The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is our reigning car of the year, so can the closely related Kia EV6 live up to expectation?
The Kia EV6 stakes a strong claim as a sportier electric crossover. The ride may just be a little too firm for some, but it is liveable, and the trade-off is a slightly more engaging drive. All-wheel-drive versions have very strong performance, while the claimed range and charging tech make the EV6 a very versatile machine, but it doesn’t come cheap.
Kia can certainly stake a claim to being a market leader in all things electric cars. It cottoned on to the hybrid trend early with cars like the Niro, adding a fully electric e-Niro model that had the class sewn up until relatively recently.
But the Korean firm hasn’t rested on its laurels, and now it’s aiming to push a level further with this: the EV6. It’s Kia’s first purpose made electric car, based on the E-GMP architecture developed in conjunction with sister brands Hyundai and Genesis. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the only other car we’ve driven on this platform up to now, and as our reigning car of the year expectations are high for E-GMP’s second outing under the EV6.
Kia is aiming for something a little sportier and more dynamic with the EV6, and straight away the styling sets the tone, with a swoopier, curvier coupe look to its profile than the boxier, more angular Ioniq 5 crossover.
Like the Ioniq 5, it’s bigger in the metal than it looks in pictures. It’s just under 4.7 metres long, with a 2.9-metre-long wheelbase. Sandwiched in the floor between the axles is a 77.4kWh battery – the only option the UK market will get, although a 58kWh version is offered elsewhere.
The battery gives a claimed range of 314 miles in this AWD dual-motor car. It feeds a pair of motors for a total of 321bhp and 605Nm of torque, which is enough for a 5.2-second 0-62mph time.
It feels rapid too, with strong punch up to motorway speeds, and enough instant power for easy, even relaxing overtakes on country roads. If it still isn’t enough for you then there’s a high performance 577bhp GT version coming soon.
With no combustion engine to drown out other noises the car’s refinement is laid bare, but it’s fundamentally sound in the EV6; there’s not much wind noise at high speed on the motorway, while tyre noise is also kept at bay well.
The ride has a slightly firm, busy edge to it, only over jarring bumps that would upset other cars, but this slightly more sporting profile to its dynamic repertoire is in keeping with the Kia’s positioning – especially relative to its Hyundai Ioniq 5 sibling.
The EV6 feels slightly sharper to turn, while clever frequency selective suspension dampers mean that at lower speed when there’s less energy going through the suspension (either over bumps or as you turn in and the car rolls) the damping forces are lower, so the ride is softer.
It firms up as the energy fired back at the dampers increases – usually with speed or how aggressively you work the steering. It’s a subtle alteration in character, but a perceptible one nonetheless that means the EV6 is as comfortable as it can be when you want it. It’s especially strong on the motorway, where it flows nicely, but you can seek out that little bit more support and firmness in corners when desired.
Read more: AutoExpress