Underpinned by Kia’s brand-new dedicated electric vehicle architecture, it is the first model constructed on new E-GMP architecture. Standing for ‘Electric-Global Modular Platform’, the EV6 has been designed from the outset to offer a dynamic driving experience that drivers will be able to mention in the same sentence as other well-respected high-power vehicles in the Kia line-up, including the Stinger ‘GT S’ and ProCeed ‘GT’.
Mixing a sports crossover body with a low centre of gravity, courtesy of batteries stored beneath the floor and between the axles, the EV6 is endowed with a sportier, lower slung driving position than other taller SUVs. With no need to accommodate an engine or driveshafts, and traditional limitations imposed upon design and engineering by internal combustion engine (ICE) architecture, the wheels are pushed far into the corners of the car. With a long wheelbase of 2,900mm, the EV6 provides reassurance at speed and under cornering, with excellent stability and poise, while also providing exceptional cruising comfort compared to similar vehicles with a traditional ICE drivetrain.
The ride and handling have been honed on a variety of roads across Europe, from challenging, twisting Alpine passes, and onto fast-paced, derestricted German Autobahns, where it is exceptionally relaxing and stable to drive quickly. The EV6 is equally at home on flowing A-roads, entertaining B-roads and the hustle and bustle of a city environment, where its pure electric credentials come into its own.
The steering has been fine-tuned to deliver great precision, agility, and be highly engaging, and to surprise and delight drivers that have written off electric cars as being characterless and boring. The EV6 rewrites the traditional electric vehicle rule book and has been designed to put a smile on the face of a keen driver should the mood take them, in a similar way that the Stinger ‘GT S’ does. Supportive, well-bolstered seats are designed to keep drivers securely in-position, especially when making full use of the available performance.
Buyers have a choice of a RWD or AWD layout, depending on model. However, Kia’s engineers have conspired to give all versions of the EV6 the feel and engagement of a thoroughbred rear-wheel-drive vehicle. On AWD models, with the larger 165kW electric motor in the back, and a smaller 74kW motor up front, the steering remains relatively uncorrupted, even under extreme acceleration. And thanks to its near-silent powertrain, the EV6 is an easy car in which to make rapid, unruffled progress. The cornering experience isn’t dissimilar to that of the Stinger, with the powerful rear motor pushing the car effectively out of corners under acceleration; AWD cars are designed to offer a little extra ‘bite’ at the front when tackling bends and accelerating back up to speed.
The suspension has been engineered to deliver a promise of a sportier and more dynamic driving experience compared to its nearest rivals, and one which matches the EV6’s dramatic styling. Marginally stiffer front and rear spring rates compared to other vehicles based on this E-GMP architecture result in slightly better controlled body roll when cornering and over undulating roads. The front and rear anti-roll bars are also 1mm thicker than the nearest equivalent model also resulting in a flatter, more controlled ride from behind the wheel, and slightly more linear steering. Increased damper force has also resulted in useful enhancements to body control and steering response.
Though the dampers on ‘Air’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models aren’t adaptive, such as those on the upcoming ‘GT’ flagship, all models available from launch feature passive ‘frequency selective dampers’ on all four corners. These are purely mechanical, passive dampers which add an additional piston to adjust the amount of pressure on the rebound disc stack. The result is dampers which allow the rebound damping force to adapt dynamically to different input frequencies from changing road surfaces. This innovation enables the EV6 to offer a slightly firmer, more planted ride when faced with lower frequency inputs (such as on a fast, snaking road), and a smoother, more comfortable ride at motorway speeds or over poor surfaces.
Considerable lessons have been learnt throughout the development of the e-Niro and two-generations of the Soul EV, particularly in the area of regenerative braking. As a result of this experience, the brake pedal in the EV6 has been engineered to be incredibly linear and predictable, integrating seamlessly with the regenerative brake system. As a result, this easy-to-modulate pedal enables drivers to bring the EV6 to a stop smoothly.
The EV6 therefore also boasts a new ‘i-PEDAL’ mode, enabling easy one-pedal driving in the majority of driving conditions to maximise efficiency and driving range.