TROY, Mich. -- The 2022 Kia EV6 is a prime example of how to make an electric car feel special. It looks the part and provides the driver with an energetic driving experience. After a few days behind the wheel, I’m left with the impression that the EV6 is one of the closest competitors to Tesla's cars, and Kia is a company Elon Musk should have on his radar.
The EV6 captures a sporty, car-like demeanor that Tesla provides with the Model 3 and Model S. Kia nominally calls it a crossover. That’s probably smart. With a long hood and curvaceous styling, it puts off more of a sportwagon vibe, especially when you look at the dramatic taillight bar that connects with faux chrome. It’s stylish in a way that recalls things like the Chevy Nomad, which could have been a 1950s ‘crossover,' had such a term come to mind during the third martini of a mid-century lunch.
Check out my walk-around below (and on Tik Tok). Clearly, I’m impressed with the design. The LED lights, 19-inch alloy wheels with black inserts and narrow grille accent the sporty silhouette. Car companies like to talk about stance, sometimes throwing around the term ‘aggressive’ if the marketeers have had their Wheaties. The EV6 actually does look sporty, if not aggressive. Speaking of marketing, the label of crossover barely applies here. The EV6 sits 6.1 inches off the ground -- about an inch higher than a Kia Stinger and just higher than the Toyota Camry’s 5.7-inch leveling. Sure, Kia has to call it a crossover to sell it to mainstream consumers, but its looks, handling and dimensions tell a different story. So does the EPA, for that matter, which officially classifies it as a "Small Station Wagon."
The EV6 is available with dual-motor all-wheel drive, but after powering around in a rear-wheel-drive model, it would be hard for me to recommend AWD to an enthusiast anywhere warm. Unless you simply want more power, then sure. The rear-wheel car makes 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the AWD model's front motor increases that total to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft.
Finally, offering matte gray paint on the EV6 makes a stylish car an absolute head-turner. When I say special, this is a neat and accessible way to do it ($695 option). The EV6’s sibling, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, has its own merits and its styling is appealing in a modernistic yet almost 1980s sort of way. The Kia, however, is simply striking, which is smart way to get people excited about cars, especially electrics.
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