It’s a Kia, but not as you know it
THINGS are moving quickly in the world of electric cars and Kia is elbowing its way to the front of the pack. The EV6 is the Korean brand’s new flagship electric car that sits above the e-Niro and Soul EV — and it introduces a new era of design for the company.
The EV6 uses similar electric hardware to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 although the battery supplier is different and in terms of design, the two cars couldn’t look more different.
Within the floor is a 77.4kWh battery that can provide up to 328 miles on a single charge. There is the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive with two power outputs and two specification grades. In time there will also be a high-performance version with 577bhp.
Kia is touting near-supercar levels of accelerative performance for that GT range-topper, but the regular models are no slouches either. The all-wheel-drive EV6, for example, will reach 62mph from a standing start in 5.2 seconds — how much more performance do you need from an electric crossover?
Exterior design and rivals
Having spent so many years making the ‘Tiger nose’ grille such a mainstay of the Kia range, the designers must have felt a little deflated when the engineers told them it wasn’t a requirement for the electric EV6.
That didn’t stop them pumping up the Kia’s wheel arches to add to its presence and surprisingly, one of the cars that influenced the Kia’s design was a 1970s rally superstar, the Lancia Stratos. That sounds far-fetched until you start to look closely at the styling around the rear.
A light bar comes up from the hind quarters and wraps around the bulging boot to double up as a small rear spoiler. This feature is one of the most distinctive aspects of the Kia’s design.
Measuring almost the same length as Kia’s seven-seat Sorento SUV, the EV6 is no city car, and it rides on 19in wheels as standard, though most are expected be sold with 20in rims.
It has a long wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) that pushes those wheels out to either end of the car, to the benefit of passenger space.
Without a big, tall combustion engine in the front the Kia has a neat clamshell bonnet design that slides down around the triangular LED headlights. This short front and the raked windscreen have a hint of Jaguar I-Pace about them. Kia is also one of a growing number of manufacturers to fit door handles that sit flush with the bodywork when the car is locked, as it helps reduce drag through the air.
How the air flows over the EV6’s bodywork is further influenced by items such as the mini winglets that protrude from the rear spoiler. Look around the rear of the car and you’ll also spot the lack of a rear wiper. Instead, air is funnelled through the roof spoiler and over the rear glass to clear water away at speed, though we’ll have to wait to see how well it works during a damp British winter.
The Kia EV6 is far from conventional looking, with a futuristic sense to its styling and it’s more positively striking that other EV rivals such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and even our 2021 Car of the Year, the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Interior and practicality
Space is one thing of which the EV6 isn’t short, but it also has a real wow factor that hits you the first time you sit in the driver’s seat. Were it not for the large new Kia typeface set into the two-spoke multifunction steering wheel, guessing who produced this cabin might not be so easy.
A monolithic digital instrument screen gently curves its way across the dashboard. Comprising two 12.3in displays, it presents everything you’ll ever need while in the car in a straightforward way — and the infotainment system is one of the easier ones on the market to navigate.
To keep button count to a minimum on what is already a slender fascia, the climate controls and menu shortcut tabs are all on a touch-sensitive bar that presents different functions according to mode, much like a TouchBar on a new Apple MacBook.
The centre console juts forward from between the front seats but doesn’t meet up with the dash. This unit houses the start button that is cleverly angled towards the driver, making it one of the first things they see when climbing in, and it appears to be blanketed by a metallic cover.