IT SEEMS like just yesterday that Kia was still engaged in chasing the bottom of the market, with keen drive-away deals, manual-equipped compact hatchbacks and juicy after-sales cherries like seven-year warranties and keen capped-price servicing incentives being thrown at would-be customers to get them through the showroom doors.
To be fair, all of those things are still very much in Kia Australia’s playbook, but the brand has evolved into quite a different beast of late, and the arrival of its hot new EV6 into the local market signals a new phase for the brand – that of electrically-enhanced sophistication.
However, the EV6 is not the company’s first electric car. The Niro holds that distinction, but as an electric vehicle the Niro EV lacked a certain sparkle. The EV6, however, resolutely has that sparkle.
Design is what catches the eye first. Based on the same pure-electric E-GMP architecture as its Hyundai cousin, the IONIQ 5, the EV6 measures up with a slightly smaller wheelbase at 2900mm (100mm shorter than the IONIQ 5), but a longer overall length of 4695mm, lower height of 1550mm and identical width, giving it a sportier stature that meshes well with its athletic styling.
Against the stealth-fighter style faceted styling of the IONIQ 5, the EV6 certainly stands apart with its own unique visual persona, despite the under-the-skin commonalities.
It’s also slightly more aerodynamic, with a coefficient of drag of 0.28 versus the IONIQ 5’s 0.29 – no surprise given the Hyundai’s extra height and upright, sharp-edged design.
The EV6 uses the same 77.4kWh battery pack and electric drive motors as the IONIQ 5, though with slightly higher power ratings for the latter. Kia claims outputs of 168kW for its rear-drive variants (base EV6 Air and EV6 GT-Line), with 239kW combined output for the dual-motor EV6 GT-Line AWD, while maximum torque comes in at 350Nm and 605Nm respectively – the same as Hyundai’s pure-electric halo.
In a sprint, performance is about par with the IONIQ 5, the EV6 running to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds as a RWD and 5.2 seconds as an AWD. However, handling is what really separates them, with the EV6’s locally-developed suspension tune being geared toward corner carving and driver engagement, enhanced by special frequency-selective dampers by ZF, while the IONIQ 5’s overseas-developed suspension tune is instead focused on boulevard-cruising comfort.