Kia EV6 GT Line Drive Review : 6 in the City [COTY2022]
Singapore - We’ve long contended that an EV is the perfect urban runabout for our city-state, which lets you preserve the fun ICE cars for more worthy pursuits, like weekend ‘Cars and Kopi’ sessions or track/B-road outings across the border.
Save for the rarefied all-electric hypercars at the Pininfarina and Rimac end of the spectrum, electric mobility has blurred the lines between automobiles and appliances in the up-to-S$750k segment.
Ultimately, instead of chasing the latest models, we reckon you should be buying what you need and when you need it, instead of fixating on the longest range, the most powerful, the fastest and so on.
Why? Due to the rapid rate of advancement in technology at this lifecycle stage of electric vehicles, it’s pretty much a zero-sum game for the consumer, where the ‘latest’ is like the end of a rainbow – you’ll never get to it.
Don’t believe us? Think about how often you upgrade your smartphones – every year, every two years?
For that matter, how much has the EV landscape here changed over the past three to four years?
We reckon this makes brands like Kia that operate in the ~S$300k (based on the prevailing S$100+k COEs) end of the EV spectrum choice pickings for the perfect mix of performance, range and features.
Besides, it’s become so much of a tech coding game to ‘unlock’ features that a lot of the expensive proprietary engineering and technical knowledge from the ICE Age becomes less relevant.
So what this means is the flashy features that you can dazzle your occupants with are no longer necessarily the province of higher-end brands.
If we had to add an EV to the household for runabout use, all we’d need is a ~400km range, about 300hp/500Nm for decent pace and good space for the family and its belongings – a cool design is a bonus.
Besides, the folks adding or replacing an existing grocery-getter with an EV don’t need it to be the fastest or the funnest (those will still be in the garage), it just needs to get the family from A-to-B-to-C and back again in silence and serenity.
All these qualities segue rather nicely with the all-electric EV6 GT-Line, Kia’s edgier, burlier crossover that shares the same EV-dedicated E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) underpinnings as its Group-sibling, the retro-chic Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The EV6 and the Ioniq 5 are two sides of the same coin: The Kia appeals to those who like the deep, dark, brooding menace of the test-car’s matte ‘Moonscape’, distinct light signature and sporty crossover silhouette. On the other hand, the Ioniq 5 tugs at the nostalgic heartstrings, thanks to its chunky, wedge styling so reminiscent of the Delta Integrale.
You approach the hulking EV6 crossover with some trepidation, because it looks mean enough to inflict GBH if you eye it wrong.
And then the driver’s door handle rises to shake your hand in greeting just as you’re about to reach for it and you think, “Hey, this could be the start of a great relationship after all!”
The Moonscape body-colour accentuates the EV6’s subtle curves, contours and musculature to great effect, with loads of details to its ‘Opposites United’ design (which takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity), from the rear haunches to the tail-lights and the roof spoiler.
Despite the EV6’s digital arsenal of full-fat features and zappy EV torque, Kia doesn’t make the UX too complex to use and it has retained enough of an ICE driving feel that EV newcomers don’t grapple with the transition, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
EVs have come to be defined by their UX and features, because they drive mostly similar to each other in their respective segments.
They’re transport, not sportscars (yeah, despite the clickbaity 0-100km/h times), so we’re looking for an eye-friendly design, comfortable life-on-board, just the right amount of features and most importantly, an interface that’s simple and intuitive to use.
The twin 12.3-inch curved panoramic screens are tastefully integrated into the minimalist cabin and don’t stick-out like an afterthought.
We like the little Easter-eggs like the Nixie-style radio station display and the multi-function touchscreen bar that toggles between infotainment and climate control settings.
There’s a good sense of space inside in spite of the EV6’s relatively compact exterior proportions, because it’s never difficult to place precisely on busy city roads. In fact, we were surprised to discover the EV6’s commodious 2900mm wheelbase is identical to the e-tron GT’s, which feels like a larger car to drive.
With parking lots in older estates designed for smaller cars, the EV6 features a trick up its sleeves for getting in and out of tight spaces.
Kia's Remote Smart Parking Assist uses sensors to remotely sidle the EV6 in and out of both parallel and reverse parking spaces when you’re out of the car.
Little touches enhance your on-board commuting experience, because Kia has transplanted all the creature comforts of a living room into the EV6.
For instance the seat-backs feature USB charging ports, there’s a well-sized 15W wireless charging pad for larger smartphones and best of all, storage compartments aplenty for your loose knick-knacks. There’s also a Utility mode for use when camping, which uses the high-voltage battery to power devices connected to the car.
The zero gravity ‘Relaxion’ seats can be adjusted across a wide range and prove wonderfully supportive for long errands. They can even be deployed near-flat for you to lounge-in if you’re chilling for the 18mins the high-speed charger will take to juice-up the EV6 from 10 to 80 per cent.
The EV6’s broad-shouldered design means there’s good space width-wise inside, while the flat-floor frees-up precious leg-room.
The demo AWD EV6 GT Line features dual-motors and the long-range 77.4kWh battery pack for expectedly spirited performance thanks to its 325hp/605Nm.
There’re the usual drive modes for Eco, Normal and Sport with different levels of regeneration to toggle through (using the steering wheel mounted paddles).
We like our regen at maximum for one-pedal driving, but instead of giving it hair-trigger reactions like many EVs, Kia has engineered a slight ‘pause’ before it engages – the ‘human’ touch so to speak.
This makes it easier for EV newcomers to ease into perfecting one-pedal motoring, which we feel is an intrinsic element of driving an EV.
Kia has been making huge waves in design and technology and the all-electric EV6 perfectly embodies this renaissance for the brand, especially since the EV6 is conceived from ground-up to be an EV.
Don’t sniff at this, because we can think of quite a few brands whose EVs are repurposed ICE vehicles – nothing wrong with that of course, but let’s give kudos to Kia where it’s due.
The EV ‘revolution’ has been a great leveller to have democratised performance, equipment and features, which bridges the gap between low, mid and high-end brands.
With the EV6 GT-Line, Kia has brought its blend of bazinga to the Lion City to take the sting to the usual suspects.
PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals
Kia EV6 GT Line
Battery 77.4kWh, Li-Ion, 800V
Electric Motor 325hp/605Nm
Electric Range up to 450km (WLTP)
Top Speed 188km/h
LxBxH 4695 x 1890 x 1550mm
Kerbweight (DIN) est. 2090kg