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The Kia EV6 is the yin to the Hyundai Ioniq 5's yang, both being based on the new electric-global modular platform (E-GMP). Can its combination of keener dynamics and GT style steer business buyers in Kia's direction?
19in alloy wheels, vegan leather trim, heated front seats and steering wheel
225hp 77.4kWh, 320hp 77.4kWh
Air, GT-Line and GT-Line S
We already know what a great electric car the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is, as it's the winner of our 'One to watch' category in this year's Business Car Awards. Well, now it's Hyundai's sister company Kia's turn, with the EV6. The first model from its "Plan S Strategy", which will eventually equal 11 new EVs by 2026. The EV6 is built on the same platform and shares some fixtures and fittings, but that's where the similarities end.
Nowhere is the difference more apparent than in the looks. Whereas the Hyundai plays the retro/modern hatch style well, the EV6 is something different. The Kia is marginally shorter for starters, with its hatchback style more GT or Grand Tourer.
At the front, Kia's 'tiger face', family front styling has been reinterpreted for the electric future. The key elements are the large headlights, with their distinctive daytime running lights and 'sequential' dynamic light pattern. Completing the look is the low air intake that visually widens the front of the car. There's also the curvy bonnet, which bends upwards toward the windscreen line.
The side of the EV6 is an attractive mix of crossover and GT, with crisp metalwork detailing and flush-fitting door handles that pop out when this Kia is unlocked. The rear, like the front, is the most interesting part of this design, with the distinctive spoiler above the rear window, followed by the lower rear lip made up of the rear light bar that stretches across the tailgate and the unique slashed rear light clusters.
Inside, one of the most striking elements of the minimalist feel to the dashboard is the curved 12.3in infotainment screen, for both the instruments and infotainment. With a floating centre console housing the gears and start/stop button, which curves up to meet the dashboard, the quality feels a step forward, but there are still some hard, scratchy plastics, mostly lower down the dashboard. Yet, the taller driving position seems at odds with the sporty feel of the EV6.
You wouldn't know the EV6 was shorter than the Ioniq 5, as there's the same impressive levels of space - with a limo-like 990mm of legroom in the back. There is also a practically-shaped, if shallow 520-litre boot, that can be extended to around 1,300-litres with the rear seat folded. Go for a 2WD version and you benefit from an additional 52-litre front trunk, which is reduced to 20-litres for AWD models.
Air is the entry-level trim, if you can call a £40,945 car an entry-level model. GT-Line is available in RWD and AWD versions, with prices starting at £43,945. Range-topper and current fleet favourite is the GT-Line S in AWD form, which is priced at £51,945. This sounds a lot for a Kia, but considering the standard equipment, this is a high value proposition compared to rivals. Kia are also offering a lease package for £595 per month for this model. Although you can have the RWD version for £48,445 and £547 per month.
As you'd expect, the EV6 is fitted with the latest safety and convenience features, including Kia's Highway Driving Assist (HDA2) package.
All EV6 models have the same 77.4kWh battery and 88-volt charging ability, making it possible to fast charge from 10-80% in just 18 seconds. RWD versions get one motor for the rear wheels and 226hp. Go for the Air or GT-Line RWD versions, and this equals a 328-mile range. Choose a GT-Line -S spec and the range drops to 313-miles. Go for AWD versions, and power jumps to 320hp thanks to an extra motor on the front axle. However, the range drops to 314-miles for the GT-Line and 300-miles for the GT-Line S - although this is still a decent range.
We got to drive two European specification EV6s; a RWD model closest to the Air specification and an AWD version similar to GT-Line S trim. Being EV models, both started quietly, their refinement impressing first. The ride is another highlight, which considering the large standard rims, seemed impressively untroubled - even at low speed. Although, we'd suggest choosing models with 19in rims, as they offer a touch more refinement.
There are three EV6 driving modes; Eco mostly seems to retard the throttle, Sport on the other hand makes the throttle more responsive. Normal mode is the best for everyday driving.
Both the EV6s were fun to drive and keen handlers, but you're always aware of that weighty battery. Kia was keen to point out the EV6's sportier set-up when compared to the Ioniq 5 - and it shows. The steering is more precise, grip levels are higher - especially with AWD - that extra grip also gives more composed and secure handling.
Interesting to look at, great to drive and all with excellent electric range - the Kia EV6 is a very good electric car.