Review: 2022 Kia EV6 is a wagonliscious electric

The latest vehicle from Kia is the battery-electric EV6. Designed as a wagon-like crossover, it’s more akin to a car-based station wagon than it is a car-based SUV. And that means it’s a wonderful drive.

There are some downsides to the 2022 Kia EV6, the primary one being that its wagon-like design means less cargo space. It’s real-world range also depends heavily on driving style and some of the advanced features are a little shaky, but this new-generation electric vehicle is definitely one of the better ones we’ve driven thus far.

At a Glance

  • Strong styling for any segment
  • Excellent drive dynamic and feel
  • Not as spacious as some options in the segment
  • Real-world driving range greatly dependent on driving style
  • Excellent entry into the midsized market
The EV6's driver controls are obvious and easy to use. What appears to be one long screen on the dash is actually two screens, one for the driver's instrument cluster and the other for infotainment
The EV6’s driver controls are obvious and easy to use. What appears to be one long screen on the dash is actually two screens, one for the driver’s instrument cluster and the other for infotainment

Aaron Turpen / New Atlas

There’s no getting past the fact that the new Kia EV6 is one of the best-looking vehicles on today’s market. With pronounced front fenders, a strong set of body lines, and a sleek hatchback, the EV6 has lines and curves that demand attention without being narcissistic.

There are four trim levels and two powertrain setups available. The first is a rear-mounted electric motor that produces 167 horsepower (124.5 kW) to the rear axle, with a 58-kWh battery pack giving it an EPA-estimated range of 232 miles (373 km) per full charge. The other option, which is standard on all trims above the base model, is a 225-hp (167.8-kW) motor on that rear axle and a 77.4-kWh battery pack with an EPA range of 310 miles (499 km) per full charge.

With the latter motor, the system can be upgraded to all-wheel drive, adding a motor to the front axle for a combined 320 hp (238.5 kW). The battery size remains the same, but EPA estimates drop to 274 miles (441 km) with the AWD added.

Our real world experience, however, didn’t find those EPA estimates to be accurate for the AWD model we drove. Our driving and highway test loops returned only about 255 miles (410 km) of total range available. Some of this was likely due to the heavier highway usage (over 55 mph/88.5km/h) we had versus the EPA’s official test. We achieved about 31.2 kWh of usage per 100 miles of driving, or about 10 percent range loss versus the EPA’s estimations. That’s typical of most EVs we’ve driven where highway mileage was a bigger factor.

Worth noting is that the 2022 Kia EV6 is compatible with the latest in DC fast chargers putting out 350 kW. Which means the next-generation fast chargers now finding their way to stations around the US will be an option for EV6 drivers. For home charging, we have a 50-A level 2 service offering up to 40-A delivery. The EV6 charges in about 6.5 hours from that, taking 80 percent of its battery capability in the first four hours of charge time. And it should also be pointed out that Kia has a 10-year warranty on both the drivetrain and the battery here, so range loss worries and battery bricking concerns are covered.

Besides its exterior looks, though, the best attributes of the Kia EV6 are its interior experience and drive quality. There’s comfortable seating for four and available seating for five. Like most midsized or smaller vehicles, the middle portion of the rear seat is not the most comfortable spot in the car. Headroom and legroom are good as well. The lack of a center hump, since there is no driveshaft, means the middle seat is better than most.

Although a crossover by chassis design, the 2022 Kia EV6 is more station wagon than SUV
Although a crossover by chassis design, the 2022 Kia EV6 is more station wagon than SUV

Aaron Turpen / New Atlas

Technology in the 2022 EV6 is good, though not as top shelf as what might be found in some luxury brands. The infotainment screen is of good size and easy to operate, but some of the driver’s aids are a little jumpy at times – especially adaptive cruise, which often slows down unnecessarily and takes a while to realize it can speed up again.

Driving the EV6 is a wonderful experience. It handles nicely, is perfectly balanced, and offers a lot of power whenever it’s requested. Like all EVs, the Kia EV6 can deliver full torque at any time, which means acceleration is phenomenal. Using the (driver toggled) battery-replenishing slowdown option means adding more juice with less braking as well. Every drive metric in the EV6 is near to that of a sports car, but without the jostling suspension and loud road noise normally associated with those vehicles.

In total, we found the 2022 Kia EV6 to be a wonderful entry into the expanding electric vehicle market and believe it’s competitive even with the internal combustion engine options it competes with. This is a solid, well-designed, and good-looking car. We’d pit it against the Ford Mustang Mach-E or the Volkswagen ID.4 as a top contender.

Product Page: 2022 Kia EV6

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