2022 was a big year for EVs. After Covid-19 dampened things everywhere, with debuts getting pushed, production getting delayed, and basically everything being affected, things seem to have gotten on track this year. This led to the launch of all EVs that were supposed to arrive, along with everything that got pushed in the last two years, except, well… cough… Cybertruck… cough... This even includes a luxury sedan from Rolls-Royce and an SUV from Lotus, called the Spectre and Eletre, respectively. Despite that, there’s one car that we just couldn’t strike off, and it didn’t get lost in the flurry of EVs. And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Kia EV6, which is TopSpeed’s Electric Car Of The Year!
The Kia EV6 Has Everything A Customer Needs
We’ve been saying this for many years, and we probably will for at least the next couple of years as well – people are still warming up to EVs. Well, you can't blame them for that. EVs are definitely not as convenient or efficient as cars with internal combustion engines. By efficiency, I mean the range anxiety and its ‘collaterals’ like the charging infrastructure, charging times, etc. This is even worse in the case of electric pickup trucks. However, there are some EVs already on sale that fall above this threshold, and the Kia EV6 is definitely one of those cars.
We had a lot of choices at hand to pick the EV of the year. Apart from mainstream automakers diving into the segment and the EV6’s direct rivals – the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Volkswagen ID.4, the Tesla Model Y, and even its brother from another mother (or is it sister from another mister?!), the Hyundai Ioniq 5, we had a plethora of options from Mercedes and Audi as well. The EQE and the EQS, specifically, fell just short, and that was mainly due to their exorbitant price tag when compared to the Kia EV6. Now, I might get brickbats for saying this, but the BMW iX was in the reckoning as well, and if not for the EV6, it would’ve been my pick of the year. The same goes for the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T. As stated above, electric trucks are further away in the grand scheme of things since you expect a lot more from trucks in general. The Kia EV6, however, is a more affordable, better-polished EV that can cater to someone even with a budget of $45,000; unlike any of these EVs that I mentioned above. That’s not to say they are bad vehicles, but the EV6 is definitely positioned better and is in a better state to snag volumes for Kia as soon as possible. Not to mention, Kia also topped the list of the most dependable brands in the U.S. in 2022, which further solidifies the faith of conflicted people switching to electrification.
A Smart-Looking, Spacious Compact SUV
Let’s get aesthetics and creature comforts out of the way before we jump into performance, powertrain, range, etc. There are very few EVs that look sedate and in line with the current crop of their fuel-powered compadres. Most EVs definitely look futuristic and are presenting a design language that may become mainstream a few years down the line, but is pretty alien at the moment. But, there are some that look dated compared to them – the Tesla S3XY range and the recently-scrapped Bollinger twins, to name a few. And, amidst all this, you’ve got the Kia EV6, a car that probably has no haters for its design language. Yes, the rear seems like it's lifted straight from the Mercedes Vision EQXX, but I find it appealing nevertheless. The same goes for the smart, aggressive front end that definitely looks modern, but not alien. The wheel sizes range from 19- to 21 inches depending on the trim, but all of them look equally hot. Pair them with any of the nine exterior shades that are offered and you still can’t go wrong. Although Kia calls this a compact SUV, I would personally label this as a large hatch, and I mean it in a good way.
The interior is spacious and comfortable for five people. Flip down the rear seats and you’ll have up to 50.2 cubic feet of space at your disposal. This is all the space you can use because sadly, there's no frunk here. There’s an onboard V2L power generator as well, similar to the Ioniq 5’s, which allows you to charge phones, tabs, and power home appliances. For you tech-savvy people, there’s a dual 12.3-inch curved display on the dash and it includes the digital instrument cluster and the touchscreen infotainment system. Ambient lighting, a 14-speaker setup, an AR head-up display, etc. are also sprinkled to sweeten the deal.
The EV6 Is Offered With Limited Choices, But Ticks All The Boxes
For the 2023 model, Kia offers the EV6 in three trims – Wind, GT-Line, and GT. The Wind and GT-Line trims are offered in single- and dual-motor setups, whereas the GT with two motors only. There used to be a ‘Light’ trim as well, but it’s dropped now. This brings the trim count to five, which honestly makes it simple for customers to choose from. Remember the Jam Experiment where choice overloads make customers buy less? Anyway, I digress.
The single-motor Wind and GT-Line models come with a rear-mounted motor that produces 225 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. The dual-motor Wind and GT-Line trims, on the other hand, feature a motor each on both axles that generate 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of twist combined. Finally, there’s the star of the lineup, the GT trim. Also powered by a dual-motor setup, the Kia EV6 GT churns out a staggering 576 ponies and 545 pound-feet of oomph!
Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini Rivaling Performance
With specs out of the way, let’s talk performance numbers. The top-of-the-line 576-horsepower EV6 GT sprints to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds! 3.2 seconds… to 60 mph... in a compact family SUV. If this doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. This is literally supercar territory. Forget about your AMGs and RSs and Ms; this powerhouse is faster than half the Porsche 911 Carrera and Taycan lineup! Heck, it even beats the GT3 RS, the Ferrari Roma, Lamborghini Huracan EVO Spyder, and the likes. Such performance levels from a mainstream compact family SUV that can be had for under $60,000 is mind-boggling! If you’re wondering about the other dual-motor AWD trims, they clock a sub-five-second 0-60 mph time, which is quite impressive, too.
The Only Not-So-Good Thing
The only noticeable flaw among all this is the one that haunts most EV buyers and takes precedence over pretty much everything else – the range. All the EV6 models are packed with a 77.4 kWh battery. Even in its most frugal avatar, the EV6 offers a range of just 310 miles as per EPA estimations. Opt for the GT trim and you’ll be trading over a hundred miles for those extra horses. The range here falls to 206 miles, which is for sedate driving and might not include the hot sprints you would do occasionally. If it is of any consolation, the EV6 supports 150 kW DC fast-charging that can recharge the battery from 10- to 80-percent in 18 minutes. Some tests have found this to be true, but KBB says it takes slightly longer than that. While this might not be a mile-muncher or a highway-cruiser, it still sizes up well overall. Oh, and did I mention it can tow up to 2,300 pounds?
The EV6 Offers Absolute Bang-For-The-Buck
As for the cherry on top, it is priced quite well for everything that’s on offer. Here’s how the 2023 Kia EV6 is priced:
- Wind RWD - $48,500
- Wind AWD - $52,400
- GT-Line RWD - $52,700
- GT-Line AWD - $57,400
- GT - $61,400
Since Kia has not filled its cap of 200,000 EVs yet, every EV6 is currently eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. This effectively brings down the base model’s starting price to $41,000 and the GT’s starting price to $53,900. Bargain? Hell yeah!
2022 TopSpeed EV Of The Year, Dear Readers - The Kia EV6
To wrap it off, it is because of these reasons that the Kia EV6 is bestowed with the 2022 TopSpeed Electric Car Of The Year award. Yes, there are a ton of other EVs out there that might have cut very close, but the EV6, as a whole, beat them all, to sit atop the mountain. Cheers to another year of good advancements and fierce competition, and Happy Holidays from the TopSpeed team!