CHATHAM, Mass. – “What is it?” “Is it an electric car?” It has been a long time since I have driven a vehicle which received as much attention or created as much of a reaction as the 2022 Kia EV6 Wind crossover/sport-utility (CUV/SUV) did motoring along the tourist-filled streets of Cape Cod.
The first Kia engineered exclusively as an electric vehicle, the EV6 performed flawlessly; range issues never cropping up and unique EV features, like one-pedal braking (iPedal in Kia terminology), working as described.
Kia adopts a universal EV platform
The EV6 is the first vehicle built on the E-GMP modular platform which will be the basis of Kia’s electric vehicles going forward. The modularity will allow rapid development of electric sedans, CUVs, SUVs. The platform incorporates a wide stance and long wheelbase.
The EV6 features a 114.2-inch wheelbase, same as the large Telluride SUV even though the overall vehicle length of 184.4 inches is more than a foot shorter (197 for the Telluride). A long wheelbase means more interior space and a more stable ride.
According to Kia, “The EV6’s proportions unify Kia’s all-new ‘Opposites United’ design language, which combines classic sports car inspiration with high-tech cues and a coupe-like profile.”
Regardless of what it is called, the EV6 does not look like other CUVs or SUVs on the road.
The E-GMP platform is designed for high performance with a rear-wheel-drive bias, long range and ultra-fast charging times.
The Wind configuration I drove had a 168kW rear-mounted motor producing 225 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of instantaneous torque (an electric motor produces all its torque as soon as the accelerator is pressed). EVs like this Kia are quick – smooth, quiet lightning off the line.
Playing a role in providing this electrifying performance is a 77.4 kWh battery which offers up to 310 miles of range and, with a Level-3 800v DC fast charger of 350kW, can add nearly 70 miles of range in less than five minutes; up to 217 miles (10-80 percent) in less than 18 minutes.
Kia claims the EV6 is the “world’s first patented multi-charging system supporting 400v and 800v DC charging, which works on DC chargers with speeds ranging from 50kW to 350kW.” This may not be quite as quick as refilling a gas tank, but it means much shorter stops on a road trip. My travels were a bit limited, but range never worried me – the EV6 provided reassurance it would easily travel the 300-plus miles before running out of juice.
Something I did not try was using the EV6 as a power source, a feature becoming more common among EVs. The Kia can power equipment from computers to power tools to appliances even charge another EV!
Getting the Kia’s power to the road is the responsibility of a well-engineered suspension system. MacPherson-type struts with Selective Damping Control Valve and HRS (Hydraulic Rebound Stop), inclined strut bearing and single lower arm type are the major front pieces. A five-link setup in the rear is aided by Selective Damping Control Valve shock absorbers. A quick steering system features 2.67 turns lock-to-lock.
The braking system incorporates anti-lock for the 12.8-inch rotors (ventilated up front, solid in the rear) and is aided by the Mobis iEB (Regenerative Brake) which allows for one-pedal driving (see video).
Those rotors operate within 19-inch black alloy wheels shod with 235/55R19 tires.
All these pieces deliver the promise of terrific performance – touch the accelerator and it’s a smooth rush to speed – and solid handling. The EV6 is a delight to drive quickly, its compact dimensions allowing ease of movement through traffic and tight village streets.
Long list of ADAS
Kia lists 21 standard active Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) including:
- Blind-Spot Avoidance Assist
- Driver Attention Warning: Senses inattentive driving patterns and sends an audible/visual warning to alert the driver
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)with iterations like: FCA-Ped (Pedestrian), FCA-LS (Land-Change Side), FCA-LO (Lane-Change Oncoming), FCA-JC (Junction Crossing), FCA-JT (Junction Turning)
- High Beam Assist
- Highway Driving Assist II (HDA2): This keeps a set distance from a car in front and centers the vehicle in the lane. HDA2 will also assist with lane changes and adjust the lateral position of the car within the lane
- ISLA (Intelligent Speed Limit Assist): Recognizes signs
- Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C): Leverages the navigation system to lower the vehicle’s speed proactively before upcoming curves in the road
- Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA
- Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Following Assist
- Parking Distance Warning, front/reverse
Inside, a comfortable, technology-filled cabin
The EV6 takes the modern, screen-dominated cockpit to the next level for Kia with virtually all controls for the CUV’s systems either activated via the central touch screen or the row of LCD touch buttons below it; through steering-wheel mounted switchgear, or voice activation. Very modern, taking cues from today’s mobile devices.
The 12.3-inch central screen marries with the 12.3-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel providing a sweeping, slightly curved panoramic vista on the left side of the dashboard. The cluster can be customized to present just the information the driver wants to see.
The infotainment system provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability along with AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio; Bluetooth streaming audio and integrated navigation system. The 14-speaker Meridian Premium Audio system incorporates Kia’s Intelli Q technology to correct audio volume/sound quality according to vehicle speed change.
Kia Connect brings over-the-air updates for the map and infotainment system; in-vehicle Wifi; stolen-vehicle immobilization; connected routing (uses the cloud to calculate optimum navigation routes); smartwatch accessibility; connected weather; smart-speaker integration (use Amazon-Alexa or Google-Assistant enabled smart speaker or device to remotely control certain vehicle functions, such as remote start), and last-mile navigation (provides walking directions to the driver’s actual destination if the vehicle is parked between 0.1 and 1.2 miles away), as well as other features.
No more questions about an EV for everyday
The Kia EV6 is an electric crossover with all the modern amenities. It is packaged for today’s suburban/urban environment, providing room, comfort and technology for five and their luggage.
The price for this testament to technology begins at $47,795 – a very competitive number (made even better by the up to $7,500 government tax rebate for an electric vehicle purchase). The EV6Wind we drove added $495 for the Glacier White paint and $1,215 for inland freight and handling resulting in a total of $48,710.
A lot of CUV. A lot of fun. All without burning a single gallon of gasoline. The Kia EV6 is the vehicle everyone wanted to know about.