Electrifying: Kia EV6 is near-perfect blend of function and design

Why the new Kia EV6 goes straight to the top of our list as one of the easiest electric cars to live with

Kia EV6
(Image credit: kia.com)

The Kia EV6 arrives festooned with glory, held up as one of the very best EVs on the market. Just like its sister car, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (opens in new tab), with which it shares its platform, it represents that relatively rare thing: a mainstream manufacturer stepping right out of its aesthetic comfort zone to make the most of new technology.

Kia EV6

(Image credit: kia.com)

We’ve heralded the Hyundai/Kia design renaissance (opens in new tab) many times, but the EV6 is a chance to experience it in the flesh. The EV6 has been born free of the expectations that come with following established niches like sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, and SUVs. Instead, it comes as a ‘crossover’, a sort of middle ground between all car body types that allows for the best of all worlds without committing to one particular form.

At around 4.7m long, it’s not the largest vehicle on the road, but it fills its entire footprint and therefore feels a bit larger than it actually is.

Kia EV6

(Image credit: kia.com)

Crossovers work especially well for EVs thanks to the lack of packaging restrictions; the ‘skateboard’-style battery and motor pack is effectively a blank slate upon which any body style can be added.

The long wheelbase and flat floor contribute to the car’s spacious, airy interior, yet Kia’s design team have managed to treat the exterior with a rarely found panache. In stark contrast to the sharp edges and creases of the Ioniq 5, the EV6 is a much more fluid design.

Kia electric vehicle from above

(Image credit: kia.com)

The front end is particularly accomplished, making the transition to a grille-free face that doesn’t look like a blanked-off version of a regular car, with a short, curvaceous bonnet leading to the passenger compartment. At the rear, the bodywork rises up to create a pinch point at the C-pillar, with the chrome detail at sill level swooping up before it hits the rear wheel and seamlessly integrated with the full-width rear light band. This in turn forms the ridge of the integral rear spoiler.

The overall effect is neat and considered, making the entire car a coherent, uncompromised design.

Kia electric car Interior

(Image credit: kia.com)

The EV6’s dashboard successfully combines avant-garde forms and straightforward functionalism. Mixing touchscreens with analogue controls is a now-familiar approach for many manufacturers, with steering wheel buttons doing much of the work without the driver’s having to lean over to reach the screen. A head-up display with augmented reality navigation arrows completes the package, giving the EV6 the same basic capabilities as the Mercedes EQS (opens in new tab), a car that is firmly placed in the luxury segment.

The EV6 is futuristic, but not far-fetched. A big rotary controller selects the gear, just like in many conventional automatics, and beyond the hushed rush of the electric powertrain, there’s nothing here to frighten off the dwindling number of electrophobes.

Electric car interior

(Image credit: kia.com)

Kia’s EV6 is a very complete package, but it’s the small details that make the biggest difference. One of these is the very accurate range display. Plenty of EVs don’t help their cause by offering over-optimistic predictions of how far you can travel on a single charge. Kia claims the most efficient EV6 model will do around 328 miles, and it’s fully compatible with the fastest charging systems. Anxiety still precludes us from pushing this to the limit, but it was gratifying to see the car be innately pessimistic, with miles stubbornly refusing to tick away. 

As with all electric vehicles, less is more, so switching off things like cabin heating and cooling can make a big difference. The EV6 lets you kill the heat with a single button, instantly offering a jump in available range. It also has adaptable levels of regenerative braking, allowing for easy one-pedal driving and the never-ending satisfaction of seeing your kinetic energy converted back into range. The EV6 is one of the most cohesive cars on the market, inside and out.

Recently awarded the European Car of the Year award, as well as the ‘Best of the Best’ prize in the 2022 Red Dot Design Awards, the Kia EV6 goes straight to the top of our list as one of the easiest electric cars to live with. If you still feel that EV ownership needs to come with a massive performance bonus, then a high-performance 585bhp GT variant is in the works.

Kia electric car interior

(Image credit: kia.com)

INFORMATION

Kia EV6, from £40,945, EV6 77.4kWh ‘GT-Line S’ AWD, from £52,845

kia.com (opens in new tab)

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.