2023 Kia EV6 challenges strong rivals

James Raia

It wasn’t too long ago when vehicles from Hyundai and Kia still elicited odd responses from new car buyers. But the related South Korean manufacturers’ vehicles, including the 2023 Kia EV6, been value-priced, mechanically impressive and well-designed automobiles for years.

Further proof arrived when the Hyundai Genesis ended its tenure as a luxury sedan in 2016 and morphed into the stand-alone Genesis G80. With other models, the Genesis brand continues to gather industry awards and top rankings among industry analysts and watchdog publications.

The 2023 Kia EV6 vaults the South Korean manufacturer to the top of the all-electric crossover SUV list.
The 2023 Kia EV6 vaults the South Korean manufacturer to the top of the all-electric crossover SUV list.

Kia, partially owned by Hyundai, has also had success, particularly the Kia EV6 GT. It’s another reason car buyers should consider the once frowned-upon carmakers when recommendations are offered. The brands earned three of the top four rankings in 2022 in a three-year ownership reliability study presented by J.D. Power, the California-based data analytics company.

One model year ago, Kia unveiled the EV6 crossover lineup in Light, and GT trims. The entry-level Light didn’t sell well with limited features and a margin range and was discontinued.

The flagship EV6 GT had front and rear electric motors and adaptive suspension defines performance. It powers from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and is the lineup’s most expensive offering. The MSRP is $61,400. With its $1,295 destination charge, the tally is $62,695.

The interior of the 2023 Kia EV6 prominently display the new KIa logo.
The interior of the 2023 Kia EV6 prominently displays the new KIa logo.

For the EV tech junkies, the top-line EV6 GT utilizes 60-kW front AC synchronous permanent-magnet electric motor and a 270-kW rear AC synchronous permanent-magnet electric motor for a combined 576 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. The EPA-estimated range is sub-par 206 miles.

In more common parlance, the EV6 GT is a wonder. Its stylish, sharp-angled, yet contoured exterior is matched with a spacious, well-designed interior. The manufacturer lists its top speed at 161 miles per hour. It’s a quiet driver, without a common EV trait, a constant whine.

Yes, it’s a Kia. And, yes, any perception of what the South Korean carmaker may have once offered is gone.

With its power-leaning persona, the EV6 GT is equipped Z-rated Goodyear Eagle F1 tires on 21-inch alloy wheels to enhance grip. A limited-slip rear differential controls the EV6 GT’s electric motors and drivetrain.

The 2023 Kia EV6 has a race car design and performance.
The 2023 Kia EV6 has a race car design and performance.

Kia doesn’t bother with various optional packages. The car’s expansive list of equipment is standard.

Consider: a 12.3-inch dual panoramic display w/navigation, Kia Connect and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, augmented-reality head-up display, automatically extending, flush door handles and smart key w/push button start and remote start.

Another two-dozen tech features are also included. A few might not come readily to mind as necessary. But front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot detection, rear parking collision avoidance and lane-keeping and following assistance technology are handy. But adapting to new features with odd sound warnings may at first seem detrimental to their collective goal of stress-reducing driving.

The EV6’s collection of tech, safety and conveniences feature has one incongruity. The phone charger is ideally located on the center console. Place the mobile device vertically on the pad and an easy-to-see horizontal light up indicating the phone is charged, and it does so quickly. Operating some heating, air conditioning and other functions with a combination of the touchscreen and dials is far from intuitive.

Competition in the EV hatchback segment is strong. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, Mustang Mach E, Nissan Ariya, Volkswagen I.D.4 and Tesla Model Y all have strengths and shortcomings based on personal preferences and budgets.

The overall picture is that the segment is growing and that the competition keeps manufacturers sharp to rivals’ improvements. The 2023 Kia EV6 GT has joined the mix and has quickly moved toward the front, if not leading the convoy.

Article Last Updated: April 18, 2023.

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