Change may be the only constant, but the inertia we mortals exhibit in adapting to new things in life is disproportionately high. One wouldn’t need to turn the clock back too many years to recall how adamant we were when petrol-powered cars had just begun to lose momentum in the market, because diesel in small cars presented a more viable solution to motoring needs. A few years later, when the time came to switch to turbo-petrol, the jump was anything but sudden. And it won’t be wrong to assume that the inevitable phasing out of diesel won’t be an overnight process, either. Electric cars? Well, while there’s been quite some keen interest from the market, many would describe this as a paradigm shift. But the chances of spotting new EVs rolling out of dealerships like hotcakes will be a bit far-fetched. Unless, of course, there’s a car that can help us reset, drop all the preconceived notions, and accept the much cleaner and greener mode of transport with no apprehensions. A touch too much to ask, you’d think, but the Kia EV6 has you covered!
For it to be a halo product, what’s required is something that doesn’t just do great brand building but also tells people the extent of a carmaker’s expertise in what may appear like a cost-no-bar segment. Its positioning commands the inclusion of features that may otherwise be missing in similarly priced cars. Similarly, for customers to take it seriously, there has to be more than just a price differential at play. And let’s also not forget that ‘value’ as one goes up the ladder mightn’t equate to how large an infotainment screen is, but instead how well the car stacks up when parked next to vehicles from a segment or two above.
If you’d have noticed, In the last couple of years, every carmaker has tried to leave a mark in the EV business and has come up with some of the most radical designs. But not everything works, some of these either turn out to be a bit too much for the eyes while many are so boring that it would be nearly impossible to not compare them with the no-brand cars from one of the Grand Theft Auto video games. Ideally, a new EV needs to make people stop in their tracks and take notice, not just to invoke curiosity but also to appreciate the visual appeal. The Kia EV6 appears to have hit a home run in that regard; given the emphasis on design that we’ve seen on Kia products, there was no doubt the EV6 would look great, but this good?! The brand’s very distinct ‘Opposite United’ design philosophy has paved the way for a striking design, which is said to be reflective of the contrasts found in nature and humanity. As a result, the EV6 looks, without an iota of doubt, the greatest in the segment. With the way the smart 19-inch wheels are pushed neatly to all four corners, it establishes the car’s stance. The way the roof meets the C-pillar adds a sporty touch by maintaining a perfectly sized glasshouse, making the car appear more energetic. What to many will be the biggest draw are the front and rear designs; the large headlamps up front are adaptive, so while they look good, they don’t blind the oncoming traffic, whereas the connected LED lamps at the rear deserve a special mention for the way the wrap around the car. Furthering the car’s chances of leaving a lasting impression is the use of flame surfacing on the bonnet and the rear section, which undoubtedly adds a lot of drama. And photos might sometimes not even do justice to it, because in the metal, all of the mentioned bits get heightened, making the EV6 look even better.
But it’s not just about looks; all that build-up needs to take you somewhere. Somewhere rather quickly, but also at the same time, it must prove that EVs aren’t boring. Contrary to popular belief, driving satisfaction doesn’t always germinate from what powers a car but rather from how that power is delivered. A lot of power and no traction might sound exciting but even in the most capable hands, it can be a missed opportunity. On the other hand, great progress but without being pinned to the seat under acceleration isn’t going to be of much use to modern car enthusiasts. There has to be a mix — and a mix is what the EV6 delivers best. There are two versions to choose from: a RWD and an AWD. Both get a 77.4 kWh battery pack, placed in a way to keep the car’s centre of gravity low — that’s thanks to Kia’s E-GMP architecture which places the batteries under the flat floor. In the AWD spec, the motor makes an impressive maximum power of 325 PS and max. torque of 61.69 kgm. Which enables the EV6 to hit 100 kph on the speedo from a standstill in just 5.2 seconds. To put that into perspective, it’s nearly identical to popular V8-engined muscle cars from the 2000s. Or in the modern context, that’s just about half a second short of Kia’s brilliant Stinger GT, which was a twin-turbo V6-engined car made to keep performance at the forefront.
While there’s no direct comparison, it’d be wrong to not acknowledge the EV6’s multi-talented nature. The 77.4 kWh battery also gives it an ARAI-certified range of 708 km on a full charge. This essentially makes long 500+ km highway drives a possibility in an EV without having to top the battery up. And when you have to, the EV6 presents another reason why it’s easily the best in its class (and above), and that’s the DC fast-charging times: Kia claims a 350 kW DC charger will just take under 20 minutes (18 minutes, to be precise) to go from 10 per cent to 80. While it’s understandable to exploit the ultra-fast 800-volt charging capacity of the battery, you’ll need to find a compatible charger, but Kia has already started installing those. Charging time with the more popularly available 50 kW chargers is equally impressive, too: it takes 73 minutes to go from 10-80 per cent. So a quick coffee break at one of Startrucks, Tim Morton, or Pret-a-Manager, and the EV6 will be ready for another day-long trip. Plus the connected-car integration is also so seamless that you can stop/ resume charging right from your phone — or schedule charging and even control the climate control, much before you step into the car. There are 60 such features, which make the EV6 incredibly easy to live with.
Equipped with regeneration braking (four levels, no less!), the EV6 can make the most of the battery juice down the last drop (that’s metaphorical, of course). It’s also one of the safest cars available in the Indian market, especially as an EV, with not passive safety features like eight airbags, but also a suite of ADAS features which will work in conjunction with the driver to heighten the overall safety. There’s the Smart Cruise Control, which comes with the ability to stop and go, in accordance with the traffic conditions, the Driver Attention Warning ensures that the one behind the wheel isn’t getting distracted, whereas the wide range of collision avoidance assists and the Blind Spot Detection system make sure that there are no nasty surprises out of the driver’s field of view. But all of this is bound to work well, only if the basics are sorted, which in the case of the EV6 pretty much are spot-on: disc brakes on all four wheels, Vehicle Stability Management, Brake Assists (including Multi Collision Brake Assist), ABS, ESC, etc. The AWD version not just benefits from the added power and torque, but it also has superior grip and a resulting ability for the EV6 to be driven in challenging road conditions. On the AWD model, the transition from RWD to AWD takes just 0.4 seconds.
All that definitely sounds impressive, but the interior is a different ballgame altogether. Firstly, the cabin is impeccable in the way it’s designed — keeping the minimalist theme strong but without stripping the EV6 of high-tech features. A 12.3-inch touchscreen takes the centre stage whereas the driver display is also an identical 12.3-inch unit, and both are curved for a better, more immersive view. The front seats can be reclined at the push of a button to offer the chance to take a quick break or even to relish the blue sky out of the wide electric sunroof. On the practicality side of things, the five-seater car has a large hatchback to allow uninhibited boot space for a car of this dimensions, especially with the rear seats folded down (which can be accessed with a smart gesture boot opening and a remote release for the seats), the carrying capacity becomes a respectable 1300 litres. What else would you want from a car?!
Of course, this isn’t all. There are neat features which make the EV6 irresistible to live with. Like the ability to offer 3.6 kW of power to run electric appliances thanks to the platform’s Vehicle to Load feature. The possibilities are endless: from lighting up a tent in the middle of nowhere to charging an electric ATB, or you know, doing the mundane tasks like powering a workstation up when there’s no electricity around and you have to edit an 8K video file… Conventionally powered cars weren’t able to do that (without a hack, of course), but the EV6 does all that and some. Maybe now is the time to set those apprehensions aside and embrace what is quite easily the most complete EV of modern times!