The EV6 is the first dedicated BEV (battery electric vehicle) produced by Kia using its Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). It also initiates the brand’s mid-to-long term strategy for BEVs, plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles to make up 40 per cent of the Korean carmaker’s total sales by 2030, with an annual sales target of 1.6 million units for these eco-friendly models. Kia aims to grow its global BEV sales to 880,000 units in 2030.
EV6 is the first of 11 new global BEV models from Kia by 2026 – seven of which will be built on E-GMP architecture, and four will be derivative EVs based on existing models. It is the result of a joint effort between Kia’s global design network in Namyang (Korea), Frankfurt (Germany), and Irvine (California, USA).
A noteworthy element of the cockpit is the minimalist dash. A curved high-definition audio-visual and navigation screen extends from the steering wheel across to the centre of the car, displaying an instrument cluster in front of the driver and infotainment and navigation above the centre console.
Jochen Paesen, Kia VP for Interior Design, commented: “People are first attracted by the exterior of cars, but they eventually fall in love with the interior – where they spend most of their time. So, designing an inspiring space for the EV6 was the most important thing for us. We believe EV6 can inspire customers by boosting their creativity.”
Beneath the widescreen is a multi-mode display, something we are told will feature in future Kia cabin designs. It replaces physical buttons with a ‘haptic’ touchscreen, providing accessible shortcuts to control HVAC and the infotainment and navigation system.
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Below this panel the dashboard slopes away towards the front of the car, creating a sense of space and openness for the front-seat passengers. By incorporating an HVAC architecture that is split between the inside and outside of the cabin, the size of the interior portion of the HVAC system is reduced by 55 per cent.
The EV6 also features an augmented reality head-up display system, which projects driving information onto the base of the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight.
A 14-speaker audio system engineered by Meridian features several of the British audio supplier’s proprietary digital signal processing technologies. The speaker system also offers Active Sound Design (ASD), a newly developed feature by Kia which provides drivers with audible feedback to the speed that the car is travelling and controlled via a user interface. Drivers have a choice of three different soundscapes and can adjust their volume – or turn off the ASD system altogether.
Sound absorbent materials in the floor, wheel arches, doors, boot lid and tyres reduce road and wind noise, creating a quiet space for all occupants. Acoustic windscreen and door glass give the EV6 a sound rating equal to some upmarket models.
On the sustainability front, slim, lightweight seats are finished in vegan leather and the dashboard is clad in materials made from recycled plastic bottles. The cabin showcases the latest developments from the Kia Hive, part of Kia’s Sustainable Materials Research Institute. Kia Hive experts work with a range of natural and recycled resources to develop new eco-materials and finishes, including mushroom mycelium technologies.
All of the EV6’s primary driving controls are located within easy reach. The car’s Shift-By-Wire selector is located alongside the EV6’s starter button on the centre console, while the heated steering wheel integrates various ADAS switches.
Size-wise, the EV6’s 2,900mm wheelbase is longer than that of the Sorento SUV, the largest car Kia sells in the UK. This results in cabin space on par with mid-size SUVs. With no need to house a central transmission tunnel, the EV6’s flat floor provides rear seat occupants with 990mm of legroom. For those sitting in the front, there is 1,078mm of legroom.
Further back, there are 490 litres of luggage space with the seats up and 1,300 litres when folding the rear seats down. The EV6 also features extra storage at the front – a front boot, front trunk, or ‘frunk’ – providing an additional 52 litres of storage space for RWD models and 20 litres for AWD models, with enough space for the vehicle’s charging cable. The glove box is larger and longer than normal thanks to the split HVAC architecture, providing 10.5 litres of space.
Advanced driver assistance systems
A suite of safety devices features on the EV6, including forward collision avoidance assist for city, pedestrian, cyclist and junction turning, a drive mode select system, e-call system, hill-start assist control, highway driving assist, intelligent speed limit assist, lane follow assist, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, multi-collision brake assist, tyre pressure monitoring system and a tyre mobility kit.
The line-up starts with EV6 Air, before moving up to GT-Line and GT-Line S. A 77.4kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery pack is standard in the UK. Two pure electric drivetrains are available from launch – 226bhp RWD and 321bhp AWD. Air models are available exclusively with RWD powertrain; GT-Line and GT-Line S models offer a choice of RWD and AWD. The battery pack beneath the cabin floor and between the axles allows for a flat floor. Charging can take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in approx. 20 minutes when using a 350kW charger and just over an hour using a 50kW charger.
On balance, there is very little not to like about this nippy family hatchback. And that is how it should be for a £44,000 price tag for the EV6 Air 77.4 kWh RWD. Rival models include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model 3 and VW ID.4.