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[Behind the Wheel] Kia EV6 aims to rule road with ‘tiger-like’ performance

Kia’s first all-electric vehicle drives like very quiet sports car

The Kia EV6 on a highway Wednesday (Kia)
The Kia EV6 on a highway Wednesday (Kia)

Kia has rolled out its first all-electric vehicle, the EV6, racking up over 30,000 preorders.

From the appearance alone, the compact sport utility vehicle’s exuberant presence could be felt from its sleek and aggressive exterior design with the “Digital Tiger Face” front. On the road, the vehicle showed off a performance that goes well beyond the favorable first impression, reminiscent of a sports car.

The Korea Herald had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Kia EV6 Long Range Earth trim, a four-wheel drive model, for a round trip of 143.5 kilometers from EV6 Unplugged Ground in Seongsu, Seoul, to a turnaround point in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province.

EV6 is Kia’s highly anticipated, first fully electric vehicle mounted on Hyundai Motor’s Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP. It logged over 30,000 orders -- the automaker’s best-ever presale record -- before official sales begin.

The SUV was designed following a new concept of “Opposite United,” which the automaker explains takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity.

The silhouette of the vehicle, which combines both sharp and round lines as well as moving patterns of the front and rear lights, give the car an up-to-date, sporty look. The auto flush door handles add to its futuristic aura.

Electric vehicles are normally very quiet, as they do not have the usual growl of the engine. Taking the EV6 on the road, that benefit came to be accentuated. The EV6 also blocked out wind sounds very well as the car sped along the highway.

Driving along a winding road on the way to and back from Pocheon, the car’s value was felt, nicely absorbing the shock from the ground. It also smoothly passed over the many speed bumps on the roads.

What really grabbed attention was the speed at which the vehicle reacted to acceleration and braking.

In normal driving mode, the car appeared to be very sensitive in taking in the pedals, as it picked up speed and reduced speed fairly quickly.

When switched over to sports mode, it felt like a real sports car, with immediate acceleration and braking. At the same time, the car felt stable enough, grabbing tightly to the wet road. 

The Kia EV6 is displayed inside the Unplugged Ground Seongsu exhibition in Seongsu, Seoul, Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
The Kia EV6 is displayed inside the Unplugged Ground Seongsu exhibition in Seongsu, Seoul, Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

The long-range EV6 is equipped with a 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery that can travel up to 475 kilometers on a single charge, as confirmed by the Transport Ministry. The range, by Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure standards, extends to 528 kilometers, according to Kia.

The standard model has a 58-kWh battery that can drive up to 370 kilometers, Kia said.

The EV6 comes in three types for now -- the standard range, long-range and GT-Line models. The automaker will add a GT model to the lineup next year.

In preorders, about 70 percent of customers chose the long-range model, with 24 percent opting for the GT-Line.

Being made on the E-GMP, Hyundai Motor Group’s special platform for electric vehicles, the car has ample interior space in the front and rear row seats. 

Inside the Kia EV6 (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
Inside the Kia EV6 (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
Inside the Kia EV6 (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
Inside the Kia EV6 (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)


Unlike Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, which is also mounted on the E-GMP and has a sliding center console, Kia’s EV6 has a fixed center console that separates the driver’s seat and passenger seat. 

Still, below the console of buttons and wireless smartphone charger, the car has more space where one can store midsized bags.

The interior design also appears to have taken intuitive usage into consideration.

The start button is placed on the center console facing the driver’s seat, easily in the reach of the driver.

The trunk space is 520 liters, and with the second-row seats folded, it expands to a maximum of 1,300 liters -- ample space for those with a lot to haul, and for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping.

The car is also equipped with an advanced charging system. Hooked up to a superfast charger, the EV6 goes from 10 percent to 80 percent in 18 minutes, according to Kia.

While it could not be tested during The Korea Herald’s drive, the automaker highlighted that the EV6 has a vehicle-to-load function to charge external devices with its power. At the Unplugged Ground exhibition showroom in Seongsu, where the EV6 is on a yearlong display, Kia put up calculations of hours for electric devices that the vehicle can power, such as vacuum cleaners, mini rice cookers and beam projectors.

The price for the lowest Air trim of the standard range model starts from 47.3 million won ($40,700), and goes up to 51.2 million won for the Air trim of the long-range model.

The vehicle can also be accessed with subscription service KiaFlex for a monthly fee.

For those who subscribe to the Kia Connect service, the vehicle’s Battery Management System monitors the high-voltage battery while the vehicle is parked or charging, and alerts the customer when anomalies are found, Kia said. 

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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