Kia’s reputation in America has been an interesting one. A couple of decades ago, many people saw the brand as supplying cheap, unreliable Korean imports. Its reputation has improved over the years, as have its sales, but it has remained a brand of somewhat plain, basic cars. Though the company expanded its lineup to be part of the age of electromobility through the Soul EV and Niro EV, it still did not sway public perception away from its image as a producer of unassuming, tautly models that are now a bit better because they’re all-electric.
This has all changed with the company’s launch of the EV6. Everything about it screams change — whether it’s the company’s smart approach to designing the vehicle from the ground up as an exclusively electric vehicle or its wonderful exterior that rivals its luxury compatriots, or a host of other things. This makes one ask the eternal question:
Is this really a Kia?
I must admit that I too shared in this surprise when I first approached the vehicle. Such awe continues into the interior, where you are almost convinced you’re entering a Porsche or Tesla. Kia did a great job of creating a sensible blend of digital enjoyment and luxury relaxation through plush leather massage seats, dual 12.3-inch screens, and a combination of physical knobs and haptic buttons. I only had one gripe: why is the start button in the center instead of next to the steering wheel?
I enjoyed the instantaneous torque that provided zippy yet fun acceleration that one would expect from an electric vehicle (EV) — especially one in which even its basic trim gets 167 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This power pushes the EV6 from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds. I could regularly experience such joy without range anxiety, as the vehicle’s 58-kilowatt battery provides a cruising range of 232 miles. That’s more than enough to accommodate a quick trip to the store or a last-minute road adventure.
The company supplies a 10-year, 100,000-mile basic powertrain warranty (which includes the battery and motor) alongside 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance. Kia even provides up to 4,000 miles of complimentary rapid charging at over 670 stations through its partnership with Electrify America. This comes in handy, as the EV6’s 800-volt charging system can juice at up to 250 kilowatts — so, you can get her from 10 to 80 percent in as little as 18 minutes.
Can we finally say that Kia has gone from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan?
Photos by Rodney Watkins. Shoutout to Shahed Husain at King Kia in Gaithersburg, Maryland for providing exceptional customer service.
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