We caught a glimpse of the 2022 Kia EV6 all-electric vehicle a few weeks ago, and it immediately became clear: Kia’s not fooling around with its first-ever dedicated EV. Built on top of parent company Hyundai’s E-GMP platform – essentially the same underpinnings for the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV – the 2022 EV6 is spearheading Kia’s arrival in the hotly contested EV sector.
Over the next decade, Kia has ambitious plans to extend its portfolio of what it calls “battery electric vehicles” or BEVs for short. By 2030, Kia wants BEVs, plug-in hybrids, and hybrid electric vehicles to comprise 40 percent of its total sales. If all goes according to plan, Kia will introduce 11 new BEV models by 2026, seven of which will be built on the E-GMP architecture. The first one to roll out, however, is the 2022 Kia EV6.
“EV6, as the first dedicated Kia EV, is a showcase of human-centered, progressive design and electrified power. We strongly believe EV6 is a compelling and relevant model for the new EV era,” explained Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. “With EV6 we aimed to create a distinctive, impactful design by using a combination of sophisticated, high-tech features on pure and rich volumes while providing a dedicated EV aiming to define our future.”
Looking Good, Feeling Good
I admit, the Kia EV6 and its “Opposites United” styling theme blew me away the first time I saw it, and it seems Kia is upstaging (again) Hyundai in the styling department. Personally, I’ll take the Kia Telluride over the Hyundai Palisade in a heartbeat. And while the new Hyundai Sonata is offering a fresh perspective, I think the all-new Kia K5 looks better sorted than the former.
It’s the same banana with Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, formerly known as the 45 Concept, with its bevy of 45-degree body lines (get it?). Please don’t get me wrong, since I find the Ioniq’s distinctive styling a welcome respite from the homologated shapes of today’s gasoline crossovers and CUVs. Still, the Kia EV6 has a charm of its own, and it has a host of exciting design cues that make my heart skip a beat.
“EV6 is the embodiment of the new Kia,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia. “It is born to inspire every journey through bold design, progressive engineering, innovative technologies, and exciting electric performance.”
It’s hard to miss those bulging hood lines, gently curving roofline, wing-type roof spoiler, and elegant rear hatch with fancy wraparound taillights. At the front, Kia’s “digital tiger nose” grille is almost non-existent, as if you’re looking at a different brand other than a Kia. Meanwhile, the headlights and DRLs with sequential dynamic patterns scream high-tech.
2022 Kia EV6: Powertrain, Battery & Range
Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line is available as a standard or long-range model with either a single electric motor (RWD) or dual-motor configuration (AWD).
Standard & Long Range Comparison
The standard 58 kWh battery with a single 124 kW electric motor creates 168 horsepower and offers a zero to 60 mph time of 6.2 seconds, not bad for a base EV.
On the other hand, the 77.4 kWh long-range battery pack has a more potent 168 kW electric motor, pumping out 225 horsepower and over 316 miles of range.
Meanwhile, the 2022 EV6 with a standard 58 kWh battery and AWD includes a pair of 173 kW motors producing 232 horsepower and a maximum of 446 lb-ft. of torque, while the long-range battery with AWD has 321 horsepower.
EV6 GT Specs
However, the top-dog Kia EV6 GT is only available with a 77.4 kWh long-range battery and AWD, with the two motors eking out 577 horsepower and 546 lb-ft. of torque. The 2022 EV6 GT caught me by surprise as Hyundai is not offering a high-performance version of the Ioniq 5, at least not yet. Additionally, the EV6 GT will have an electronic limited-slip differential, further heightening its fun-to-drive factor. All told, the EV6 GT can sprint to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a 161 mph top speed.
“The GT version of EV6 demonstrates our technological leadership through its combination of outstanding high-speed charging and acceleration performance like a super sports car,” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division for Hyundai Motor Group. “With our dedicated EV platform, there is no need for compromise between inspiring spaciousness and performance.”
2022 Kia EV6 Charging Times
The new EV6 is compatible with both 400V and 800V charging architectures. According to Kia, the EV6 2WD with a 77.4 kWh battery can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes using a 350 kW DC fast charger, or roughly 62 miles per five minutes of high-speed charging.
Helping extend the driving range is Kia’s smart regenerative braking system, operated via nifty paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. You can choose from six regen modes (why so many, Kia?) to recuperate kinetic energy from braking and drip-charge the batteries.
The Kia EV6 also comes with a new Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) function first seen in the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This unique feature can supply up to 3.6 kW of power for things like TVs, laptops, and portable air conditioners. It can even charge another EV, according to Kia.
Modern Appertunances & Safety Features
As expected from Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle, the EV6 is brimming with modern technical highlights. It has dual 12-inch screens for the instrument display and infotainment system. It also has an augmented reality heads-up display similar to what you’ll find in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Driving music is courtesy of a Meridian audio system with 14 active sound design (ASD) speakers.
Safety is also at the heart of Kia’s EV6. It has a safe exit assist function that monitors the surroundings when opening the doors. It also has lane following assist, highway driving assist, and remote parking assist, the latter allowing you to park or exit a parking spot from outside the vehicle.
Interior & Cargo Space
The benefits of using a dedicated EV platform over an existing ICE architecture are aplenty, but the main talking point is the freedom to execute a roomy, spacious cabin. “People are first attracted by the exterior of cars, but they eventually fall in love with the interior – where they spend most of their time,” said Jochen Paesen, Vice President for Interior Design at Kia. “So, designing an inspiring space for the EV6 was the most important thing for us.”
The 2022 Kia EV6 has folding second-row seats to increase cargo space by up to 46 cubic feet (1,300 liters). But with the rear seats up, you still get 18.2 cubic feet (520 liters) of storage space, about the same as Kia Telluride, a seven-seat behemoth.
And since there’s no stinky and oily gasoline engine under the hood, the 2022 Kia EV6 has a large frunk offering up to 52 liters (2WD) and 20 liters (AWD) of storage room, respectively.
2022 Kia EV6: Pricing & Availability
The 2022 Kia EV6 will go on sale in the second half of 2021, while the pre-order books are now open in South Korea, Europe, and North America. Pricing is still forthcoming, but we’re expecting base prices to start from $40,000 to $45,000.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.