28 July 2022

Kia's new EV is actually the perfect car for Canberra's winter

| James Coleman
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Kia EV6

The 2022 Kia EV6 is the South Korean brand’s first dabble in electricity. Photo: James Coleman.

To find out the worst thing about an internal-combustion car, drive one in winter.

You’ve already summoned the courage to break out of bed, out of your pyjamas, and then out of the door, only to spend several more minutes sitting in an esky, at least until the engine warms up and the heater starts pumping. By which time, you’re at work and getting out into the cold again.

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But in an electric vehicle, there is no purgatory. Punch the start button and the heater is breathing life into the 10 fleshy icicles on your hands within seconds.

It’s even better in the new Kia EV6 because the steering wheel is heated too.

The only trouble is, this drains the battery. After all, there is no internal-combustion generator on board.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of range to play with in the EV6, up to 528 km to be (more or less) precise.

It can also (technically) charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes, although there’s hardly a charger in Australia than can deliver that much power that quickly.

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Admit it, there was a time when you would not dream of driving anything with a Kia badge that far. Mainly because you worried it wouldn’t make it out of the driveway in one piece. Those days are long gone.

Kia, and its stablemate, Hyundai, have come a long way, and we know this because they’re offering market-leading seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranties. They wouldn’t do that if their cars weren’t up to it.

The EV6 is the brand’s first dabble in electric vehicles, but in a way, they’ve cheated by pinching everything from the Hyundai IONIQ 5. So you get suspension expertly tuned for Australia’s shoddy roads, a sweeping infotainment screen, and a regenerative braking system with four levels from ‘off’ to ‘really very on’.

The designers were just told to make EV6 look different, and they certainly have. I’m not sure the result is pretty, but people can’t stop looking at it.

Much like the IONIQ 5, you expect a hatchback from the pictures, but it turns into an SUV very fast when you approach it in the metal. It also isn’t small.

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This, and the lack of a transmission tunnel, means it’s very roomy inside. It’s also very pleasing to see yet another car manufacturer moving away from your accountant’s trousers for inspiration, although I have doubts about the piano black trim – I had it for a week and there were already scratches.

In this top-of-the-range GT-Line, motors on both axles give it all-wheel drive and a 0-100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds. The acceleration doesn’t quite snap your spleen and liver the way a Tesla does, but it’s urgent nonetheless.

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This model comes in at $87,590, but a cheaper rear-wheel-drive EV6 Air starts at $72,590.

Under normal circumstances, you would tell me I’m dreaming and go off to buy something with a badge worth that much. And under normal circumstances, I would not argue. But the Kia EV6 is legitimately good.

It’s quiet, smooth, refined and … okay, really quite cool-looking.

The only bad news is that you can’t buy one. A microchip shortage has slammed electric vehicle production and the wait time for the EV6 has blown out to nigh on two years. Even the local John McGrath dealerships are only accepting expressions of interest rather than risk holding deposits for more than one financial year.

While we wait, the new Kia Sportage GT-Line offers all of the space of the EV6 for $54,990. There is a petrol option, but I’ve been driving the 2-litre turbo-diesel (in a very fetching dark green-blue) up and down Canberra Avenue for a week now and the range has refused to budge from 600 km.

Must be the lack of a heating steering wheel.

These cars were provided for testing by Kia Australia. Region has no commercial arrangement with Kia Australia.

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Hard to tell what i like about EVs.
BMW offering a subscription service for seat warming or Telsa removing 1/3 of the range of a 2nd hand Telsa because the smaller battery was out of stock for a warranty claim, they used a bigger model and years down the track an 2 owners later decided to lock out the battery to 2/3 capacity remotely then smsing the customer telling them they fixed a ‘configuration’ issue.

Best of luck if anyone tries to hack the cars of the future. EV stands for Endless Vulnerabilities.

FYI, lithium batteries hate the cold, and degrades thier capacity. And canberra is plenty cold, so to claim its a perfect car for canberra….?

My Dodge Ram has auto start.
On cold mornings I can just fire it up and leave the Diesel engine running for 5-10 minutes before I get in, it’s always nice and warm.
It’s the perfect commuter vehicle in winter.

Stephen Marshall6:58 pm 31 Jul 22

This is pretty lazy journalism. For starters, its not Kia’s first venture into EVs. Has the writer never heard of the Niro or the Soul? Both were available as pure EV.Secondly to refer to it as a “dabble” into EVs” shows a profound lack understanding as to how much R&D has gone into this vehicle, and the fact that both the EV6 and its Hyundai Ioniq 5 twin have won mutliple prestigeous awards around the world, clearly shows this exercise was hardly a dabble. Finally, the writers claim that Kia was told to just make it look different from the Ionique 5 is highly questionable. What is his source? Kia and Hyundai are fiercely competitive among themselves and do plenty of their own inhouse design and development.

Nice bit of whimsy having + and – on accelerator and brake.

I had a laugh at that too – it says something about the ‘target audience’!

Pretty pointless reviewing a car that you can’t have in your garage for 2 years…….or that most people could afford.

Capital Retro5:24 pm 04 Aug 22

It’s part of “the EV vision”.

Most Canberrans wouldn’t put it in the garage anyway… they would rather leave it outside so they get to scrape the frost off in the morning.

The “perfect car” is unavailable and unaffordable. Try reviewing a car model relevant to Riotact readers.

Capital Retro5:25 pm 04 Aug 22

White Commodores were frequently talked about on RiotACT a few years ago.

Capital Retro10:55 am 31 Jul 22

It’s a bit disingenuous to say “This, and the lack of a transmission tunnel, means it’s very roomy inside.” as most ICE cars these days have front wheel drive which obviates the need for a “transmission” tunnel.

Gee petrol is expensive. I know, I’ll rush out and pay $85 grand. That’ll fix the cost of living for the worker

$30k premium over the diesel version – that’s about 10 years worth of diesel at current prices (including dragging a caravan away on a couple of short holidays – which no EV has the guts for). After 10 years the EV is ready for the bin, just like your old mobile phone that can’t hold charge anymore.

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