2024 Kia EV6 review

Posted on June 16, 2024Comments Off on 2024 Kia EV6 review

There was such buzz for the Kia EV6 GT before it launched in Australia in 2023.

Here was the fastest Kia ever, capable of doing the 0-100km/h dash in just 3.5 seconds – faster than some supercars!

It was delayed getting here and its moment in the sun was short, for sister brand Hyundai early this year introduced an even more exciting electric vehicle (EV).

It isn’t really any quicker, and it’s around $11,000 more expensive, but the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N offers one of the most customisable driving experiences of any EV on the market. You can even turn on simulated gear shifts and faux exhaust sound you can hear from outside the car.

It takes quite a car to make something as distinctively styled and searingly quick as an EV6 GT seem less exciting in comparison.

While you mightn’t be able to simulate the feel of a combustion-powered car in the EV6 GT, we’ve put it to the test again to see whether it’s still worthy of consideration against its petrol-flavoured platform-mate.

A facelift for the core EV6 range was recently revealed ahead of a fourth-quarter 2024 launch in Australia, and Kia is set to reveal a facelifted GT later this year ahead of a launch here a few months later. At this stage, we don’t know the extent of the GT’s upgrades.

We do know the core EV6 has received a larger battery, as well as revised in-car tech and a fresh face. But whether the GT will get more performance or even some of the Ioniq 5 N’s cool features remains unclear.

If you like the styling of the current EV6, then the updated model should still appeal. Kia may have changed the look up front a bit, but it still has the same bulging hips, muscular stance, and dramatic full-width tail lights.

The current EV6 GT is a looker, and there are plenty of neat details like the textured material below the tail lights, or the little lights on the C-pillar that seem to serve no real purpose other than to look cool.

While VFACTS industry sales reports classify it as a “large SUV”, the EV6 really seems to blur the line between a medium-to-large crossover and a medium-to-large hatchback or wagon.

Kia has even referred to it as the successor of the dearly departed Stinger GT.

How does the Kia EV6 compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Kia EV6 against similarly sized vehicles.

Kia EV6 cutout image

Kia

EV6

How much does the Kia EV6 cost?

The GT sits atop the EV6 range. Rivals include not only the Ioniq 5 N, but also the Tesla Model Y Performance and Ford Mustang Mach-E GT.

Model Variant $RRP
Kia EV6 Air $72,590
Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD $79,590
Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD $87,590
Kia EV6 GT $99,590

All prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the EV6 GT shapes up against its rivals, use our comparison tool.

What is the Kia EV6 like on the inside?

The EV6 GT’s interior makes a positive first impression.

You sit in extremely grippy, supportive and heavily bolstered front sports seats, which are manually adjustable.

They really hug you in place, though on long drives I found them a bit stiff – particularly the headrests, which had my neck hurting. Those chunky bolsters don’t get in the way when you need to climb in or out of the car, which is a win for older owners.

Unlike the Ioniq 5 N’s front sports seats or the seats in the cheaper EV6 GT-Line, EV6 GT’s lack ventilation.

The steering wheel feels good, and intuitively features buttons for drive mode selection.

The dashboard is rakishly styled, with interesting patterned inserts. But it’s all finished in hard plastic, which makes the EV6 feel a little more low-rent inside than an Ioniq 5.

The ambient lighting, however, improves the vibe. It’s colour-adjustable and bathes the footwells, the bottle holders in all four doors, and the two levels of the centre console.

There’s also some brushed metal-look trim that provides some neat decoration, while gloss black trim is kept to a minimum. We also dig the GT-exclusive lime green accents, which tie in with the lime green brake calipers outside.

The split-level centre console consists of both a shelf on the floor and a bridge that juts out but doesn’t connect to the centre stack.

Switchgear on this bridge includes the heated seat and heated wheel controls and the start button, which falls neatly to hand.

There are dual 12.3-inch screens: a digital instrument cluster and an infotainment touchscreen.

The EV6 will move to Kia’s latest generation of infotainment with the update, but for now it goes without features like a voice assistant that can control vehicle functions, and wireless smartphone mirroring.

Though it lacks these features, the infotainment system still works well with generally intuitive menus and quick response times.

The digital instrument cluster is pretty standard Kia fare, and while the instruments are neat and legible they don’t feel all that special. We’d like to see some more unique themes to select from, or the ability to view maps as in various Volkswagen Group, Chery, and Jeep products.

One thing those other brands can’t offer, though, is Kia’s Blind Spot View Monitor. This shows camera footage of your blind spot when you turn on your indicator and, in conjunction with the warning light in the mirrors, an audible alert and active steering assist, means you’d have to be completely out of it to wander into another vehicle’s path.

The camera view did get washed out though, literally, when we were driving in the rain. Otherwise, it’s hard to fault the array of cameras in the EV6.

There’s plenty of storage up front. There’s a deep centre console bin, plus the aforementioned large shelf on the floor.

The lined bottle holders in the doors can easily accommodate large bottles, though the ones in the rear doors will struggle with even a 600ml Coke.

Speaking of the doors, they’re finished in a mix of soft-touch plastic up top, plus suede, hard plastic and high-gloss black plastic trim, though the door tops are hard in the rear.

The approach unlock function works well, unlocking the vehicle as you approach it with the key without requiring you to press a button or swipe a sensor.

The flush-mounted door handles pop out, allowing you to easily grab them and open the doors. They also make a funny sound as you drive off and they pop back into place.

Step into the back and you’ll find an almost entirely flat floor, as well as air vents (in the B-pillars), two USB-C outlets, and a fold-down armrest with cupholders.

There are three top-tether and two ISOFIX anchor points for child seats.

The EV6 has vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability, which allows you to use both this outlet and an external outlet to charge external appliances. This came in handy while road-tripping, as I could charge my laptop in the back.

Despite the sporty roofline, the EV6 has plenty of rear-seat headroom, but things get a little less practical further back.

The rakish tailgate with its narrow opening means the load space isn’t as large as some crossovers, nor is it as easy to access.

You can still fit in a pair of suitcases, provided they’re not too large, and there’s a handy luggage net. But with 480L of luggage space back here and just 20L under the bonnet, it’s down on the 854L across both storage areas in the Model Y.

There’s a total of 1260L of space in the back when you drop the rear seats.

As is depressingly common with EVs, there’s no spare tyre. Instead, you’ll find only a tyre repair kit. Under the rear boot floor is a compartment to safely tuck away your charging cables.

Dimensions Kia EV6 GT
Boot space (seats up, VDA) 480L
Boot space (second row folded, VDA) 1260L
Under-bonnet space 20L

What’s under the bonnet?

There’s a small storage area, but the magic of the drivetrain lives deeper under the skin.

Technical Specs Kia EV6 GT
Power 160kW front
270kW rear
Total: 430kW
Torque 350Nm front
390Nm rear
Total: 740Nm
Driven wheels Dual-motor all-wheel drive
0-100km/h (claimed) 3.5 seconds
0-100km/h (observed) 3.76 seconds (GT mode, 50% charge)
Transmission Single-speed
Battery 77.4kWh lithium-ion
Claimed range 424km (WLTP)
Energy efficiency (claimed) 20.6kWh/100km
Energy efficiency (observed) 20.2kWh/100km
Maximum AC charging rate 10.5kW
Maximum DC charging rate 350kW
Charge time (DC power, 10-80 per cent) Approximately 18 minutes (350kW charger)
Charge time (AC power, 10-100 per cent) Approximately 7h 20m (3-phase, 16A, 11kW charger)
Tyres Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 255/40 R21
Tare weight 2185kg

It has almost 200kW more than the GT-Line, cutting 1.7 seconds from the 0-100km/h time. Not that this matters in Australia, but top speed is also bumped up from 188km/h to 260km/h.

How does the Kia EV6 drive?

Wet weather really put a damper on my time with the EV6 GT.

A weekend getaway in northern New South Wales brought the promise of plenty of winding country roads, but almost all had been stricken with potholes. My usual spirited winding road drive at Mount Glorious was also marred by rain, fog and road debris.

It’s frustrating to know you have a vehicle with such immense power and capability that you can’t fully utilise.

And yet, having to use the EV6 GT for commuting and cruising duties underscored just how versatile it is. You can potter around town in Eco mode as if this isn’t packing 430kW and 740Nm, and it’s an entirely pleasant commuter. Power is delivered smoothly, and you can drive your grandma to church without any drama.

Of course, you can also pop it into GT mode, turn on max power mode, and let ‘er rip. From a standstill, the EV6 GT’s acceleration is meteoric, and you can feel the rear wheels struggling to get the power down.

Max power mode is only available when the battery is above 70 per cent, and if you keep doing 0-100km/h runs you’ll burn through your charge.

There are multiple levels of regenerative braking, plus an i-Pedal mode that allows for one-pedal driving. It’s not the most aggressive system we’ve experienced, but it will bring the EV6 to a halt.

As with many Kias, the EV6 GT has a local suspension and steering tune.

The EV6 GT handled the ravaged roads of New South Wales with aplomb, never feeling crashy or lumpy despite riding on huge 21-inch alloy wheels.

However, it’s very firm, and there’s a persistent if slight vibration of sorts to the ride that never goes away. Is it a deal-breaker? Hardly.

The Kia always feels flat and planted, and ready to storm up a winding mountain road.

Ok, so the EV6 GT isn’t as customisable as an Ioniq 5 N. But there’s still a bevy of available settings to configure, more so than even an Audi RS e-tron GT I recently drove.

Perhaps the most customisable element is the Active Sound Design, i.e. the fake propulsion noise. There’s no way to make it sound like a turbocharged four-cylinder engine as in its platform-mate, but you can choose between three preset sounds or even configure your own.

Additionally, you can choose between three levels of sound, or just turn it off entirely and listen to the standard electric motor whir.

Then there are the settings that actually change the way the EV6 drives. You can choose between Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes for the suspension, steering, electronic limited-slip differential and electric motors, with the latter also offering an Eco mode.

You can tailor these settings to your tastes and press the GT button on the steering wheel to call up your custom drive mode.

Additionally, you can toggle the electronic stability control between Normal, Sport (which allows some oversteer) and off.

While I fiddled around with many of these settings, I kept the suspension in normal when I programmed my custom drive mode, but put the steering in Sport+.

By default, the steering already has a nice weight to it, and communicates what’s going on on the road. But Sport+ mode adds some nice heft to it which makes the EV6 feel even sportier.

In terms of braking, the EV6 GT has 380mm front and 360mm rear ventilated discs, instead of 325mm discs front and rear as in lesser EV6s. You can also choose between Normal and Sport modes for the brakes.

The EV6 GT uses Kia’s older traffic sign recognition system, which means it uses navigation data instead of reading signs. But this also means it doesn’t bing and bong every time the speed limit changes, so there’s that.

The cabin is so quiet that I commented the raindrops hitting the sunroof were surprisingly loud.

The EV6 GT is great on the highway, with its Lane Following Assist keeping you neatly centred in your lane and the adaptive cruise control keeping you at your set speed.

When the sun goes down, the matrix LED headlights provide excellent illumination.

The EV6 GT features Kia’s Remote Smart Park Assist, which allows you to use the key fob to move the car forward and backwards. It might sound like a gimmick, but we did end up using it to get the vehicle in and out of a tight car port at an Airbnb.

What do you get?

The GT sits atop the EV6 range, but it does miss out on some features found in the GT-Line one rung down – namely power-adjustable front seats with ventilation.

Standard equipment on the GT includes:

  • 21-inch alloy wheels
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Tyre repair kit
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Active Sound Design
  • One-pedal drive mode
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Electronic park brake
  • Auto hold
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Remote Smart Park Assist
    • Key fob parking operation
    • Semi-autonomous parking assist
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Satellite navigation
  • DAB digital radio
  • 14-speaker Meridian sound system
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Head-up display
  • Suede/leatherette upholstery
  • Six-way manual front sports seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
  • Electrochromic rear-view mirror
  • 4 x USB-C outlets (two up front, two in the rear)
  • 1 x USB-A outlet (front; for data transfer)
  • 64-colour ambient lighting

Is the Kia EV6 safe?

The Kia EV6 Air and GT-Line have a five-star ANCAP rating, but the GT remains unrated.

Standard safety equipment includes:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Pedestrian detection
    • Cyclist detection
    • Vehicle detection
    • Junction turning assist
    • Reverse AEB
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Blind-Spot View Monitor
  • Intelligent speed limit assist
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane Following Assist (lane centring)
  • Rear cross-traffic assist
  • Rear occupant alert
  • Safe exit assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view camera with 3D mode
  • Front, front-side, front-centre and curtain airbags

How much does the Kia EV6 cost to run?

Kia backs the EV6 GT with a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty, plus a seven-year, 150,000km warranty for the high-voltage electrical components like the battery.

Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

The company offers three-, five- and seven-year pre-paid service plans, priced at $835, $1561 and $2309, respectively – slightly pricier than the same plans on more affordable EV6 models.

CarExpert’s Take on the Kia EV6 GT

The EV6 GT is bloody fast, handles well, and yet can be a comfortable and calm commuter.

By any measure, it’s an excellent car. So why is it not my electric car of choice at this end of the market?

The EV6 GT is highly adjustable, but its Hyundai sibling just adds that little bit more and is a more engaging vehicle to drive as a result. It also has an interior that feels nicer.

And then there’s the EV6 GT-Line. If you don’t want the outright pace of the GT, the GT-Line is still far quicker than you arguably need, while being more affordable and comfortable.

There’s also the looming update for the EV6 GT, which promises to include some worthwhile improvements including the latest technology from Kia.

The EV6 GT is a great car, no bones about it. But we’d recommend carefully evaluating what you want in a high-performance electric car before signing on the dotted line.

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