Model tested: 2023 Kia EV6 GT AWD
Engine: 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission: Dual-motor AWD
Torque: 545 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 85/city, 74/highway, 79/combined
Base price: $61,400
As tested: $62,865
Overview: The 2023 Kia EV6 is in the second production year for this hatchback crossover. It’s the first Kia designed and built from the ground up as an electric vehicle (EV) — unlike Kia’s Niro EV, an electrified version of the Niro hybrid. It offers an industry-leading warranty and 1,000 kWh of free charging (over three years) using Electrify America’s fast-charging network. That’s somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 miles. The entire EV6 lineup has moved upmarket, retiring last year’s lowest-priced model and debuting a new GT version delivering 576 horses — our test driver on which this review will primarily focus. We recently test-drove the new 2023 Genesis GV60, which is basically the same vehicle but with upscale Genesis trim and amenities.
Walkaround: The EV6 is basically a hatchback with smooth, distinctive lines, but some might classify it as an SUV due to its elevated stance to accommodate the floor-mounted battery. Its grille showcases Kia’s tiger nose design. The sleek headlamps offer a sequential dynamic light pattern, while flush exterior door handles pop out automatically upon connection with the key fob. There’s a sloping roof with a high rear deck that serves as a spoiler and features a cross-body rear LED cluster finishing off the smooth look.
Interior: The EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, along with the aforementioned Genesis GV60, are all essentially siblings beneath the sheetmetal. However, the EV6 interior has more in common with the GV60 than with the Ioniq — things like a center-console-mounted rotary gear selector instead of the Ioniq’s steering column stalk. All three feature dual 12.3-inch screens set into a single, slightly curved unit. One provides driver information, the other is an infotainment touchscreen. Thanks to the EV-specific designed platform, there’s a flat floor with plenty of interior room. Rear passenger space is maximized by front seats, with a slimmer back made possible by an ultralight steel frame. The 60/40 rear seats recline, split and fold. Our GT test-driver came with model-specific lightweight front sport seats that hold occupants comfortably in place on fast corners. Cargo space is 24.4 cubic feet, which expands to 50.2 with rear seats folded.
Behind the wheel: The GT’s combined 576-horse dual electric motors deliver their full output almost immediately, doing the 0-60 drill in 3.4 seconds. The sporty suspension delivers well-balanced ride quality thanks to the battery pack keeping the center of gravity low. Steering is precise and nicely weighted, and the brakes feel strong, despite four levels of energy regeneration. The all-wheel-drive system adjusts to conditions automatically, enhancing either traction or energy efficiency by engaging the motor driving just the front wheels — depending upon what’s needed at the time. Kia claims a 310-mile range per charge and that the EV6 battery can charge from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes. The full-charge range our screen showed was 207. Charging from 42 to 100 percent at the local Electrify America station cost $19.80. Do the math and compare it to gas prices and mileage.
Bottom line: The 2023 EV6 is a positive look into Kia’s electric future. It’s a legitimate challenger to other highly rated EVs like the Tesla Models 3 and Y, Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4 and sibling Hyundai Ioniq 5. If you’re seeking an electric SUV that offers power and sharp, well-balanced handling, the EV6 deserves a look.