The 2022 KIA EV6 Review: Finally a Decent Competitor to Tesla Model Y, and Perhaps Better
As we will see in this review over more than 300 miles, the price/performance ratio is even quite exceptional for this crossover, which is a direct competitor of the Model Y. Faced with Tesla, it offers some new options, such as 800V charging, V2L, LED matrix lights, an electric tailgate, or even higher ground clearance. But these are not the only assets of the 2022 EV6, as you will see in our review.
How KIA EV6 Compares with Tesla Model Y
I asked some KIA EV6 owners their opinion about the Model Y vs KIA EV6 and the general opinion is this. It's a question of personal preference. If you like minimalist design to the extreme in the cabin and you don’t mind that the vehicle looks like a large percentage of the other EVs on the road (read: all the other Teslas) then the Tesla Model Y might be for you. But one EV6 owner shared with me that he felt like the EV6 is more unique looking from the outside. I agree with this opinion. From the cabin perspective I like that there is an actual dashboard for the driver and that there are still some tactile controls. Sometimes you just gotta grab that AC knob and spin it to get to the lowest temp possible, if you have ever lived in TX or AZ or any other hot areas, you know what I am talking about.
The Tesla Model Y currently costs $65,990 and there is a long wait. The Y is awesome, but you can get the 95% of what you get in the Y for about $41,000.
To me, the Tesla Model Y looks like a Model 3 that are too much Taco Bell. Bloated and uncomfortable. The exterior of the EV6 is much more interesting. The interior of the Model Y is nice and clean. The panoramic roof makes it feel super spacious. The lack of driver controls and not having a gauge cluster annoys me and the plastic seats with no ventilation is a huge disappointment. The EV6's interior doesn't feel as roomy, though it's similar in size. The back seat and hatch area definitely are smaller, but still well sized. However, I should say that I miss the Model Y's frunk in the EV6 though. That's good space in the Y.
On the other hand, the Model Y's software is generations ahead of the EV6. Model Y's software is very polished. However, the interior in the Y is severally lacking. With the Model Y expect 303 miles of range per single charge. KIA EV6 gets and 310-mile EPA range rating.
More About the EV6's Range
The EV6 actually offers more real-world driving range than the Tesla Model Y (AMCI Certified). EV6 rear-wheel drive with 77.4 kWh battery gets EPA estimated range of 310 miles when fully charged. But KIA says the EV6 achieved 339 miles in real-world city/highway driving. I should also mention that you get the good range when the air-conditioning is turned off. When you turn it on you immediately lose about 25 miles or more range. That's what happened in my testing.
We know that electric vehicles lose considerable amount of range when driving in cold weather. KIA has a solution for the EV6. All EV6s, when equipped with e-AWD, include a highly-efficient Heat Pump HVAC system, which is engineered to reduce range degradation in cold climates due to energy needed for HVAC use to warm the cabin. In cold weathers the heat pump reduces range decay preserving about 40 miles of AER.
The KIA EV6 is also equipped with a special system to manage the battery heat. The heating capability helps maximize charging speed in cold climates, and this heater also helps pre-driving readiness by warming the battery prior to driving. EV6 e-AWD is EPA estimated at 274 miles when fully charged. All EV6s with e-AWD include Snow Mode and include Heated Front and Rear Seats as well as Heated Steering Wheel.
KIA EV6 Charging Speed
Electric vehicle charging speed is one of the drawbacks of faster EV adoption. What KIA does here to alleviate the charging speed is the Kia EV6 800V system offers ultra-fast charging speeds at public charging stations. KIA says compared to competitors the EV6 offers more range with 15 minutes of DC fast charging. Here are some numbers for comparison.
- 180 miles - KIA EV6 (at 350 kW max charging stations)
- 162 miles - Tesla Model Y (on V3 Tesla Supercharger at 250 kW)
- 100 miles - Volkswagen ID.4 (125 kW max charging speed)
- 92 miles - Ford Mustang Mach-E (150 kW max charging stations)
A Few Words About KIA's Technology and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
The EV6 is the first KIA that will be sold with Virtual Valet Parking Assist. Think of the Tesla Summons. In this case the KIA EV6 summons, and provides assistance with remote parking.
It also has the Highway Drive Assist, utilizing 4 corner radars and cameras, providing hands-on semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Augmented Reality head-Up Display projects graphics from the base of the windshield in a large three-dimensional image.
The vehicle also has an innovative Onboard Power Generator function, which turns the EV6 into a mobile power source for computers, camping, tailgating or back-up power at home. Your KIA EV6 can power multiple household items for several days. It can power a refrigerator or home AC unit in case of power outage for more than 300-hours.
The EV6 offers a modern and eco-friendly cabin. Some of the cool interior highlights include extensive use of recycled plastic throughout interior and 100% vegan leather surfaces on some trims. The second row passengers get plenty of legroom.
KIA says all EV6 buyers will receive 1,000 kWh of complimentary energy on public Electrify America stations and the owners are eligible for the $7,500 Federal Tax credit, as well as various other state incentives.
More About the Interior
The EV6 isn't extravagant, but when you open the door you see a passenger compartment with rather classic shapes. Sitting in a slightly elevated position, the driver has a clear view. Gear selection is done using a wheel, installed at the tip of the center console, which falls naturally to hand.
In the dashboard, high-definition (HD) screens are king. Kia installs two of them – one behind the steering wheel, the other in a central position – which allow you to scroll through the desired information without having to take your eyes off the road too much. Well done. These are pretty good refinements for KIA.
As I wrote above, space is significant in the rear seats, but the height of the floor (under which the batteries are housed) combined with the arc of the roof means that headroom is limited if you are a very tall person. The trunk is reasonably sized.
The Drive and Final Word
Although its appearance does not explicitly evoke it, the EV6 is a sports crossover despite weighing some 2 tons. Accelerations are vigorous (Sport mode) and instantaneous. At the wheel of this Kia, I especially appreciate the flexibility of a car that can be driven for miles without touching the brakes, simply by playing on the deceleration when lifting the accelerator pedal.
The road behavior is very serious. The weight of the car and the firmness of its suspension allow it not to pitch in the curves and give it a certain agility. The fairly low center of gravity of the vehicle does not disturb the behavior. It has a great grip of the road.
The EV6, which looks and performs quite enticingly, joins the Volkswagen ID.4, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, another product of the Hyundai group, in a fierce fight to attract buyers who have not yet become attached to the Tesla brand. And maybe even some of those who are. A little more expensive than the Chevrolet Bolt, which offers much less, the EV6 and Ioniq 5 are present in the EV niche at less than $45,000 for their entry-level model, which is almost impossible to find today.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.