Kia’s fast, enjoyable taste of the EV6 is a big improve at an inexpensive premium. However there’s a catch.
We’ve lengthy handed the purpose of asking how a lot horsepower is an excessive amount of horsepower. It was once a query of engine functionality. When turbochargers went mainstream, it grew to become a query of drivability; then, as soon as the business figured these out, it grew to become a query of grip. As tires began to catch up, it grew to become a query of accountability and, then, sheer decency. Now, the one query is that this: how a lot would you like?
The automotive you see pictured here’s a compact Kia SUV with 576 horsepower — 576. Nissan’s all-conquering R35 GT-R? That makes 565 horsepower and comes full with a price ticket of effectively over $100,000.
And but, you’re taking a look at a sensible, comfy, and, at only a tick over $60,000, comparatively reasonably priced automotive that not solely seems phenomenal but additionally runs utterly on batteries. Sure, all of that is potential due to the great thing about electrification and the genius engineers at Kia, who’ve bestowed upon us the EV6 GT. It’s a beautiful automotive, however there’s a catch: this factor is so effortlessly fast that it virtually takes the enjoyable out of it.
This GT taste of Kia’s double-take machine, the EV6, has seen some appreciable upgrades over the $48,700 base rear-wheel drive mannequin. The place that automotive makes do with a (nonetheless sturdy) 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, this GT mannequin makes 576 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. That comes from two motors — one within the entrance and one on the again — placing energy right down to all 4 wheels.
The entrance motor generates 160 kilowatts, and the rear does 270. To make sure that energy will get to the bottom, an electronically actuated restricted slip differential splits energy between the rear wheels, every sporting a beneficiant 21-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 tire. (Often, anyway. Mine got here on snow tires. Extra on that in a second.)
Whereas energy is up in an enormous, huge approach, the battery pack measurement has not grown to match. And that’s the primary rub of the GT: vary. Whereas the bottom rear-wheel drive EV6 can do as much as 310 miles on a cost, in response to the EPA’s vary check, the GT’s vary aspirations are a bit extra modest: simply 206 miles, per the EPA.
In my testing, I averaged 2.5 miles per kWh, which works out, theoretically, to a most vary of 193.5 miles from the 77.4kWh battery — simply in need of the EPA’s estimates. However I have to state a couple of crucial caveats. First, there are the aforementioned Pirelli Scorpion snow tires. Even trendy EV-optimized snows will carry a measurable vary penalty, so preserve that in thoughts.
Second, I did my testing in the course of January, with temperatures hovering at or simply above freezing on most days. The EV6 GT does have a warmth pump to maximise effectivity in chilly circumstances like these, however low temps are by no means an EV’s pal.
The third caveat is probably the most important: I drove the hell out of this factor. Apart from a while spent droning on the freeway, I spent a lot of my time in GT mode with most energy and responsiveness, demanding each little bit of energy I may get out of these two motors.
GT mode is accessed by just a little inexperienced button to the decrease proper of the wheel. The colour makes the button exhausting to overlook, however you’ll know whenever you’ve touched it as a result of the automotive instantly lurches ahead.
This could possibly be seen as playful, but it surely may be seen as a failure of the automotive to mood the altering of the throttle map. A throttle map is actually how a lot energy the automotive delivers for a given quantity of pedal utility. An aggressive throttle map, like on GT mode, means fast acceleration with only a gentle brush of the gasoline pedal. A relaxed throttle map, like on Eco, requires a much bigger motion.
Most automobiles ease the transition when altering from one mode to the subsequent, however not the EV6 GT. If you happen to’re tooling round in Eco mode and pop into GT, the automotive instantly snaps to this subsequent twitchier mapping, additionally snapping the heads of your passengers again into their headrests. If you happen to’re not cautious, it’ll ship your automotive flying into the bumper of the automotive forward, too. In time, you’ll be taught to carry off the gasoline earlier than hitting that GT button, however you actually shouldn’t need to.
This twitch does not less than give everybody within the automotive truthful warning of the violence that’s to return. Put merely, the EV6 GT doesn’t pull any punches. It’s relentlessly speedy round city. See that hole in visitors? You’re there. Gentle about to show pink? Hit the accelerator, and also you’ll shift its spectrum completely.
The accelerative brutality solely eases whenever you stand up to freeway speeds. Right here, the torque of the Kia’s electrical motors tapers, and that’s for the perfect. You don’t actually need a automotive that jumpy at that velocity. It’s higher to toggle right down to a extra sedate drive mode, save a couple of watts, and soften the adaptive suspension when you’re at it.
The EV6 continues to be agency on tough roads even in consolation mode, jostling a bit over separation joints and the like, however more often than not, it’s a superb cruiser that’s comfy and quiet. In truth, I’d say the EV6 GT does a greater job at cruising than nook attacking. Even in GT mode, with the suspension on its most agency, the dealing with is sedate. I believe this principally comes right down to steering that feels sluggish off the middle due to the variable ratio and, problematically, by no means affords a lot in the way in which of really feel. Whereas the throttle pedal likes to shout, the steering wheel is all the time muted.
Any EV6 is value a re-examination again within the car parking zone — and the GT much more so. Although Kia’s chosen colour palette leaves a bit to be desired (pink, blue, white, black, or silver), the GT seems contemporary and clear in pink, regardless of the clashing chartreuse calipers. The EV6 seems like nothing else on the street. Its styling is wild and strange, a medley of natural varieties bisected by creases and LED lighting to kind what seems like a cyberpunk canvas.
The within is lots much less radical however no much less interesting. Funky patterns etched throughout the soft-touch dashboard and matched elsewhere on the inside pair properly with the fake brushed metal forward of the rotary shifter and the general mishmash of shapes and planes. Plastics and supplies are typically good, from the suede door card inserts to the leather-based on the bespoke GT seats. Solely an expanse of shiny, fingerprinty piano black lets the general impact down.
Black could be very a lot the theme right here. Chartreuse stitching and piping on the entrance seats assist a bit, and RGB customizable accent lighting zhuzh issues up at evening, however a lot of the small print inside this automotive simply form of fade right into a monotone background.
Regardless, the inside is eminently sensible, with comfy seating for 5 grown adults, loads of headroom entrance or rear, and acres of legroom on the flat flooring for rear passengers. These seats, in fact, fold down, giving room for 50.2 cubic toes of stuff, however don’t go in search of additional storage up entrance. Sure, there’s a little cargo cubby up below the hood, but it surely’s barely sufficiently big to retailer a charging cable and perhaps a private pie — however provided that you like skinny crust.
Kia’s UVO infotainment expertise runs throughout two 12.3-inch shows joined on the hip, with a beneficiant bezel between them. This method is so ubiquitous now, present in some taste throughout principally each trendy Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis, that it’s exhausting to get enthusiastic about discovering it right here. It feeds your media by way of a strong, if a bit boomy, Meridian sound system. Although fundamental, UVO is snappy and responsive with help for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although sadly, not wirelessly.
Additionally unhappy? UVO has not seen any actual customization for the EV6 GT. Correct efficiency editions from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and others come replete with fancy lap timers and built-in G meters, dials and knobs for fidgeting with differential settings, and all kinds of goodies that make these efficiency automobiles really feel particular sufficient to earn their exorbitant premiums.
There’s nothing of the type right here, not even within the cool augmented actuality heads-up show, which can venture an arrow over your subsequent activate the street — when you don’t thoughts utilizing the mediocre built-in navigation expertise. Kia didn’t even add any new Dynamic Sound modes. These faux engine noises are often enjoyable, particularly Dynamic, which does an virtually compelling job of aping a combustion engine with just a little digital flare. It even has a considerably lumpy idle that does assist to get your juices flowing a bit, but it surely in all probability gained’t be lengthy earlier than you disable it once more.
Weirdly, the pitch of those sounds appears tied to not the facility output of the motors however, as a substitute, to how far you’re pushing down the accelerator, which implies that, for a given velocity, the EV6 GT is definitely louder in Eco mode than in GT. That ain’t proper.
The gauge cluster dynamically reconfigures itself to match the drive mode. Push the GT button on the wheel, and the gauge cluster pops right into a sportier, cleaner mode of swooping gradients. It wouldn’t look misplaced in Tron, if Tron had extra fluorescent greens and fewer cool blues.
A considerably sedate rocket ship
It truly is a disgrace that the EV6 GT doesn’t have just a little extra pizzazz and much more really feel to match its wild efficiency. It’s an absolute rocket ship, a automotive the place velocity is offered at an virtually 1-to-1 ratio with the angle of your proper foot. That ease of acceleration is thrilling, however the lack of engagement from the steering and the considerably relaxed dealing with simply make the entire thing really feel rather less particular than I wished.
However particular or not, the EV6 GT is an outstanding automotive and a correct achievement. Keep in mind, that is Kia’s first performance-oriented EV ever — and for lower than a $13,000 premium over a base EV6. If you happen to don’t thoughts dropping the vary, then that is one splurge that’s exhausting to withstand. In any case, it’s not each day you’ll be able to have all of the horsepower you possibly can ever need and by no means need to really feel in the least responsible about it.
Images by Tim Stevens for The Verge