It’s been fascinating to watch the evolution of Kia, especially over the past 10 years. For those who remember the brand’s introduction in 1992, it almost defies belief that the same company that brought us the Sephia now brings us vehicles that are stunning, powerful and desirable. It would be easy to give all the credit to Peter Schreyer (the former VW designer credited with penning the transformative third-generation Kia Optima), but it’s the entire company, from the engineers to the people making the stamping tools, who have really helped elevate Kia into the brand it is now. “Kia” means “to rise up” which is fully embodied by their new in-house designed logo featuring strong upward angles. The new mark is a key component in resetting consumers’ perception of the brand to be more innovative and future-forward.
The all-electric EV6 is the best representation of the manufacturer’s re-energized focus. A compact crossover, the 2022 Kia EV6 feels familiar, yet disruptive with the fundamentals in place and details that make it feel fresh and exciting.
The EV6’s exterior uses a new Kia design language, internally referred to as “Opposites United.” Expressed though a story called “Power to Progress,” the EV6 has been shaped to exhibit a sense of dynamic power and speed. Utilization of the all-new E-GMP skateboard-type platform allows for a lower, sharper hood-line, helping to draw one’s focus to the expressive LED headlamps and new “Digital Tiger” front grille. The raked greenhouse provides a moment of familiarity, but details like the 21-inch wheels, steel matte gray hue and multi-LED taillamp make the EV6 feel like a concept car.
That familiar-yet-new feeling extends to the cabin, where things have been reimagined just enough to feel exciting and updated without requiring a tutorial. The all-glass displays used for the primary gauges and infotainment system look great, but aren’t much different than what you’d find in a Stinger. Below the infotainment screen there’s an interactive, switchable controller that allows drivers to toggle between climate and entertainment controls. It can come across as gimmicky, but it looks fantastic and (perhaps surprisingly) functions quite well once you become acquainted with it.
Adding to the interior appeal is the floating center console, which puts the on/off button, gear-selector dial and heated/ventilated seat controls in a super-accessible spot. Granted, it all could function just as well if Kia used plastics to close in the area underneath, but it’s the tactical decision to leave the space open that makes it feel special and somewhat futuristic. Throw in the augmented reality heads-up display (which projects a stereoscopic display that makes key navigation info feel like it’s floating in 3D space) and it’s a cabin that feels truly special. The TRON: Legacy-inspired mood lighting at night just serves as a nice bonus.
As EV technology matures, it should come as no surprise the EV6’s underpinnings are the latest and greatest: Kia’s new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) (which utilizes an underfloor-mounted Nickel-Cobalt-Maganese battery), world’s-first integrated drive axles, and either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration. Fully charged, the Kia EV6 has a range of up to 310 miles and, when put into Sport mode, can run from zero to 60mph in approximately 4.6 seconds.
In Standard and Eco driving modes, the EV6 makes for a pleasant everyday commuter vehicle. As one would expect from a contemporary EV, acceleration is smooth, yet instant. Speed builds quickly and the quiet ride will require the driver to pay a bit more attention to ensure they don’t go way over the speed limit.
Adding practical convenience to the Kia EV6, the world’s first patented multi-charging system supports 400v and 800v DC charging, which works on DC chargers with speeds ranging from 50kW to 350kW. Kia claims that this system allows the EV6 to go from a 10% charge to an 80% charge (or about 217 miles) in under 18 minutes. Our own testing using an EVGo fast-charger saw our EV6 GT-Line go from the high 60% range to 100% in a hair under 13 minutes.
It’s exactly this type of rapid-charging capability, along with the addition of new rapid-charging stations, that will help push the adoption of electric vehicles. The fact that something like the Kia EV6 even exists shows that the company is not just taking electric cars seriously, it’s betting big on an all-electric future—and it would be smart to continue to bet on Kia, too.
Hero image by Josh Rubin