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Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4 kWh AWD review

KIA EV6 review


Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4 kWh AWD review.

For – handsome, great performance, high quality, amazing regen braking.
Against – usual high-speed range anxiety, expected more range.
Challengers –
VW ID.4, Tesla Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Mercedes EQA, Ford Mach E, Skoda Enyaq

“Strangely, for an electric car designed from the ground up to be battery-powered, the EV6 range performance lags behind the earlier Kia Soul EV”

The handsome, eye-catching EV6 is Kia’s first electric car to be designed from the start to be battery-powered. 

The EV6 has hit the ground running, at least as far as public relations are concerned because it recently won the European Car Of The Year (COTY) award, and that’s no surprise with its awesome qualities. The looks are obvious and the on-the-road performance impressive. Inside, quality is the watchword.

KIA EV6 review

Kia is proud of its powerful public charging capability. 

“800-volt ultra-rapid charging can take the battery from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes when using a 350kW charger. A rapid charge from 10 to 80% takes 1 hour 13 minutes using a 50kW charger,” Kia said.

That wasn’t tested, I’m afraid, for the sake of my dodgy blood pressure. I’ve tried to use public charging facilities, but as far as I can see they are mainly unreliable, with opaque systems and apps with impossible demands, so for the sake of my mental health I now stay away if possible. Wake me up when you can drive into an electric charging station and pay with your regular credit card, not one of maybe 15 operators each with their own deposit demands and apps, and complete the deal in 10 minutes.   

KIA EV6 review

Soul still rules the range 
Strangely, for an electric car designed from the ground up to be battery-powered, the EV6 range performance lags behind the earlier Kia Soul EV. The Soul claims 280 miles as the range of its 44.5 kWh battery and charges to an average 266.5 miles in the real world, according to my home-charger data. The 77.4 kWh EV6 has a superior claim of 300 miles range, but I only managed an average 229.3 miles from the battery when I plugged it in. The EV6 also suffers from the usual range limitations from high-speed cruising, which I calculate at 31.3% for a motorway range of 157 miles. That lags the Soul’s impressive 205 miles.

Incidentally, a report in the Daily Telegraph which announced the EV6’s COTY win, simply quoted the Kia’s city range claim of 391 miles, which I seem to recall was unexplained and was written by an author who was on the COTY jury. The vote seems to have been cast, and high praise delivered, probably without any evidence of what happens when you actually plug the car in.

This claim of 391 miles is possible in theory because driving in town can drive up the range, thanks to regenerative braking. I can confirm that the EV6 does indeed have an outstanding regenerative system.

“Operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, drivers can use the technology to quickly and easily slow the car, recuperating kinetic energy to maximise driving range and efficiency. Drivers can choose from six regenerative braking levels (none, 1 to 3, ‘i-PEDAL’, or auto mode), depending on the desired level of energy recuperation,” Kia said.

KIA EV6 review

London horror traffic
A 117-mile trip which included maybe 1/2 of high-speed driving, 1/4 rolling hills, and the rest the singular awfulness of London stop/start horror traffic, cost 122 miles from range availability. A 39-mile trip over mostly country roads only removed 35 miles from availability. If you stay away from the high-speed stuff, what you’re offered will be more or less what you get, with little bonuses every now and then.

The EV6 is a blast on the road, with super accurate steering, and it felt solidly planted as you tackle high-speed corners. Like most electric cars, the accelerator response is instant and ongoing. Inside, the dash is impressive, with the head-up display a wonderful option. The system projects some basic information like the speed limit, your speed and simple SatNav instructions at eye level as though it’s at the end of the bonnet. My car had a nifty safety aid. When you indicate right, a little window opens up on the dash to give you a wing-mirror view without having to turn your head. Same when indicating left. Maybe a shade OTT when you consider the alarm systems which already warn of cars approaching from behind. I found the SatNav a little clunky to use. There’s plenty of room in the back and the boot was impressive, not surprising because this is a big car. 

I drove the top of the range GT Line S 77.4 kWh AWD version with 321 hp and 2 electric motors. There is a 223 hp version with a single motor and rear-wheel drive. There’s a long list of standard equipment. The line-up starts with EV6 ‘Air’ at £40,595, before moving up to ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. The flagship ‘GT’ model is set to join the range in the final quarter of 2022.

KIA EV6 review

What to buy?
The price, at £51,945 before government subsidies, might seem a bit steep, but this top- of-the-range model was loaded with extras. A similar German vehicle might cost about £20,000 more. And Kia is no longer some upstart company using price to gain attention. It has now transformed itself into a top-class brand, which can compete on quality with the best of the Germans. And it still has the 7-year, 100,000-mile guaranty. All the competitors in this bracket can make big claims to convince buyers to part with their hard-earned. But the Tesla is still the range winner by miles, if it’s range that turns you on. 239 high-speed motorway miles, since you ask. I’m not convinced that electric cars deserve this kind of money being spent on them given their obvious long-range deficiencies, and the Tesla is the only one that survives, just, this examination. I’m still convinced a plug-in hybrid is the only way to go for a convincing all-rounder and the best buy surely is the Suzuki Across, with its 50 miles of battery-only capability. 

KIA EV6 review


 Kia EV6 GT Line S 77.4 kWh AWD
(*estimated at steady indicated 75 mph)
Electric motor:2 permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM)
front motor 98 hp + rear 225 hp = 321 hp
605 Nm 
Battery:77.4 kWh Li-ion polymer
Claimed range:300 miles (city 391) 
Claimed electricity consumption:180 Wh/km (3.45m/kWh)
WintonsWorld test range:229.3 miles (average of 7 home charges) 23.7% shortfall 
Highway cruising penalty*31.5%
Highway cruising range:157.0 miles
Charging:home charger 7 hours 20 minutes to 100%
  - DC 350 kW 80% 18 minutes DC 50 73 minutes
Acceleration:0-60 mph 5.0 seconds
Top Speed:114 mph
CO2:zero at tailpipe
Length:4,695 mm
2,090 kg
7 years/100,000 miles
Boot capacity:
490/1,300 litres
Competition:VW ID.4, Tesla Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Mercedes EQA, Ford Mustang Mach E, Skoda Enyaq 
Price:£51,945 before handouts
($68,250 after taxes) 
For:handsome, great performance, high quality, amazing regen braking
Against:usual high speed range anxiety, expected more range

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