Kia EV6 GT Line: First Drive Review
Published On May 25, 2022 By Nabeel for Kia EV6
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Flagship EV + full import might be an expensive proposition, but the EV6 also packs lots of excitement and exclusivity. Should you consider it?
Kia’s entry into the world of built-up EVs caught everyone's attention. It was not only because of the way the EV6 looked, but also due to the tech that was sandwiched between the stylish bumpers. It promised sports car-like performance and luxury car-like features, and it's now time for us to experience it.
However, it is going to be a full import, which means it will be positioned in the luxury segment. Can the EV6 be exciting enough for you to consider it despite being an import?
With its all-EV platform, Kia has taken a radical step ahead in design. The EV6 is neither a conventional hatchback, nor a sedan or an SUV. It is a combination of the three and when you take into account the size and the design details of the EV6, it looks like nothing we have seen on our roads.
The head looks sharp with the sloping bonnet, sleek grille, and large headlamps. Move to the side and the large proportions of this vehicle start to come into play. But, it is the attention to detail that stands out. The headlamps get intricate DRLS and a full matrix LED setup for lighting. The upper DRL also acts as a sequential turn indicator.
The EV6 measures 4695mm long, 1890mm wide, 1550mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2900mm. Thus, the EV6 is longer and almost as wide as the Tata Safari, while it has a lengthier wheelbase than the Toyota Fortuner!
This is because the EV’s wheels are pushed to the corners - courtesy of the EV platform. And with such size, the EV looks even sportier due to the fastback design. And then come design details like the 19-inch wheels, aero-specific ORVMs, and the flush-fitting door handles that make this car look clean.
At the back, the sharpness in design returns with the beautifully detailed connected tail lamp and the 3D pattern on the turn indicators. The spoiler too is properly sporty and what you just can’t miss once you have seen them are the reverse lights that take inspiration from a certain hypercar.
Overall, the Kia EV6 is a proper head-turner. It makes its presence felt with its size and retains your attention with the details in the design. It might seem overdone at places, but surely nothing else looks like it on the road.
The dashboard layout of the EV6 is futuristic. It has an interesting pattern on the top which is unlike any other car we have seen. The minimal layout, with just the two curved screens, helps it look really clean. The 2-spoke steering also helps solidify this minimalistic design.
Being based on a pure EV platform, the EV6 gets a flat floor. This has helped designers open a lot of space and give a floating effect to the centre console. Not only does this help make the car feel different, but also opens up a lot of room for storage spaces in the cabin, which we will get to a little later.
The seats are very comfortable and supportive and have 10-way power adjustability. This helps you get in a natural driving position no matter the size. Also, while charging - these seats can recline to an almost horizontal level (zero-gravity) which helps you relax and nap. Internationally, the seat covers are built from recycled plastic but in India, the options will include sewed and vegan leather. However, you still get door pads that are built from recycled PET bottles.
The EV6 is packed to the gills with features. Standing on the dashboard are two curved 12.3-inch displays which are for the driver and the infotainment. The display clarity and software smoothness is super slick and easily competes with systems used by Mercedes-Benz. The driver gets a host of different layouts which change with flowing animations and the infotainment also gets simplistic yet useful graphics. I especially like the one with the battery and range display but I wish the car displayed on the screen was the EV6.
The infotainment is paired with a sweet-sounding 14-speaker Meridian sound system which gets 3D acoustic sound - just like in luxury cars. Other than that, you also get ventilated and heated seats, heated steering, dual-zone climate control, ambient lights, a sunroof, and a 360-degree camera from which you can also remotely monitor your car while it is charging.
Kia’s first EV for India even gets a full ADAS suite with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Emergency Brakes, and more. Special mention in the feature department goes to the heads-up display which gets augmented reality displays for navigation and warnings. It can superimpose the image onto the road ahead to guide you better.
As we said, the Kia EV6 is based on an EV-specific platform that helps it offer lots of space and practicality. The storage below the centre console can easily accommodate a small bag and the storage under the armrest too is deep and can also accommodate a small bag. The gadget charging option also comes in plenty with two Type-C, one USB, one 12-Volt, and a wireless charger in the front. The rear passengers get two seat-mounted Type C ports and a laptop charger.
The rear seats offer good space for someone under 6 feet tall. Knee room is generous and the headroom is ample too, but, you can’t stretch your feet under the front seat as there is not enough clearance. The high floor also leads to lacking under-thigh support. Dial in the upright backrest and the EV6 is not the ideal car for rear seat occupants on a long road trip. However, city journeys will be fine even with five onboard.
The EV6 offers 520 litres of boot space that can be further extended by folding the rear seats. However, this large boot in an EV comes at the cost of a spare wheel. Also, the charger and the mobility kit (to be used in case of a puncture) takes up space on the boot floor as well.
However, in the front, under the bonnet, you get small storage - 20 litres for the AWD variant and 52 litres for the RWD model. It can be used to store small grocery bags, but because you have to open the bonnet from the inside every time, the ‘froot’ is less practical to use.
The EV6 will be available only in the GT Line trim with two powertrain options. The single rear motor, rear-wheel drive variant makes 229PS and 350Nm of torque and takes 7.3s to get to 100kmph. What we are driving is the 325PS dual motor, all-wheel drive car with 605Nm of torque and it flies to 100kmph in just 5.2s.
Motor And Performance
Start driving the EV6 and it feels like driving any other EV. It's quiet, smooth, and offers an effortless drive. The cabin insulation is one of the best we have experienced in recent times, which further helps the quietness factor of the EV drive experience.
The difference though, between the EV6 and other regular EVs, comes into play when you start getting playful with the throttle. In the ‘Sport’ mode, every sharp input you give, no matter how small, the EV6 strides forward with intent. Be it at 40kmph or 140kmph, the additional throttle always results in strong acceleration.
The EV6 is electronically limited to an indicated 192kmph and in our free laps on the BIC, we managed to hit that every single time. The naught to the indicated top speed run took just 20 seconds, which is super quick and the acceleration is strong enough to excite you every time the boring routine of life wears you down.
There is even a different ‘Sport Brake’ mode, which makes the brakes super sharp and is best to be left for the racetrack. Switch to the other drive modes (Eco and Drive) and the throttle is less aggressive. This makes acceleration more progressive and controlled. Also, massive respect to the battery as despite doing 8 to 10 laps on the BIC short loop, constantly hitting the top speed, the indicator just went from 90 per cent to 60 per cent.
Speaking of range, the EV6 has an over 500km claimed range and should do at least 400km on a single charge (combined cycle) in the real world. This will definitely take care of all your range anxiety problems. Also, with a 350kW charger, the 10-80 per cent charge can be had in just 18minutes.
The only problem is that India does not have these superfast chargers. If you are lucky enough to find a 50kW charger, then the same 10-80 per cent charge will take 1hour 13minutes. The common 25kW and 15kW chargers will take a bit more time and charging via a home socket from 0 to 100 per cent will take 36hours.
Ride And Handling
The AWD setup keeps you on rear-wheel drive till the car decides it needs more traction or acceleration. Add this to the lenient traction control, and you can have some fun in the corners. Turn in sharply and the EV6 will greet you by sliding the rear just a little without the traction nanny interrupting.
The steering feels well weighted and this does give you confidence. However, the hefty nature of the car does cause unwelcome weight transfer, which makes you go into corners a bit slowly. This will surely be a fun car to drive to a hill station.
Ride can’t be judged on an F1 race track and hence I will reserve my comments till we drive the EV6 on public roads. What I can tell you is that the car feels properly stable at high speeds and going over the curbs on the track, the ride never felt unsettled or intrusive.
With prices expected to be around the Rs 70 lakh mark, the Kia EV6 is going to be an expensive purchase. It is certainly out of reach of many Indians and will compete in the luxury segment with the likes of the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
What the EV6 has going in its favour is excitement. Be it its looks, lights, technology, features, or the driving experience, the EV is certainly an exciting car. Plus, with just 100 units being imported, exclusivity is bundled up in the package. And that is something that the competition might not be able to offer.