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Kia EV6 Review 2021

Russell Campbell

Written by

Russell Campbell

Kia EV6
Kia EV6

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Kia EV6 shows future's bright"
  • Launched: 2021
  • Large family car
  • EV

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Exterior and interior design
  • Performance and range
  • An EV you can live with

Cons

  • Pricier than a petrol
  • Asthmatic heater
  • Interior isn't quite as airy as other EVs

Overall verdict on the Kia EV6

"EVs like the Kia EV6 in this review give carmakers a chance to wipe the slate clean. It's an all-new car which comes without the preconceptions of how it should look, feel and drive that petrols have to shoulder. It's fertile ground for a manufacturer to produce something special and Kia has done just that with the EV6."

Kia EV6 review 2021: front-three quarter

It's not an exaggeration to say the EV6 feels like an iPhone moment. It's a complex piece of hardware but the user experience is joyful in its simplicity and its design gives you the feel-good factor of the best Apple products. 


It should be right at the top of your hit list if you're considering electric cars like the Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai IONIQ 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E or Skoda Enyaq. More impressively, it should also be considered against the likes of the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Volvo C40 Recharge and Mercedes EQA


The EV6 is quite unlike any other Kia and it looks it. It's bold and confident with a muscular front end and a sleek profile that hides what is actually a substantial machine – it's longer than a Volkswagen Tiguan SUV. Around the back you get a pretty arching light bar and, like the front, you'll find Kia's newly designed badge – a fitting feature on such a radical new design. 


It's much the same on the inside. Sitting behind the EV6's steering wheel you can imagine being Doc Brown, priming the flux capacitor in preparation for your next trip Back to the Future. Alright, so the EV6 can't bend time (no hoverboards either, sadly) but from the inside it feels like a car from an era others have yet to reach. 


From its huge infotainment screens to its dual-purpose controls, augmented head-up display, starship-like floating control console and woven trims, the Kia is quite different to almost anything else on the road.


Up front, it doesn't have quite the perceived roominess you get in the Volkswagen ID.4, but there is plenty of space for tall adults in the front and the back, where the flat floor means your rear-seat passengers have loads of foot room. The hatchback-style boot lid is a weighty thing but gives you excellent access, although its sloping style does ultimately restrict what you can fit above the glass line. 


Yet it's reassuringly conventional to drive. Sure, it has autonomous driving aid but you still get a steering wheel and (Tesla take note) it's circular. With only one gear, there's no need for a gear knob and while you get regenerative brakes you can adjust them intuitively using paddles behind the steering wheel. 


Get underway and the first thing that strikes you is how easy the EV6 is to drive. Whether you go for the basic two-wheel-drive model or the top-of-the-range all-wheel-drive car, you get an easy surge of acceleration that makes it brilliant for snicking in and out of gaps. There's no need to worry about operating the clutch, the engine bogging down or changing gears, the EV6 just goes where you want on a wave of electric motion.


The power delivery is silent of course which makes the experience doubly relaxing, only the firm ride takes the edge of your in-town experience. 


Clear the bustle and you'll find the Kia is an excellent open-road companion. It's well behaved in bends and there's fun to be had from zapping effortlessly from one corner to the next, even if it's a couple of points down from being truly engaging.


The ride that improves on A and B roads, feels even more polished when you hit the motorway and the car remains very quiet. A full suite of autonomous driving aids adds another layer of relaxation as does the Kia's range which doesn't seem to drop with quite the same velocity as other EVs when cruising. 


You should get at least 300 miles from a charge in a mixture of driving and fast charging means long drives shouldn't be the logistical headache they were in older electric cars.


So it sounds like Kia has hit the EV jackpot? It really has. The EV6 is a usable EV that will slot into most of our lives with relative ease. More than that, it's a car you'll want to own because of the way it looks, feels and drives. For a long time, Kia's talked about plucking sales from the likes of Mercedes, Audi and BMW – the EV6 feels like a car that can do just that.

What’s the best Kia EV6 model/engine to choose?

The Kia EV6 is best sampled in entry level Air trim. The basic model is well priced and has almost all of the feel-good factor of the pricier models, while also having the longest range of the lot. We doubt you'll ever miss all-wheel drive and while the basic car's 229PS performance is unremarkable on paper, it does the job just fine in practice. 

What other cars are similar to the Kia EV 6?

Similar? The Hyundai Ioniq 5 basically is the Kia EV 6 but with a significant exterior and interior restyle. That said, it's been setup more for comfort than the sporty driving EV 6. Other rivals include the cooly styled Polestar 2, Ford's practical Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen new electric SUV – the ID.4.

Comfort and design: Kia EV6 interior

"The Kia EV6 gets its interior just right – it's interesting enough to feel special, but doesn't bamboozle you when you want to do simple things like turn up the radio".

Kia EV6 review 2021: dashboard

Things get off to a great start in top end models, which slide their driver's seat back electrically to aid entry, drawing you back towards the steering wheel when you close your door. These seats can also fold down like a bed by holding down a single button for impromptu shut-eye. 


Stay awake and you'll discover the Kia EV6 doesn't quite have the airy feel of the Volkswagen ID.4. It's a tricky one – the large centre console is a handy place to rest your hand when you're operating the lower infotainment screen, but it robs the Kia of the inherent airy-ness that makes some EVs feel so unique. 


Having said that, you get a great view out the front of the car thanks to the Kia's huge windscreen and bonnet bulges over the front wheels – a bit like a Porsche 911's – help you place the car on the road. The driving position feels tall at first – at least when compared to a conventional saloon like a BMW 3 Series – but you soon get used to it and it gives you a raised view of the road ahead that feels commanding. 


Reflections are a bane of the EV6, though, the lighter coloured dashboard tops on some models can be seriously prohibitive when the sun's low in the sky. 


You'll soon learn to worship those warming rays, though, because the Kia's heater proves to be about as effective at getting the interior cosy as a dying man's last breath. Try as we might, we couldn't get the cabin to an acceptable temperature so it's just as well the heated seats and steering wheel both have a white-hot settings. We'll put the heating down to user error – Kia couldn't produce one of the most complex cars on the road and get the heater wrong, could they?  

Quality and finish

Sometimes EVs feel like a race to the bottom in terms of interior quality because so much money goes towards the batteries and huge infotainment screens, there's not much left for the soft-touch plastics we used to crow about. 


The Kia EV6 hasn't completely avoided this. It gets soft plastics on the doors – though not the lovely dense foamy stuff you get in some VWs – but the dashboard is hard. Pretty wallpaper-like trim coverings do redress the balance.

The Kia EV6 has a huge infotainment that stretches from behind the steering wheel to the centre of the dashboard that tech nerds will tell you is actually two 12.3-inch display merged together. Interesting... Either way, it looks brilliant.


If we were being nerdy again, it doesn't have the bright colours, depth and vibrance of the screens you get in the Volkswagen ID.4 but it's close, and you also don't need a doctorate in computer programming just to operate it. Which we like! 


Sticking a postcode in is easy and it'll factor in charging stops on long journeys. It also has the central pillars to any good infotainment screen – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wireless. 


Below the centre half of the big screen, you get a crisp-looking dual purpose touchscreen that switches its roles between sat-nav and air-con functions. It's a neat solution, which also looks cool.


If the dual-purpose screen is cool, the head-up display (HUD) is infotainment hedonism. It does all your standard HUD stuff – projecting things like your speed and sat-nav directions onto the car's windscreen. 


But it also interacts with your surrounds, letting you play Maverick – sadly, without the Sidewinders – by tracking other vehicles in your surroundings, highlighting them as they overtake. Even the sat-nav's directions are interactive, as you approach turn offs a scrolling arrow directs you where to go.

Space and practicality: Kia EV6 boot space

Getting into the Kia EV6 is easy because the large batteries stored in the floor mean the seat is much higher than you realise, so you slide onto rather than into your driving position. 


Unsurprisingly, there's loads of room for tall adults to stretch out in the front, the seats feel heavy and well padded and the width of the car means you'll not be elbowing your front seat passenger. 


The back seat is similarly impressive with plenty of head, elbow and knee room, large doors that give decent access and a back rest that reclines a few degrees. Tall people will be fine behind you even if you're also tall.


The only downside is that your knees sit at a steeper angle than feels natural thanks to the high floor. That said, the floor is completely flat meaning there's plenty of room for three passengers feet, which leaves you to ask the question: why has Kia has made the centre seat firm and un-supportive? It's a head-scratcher. 


Especially because everything else in the back is so well thought out. Tiny quarter lights at the back of the car keep the cabin bright, you get separate rear air vents, bright white LED lighting and a pair of USB plugs in the backs of the front seats that, unfortunately, look a bit like a dentist's chair from behind.


Even with the Kia filled with people, there's plenty of smaller storage spaces to hide their stuff. There are large felt-lined door bins (a VW trick that stops things jangling about), a huge tray under the control console between the front seats, another lidded cubby under the armrest and a large glovebox that is nicely damped. You'll even find airplane style pockets that won't sag on the backs of the front seats.


Any nasty surprises when you get to the boot? No, not really. It has a 490 litre capacity and rear-wheel drive models get a bonus 52 litres of storage under the bonnet. 


The boot's hatchback style opening makes it easy to load bulky items – even if the sloping roofline makes it less practical than an estate – and there's no lip to lift things over. Fold the back seats down, easily done by yanking a couple of handles at the front of the load bay, and the floor remains flat once the back seats are locked down into position. 


Complaints? Well, the hidden storage area under the floor is a little shallow and basic versions of the EV6 don't get an electric opening/closing boot – more of a problem than it sounds because that lid is one weighty puppy. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Kia EV6 like to drive?

"The Kia EV6's electric-car status shapes how it drives in all departments. It's a dream in town, very relaxing everywhere, has instant thrust but ultimately can't disguise the fact that it ain't going to win any slimming contests. "

Kia EV6 review 2021: front

The EV6 isn't a tub by any means – think more athletic rugby prop because, at 2000kg, it's about a third heavier than a petrol car of the same dimensions.


Out on the road you'll need to brake that little bit harder into corners and while it doesn't really lean, you can feel the weight in the floor scrubbing grip from the front tyres like a tractor beam is sucking you off your chosen line. 


Even the rear-wheel slides the EV6 serves up (in both RWD and AWD models) are a bit like receiving a Tweet – you get the basic info of what's going, but not much info beyond that. A BMW 3 Series – our go-to sporty family car – heaps on the detail by comparison. Saying that, the EV6's ability to surge from one bend to the next would give most BMW's a run for their money in terms of outright performance. 


Fact is, the Kia EV6 does everything else so well, a lack of engagement is nigh on irrelevant. 


Sample one in town and you'll see what we mean. The EV6's instant pick up and the fact it doesn't have any gears means you get right-now acceleration every time, it's ideal for nipping in and out of traffic, as well as joining roads and roundabouts. Plus, the regenerative brakes mean you only really need to use the accelerator because the car slows automatically the minute you lift your foot off it.


It does feel quite wide, but the low bonnet (possible because AWD model's front motors are neat to package) gives you a great view out on the move, while the detailed reversing camera – and the fact it's very easy to modulate the power – makes parking in tight spots easy. 


Clear the city and the crashy ride you get in big-wheeled models at slow speeds smooths out considerably and the padded seats make the Kia a great place to soak up the miles. All the autonomous driving aids you need come as standard, too, so the car can drive itself on A roads and motorways. Throw in the silence you get at speed and you couldn't hope for a better cruiser. 

What engines and gearboxes are available in the Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 is currently available with two power outputs – a rear-wheel-drive, long-range model with 229PS or a 325PS all-wheel drive car that leans more towards performance. All send power through a single gear that makes them more relaxing to drive than snuggling in bed with a hot chocolate. 


Which to choose? Honestly, we would stick with the 229PS car. In real-world terms, it has all the performance you'll ever need – all EV6s surge forwards from low speeds with the effortlessness of a Bullet Train riding a power surge – and the basic car is no different. It's acceleration time of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds doesn't do justice to its big-wave thrust from standstill.


What's more the single speed and the nature of an EV's power delivery – which can be modulated with microscopic precision – means you'll get that performance without having to worry about gear changes and grip. It's perfect for modern driving's cut-and-thrust.


Unconvinced? Okay, we can't deny the 325PS model is quicker – it does 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, has a more useful top-end and a four-wheel-drive system that gives uninterrupted power more often, but the pay off is the shorter range that we'll come to in a minute. 

Maximum EV range in the Kia EV6

Unlike a petrol or diesel, which are at their most efficient at a steady cruise on the motorway, electric cars love driving in the city, where the stop-start traffic gives them the best use of their regenerative brakes, which convert friction back to electricity. 


This explains why the 229PS, rear-wheel-drive model (the longest-legged of all EV6s) has an in-town range of 459 miles, dropping to 328 miles on a mixture of slow and fast roads. This falls to 416 and 314 miles, respectively, on the 325PS all-wheel drive model.


Bigger wheels mean smaller prizes (in terms of range), so a Kia EV6 AWD GT Line S rolling on 20s is only good for 300 miles on a mixture of roads. The Kia's impressively accurate range readout should allay any fears that you'll get caught short.

Refinement and noise levels

Quietness is a Kia EV6 selling point over a conventional petrol or diesel family car.

Yes, there's some tyre noise at low speeds and some wind flutter on the motorway, but that's really it. Engine noise is replaced by a synthesised hum that's contrived but unintrusive – GT Line S models produce the sound of pan pipes played by someone who smokes 60 a day. The rest of the range has a more convincing electrical howl like the Millennium Falcon cranking up to hyperdrive. 

Safety equipment: How safe is the Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 has yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP, having said that, we would expect it to score well.


Standard safety kit includes automatic emergency brakes that detect cars, cyclists and pedestrians, plus lane assist and active cruise control that means the car can, more or less, drive itself on A roads and motorways while you keep your hands on the wheel and your foot off the pedals. 


EV6 GT-Line S models upgrade the standard car's Highway Driver Assist for Highway Driver Assist 2 – as well as driving you down a road like the standard system, HDA2 can deal with junctions autonomously and, so long as it is safe to do so, overtake other cars on the motorway when you indicate to pull out. 


Charging times: How much does it cost to charge the Kia EV6?

"The Kia EV6 is capable of 800V fast charging times meaning its battery is one of the quickest to top up."

Kia EV6 review 2021: rear

You only can have your Kia EV6 with a 77.4kWh battery in the UK and 800V charging technology means it can be replenished from 10-80% in less than 20 minutes using a fast public charger. Charging at home using a 7kWh home charger will be by far the cheaper option, however it'll take in the region of 11hrs to do from empty. 

How reliable is a Kia EV6?

It's impossible to say how reliable the Kia EV6 is because it's brand new, but Kia's sector-leading seven-year 100,000 mile warranty – which covers all the EV components – should go some way to temper any fears you have. Electric cars also have fewer moving parts than petrols and diesels, so there's less to go wrong in the first place, their regenerative brakes prolong the life of discs and pads, plus there're no expensive oil and spark plug changes to worry about. 

Insurance groups and costs

Insurance groups for the Kia EV6 have yet to be revealed, however a 40-year-old man living in London with a ten-year no-claims bonus can expect to pay in the region of £500 for comprehensive cover. 

VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Hyundai EV6?

As an electric car, the Kia EV6 doesn't pay any road tax. Nil. Nothing. Unfortunately, because it has a starting price of more than £40,000 – you (or whoever owns it after you) does have to pay a £335 premium car tax. 

How much should you be paying for a Kia EV6?

"The Kia EV6 has a starting of £40,945, but what savings can you make by buying the car online?"

Kia EV6 review 2021: profile

Unfortunately, none at all at the time of writing. The Kia EV6 represents the perfect storm of a car that's brand-spanking new, desirable and also, as an electric car, in vogue – throw in the global shortage of semi-conductors, which has slowed new-car production, and it's no great surprise that there are no savings to be made. In fact, we're shocked no one is charging a premium.


In the short term, the semi-conductor crisis does at least mean you'll get strong money on your part exchange, while in the long term you can expect EV6 prices to lower steadily. 

Trim levels and standard equipment

The Kia EV6 is available in three trim levels – Air, GT-Line and GT-Line S. 


The Kia EV6 Air is easy to spot by its modest styling, 17-inch wheels and lightly tinted rear windows. Inside, you get vegan leather seats that are manually adjustable with electric lumbar support. The front seats and steering wheel are heated, you get two 12.3-inch displays with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, hooked up to a six-speaker stereo. You also get rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.


The Kia EV6 GT-Line gets black 19-inch wheels, more heavily tinted rear windows and a GT-Line body kit that make them more visually arresting than the basic model. Suede seats mean they also feel posher on the inside and the seats are electrically adjustable in the front. You also get wireless charging and front parking sensors.


GT-Line S models look a tad sportier still thanks to their 20-inch alloy wheels and, from the outside, you'll also notice their electrically operated sunroof. Inside, you get desirable kit like cooled front seats, heated rear seats, plus the heavy boot lid opens and closes electrically. The basic stereo is also replaced with a 14-speaker Meridian system, you get a 360-degree view parking camera and can park the car remotely. 

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Will electric cars get cheaper?

Yes, experts predict electric cars will reach price parity with cheaper petrol models by 2027.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

Can you tow with a Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 can tow up to 1600kg – more than the vast majority of electric vehicles.

Phil Hall

Answered by

Phil Hall

Can I order a Kia EV6?

The Kia EV6 is on sale now with a starting price of £40,945.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

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