EV6 GT-Line RWD Is a Great California Ride

PALO ALTO, Calif. – For the second consecutive year, I secured a Kia EV6 subcompact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) during a trip to California, rediscovering how inconspicuously – and enjoyably — this electric vehicle (EV) blended into the Bay Area automotive lifestyle.

This year’s review unit was a comprehensively equipped 2024 Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD (rear-wheel drive) long-range model which means the five-door futuristic-looking machine was capable of more than 300 miles of operating range on a fully charged 77.4 kWh battery.

The RWD portion of the name meant it had a single, rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels which, combined with the SUV’s balance, instantaneous throttle response and sure-footed suspension, provided gobs of fun while I guided the Kia up and down the twisting roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

E-GMP at the heart of the EV6

The EV6 was Kia’s initial product evolving from the Hyundai family’s E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) which has also spawned the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 6 as well as the Kia EV9 three-row SUV and Genesis GV60 subcompact SUV.

Powering the EV6 GT-Line RWD is an AC synchronous permanent-magnet motor producing 225 horsepower (168 kW) and 258 pounds-feet of torque. Providing the energy is the 77.4 kWh, 697-volt Lithium-ion battery with a 111 Ah capacity.

The E-GMP incorporates an 800V architecture which allows for fast charging with Level-3 units. This means the EV6 can be charged from 10-80 percent in a half hour or less. As EVs go, this is quick and a reasonable time during a road trip (especially for a vehicle like the EV6 GT-Line RWD long range which can achieve more than 300 miles of range).

Like most well-engineered EVs, the Kia EV6 GT-Line can feel like a missile from a standing start thanks to 100 percent of the torque being available at 0 RPM. Car and Driver reported the time from said standing start to 60 miles per hour at 6.7 seconds (not the hypercar quickness of the 576hp EV6 GT — 3.4 seconds — I drove last year in California, but performance-car quick).

Providing the pavement-tracking capabilities were the low center of gravity from the battery’s placement below the EV6’s cabin and the well-sorted chassis. The suspension components include MacPherson-type struts with inclined strut bearing and single lower arm type design up front and five-link setup in the rear.

Shock-absorber design is selective damping control valve and HRS (hydraulic rebound stop) front shock absorbers and selective damping control valve shocks in the rear.

The friction-braking system incorporates anti-lock (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD) with the 12.8-inch rotors (ventilated in the front, solid in the rear) operating within the 19×7.5-inch aluminum wheels shod with 255/55R19 all-season tires.

The sum of these pieces allowed for fun driving as I met the challenges of roads like Skyline Boulevard and LaHonda Road to Alice’s Restaurant for a mid-afternoon lunch. And there was no drama during the drive; no complaints or concerns voiced by my companion who sometimes questions my need for aggressively attacking such venues. All was accomplished in a quiet, well-controlled environment interspersed with a very enjoyable outdoor lunch underneath the soaring pines.

One-pedal driving and ADAS

The EV6 is packed with driving aids which both enhance safety and driving enjoyment.

Regenerative braking capability not only can turn braking energy into additional battery power, it also provides the basis for the one-pedal (or i-Pedal in Kia jargon) driving.

Once activated by tugging on the left paddle shifter, i-Pedal allows accelerating and decelerating (to a complete stop) with use of just the accelerator pedal. As the driver reduces accelerator-pedal pressure, the vehicle slows; the brake pedal is there for an emergency-type stop.

The overall brake system also provides the mechanical basis for much of the SUV’s advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

Standard across the EV6 line are the ADAS of the Kia Drive Wise Driver-Assist Technology group including forward collision avoidance assist with junction turning, cyclist; blind-spot collision-avoidance assist; rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist; lane-keeping & lane-following assist; parking-distance warning (forward/reverse) and navigation-based smart cruise control.

Additional ADAS as part of the GT-Line brings a surround-view monitor; blind-spot-view monitor; reverse parking collision avoidance assist, and highway Driving Assist 2.

Premium interior features

The comfortable vegan leather seats feature power adjustment (the driver’s with lumbar support and two-person memory), heat and ventilation up front and 60/40 fold-down split in the rear. Comfort is further enhanced by the dual-zone automatic climate-control system.

The signature Hyundai-family (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis) panoramic dual-screen display tops the dash from just inside the driver’s door to above the center of the dash. It houses the 12.3-inch customizable cluster and 12.3-inch LCD touchscreen which controls vehicle systems/settings and the infotainment system.

The infotainment system incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth-streaming audio within its source list and in the GT-Line plays through a 14-speaker plus amplifier Meridian audio system.

Other premium interior features include a moonroof, two-level console (EVs lack of a central drivetrain/exhaust-system tunnel and transmission-selector levers open up spatial possibilities for designers and engineers) and USB-C and USB-A ports and 12V outlets. and a moonroof.

EV6 GT-Line RWD fun choice of EV motoring

Kia’s EV6 lineup offers a diversified choice of subcompact SUV EVs, from the $42,600 EV6 Light (RWD) to the hypercar-like EV6 GT at $61,600.

The EV6 GT-Line RWD like I drove in California is fully equipped and just-right for areas where all-wheel drive is not a must (like my home in New England). It carried a base price of $52,900 and had three options ($195 white seat package, $95 cargo mat with luggage board and $175 carpeted floor mats) and a $1,325 fee for inland freight & handling.

The as-tested price of $54,690 seemed quite reasonable in today’s EV marketplace for such a wonderful driving, comfortable and well-equipped machine. The Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD is a solid choice.

Next week TBR Drives the 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid SUV

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.