Tesla is in everyone’s sights. Including from Kia, a brand once known to be cheap. With the EV6 – designed by Montrealer Karim Habib – the South Korean firm (and its acolytes Hyundai and Genesis) is undoubtedly one of the few today to respond so directly to the creations of Elon Musk.
Haro on the Tesla. We hear it, we read it, but in fact, this battle cry launched by the traditional car manufacturers does not materialize. In fact, several brands carefully avoid any direct confrontation with the products of Elon Musk’s firm. Whether it’s price, segmentation or simply performance (in a broad sense), the competition mixes the cards, avoids raw comparisons.
By creating the GT version (not to be confused with the already existing term GT-Line), Kia closely mimics Tesla’s Model 3 and Y. Like the latter, the EV6 offers a range of versions likely to satisfy both supporters of energy efficiency and lovers of strong emotions. And this, at prices that compare favorably to those practiced by Tesla.
The GT version retains substantially the same components as the long-range four-wheel drive models (therefore one motor on each axle) existing within the range. With the difference that the engine which is usually at the rear migrates to the front. In doing so, a new unit that is more muscular, more robust, better cooled and capable of turning at 21,000 rpm takes its place. This translates to a peak power equivalent of 576 hp and 545 lb-ft of torque. For the record, the EV6 GT-Line produces 256 hp and 99 lb-ft less.
As a result, the acceleration force (and times) is exalted and propels the EV6 GT into the yard of Tesla and Porsche Taycan, of course, but also super sports cars powered by an internal combustion engine.
This forearm hair-raising performance belies Kia’s ambition to mingle with the most renowned brands on the planet.
“Without control, power is nothing”, recalls, with good reason, a major tire manufacturer. This applies to both thermal and electric vehicles. In this case, Kia engineers made some changes to the E-GMP platform.
The steering benefits from a shorter gear ratio that makes it quicker, firmer suspensions to which are attached adaptive dampers and an electronic limited-slip differential. To this hardware, it is also worth adding grippy tires like Velcro, brake discs whose size rivals a pizza stone. The latter are pinched with stirrups whose color recalls that used by a prestigious brand from Stuttgart.
In addition to these transformations, there are controls that allow you to configure the vehicle according to your tastes and your mood. Of the number, let’s remember – hard to miss – this famous fluorescent green push button (or electric, it depends) attached to the steering wheel which unleashes the 576 hp promised by the EV6’s thrusters. This is, it should be noted, functional only if the battery charge exceeds 70%. That is to say, not very often in this season.
For the rest, with the exception of richly sculpted front buckets with manual control, the EV6 GT hardly differs from the “ordinary models” in its presentation. The rear seats are spacious, with the exception of headroom, and the tailgate opens onto a practical trunk, but with classic modularity.
Power or heating
A few weeks ago, the GT version was the subject of a media preview on the Las Vegas racing circuit. Where this electric vehicle could, in complete safety, sideways and project itself violently towards the horizon. Prowess that the EV6 GT can repeat without problem by going back 4156 km to the north, but not for very long. Indeed, in this month of February, the presumed autonomy is considerably reduced. During this test, without abusing the heating and prohibiting our fingers from pressing the famous green button, this Kia struggles to cover 250 km.
However, we will be delighted with the speed at which it refuels, especially now that it benefits (production June 2022) from a device allowing the battery to be preconditioned before “refuelling”. This is possible as long as we select a fast charging station in the vehicle’s navigation system and not through our smartphone (CarPlay or Android Auto).
Even on winter tires, the EV6 GT knows how to be lively, exhilarating to drive… unstable too, say those excited about the accelerator.
Powered by a more powerful engine than the one in front, the rear axle is just asking to be squared. Rest assured, the electronic anti-skid takes care of the grain, but leaves you a little time to correct the situation yourself. Although the speed of the direction is then of good help to you, it is more prudent to remember your technique of steering and counter-steering.
Firmly suspended, the EV6 GT does not perfectly control body movements in turns. It is in this driving phase that its weight, the equivalent of a Lincoln Aviator, and the lack of malleability of its architecture are most felt.
Overall convincing, the exercise – a little futile, some would say – nevertheless illustrates that a South Korean brand can validly claim to put a wheel in the field of high-performance and refined electrified models.
Kia EV6 GT
- Quick and well-weighted steering
- Charging speed
- Modern presentation
We love less
- Disappointing autonomy
- Instability of the rear axle likely to displease
- Rear headroom
The duration and frequency of refueling taint the pleasure.
- Synchronous motors
- Maximum power: 576 hp
- Torque: 545 lb-ft
- Battery capacity: 77.4kWh
- Minimum empty weight: 2175 kg
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 3.4s
- Towing capacity: 1043 kg
- Standard: 1-speed automatic
- Optional: none
- Drive mode: all-wheel drive
- Level 2: 6.5 hours
- Level 3: 18 minutes (10%-80%)
Consumption and autonomy
- 25.8 kWh/100 km – winter conditions
- Autonomy (assumed by the manufacturer): 332 km
- Wheelbase: 2900mm
- Length: 4680mm/Height: 1545mm
- Width: 1890 mm (external mirrors folded)
The E-GMP platform developed by the South Korean group Hyundai served as a working basis for the architects of Kia’s EV6 GT. It retains the same battery, but the rear thruster bears the seal of novelty. Equipped with a more efficient rotor, it produces the equivalent of 367 hp at the rear wheels, while the one at the front releases 218 hp.
A first salvo
It’s written in the sky, the EV6 GT is only the first of the Hyundai group to present itself on the starting line. An N version of the Ioniq 5 is expected later this year. This should theoretically display the same power as the EV6 GT, but could differ dynamically. The theme of the electric sports car could also take another tangent if Hyundai follows up on the N Vision 74 concept study (our photo) which uses a hydrogen fuel cell (680 hp). The N Vision 74 will make its Canadian debut at the Toronto Auto Show next week.
The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: BMW i7, Buick Encore GX, Dodge Hornet, Mazda CX-90, Subaru Solterra and Toyota Corolla Cross. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering purchasing one, we would love to hear from you.