The first drive for the 2022 Kia EV6 is all about reliability

The first drive for the 2022 Kia EV6 is all about reliability ...

Kia's EV6 looks fantastic, but it's even better from behind the wheel.

The all-electric is now available, and the first examples will be catching dealerships at the same time as the Korean automobile manufacturer. The battery-electric crossover SUV is based on the same Electric Global Modular Platform as the and but is now available with a slightly different approach to performance and its own unique aesthetic. All told, this model is a big step forward for Kia -- the company's engineers and designers have put their best foot all the way up with this one.

Power, range, and charging

The EV6 is powered by three powertrain configurations. There is a 167-horsepower base model with a 58-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 232-mile Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range. The upgrading to a larger 77.4-kWh battery pack will drive the single-motor output to 225 horsepower and 310 miles, according to the forecast. Peak torque for both battery configurations is 258 pound-feet.

My tester features a more powerful dual-motor all-wheel-drive system, which maintains the 77.4-kWh battery and adds a second motor to the front axle, increasing total output to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft. Predictably, more power comes a small compromise to maximum range, dropping down to an EPA-estimated 272 miles per full charge.

The 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line is a fantastic EV.

Kia paid attention to the charging experience; the EV6's 800-volt system boasts some of today's greatest theoretical charging speeds. It can stretch up to 180 miles of range in about 15 minutes and accelerate through a 20 to 80% charge in around 20 minutes. Every EV6 includes 1,000 kWh of complimentary charging at Electrify America stations, and a quick back-of-the-napkin math figure that to be around 3,500 miles of free best-case-scenario range.

The EV6's charging port was more convenient to get off the road than the actual location above the bumper. In my experience, it's usually simpler to get nose first into most charging stations -- especially in lots with angled parking -- but that's mostly nitpicking. In the event of an extended blackout, users can employ the included 110-volt charging adapter, providing ample range to return.

Electric grine generator

Last year, I had the opportunity to take a very short agility course, so I already knew how hard this dual-motor configuration launches, but I was more than pleased to do it again and again on the road. The EV6 completes the 0-to-60-mph sprint in 4.6 seconds, demonstrating smooth, silent confidence and returning facial features to agrin. It's also responsive during a short merge at an on-ramp or a quick pass at highway speeds.

The EV6 has one of the fastest charging speeds of any new automobile today.

The EV6 is powered by paddles that adjust the level of regenerative braking applied when lifting the accelerator. There are four main settings, ranging from Level 0's no-regen coasting to Level 3, which is relatively close to one-pedal driving, although the brake pedal must keep at a complete stop and will slowly rise at very low speeds.

Four drive modes are also selected. Eco mode detunes the accelerator's responsiveness and deactivates the front motor under most conditions for the best possible range. Sport boosts throttle sensitivity and makes full use of both motors for maximum responsiveness. Normal is the standard setting, dividing the difference with on-demand use of the front motor. A fourth Snow mode is also available in slippery situations.

The EV6's static suspension is nicely tuned with a robust ride that emphasizes the sportier side of the E-GMP architecture. After my initial short test, I feared it would fall too tight for comfort, but on the road I was shaken by the crossover's improved agility and still excellent compliance against bumps. This Kia does not have any performance potential.

This two-wheel drive GT-Line model rises to larger 20-inch wheels.

Interestingly, during full-throttle launches, the EV6 squats back onto its haunches enough that I could notice the steering lighten up a touch -- not so much that it detracts from the overall surefooted stance and smooth, controlled handling, but enough of an effect to add to the "holy crap, I'm hauling" feeling.

I was surprised to discover a menu in the infotainment system that allowed me to select from three settings for the EV6's faux engine sound. There's a subtle Stylish sound, a deep Dynamic tone, and a sci-fi Cyber sound, each with three volume levels that match the throttle position and speed. Users may also customize the behaviors of any of the three presets or delete the sounds altogether.

Interior design and infotainment

Overall, the EV6's cabin is about the same size as the Hyundai Ioniq 5. However, the Kia feels more compact and its inteior is enhanced mostly by its larger, floating center console that fits perfectly to the dashboard, just to mention my tester's darker upholstery. I like the EV6's center unit making room for dedicated and easily reached controls ahead of the electronic rotary shifter. (Hyundai hides these commonly accessed controls in a touchscreen submenu.)

The larger center console of the EV6 makes the crossover feel more cramped than the Ioniq 5, but improves ergonomically.

Behind a single curved panel, two 12.3-inch screens extend across the dashboard, providing a fully digital instrument cluster. The right screen is the touch-sensitive main infotainment display. Kia's dark interface is logically organized, responsive, and comes with a slew of useful and odd features, particularly when driving at night.

The technologies are standard, but wireless connectivity for them is not supported. That makes the standard wireless charging pad, which just barely fits my, somewhat less useful, in my opinion. Overall, the EV6 includes four USB ports, including a pair of Type-C ports on the back seat backs for easy backseat charging.

The main touchscreen features a capacitive bank that is able to serve double duty as climate controls and menu shortcuts. By default, there are knobs for volume and tuning, but shortcuts to various infotainment capabilities, such as the map or phone menus, are not so annoying on the one hand. Fortunately, given that the extreme weather characteristics I'm most likely to fiddle with are always available on the console. After a few days behind the wheel, the rare toggle became second nature.

With a tap, this bank of capacitive buttons and knobs can be toggled between climate and infotainment controls.

Safety equipment for traveling in tandem

The 2022 Kia EV6 comes standard with Kia's excellent Drivewise driver-assistance system. This includes lane-centering assist, while the driver controls from the curbside. Kia's remote intelligent parking assistant is also available.

For the majority, the EV6's technology system needs work: it promises to mimic a 44-inch screen over the hood of the car, but from my normal seating position, it extends the bottom edge at all, but the highest vertical adjustment level is not required. There are some manual adjustments I can tweak to better fit the overlay, although this is a strange example where I am unable to focus attention on other aspects.

The HUD is a skeptic, but this isn't a dealbreaker on an otherwise excellent machine.

Competition and pricing

The include a $1,215 destination charge for the base EV6 Light with the smaller, standard range battery. My top-spec EV6 GT-Line AWD stickers for $57,115, arriving at an as-tested $58,105 thanks to $695 Steel Matte Gray Paint and $295 GT-Line suede seats. The EV6 is between $370 and $1,190 more expensive than a comparable Ioniq 5 but offers a range of seven and eight miles depending on trim level. I also prefer

Outside of Hyundai Motor Group, plays in the same price and performance range, as does the. Of course, there's also the, which defeats Kia on an estimated range at the expense of a larger price tag, interior quality, and.

The 2022 Kia EV6 is a distinguished sedan with head-turning style, exceptional performance, and excellent charging capabilities. It is also a strong contender for one of the best electric crossover models in the world, but it is also a one-of-a-kind vehicle Kia has ever manufactured.

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