No great surprise that the brilliant Kia EV6, for many journalists, became the Car of the Year.
There’s a surprising amount to learn when you first get into your all-electric EV6. As time goes by, the rewards come thick and fast.
Yes, EVs are very simple to drive: press the ready button, select D for drive, press the accelerator and you’re silently underway, very quickly too if that is your driving style.
In the EV6, the paddles behind the steering wheel allow a choice of regeneration modes. I found myself really appreciating the car’s performance, both in acceleration and automatic keeping distance behind the vehicle in front. And, in one-pedal mode, there’s far less need to use the brake pedal, as you press the pedal it accelerates and releasing it, the car brakes.
In general, the EV6 proved to be not only easy but very relaxing over our week’s 455 miles. Sure, it reacts to all changes in road surfaces, but in a strongly supple manner; you feel them without any spine-jarring, albeit with some torsional effects on your body…unavoidable, probably, in any car.
It so happened that the weather during the seven days was often bad, with spells of very heavy rain and many miles covered during darkness. It was a bit of a surprise to discover the EV6 Air has no rear wiper, but, in fact, the rear window remained remarkably free of dirty water. The bare basics of wipers doing the job properly are so important and Kia’s automatic system worked as it should…perhaps too fast at times and I found myself switching to ordinary, less frantic, wipe mode.
A heavy car with lots of power (226 bhp in this case) is going to be fun…the 77 kWh motor speeds the car to 62 mph in just 7.3 seconds; the torque provided by the electric motor is instantly available. The stopping power is equally impressive; so, too, the steering and handling.
It’s quite a big car and the only comment to be added to all of this is that the A-pillars’ bulkiness sometimes compromises forward visibility when taking tight corners.
Of course, a certain amount of gentle autonomy is featured, which is a good thing…it’s not overdone, maybe just a little nudge on the steering wheel, especially in poor driving conditions, so you get a reassuring sense of security.
My passengers had plenty of room and found the seats to be very comfortable.
Heating is almost instant.
To fold the 60/40 rear seats forward, you can either use the levers on each side of the boot or the levers on the side of the seats; to bring the seats back it’s the seat levers.
We found the door handles a bit fiddly until you get the knack.
There is a useful through-put for your skis or fishing rods. Under the boot floor is another useful compartment, while a new word in the English language ‘frunk’ describes the small load compartment under the bonnet.
The infotainment system requires prolonged study of the mammoth handbook. There’s an awful lot you can do to personalise the myriad settings that are on board; these include six ‘sounds of nature’: an interesting list that might surprise anyone who wonders why there’s the sound of footsteps crunching through snow or of a rainy day, amongst others.
The satnav is comprehensive, including, for EV drivers, all-important information about charge-points. It’s all displayed on a good size screen.
Given the most powerful chargers (and conditions, such as warm rather than cold batteries) the EV6 can be charged from 10-80% in just 18 minutes. My final charge, at 47 kW, took 58 minutes from 25-80% and took the range from 60 miles to 207 miles. The arithmetic, therefore, gives the EV6 77kWh motor a maximum range of almost 250 miles. If your journeys are all quite short and at a gentle pace, the range can, they tell us, reach more than three hundred miles.
The test car was the Kia EV6 ‘Air’ version, rear-wheel-drive only, and one of the cheapest in the range — if you can call £40,955 cheap, but, again, it’s quite a lot of handsomely-styled car both inside and out…and there remains Kia’s 7-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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