Designed from the ground-up as an EV, the 4.7-metre long Kia offers flashy design, a good driving range, and excellent driving performance at a fairly reasonable price point.
While the GT-Line grade gets the attention, and a hardcore GT will come in 2023 as the performance halo, here we look at the entry EV6 Air which offers the longest claimed range in the line-up at 528km.
The base Kia EV6 variant costs $72,590 before on-road costs, equal to a tick under $78,600 drive-away using a Melbourne postcode.
The EV6 Air therefore almost perfectly matches a base Tesla Model Y with a retail price before on-road costs of $72,300, equal to $78,134 drive-away in Melbourne.
Interestingly, the base EV6 is virtually line-ball with Kia’s own Niro EV GT-Line ($72,100), which offers a few more luxuries but is a smaller vehicle with less grunt and range, based on a combustion-engined platform.
2023 Kia EV6 pricing:
- Kia EV6 Air: $72,590
- Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD: $79,590
- Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD: $87,590
Prices are before on-road costs
The EV6’s interior design is modern and minimalist, although the slightly flimsy manual flush door handles without a proximity key are a bit disappointing in their execution, if not design.
The two-spoke steering wheel looks unique and has simple buttons on each spoke, and a small drive-mode selector mounted on the left-hand side.
Behind this sits a large digital cluster that changes with drive modes and lets you view driving data, driver-assist menus, remaining range, and more.
Left of this within a continuous housing is a 12.3-inch horizontal touchscreen with sat-nav, wired smartphone mirroring, and a reversing camera. It offers crisp graphics and quick processing.
It’s very simple to use, with simple tiles on the menu screen, and helpful aspects such as a pop up widget that notifies you when you skip a track, and a clock that’s super-simple to tweak.
Running along the dash and below the screen is a piece of grey fabric which elevates the colour palette and offsets some fairly cheap-feeling and drab plastic sections that feel like they belong in a cheaper car.
Below this section and the slim vents is a touchscreen display that changes from an air-conditioning or ventilation menu to a shortcut toolbar to take you to navigation, audio, or general settings. It’s clever, elegant and saves space.
There are also physical dials and buttons for features such as volume, track skipping, parking sensor controls, pulling up the reversing camera, and Auto Hold anti-creeping mode.
The centre console is quite capacious, and ahead of it sit cupholders and a rubberised wireless charger pad, plus a rotary dial for the gear shifter and a prominent start button.
The flat floor and lack of a driveshaft front-to-rear means there’s space for a large storage bin part-hidden below the centre tunnel, making it super practical. There are multiple USB ports.
Back seat occupants get vents at face level in each B-pillar, seat-back USB ports, cupholders, and a 250V and 16A three-prong powerpoint below the seat bench.
Legroom is generous for adults and the floor is perfectly flat, although toe room is modest and headroom was just sufficient for my 194cm frame. In higher grades with a sunroof (not in the EV6 Air) this area is likely to be more compromised.
The boot has levers to flip down the back seats remotely, taking stowage space from 490 litres to 1270L – plus there’s a 52L frunk storage section.
The EV6 Air is rear-wheel drive using a rear-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor producing 168kW of power and 350Nm of torque, sufficient for a claimed 7.3-second 0-100km/h dash.
All Kia EV6 variants are powered by the energy stored in a 77.4kWh capacity lithium-ion battery pack with a voltage of 697V, with a manufacturer-claimed weight of 477kg.
The manufacturer-claimed driving range is a lengthy 528km WLTP, though based on my driving as I’ll detail in a minute I’d bank on it being more like 470km. This compares to 504km for the EV6 GT-Line RWD and 484km for the dual-motor GT-Line AWD.
The Type 2 and CCS charging port is next to the right-hand side tail-light.
Kia states the recharging time on an 11kW AC unit is 7 hours and 20 minutes (10-100 per cent), meaning owners with a home wallbox will have no issues charging overnight.
On the DC side the 800V charging infrastructure theoretically enables a 10-80 per cent charge on an ultra-rapid 350kW charging unit of 18 minutes, or 73 minutes on a more common (for now) 50kW charger unit.
I popped by a Chargefox ultra-rapid charger and added 56.53kWh in 25 minutes, with a peak charging speed (indicated on the Kia’s instruments) of 202kW. That equates to adding 73 per cent charge in 25min.
|Kia EV6 Air|
|Motor location, drive||Rear, RWD|
|Power and torque||168kW and 350Nm|
|System voltage||400V and 800V (no adaptors needed)|
|AC charge time 10-100%||7 hours, 20 minutes|
|Viewed DC charging peak||202kW|
|DC charge time 10-80%||~ 18min on 350kW charger|
~73min on a 50kW charger
|Claimed driving range||528km WLTP|
|Claimed energy use||16.5kWh per 100km|
While this is the base, non-performance EV6 variant, it’s not slow given successive zero to 100km/h runs of 7.4 seconds and 7.7 seconds.
The throttle response is also changed substantially based on your set driving mode which remains on at restart – less responsive to save energy in Eco, punchier in Sport.
One point, the Air lacks the Active Sound Design sound symposer found in the EV6 GT-Line grade, so it’s all silent wafting here.
I covered 395.3km over a few days (cumulatively 10 hours and 15 minutes of driving) at temperatures around 20-degrees, averaging an impressive 15.2kWh of consumption. This is superior to the claim.
After 400km travelled I retained 18 per cent battery charge, meaning the real driving range based on my commuting would have fallen just short of 500km.
You also get multiple forms of brake-energy recuperation that manifest in more drag or slowing down when you lift off the accelerator, through to one-pedal driving.
Level 3 regen mode massively reduces your need to use the mechanical brakes, which themselves felt well-weighted.
Unlike some electric cars, the EV6 feels quite dynamically capable, despite its 2000kg tare weight.
It rounds-off small sharp bumps nicely, isolates you from road noises, and has quite quick directional changes with flat body control.
The driver-assist features are also excellent, particularly the lane-keeping assist which steers the vehicle through surprisingly tight curves – while your hand gently rests on the wheel.
It’s also rated to tow 1600kg, although this will impact range greatly. As ever, variables such as payload, weather and driving style massively affect range.
|Kia EV6 Air|
|Front suspension||McPherson strut|
|Front brakes||325mm ventilated disc|
|Rear brakes||325mm solid disc|
|Regenerative braking||Levels 0-3 via paddle shifters|
|Tyres||Kumho or Nexen 235/55s|
- Portable trickle charger cable (three-prong)
- Flush door handles
- LED reflector headlights
- LED daytime running lights
- LED tail lights
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Tyre-pressure monitoring system
- Tyre repair kit
- Power-folding and heated side mirrors
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Cloth and artificial leather trim
- Dual-zone climate control
- 12.3-inch instrument cluster
- 12.3-inch centre touchscreen
- Satellite navigation with map updates
- 6-speaker audio
- Multiple Bluetooth connections
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- 4 x USB-C ports, 1 x USB-A, and 2 x 12V
- V2L feature with three-prong powerpoint in back seat
- Wireless phone charger
The EV6 Air goes without a lot of the niceties found in the GT-Line, which we’ve reviewed here.
EV6 GT-Line adds:
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Acoustic front window glass
- Rear privacy glass
- Auto-folding flush door handles
- GT-Line exterior styling
- A V2L adaptor with 3.6kW
- Leatherette/suede seat upholstery
- Stainless steel luggage area sill plate
- 64-colour ambient interior lighting
- Active Sound Design (engine sound modes)
- Augmented reality head-up display
- 14-speaker Meridian audio
- Power driver seat with 2-position memory
- Premium Relaxation Seats (front)
- Heated/ventilated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Remote Smart Park Assist
- Power tailgate
- Blind Spot View Monitor
- 3D surround-view camera system
All this for $7000 seems too tempting, suggesting the EV6 Air either costs too much or should be better-equipped.
The Kia EV6 earned a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP, with a 2022 date stamp.
It scored 90 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 64 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 88 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Junction assist
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Lane Following Assist (active centring)
- Lane keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Front-centre airbag
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Multi Collision Braking
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Reversing camera
- Tyre pressure monitoring
EV6 GT-Line adds:
The EV6 is covered by Kia Australia’s seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with high-voltage components such as the battery, e-motors and on-board charger warrantied for seven years or 150,000 kilometres.
Kia offers three pre-paid service plans. The three-year plan is priced at $594, the five-year plan will set you back $1089, and the seven-year plan $1584.
The Kia EV6 is such a compelling electric crossover, I would genuinely consider buying one. And at base level as tested it still feels exciting and capable enough to stack up.
For my two-cents, this is the most alluring Tesla Model 3 alternative currently in the market, and supply is projected to improve in 2023 to boot.
It would be hard to go past the GT-Line’s longer spec sheet, yet the EV6 Air remains a genuinely well-engineered electric car that is among the best in the business.
See the link below for our three-way EV comparison between the EV6, Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3.
Click the images for the full gallery