Update 5/19/21: This post was originally published on March 30, 2021, and has been updated with information about the U.S.-spec EV6.
Kia continues to bolster its role in the electric vehicle space with the reveal of the new EV6 crossover. Although the EV6 is not the first battery-electric vehicle from the Korean automaker, it is the first model to strictly rely on electricity for power. Other Kia electrics, such as the Soul EV and Niro EV, are also available with gasoline- or gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains.
Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV, the Kia EV6 rides on Hyundai Motor Company’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (or E-GMP), which allows the EV6 to come in either rear- and all-wheel-drive variants. Power to the rear-mounted or available front- and rear-mounted electric motors comes courtesy of either a 58-kWh or 77-kWh battery pack. Kia expects to achieve 300 miles of range for the EV6 with the big battery pack in the U.S., which is down slightly compared to the 316 miles of estimated driving range on Europe’s WLTP combined cycle.
On our shores, the EV6 will be available in different combinations. Opt for the small battery pack and rear-wheel drive and the EV6 makes do with 167 horses from its lone electric motor. Choosing the larger battery, meanwhile, nets 218 ponies in rear-drive form, and 313 hp with all-wheel drive. Kia expects the latter to go from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
Need more power? Then look no further than the all-wheel-drive-only EV6 GT. Limited to the bigger battery pack, the GT packs 576 hp from its two electric motors, which allows the high-powered hatchback to scoot from 0-to-60 mph in a manufacturer-estimated 3.5 seconds and onto a top speed of more than 160 mph.
Feel free to regularly mash the right pedal of the EV6, too, as Kia claims its upcoming EV’s 800-volt charging system allows its battery pack to go from 10 to 80 percent charge capacity in just 18 minutes. Keep the battery at more than 35 percent capacity and the EV6 will tow around 3,500 pounds, too. That said, buyers looking to get the most mileage out of their EV6 will want to make the most of the car’s regenerative braking system, which offers six different modes that are operated by way of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Despite the fact the EV6 and its Ioniq 5 cousin share the same underpinnings, the two clearly do not share many—if any—exterior or interior pieces. Whereas the Hyundai employs a retro-futuristic and simple design, the Kia’s styling takes on a more dramatic and sporting shape. Low-mounted headlights, muscular fenders, a floating roofline, and taillights that span the width of the body bring an athletic, if somewhat generic, look to the EV6.
The sporting theme makes its way into the cabin, as well, with the EV6 incorporating a driver-oriented dashboard that includes a pair of 12.0-inch displays. A handsome mix of light and dark materials adds an upscale feel to the space. Kia equipped the K6’s cabin with vegan leather on some trims and recycled plastics throughout the door panels and dashboard.
The EV6 will arrive at dealerships in all 50 states in early 2022, with the GT arriving towards the end of that year. A First Edition model, limited to 1,500 units, will be available by advanced reservations starting June 3. It will be powered by the bigger battery and all-wheel drive, and comes decently equipped with a 14-speaker Meridian audio system, a new augmented reality head-up display that projects graphics in 3D, remote smart parking and more.
In terms of safety, expect to see a long list of standard features such as smart cruise control, highway driving assist, blind spot avoidance assist and high beam assist.
Prices for the Kia EV6 will be announced closer to its on-sale date.