The horsepower ranges from 167 to 576, with a couple of stops in the middle. Rear-wheel-drive models come with one motor, while all-wheel-drive models get front and rear motors and, of course, much more power. PHOTO: KIA

The horsepower ranges from 167 to 576, with a couple of stops in the middle. Rear-wheel-drive models come with one motor, while all-wheel-drive models get front and rear motors and, of course, much more power. PHOTO: KIA

Automakers seeking to win over EV converts should use the 2022 Kia EV6 as their template

What began as a trickle of models with battery-electric propulsion is rapidly becoming a fast-flowing stream, with more such models expected soon. In this field, the Kia EV6 enters production with great looks and an unexpected but welcome level of performance.

The hatchback is built using the Hyundai/Kia scalable E-GMP platform, which also supports the related Hyundai Ioniq 5 and will be used for future electric Kia, Hyundai and Genesis models. The three brands are part of the Hyundai group.

The EV6’s designers appear to have had two goals in mind: make it a thing of beauty and make the passenger compartment as comfortable as possible. They appear to have succeeded on both counts.

The aerodynamically shaped front end would be right at home on a gasoline-powered vehicle and the faux grille and air intakes are in stark contrast to the oddly vacant nosepiece on any one of Tesla’s EVs. Bottom line? The EV6 is beautiful and not weird.

Kia has a surprise waiting when you open the EV6’s hood. What appears to be something akin to an internal-combustion-engine cover flips up to reveal a small storage compartment for securing laptops and other valuables.

The sloped rear glass impacts cargo room, but there’s plenty once the rear seat is folded forward. PHOTO: KIA

The sloped rear glass impacts cargo room, but there’s plenty once the rear seat is folded forward. PHOTO: KIA

In back, there’s a low-rise spoiler extending across the roofline, plus an integrated lip that stretches below the hatch’s window. It houses the LED turn signals and running lights.

The EV6 is just a bit smaller than the Kia Sorento utility vehicle, but, amazingly, the distance between the front and rear wheels is equal to that of the full-size, eight-passenger Telluride. As a result, the extra-long rear doors and flat floor should make entering, sitting in and exiting the back-seat area a no-hassle experience.

Cargo volume is reasonable for a hatchback, especially one with a sloping coupe-like roofline. Lowering the split-folding rear seat effectively doubles that space.

The futuristic digital dashboard is dominated by twin 12.3-inch screens. There’s one for the driver that displays speed, range, directional information, etc., while the centre screen runs the infotainment and climate controls.

The base rear-wheel-drive, single-motor EV6 SR (standard range) uses a 58.0 kilowatt-hour battery and makes 167 horsepower. It offers a maximum claimed range of 373 kilometres.

The RWD LR (long range) is fitted with a 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery, which gets you 58 more horsepower (225) and increases range to 499 kilometres. Both the SR and LR produce 258 pound-feet of torque.

The AWD LR and AWD GT Line have dual motors and produces 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet, but the maximum range drops to 441 kilometres.\

The trend for electric vehicles is to forego the conventional gauge package for one or more rectangular display screens mounted on top of the dash. PHOTO: KIA

The trend for electric vehicles is to forego the conventional gauge package for one or more rectangular display screens mounted on top of the dash. PHOTO: KIA

Arriving in late 2022, the AWD EV6 GT stokes the fires with 576 horsepower and 546 pound-feet. According to Kia, it can sprint to 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in less than 3.5 seconds. A range of about 390 kilometres is estimated.

The combined city/highway fuel-consumption equivalency for the EV6 SR is rated at 2.0 l/100 km. The rating for the AWD LR is 2.2 l/100 km.

Kia claims that connecting the EV6 to a Level 3 480-volt DC fast charger will add 110 kilometres of range in less than five minutes. Charging the battery to 80 per cent from 10 will take about 18 minutes, according to the company.

With a 240-volt AC home station, charging times range from about six to seven hours, depending on the EV6 model.

The EV6 SR costs $46,800, including destination charges, but not including the $5,000 federal iZEV rebate or any applicable provincial rebates. The price includes with climate control, navigation, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, wireless phone charger and 19-inch wheels.

The EV6 LR costs $8,000 more and comes with a power liftgate, faux leather seat coverings, power passenger seat and a premium 14-speaker audio system. AWD adds only $2,000.

The GT Line gets flush-mounted (pop-out) door handles, extra body garnish, semi-autonomous highway-driving assist with automatic lane changing, plus remote parking assist.

The late-arriving higher-output GT will likely include most of the GT Line’s content.

As Kia’s first dedicated EV — there have been others based on existing models — the EV6 stands out for its sophisticated appearance, spacious interior, overall attention to detail and its charging speed.

Among all current EV offerings, the EV6 could very well represent the new standard.

The EV6 is smaller than the Kia Sorento utility vehicle, but the distance between the front and rear wheels equals that of the eight-passenger Telluride utility vehicle. That aids passenger room. PHOTO: KIA

The EV6 is smaller than the Kia Sorento utility vehicle, but the distance between the front and rear wheels equals that of the eight-passenger Telluride utility vehicle. That aids passenger room. PHOTO: KIA

What you should know: 2022 Kia EV6

Type: Rear- /all-wheel-drive electric hatchback

Motors (h.p.): Single or dual electric (167/225/320/576)

Transmission: Single speed

Market position: The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated battery-electric model, but it won’t be the last built on this platform. The EV6’s mix of style, room, charging speed and power options will likely make it the standard in the category.

Points: Striking good looks will turn heads and generate interest. • Interior is an exercise in styling simplicity. • Wide range of power and range outputs. • Focus on passenger comfort should be of particular interest to prospective EV purchasers. • A benchmark EV that sets the bar high for other automakers.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); front emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std.); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian warning (std.)

L/100 km e (city/hwy): 1.7/2.4 (SR)

Base price (incl. destination): $46,800

BY COMPARISON

Ford Mustang Mach-E

  • Base price: $53,600
  • Sporty electric enters its second model year and is the top-selling Mustang.

Nissan Ariya

  • Base price: $55,000 (est.)
  • New-for-2023 EV offers single or dual motors and a 480-km max range.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

  • Base price: $46,800
  • Comparable to the EV6 in content and price, but the design is more polarizing

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

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