Kia EV6 at charging station
Justin Hart's picture

First Time EV Buyer's Take On Kia EV6: Loves The Drive, But Lots Of Nits To Pick

My friend purchased a brand new Kia EV6 last week, in part based on feedback I had given him. He has never owned an EV, or any plug-in vehicle, before and had previously talked to me about purchasing a Tesla model Y before and after he drove my Model 3. I interviewed him to get his initial impressions about the Kia EV6 because I think a lot of prospective EV buyers might appreciate reading about his initial experience.
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First, a little background about my friend though. He’s 46, lives in Spokane, WA, is a successful small business owner and he mostly drives short distances. His name is Tyson and he’s a car nerd. Here’s what he had to say about his initial impressions of his new Kia EV6:

White Kia EV6

Do you think of yourself as a “car guy” and do you consider yourself to be "eco conscious"? - Yes. I have been a car nerd since I can remember. More of a driver than a guy who likes to wrench on a project car. I would say I am moderately eco conscious.

Did you do much research on how/where to charge your car before buying it? I did a very small amount of research. I quickly checked the charging network and looked at the charging options near me and on my usual travel routes to Seattle, Portland and Missoula.

What questions did you have about charging before you bought, and how did you find answers? Most of my questions were about how long charging takes. With the amount of driving I do during a typical week I found that Level 1 charging should work for me...we'll see.

What is your typical day of driving like? Typically, I drive less than 5 miles a day. My office is 6 blocks (I also use my electric bike) and I don't do much outside of downtown.

How do you plan on using your new Kia EV6? Mostly daily commuting. I am going to try a road trip but will use our RAV4 Hybrid for road trips if I find it too much of a hassle.

What led you to decide on getting an EV? Looking forward, gas seems like it's on the way out. I also was amazed by the performance and I love the idea of never buying gas again.

Why did you choose a Kia EV6, or what drew you to it? I looked into one briefly when I was thinking of ordering a Tesla Y and they were not easy to come by. Dumb luck got me into mine. I happened to be at the dealership when someone canceled their order.

What was your purchasing experience like? I had been shopping for a new vehicle for 2 months and it was the worst of all time. Terrible service and follow through with all sales reps at every dealership. I have purchased or leased around 20 new cars over the years and I would say this is the worst time to buy a car by a long shot. They did not go over any of the features or settings and almost no one at the dealership knows anything about the EV6.

Did you have to pay any markup and was the dealer remotely interested in negotiation on price? $4000 markup and negotiation was not an option. I had 2 people at the dealership hovering to see if my deal would fall through.

What do you like about your new ride? The power is amazing. I love the cooled seats and the climate system works great (it's hot right now). Ride, handling and performance are impressive.

Do you have any nits to pick with the Kia EV6? What might they be and how could Kia improve? It's already a long list. Outside of KIA I noticed many charging stations are in disrepair or down all together including the closest one to my home. I have been pretty heavy footed and it looks like I would have only been able to get about 230 miles from my first charge. Here is my list of complaints: keyless entry is based on an actual physical button behind the door handle which is incredibly difficult to push and rarely works without 3 tries. Door handles are plastic and feel like they won't last. All the same apply to the charging port cover. The climate control switches to metric randomly. There is a really cool ventilated wireless charging pad for your phone that tucks under the center console cover which is completely useless because wireless android auto and apple carplay is not an option so your phone must be plugged in. The parking sensors are so slow you would make impact before they warned you of anything. Menus and controls are clunky and it's all on a matte finish touch screen that really shows finger prints badly. Screen is very difficult to read in the sun. Steering wheel controls are unlike anything I'm used to and are less than intuitive. Sound system is bad from the back seats. No space in the front "trunk". Only one location in Spokane for the free 1000kwh included with the vehicle and it's not close to my house. There are user profiles that apparently only control the electronic settings and then manual user 1 and 2 buttons for the seats, mirrors, etc. Should all be integrated and connected to the remotes. I'm getting a trailer hitch installed to haul our electric bikes and it's $1200 from the dealership and barely holds enough weight to support the bikes. Towing is also very limited for a vehicle with this much power.

What would you say to anyone considering going all-electric, or who may be considering a Kia EV6? I would probably say wait a year or two. It feels a little rushed but I'm still really enjoying it.

Are you considering your first EV or PHEV? Let us know if you have any questions, below.

Images courtesy of Kia and Tyson Sicilia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.


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Comments

all the features in the world matter not if they aren't well integrated or don't work. Tesla is worth the wait. Their 10 year head start on software is not often described or appreciated.
As both a Tesla Model 3 owner and a Kia Sorento PHEV owner, I generally agree. Tesla’s features are mostly superior, especially re: the software (just look at the differences in the mobile apps for each… Kia’s looks like, and functions as well as something from 2011… whereas Tesla’s is cutting edge). I do notice that the Kia infotainment OS seems to be getting better (i.e. faster) and more responsive over time (seems like it is being updated over the air since I haven’t had it in the dealer). But in terms of basic functionality of the cars, how they drive and handle, similarly spaced/priced Kia EVs and Teslas are competitive.