What is not to love with this Kia EV6 GT?
Well, the simple answer is not much…as long as you know what you’re getting into. In its most basic sense, the sloped-roof crossover/ coupe-hatchback design defies logical classification. The high-performance EV6 GT trim blurs the lines even more with an incredible boost in performance.
The EV6 GT builds on the unique and dramatic looks of the standard EV6 with more powerful motors that deliver a mid-three-second 0-60 time and can take the EV up to 160 miles per hour. You are instantly one of the quickest vehicles on the road. From a more practical viewpoint, concerns over short highway onramps are a thing of the past and traditionally inherent drawbacks to achieve more power and efficiency such as turbo-lag, high-altitude power loss, or being caught in the wrong gear, can be wiped from your vocabulary.
However, it’s not long before the EV6 GT’s most significant challenge comes into play. And although the 2014 model sees a jump to 218 miles, the low 200-mile range is going to require you to change your traditional driving and “refueling” habits. Find the right station; meaning a working Level-3 350kW DC Fast Charger, and the battery pack can go from 10%-80% in as little as 18 minutes. Long road trips – or even just a day’s drive into the mountains – will require a bit of planning and familiarity. This additional work is certainly not the end of the world, but it can understandably lead to a bit of anxiety that wasn’t there before. Around town and along a typical commute route, the EV6 GT demonstrates how easy it is to drive and most of the recharging worries go out the window, that is, if you’re so lucky as to have a home charging station and don’t mind an extra to-do every couple of days.
Whether it’s around town, on the highway, or being pushed hard through the canyon roads, the EV6 GT continuously demonstrates its “I can do it all” attitude, which extends deep into the performance realm with this GT trim.
Additional chassis stiffening, dynamic dampers, upgraded brakes, and an advanced all-wheel-drive system allow the EV6 GT to handle with the confidence of a sports car while, amazingly, retaining a level of ride compliance sufficient for daily commuter duties – and that’s in spite of the standard low-profile performance rubber and large 21-inch wheels. In fact, living with its sport seats might be the greatest challenge for most with aggressive bolstering, particularly in the shoulder areas.
The EV6 GT even looks past the goal of ultimate performance to inject a bit of fun into the mix with a drift mode that alters the all-wheel-drive system to send a disproportionate amount of power to the rear limited-slip differential. Take note, however, that drifting an EV is a notably different experience without the audible feedback of an engine, and some practice time before trying to showing off is strongly advised.
When left to its full capability, the all-wheel drive system is impressive and keeps tire slip to a minimum when merging quickly into traffic. And while the EV6 is offered in rear-wheel-drive form, four-wheel traction seems essential for making the most of the instaneous torque.
Just as the exterior of the Kia sets a dramatic and high-tech look, the interior delivers a familiar and much more driver-focused layout than many of today’s EVs. Once inside, your experience starts with the extended center console that houses the wireless charging pad, start button, and gear dial in a line for an easy 1-2-3 motion that only requires some movement of your wrist. It may sound like a little win but it’s an example of Kia rethinking what makes sense and can be appreciated every time you get in and out of the car.
What doesn’t work out nearly as well is the shared audio and HVAC display and controls on the dash. Those two frequently used functions (and with urgency) now require a visual confirmation to determine the active mode for the controls and then potentially a selection of a touch-sensitive switch on the dash to change to the mode. It’s a frustrating distraction that simply shouldn’t exist. However, beyond that head-scratcher, the rest of the EV6’s interior layout is an impressive demonstration of the packaging efficiencies offered by a dedicated EV platform with excellent cabin space as well as an open cargo area, made even more convenient by the rear hatchback tailgate.
As the GT sits on top of the EV6 trim hierarchy, it includes nearly all of the items offered in fully-equipped but less performance-focused GT-Line trim with LED exterior lighting, power flush door handles, a power tailgate, a full suite of active safety tech, heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, dual 12.3-inch displays behind a single flush glass surface, and precision ambient lighting across the dash and throughout the interior, and several GT-exclusive features such as a flat-bottom steering wheel with a GT Drive mode button, neon green highlights throughout, and unique trim patterns – not to mention the firm sport seats.
With its the rocket-like powertrain, the capable ride, the full roster of creature comforts, the EV6 GT offers a lot of car for its $63,000 price tag – and that doesn’t include the available rebates. If the current EV charging station network’s shortcomings aren’t among the deciding factors, the EV6 GT demonstrates the advances in freedom in design, packaging, and, of course, performance that can be had with an EV.