minimised in order to maximise cabin space. It has presence but isn’t overly ostentatious.
The clever use of space and design continues when you open the door, too. The driving position is well thought out, having the driver-focussed feel of something with far more intent, for example the Toyota Supra. Everything is within easy reach, with physical buttons just where you need them.
On the infotainment, the buttons can be switched between HVAC and media, meaning that you can quickly set the temperature before using the same panel to change song. The 12.3” curved touchscreen is also easily accessible at all times, although there are a plethora of menus with which to familiarise yourself.
This can be a bit irritating on the move, but is something you get the hang of. Having recently reviewed the Hyundai IONIQ 5, I was already familiar with most of it – the underpinnings of both are shared. Similarly to the IONIQ 5, I couldn’t get along with the head-up display.
There’s really very little to fault, though, and the included level of tech is impressive. Wireless charging, parking sensors, a 360-degree parking camera, blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, upgraded 14-speaker Meridian sound system, heated and ventilated suede seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof… You can spend an awful lot more and receive an awful lot less.
On the practicality front, a 490ltr boot is supported by a small storage compartment up top. In the cabin, there’s loads of space and headroom. You’d get the family in for a weekend away with minimal fuss.
Keeping the Kia EV6 on the road
Charging, as always, is a primary consideration. If you’ve got a wall box at home, this presents little trouble. The 77.4kWh battery will charge at 350kW if you can find such a charging point out on the road. With a rapidly improving charging infrastructure, however, this does help to future proof the Kia EV6.
In 180 miles of driving I achieved an average of 2.8 miles p/kWh. Whilst this compares unfavourably to something like the IONIQ 5 or Mustang Mach E, it’s worth considering the scenarios. I did spend a bit of time with the Kia EV6 dialled up to sport mod, which obviously eats into the battery. On a commute to work, crawling through West London traffic, the Kia EV6 achieved 3.5 miles p/kWh. With that being eminently achievable, a range of 270 miles cannot be dismissed. 3 miles p/kWh would amount to a range of 232 miles, so it’s probably fair to set that as the realistic low bar in terms of range.
That 77.4kWh battery produces 321bhp and 605Nm of torque in the Kia EV6 GT Line S AWD. With all four wheels being propelled and the drive mode turned up to ‘sport’, 0-60mph is ticked off in just 5.2secs. That’s plenty fast enough for a family SUV/crossover.
A barnstorming 0-60 time, however, doesn’t feel like the Kia EV6’s raison d’être. It’s useful to have that power in reserve, not least when trying to make gaps and pull onto carriageways in traffic, but it’s not front and centre of the driving experience. The emphasis is very much on comfort and refinement.
What’s the Kia EV6 like to drive?
Over speed bumps and potholes, the Kia EV6 is always composed, taking everything in its stride. Dial it down to ‘eco’ and its serenely sails along. The cabin is very quiet, even at higher speeds, with the 20” wheels not intruding too much upon ride quality or road noise. If the noise is too much, the Meridian sound system does a good job in drowning it out.
For commuting and doing those nondescript 8.4-mile journeys you’ll mostly be undertaking, the Kia EV6 excels. It’s unfussy, easy to use, everything is where you want it to be and it just blends in.
But, it does have all that power, so what’s it like when you dial it up to sport? First thing to mention, this is very easily done: just press a button on the steering wheel. Spot an overtake or need to pull out of a junction? One press is all you need.
Leave it in eco and the throttle response is drab. You will forget to do this a couple of times and gaps that were there in your mind aren’t there in reality. Making full use of the drive modes is imperative.
Out on a decent B-road, progress is sharp rather than serene. The Kia EV6 feels a little out of its comfort zone. The kerb weight of 2090Kg suddenly becomes very difficult to hide. Where its fleet footed around town, you’ll notice the weight in a swiftly taken corner. You can bludgeon your way out of corners with a heavy right foot and progress is swifter than it probably should be in a car of these proportions.
The Kia EV6 is a well thought out, practical family car that blends in seamlessly. There’s really very little to criticise. The bits I didn’t get on with were the head-up display and the land keep assist. You’ll want to turn that off at the start of every journey (press a button on the steering wheel) because it’s overbearing. Trying to pass a cyclist? Best of luck to you.
And that’s about it. The Kia EV6 performs every other duty with the utmost competence and you can turn the irritating stuff off. Everything just works and works well. It’s incredibly easy to use and you can get loads of stuff in it. The simplicity of the entire experience, from options list to driving, is brilliant. We said similar about the IONIQ 5.
Whilst it might not stand out in any area, the Kia EV6 is a thoroughly sensible choice. We reviewed the Kia Stinger GT S last year and every time I see one on the road (which isn’t that often for some reason), I think someone has made a great decision. I’ll feel the same about the Kia EV6. Whilst it has a less illustrious badge than some of the competition, it more than makes up for it in terms of value proposition.
Fully loaded? Cheap (relatively speaking)? Kia offers a seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty? As unremarkable family EVs go, there’s a lot to like in the Kia EV6. If EVs represent a turning point in the market, perhaps a move away from badge snobbery will occur. If you’re going electric for your next family car, the Kia EV6 is worthy of anyone’s shortlist.
Related article: Kia Stinger GT S