Kia EV6 performance, motor & drive

It's compromised somewhat by its significant weight, but overall the EV6 is one of the better-handling electric cars you can buy

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Long Range RWD7.2s114mphRear226bhp
Long Range AWD5.2s116mphFour321bhp
Long Range GT3.5s160mphFour576bhp

No version of the EV6 could be called slow, with even the cheapest rear-drive version getting from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds courtesy of a 226bhp power output. For ultimate performance, driving enthusiasts will be drawn to the range-topping, 577bhp EV6 GT, which offers a neck-snapping 3.5-second 0-62mph time and we've reviewed it separately if you want to find out more.

Kia EV6 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

On the road, performance from the all-wheel-drive EV6 is strong courtesy of 321bhp from its two electric motors, which develop peak torque of 405Nm. That translates to 0-62mph being over and done with in 5.2 seconds, as well as nicely punchy performance for overtaking from any speed. The top speeds of the two models are almost the same, and even the 226bhp, single-motor rear-drive car’s 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds is very respectable.

The latter also has a strong torque figure of 350Nm, so it doesn't struggle with getting up to speed or accelerating, either – even in the 'Normal' driving mode. The 577bhp GT variant is on another scale, being capable of embarrassing supercars away from traffic lights. A few subtle styling tweaks (bigger wheels, spoiler vents, green callipers and vertical rear reflectors) give the GT away, while Kia has also fitted a limited-slip differential, active suspension and upgraded brakes.

Handling

In addition to Eco and Normal, the EV6 has Sport driving mode intended for 'spirited' driving. It makes the car so potent, however, that the chassis can sometimes feel like it's struggling to deal with the power being produced. It doesn't really suit driving on typically twisty and bumpy UK country roads, so most owners will probably reserve for a few grin-inducing blasts of flat-out acceleration where it's safe to do so, but stick with Normal mode most of the time.

Weight is always a factor when it comes to discussing electric-car handling, and despite some clever suspension technology, Kia's engineers haven't quite managed to disguise the EV6's 2,015kg mass, nor its fairly long wheelbase. In most everyday driving, however, it stays nicely composed; it actually feels a bit more controlled and tied-down than the sometimes-bouncy behaviour of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

As we've mentioned, progress is swift in the EV6, but it's also quiet: even at motorway speeds, wind, tyre, suspension and electric-motor noise are kept to a reasonable level, which isn't always the case with electric cars. Comfort is good, too – although not quite to the same extent as the Ioniq 5. There's a definite firm edge to the ride, but this is an inevitable tradeoff for the Kia's sportier handling compared to its Hyundai cousin.

Having now sampled both the rear and four-wheel-drive versions of the EV6 on UK roads, we can confidently state that the latter isn't really worth the £10,000 premium you'll pay over the entry-level version. While it is usefully quicker than the rear-drive version in straight line, the four-wheel-drive EV6's additional power only compounds the issue of the chassis feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the power on offer. Throw in the fact that the rear-drive version returns more range from a charge, and the choice becomes pretty obvious.

Kia has tuned the EV6 GT to be really stiff at the back and a little softer at the front, which improves turn-in response and limits rear-end squat when you pile on the throttle. Down a twisty back road the GT is fantastic, although there’s more motorway noise than we’d like. The steering rack needs fewer turns than the standard EV6, but that means that three-point turns and tight manoeuvres can be tricky. On the right road, you won’t mind at all.

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