It was a strong, record-setting month of sales for Korean automaker Kia (000270. KS) in the U.S., powered by EV sales that climbed over 100% from a year ago.
While the Kia NIRO EV has been on sale for some time now, it’s the Kia EV6 crossover that’s getting all the buzz. With over 18,750 sold in the U.S. through October, the EV6 has genuinely emerged on the mid-size EV SUV landscape, dominated by the Tesla (TSLA) Model Y. Electric Vehicles For Adults
Here’s what makes the EV 6 a strong contender in what will be a hugely competitive space.
One look at the EV6 and its classic design isn’t the first thought. The model looks very different from most offerings out there, with a short, stubby front end and a long windshield flowing back to a raked, low-profile cabin. The model also features a buttoned-up rear hatch and rear lights with an almost integrated spoiler. The roof also has its one rear element as well.
The EV6 is based on the parent Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which will be used with a number of cars, including the EV6’s sister car the Hyundai IONIQ 5. From a styling standpoint, it could not be more different than the IONIQ 5’s retro-futurism.
Inside Kia designers made the cabin feel airier than it really is, with more livable space to be utilized. With a “clean sheet” design that doesn’t have any artifacts from having to house an ICE powertrain, the center console up front has a cool, floating design, with the drive selector and other controls at your fingers, with plenty of space for storage below.
Appointed with the nice-to-the-touch materials embossed with a striking diagonal stripe treatment, the cabin felt premium and design-forward. This EV6 in sporty GT-Line trim featured comfortable seats with vegan leather and a suede-like treatment did not make this car feel like an everyday Kia.
The E-GMP design allows for a two-motor powertrain, but in this case, our test car was outfitted with the single-motor, rear-wheel drive setup. Kia says the RWD model will output 225 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque, survived by a 77.4 kWh battery, giving the car an EPA-estimated 310 miles of range. (The AWD variant boosts power to 320 HP, but drops range to only 252 miles.)
With only 225 HP on tap, I was expecting somewhat of a lethargic drive around town. However, the EV6 felt much peppy. Around town, the instant torque made the car livable in stop-and-go traffic and allowed for darting in and out of congestion quite easily.
The chassis felt stable and planted, which is generally the case with EV platforms with their batteries packaged low and in between the wheels.
Though the EV6 featured what I thought was comically over-boosted steering, I actually became used to it and enjoyed the video game-like vibe. Yes, there was no steering “feel,” but something about the no-effort turns and the easily tossable EV6 seemed like a good combination. Though it really isn’t what I would go for in a driver’s car, the setup made it quite an easy drive around town.
That’s what the EV6 will likely be for most people.
An easy-to-drive, good-looking car, with the utility of an SUV hatch in the back, sporting a very efficient 310 miles of range. With a starting price of around $52,700 (our test model coming in at $53,405 with delivery), the EV6 isn’t cheap, but for a mid-level EV it’s what you’ll be paying among competitors like IONIQ 5, and Ford (F) Mustang Mach-e.
For those looking for more power and thrills, the EV6 GT edition with 576 HP and 545 lb-ft of torque is coming to dealers by the end of the year.
Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.
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