At a roundabout in Blanchardstown last week, I found myself spinning alongside a Hyundai Ioniq 5, two Nissan Leafs, and a VW ID4. On the slippery road to the M50 I was behind a Tesla Model 3 taxi. Who said the revolution was yet to come?
The beauty of the revolution is that it overturns established norms. Alongside the technical revolution, there is a revolution in brand perception. In the midst of technological progress, the old guard is being reformed.
Tesla is now a premium brand. Korean brands, once budget buys, are now a major player and are nibbling on the bumpers of premium buyers as well. Hyundai and Kia already stand out on the leafier and richer suburban driveways.
They have charged the sales charts to become serious players in the Irish market. They have embraced the electric revolution.
The EV6 is Kia’s boldest move yet. In a market focused on boxy SUVs, Kia has once again set its designers the task of pioneering a new path.
When the records of Korean automobile history are written, a lot of the credit should go to Kia’s design team. In nearly every step, the seemingly junior partner in the giant Hyundai conglomerate has outdone its siblings and other rivals in styling and design.
Real sporty allure
The old Picanto was a cute and cuddly city car, the soul is a pure funk, the Optima has Maserati undertones, the Stinger should bring BMW designers back to the drawing board and now this EV6 shows you can take an SUV-sized car and add true sporty appeal.
Forget the silly coupe with sloping rear rooflines. They simply look like someone dropped a bag of cement from a height into the back of an SUV. The EV6 stands out for its scale, content and attractive appearance.
The launch photos didn’t really do that. The first time I came across this car physically a few weeks ago, it was parked alongside a bunch of electric newcomers to the market. It was the car that popped up. And it was parked next to the latest Tesla Model Y.
Elon Musk could do well to spend some of his fortune luring the Kia design team to Tesla. In fact, every car brand right now can look to Kia for sharp design cues.
Inside, the cabin doesn’t try to be futuristic or overwhelming: the controls are pretty much where you’d expect them to. The switches are directed towards the driver, while the raised central divider between the front seats provides the layout of the cockpit.
However, some features, such as the adjustable control bar from the buttons at the bottom of the main touch screen, Audi should be proud of. For family practicality, the EV6 has plenty of legroom front and center, with a 490-liter boot, albeit in plenty of open space and again not as spacious as those offered by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Tesla for that matter.
While Hyundai chose to offer the Ioniq 5 with a smaller 58 kWh battery pack on the entry models (providing a range of 384 km), this Kia comes with a 77.4 kWh battery powered by a single 229 hp rear-mounted motor (wheel drive versions). The quad is not planned for sale in Ireland).
You have a choice of Land Specs running on 19-inch alloys with a claimed range of 528 kilometers or GT Line on 20-inch wheels claiming 504 kilometers. Those numbers are better than those claimed by Tesla for its Model Y or Hyundai for the larger battery version of the Ioniq 5.
Kia’s main selling point, and many of the latest arrivals, is the recharge price. Thanks to its advanced charging system, it can draw up to 233 kW of power, which means that at one of five Ionity stations in the state, Kia claims you can charge an EV6 to 80 percent of capacity in less than 18 minutes.
The real boon to potential buyers is that Kia appears to be able to deliver on its promises. While some brands can sometimes exaggerate the pledges in range, Kia seems to live in the 400km range, even with some spirited driving in Sport mode.
And it doesn’t end there. The EV6 can also be turned into a power supply, where you can plug in other devices and run them from a large car battery in the event of a power outage, for example. Kia claims that you can run a 55-inch TV and air conditioner simultaneously for more than 24 hours.
On the road, power is transferred to the tarmac smoothly, if not as quickly as we’ve come to expect from an EV—or from such a sporty-style car. It’s a sign of the times when the 0-100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds for a family fit for five seemed a bit slow. It’s relatively fast in Sport mode but lacks a punch in Eco or Normal settings.
If you want to compete with the Tesla Model Y (just 3.7 seconds for the performance version or five seconds for the long-range version), you’ll have to wait until next fall, when the high-performance GT version of the EV6 due to land in Ireland, boasts 0-100 acceleration km / h for 3.5 seconds.
The EV6 has some ingenious handling that belies a car weighing more than two tons, even if it isn’t as sharp through bends as the Model Y. It’s a shame the all-wheel-drive versions won’t come to Ireland, because they made the most of the power transmission available on the road and through turns. It also stops the little tail shake you can encounter in the EV6 if you put a lot of power on top of the wet corner when you’re in Sport mode. It’s fun to see that you can get that kind of rear-wheel drive fun out of a car this size – and an electric car – but if you’re focused on functional power, all-wheel drive is always the way to go.
Kia also features a suspension setup that removes most of the worst bumps, although at slow speeds you do feel some feedback in the cabin from the road and still not quite as smooth as VW Group’s EV platform supported by several cars across its brands. If EV6 buyers have the opportunity, they should opt for 19-inch alloys to improve ride quality, although they wouldn’t want to give up all the extras available in the GT-Line specification just to get the smaller wheels. I’m sure a deal can be struck.
Comparisons with Teslas and the latest VW Group models are inevitable because Kia is hitting the Irish market alongside a fleet of direct competitors. And while some might consider Tesla to be just a premium game, this Kia is a world away from the bargain option the brand once represented. At €50,000 for the Earth version and €54,345 for the GT-Line, this is a Kia that plays with the premium range.
However, the company is confident in its competitiveness and customers seem to agree with it.
The EV6 was actually sold out for the rest of this year, and a Kia Ireland spokesperson said it could easily sell for more than 500 vehicles due for release next year. We’re in the midst of a microchip shortage right now and the Koreans are taking a beating like everyone else, but when things calm down, most buyers are expected to opt for the GT-Line, thanks in large part to the long list of additional equipment on board. For a price excursion is 4,345 euros.
The starting price of €50,000 may seem relatively high, but when you take into account the battery size and range, its price is competitive. Certainly compared to the Tesla Model Y, which starts at €69,800.
Tesla might be more fun to drive, with the VW ID.4, Audi Q4 e-tron and Skoda Enyaq providing a better ride, while the Hyundai Ioniq 5 offers a bit more practical space. None of its competitors, however, can match the EV6 when it comes to looks, while this vehicle’s fit and finish can match – and surpass – anything on offer from the well-established premium brands. And when judging against them, it appears to be a competitive price.
The age of electricity is upon us and buyers with 50,000 or more now have an impressive selection of electric vehicles to choose from, if they can secure delivery. While Tesla is the poster boy for the revolution, the EV6 is its most dangerous competitor to date.
Kia EV6 GT-Line: the inside info
- Energy An electric motor with a power of 168 kW developing 229 hp and a torque of 350 Nm is mated to a single-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.
- CO2 emissions (annual car tax) 0 g/km (120€)
- Electricity consumption 16.5-17.2 kWh / 100 km
- battery capacity 77.4 kWh
- 0-100 km/h: 7.3 seconds
- price: €54,345 depending on the test (starting at €50,000)
- Rule Seemingly high price point, but well worth the spend.
« Spécialiste de la télévision sans vergogne. Pionnier des zombies inconditionnels. Résolveur de problèmes d’une humilité exaspérante. »