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The automotive industry in India has always been dynamic and change has always been a constant. It is this very factor that has made India one of the global automotive powerhouses. In recent times though, the automotive industry has seen more than just some change.
The entire landscape of the Indian automotive industry has changed massively with the onslaught of electric vehicles. India seems to be the only market in the entire world that is flooded with affordable EVs and expensive EVs. Electric vehicles that are very practical and accessible are present while at the same time, there are EVs that aren't very accessible on the financial scale.
However, these expensive electric vehicles are bringing to India a revolution of their own. They are super stylish, boast high performance levels, the range is sky high and they really make you want to own one of them. The perfect example of this is the Kia EV6 electric vehicle.
Kia as a brand in India has until now focused on SUVs and MPVs. The Kia Seltos, Sonet, Carnival, and Carens have all clocked impressive numbers in the Indian market, and Kia as it seems now wants to focus on a whole new segment of automobiles.
Kia India is targeting the premium electric vehicle segment with its latest offering and we were quite curious to figure out what this new offering is all about. What makes Kia so confident about the EV6 and its success? What's it like to drive? Is it something that will suit the Indian market? Armed with these questions, we headed to the Buddh International Circuit to find out what the Kia EV6 is all about. Read on to know everything about the new Kia EV6.
Design & Style
Without a doubt, the EV6 is the most futuristic vehicle developed by Kia and this is made obvious through its design and style. Some reports suggest Kia has taken inspiration from the Lancia Stratos for the design of the EV6. The Stratos is one of the most iconic cars in the world of Rallying and is a petrolhead favourite.
However, the Kia EV6 can't really be compared to the Stratos. It can't even be compared to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 with which it shares its platform and powertrain. The EV6 has carved out its own space for itself in the premium electric vehicle game.
The Kia EV6 boasts a hunkered-down and aggressive stance no matter what angle it is viewed from. This is made even more apparent at the front, and it is from this angle that it sort of looks like a hot hatchback. But in reality, it is a notchback.
The LED headlamps with the unique LED DRLs, the muscular lines on the sweeping bonnet, the signature grille, and the bumper with the black elements all come together to form a unique car the likes of which we haven't seen in India yet.
If you thought the front end was stylish and fancy, you really have to look at it from the side. It has a roofline that slopes down steadily towards the rear and is only disrupted by the spoiler, which is super aggressive. The large shark fin antenna stands out and lends more character to the EV6.
The design highlight on the side profile though, are those fancy 19-inch alloy wheels. They've got a unique turbine-like design and they stand out even in a crowd of sports cars. Towards the bottom of the doors is a sort of an air-channel that aids in aerodynamics while also adding to the styling.
At the rear though, things become so much more complicated in terms of styling. Firstly, you've got the tail lamp that extends beyond the body panels. It really is hard to take your eyes off the rear. This tail lamp is connected to this silver element beneath which lies the bumper. The blacked-out element in the bumper, along with the diffuser, completes the super stylish rear end of the Kia EV6.
The Kia EV6 is shamelessly wild in its design and styling and this is something we really liked about it. Kia is attempting to make a statement with this electric vehicle and has successfully done so with just the design. However, it is much more than just the design.
Cockpit & Interior
Honestly, it would be a shame if the interiors and cockpit didn't match up to the fancy exterior and Kia knows just as much. The EV6 is a Global product and will compete with premium electric vehicles in several international markets. One look at the interior will tell you that the EV6 will more than just keep up with the premium EVs already in existence.
Buyers get to pick from three shades of Black for the interior colour. There aren't several colours at play here and the interior features a dark theme throughout. The steering wheel does feel like it has been taken out of a spacecraft thanks to the flat piece in the centre. The recesses for the driver's thumbs to grip the wheel also look good. You do get steering-mounted controls as well.
The dashboard is pretty futuristic with the infotainment and instrumentation screens placed in a floating manner. Right behind the steering wheel is the glass slab in question. We say glass slab because it looks like a single screen when the two screens are powered off. Instrumentation is taken care of by a 12.3-inch full-colour TFT display.
As you might imagine, quite a lot of information is displayed on this screen. This includes information pertaining to the oh-so-important range, temperatures, navigation, vehicle data, etc. On the same panel is another 12.3-inch screen, but this one is for instrumentation and yes, it is a touchscreen. You do get lots of features including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Sound is reproduced through a 14-speaker Meridian Audio System and it sounds fabulous. We cannot wait to spend more time listening to music on these speakers. The driver also gets an augmented reality heads-up display and this is a cool feature to have. The driver's eyes don't really have to be taken off the road.
However, there is yet another feature that forces the driver's eye off the road. Under the infotainment screen is a piano black strip and under this strip is a little control panel. Like all things with the EV6, this control panel too is futuristic, or maybe a little too futuristic for some.
The control panel features two knobs and a whole load of one-touch icons on the touchscreen and these are used to control the air conditioning and climate control. This seems perfectly normal at first. However, things get weirder from there. There is a button on there and upon touching this button, the icons on the touch panel change to the infotainment buttons.
This simply means you can have either the climate control settings or the infotainment controls, and not both at once. Now, if you like your cars to be extremely fancy and futuristic, this feature will thrill you. However, for someone who values convenience more than the ability to flaunt, this could be a turnoff.
Then comes the centre console. This is futuristic too with various buttons for vehicle control. The most important of them all of course is the drive model selector which is in rotary form. Apart from this, the EV6 gets what Kia calls Relaxation Seats for the driver and passenger. These seats feature ventilation and 10-way power adjustment.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
Being the futuristic vehicle that it is, we didn't expect the Kia EV6 to be very comfortable or practical. However, it did surprise us and proved our thoughts wrong in this area. The seats are great and that does help the Kia EV6 score high on the comfort chart.
Apart from this, features like ventilated seats, a powerful air conditioning system, etc, all make life behind the wheel of the Kia EV6 very comfortable indeed. However, it is here that we should also mention, we haven't tested the EV6 out on public roads. It is on Indian roads that the real test of comfort will take place, so stay tuned for our road test review to know more about the comfort levels.
In terms of practicality, the Kia EV6 surprised us. There are quite a few cubbyholes scatted across the EV. The door panels can take much more than just a bottle, the storage under the centre armrest is also pretty huge, and this makes it very practical indeed.
In terms of boot space, the rear-wheel-drive model boasts a capacity of 490 litres while the AWD model's boot space goes down by 10 litres. The rear seats can be folded down to make space for more luggage in case this extra space is needed. Speaking of space, the Kia EV6 features space that is good enough for five people and seating five isn't uncomfortable at all.
EV Powertrain Performance & Driving Impressions
The Kia EV6 is designed to be a futuristic electric vehicle with excellent performance levels. This simply means the battery has to be big and the motor needs to be powerful. The Kia EV6 will be sold in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. We got to experience the AWD variant and this one is pretty torquey.
As soon as you prod on the silent pedal, you will be made aware of 605Nm powering all four wheels as it shoves you into the seat, accelerating hard. The power is put down with immediate effect and it is quite clear that this is made with performance in mind.
According to Kia, the 0-100km/h run is completed in just 5.2 seconds. The Kia EV6 features three drive modes: Eco, Normal, & Sport. Each of these modes changes the way the throttle and steering function. The sensitivity increases or decreases depending on the mode chosen. In sports mode, the EV6 boasts a top speed of 192km/h.
We put the Kia EV6 to the test at the Buddh International Circuit with 4 occupants in the vehicle. The acceleration didn't change much with the addition of the three others. It still accelerates pretty hard.
The Kia EV6 is powered by a 77.4kWh Lithium-ion battery pack and this drives the motors that have a combined output of 320bhp. Charging up these motors in a jiffy is possible as it is compatible with both 50kW DC fast charging as well as 350kW DC fast charging. While the former takes 73 minutes to take the battery from 10 to 80 percent, the latter does the same in just 18 minutes.
Kia claims the EV6 has a range of around 528 kilometres and this is measured using the WLTP cycle. The real-world range in Indian driving conditions is expected to be a lot lesser than that figure. The Kia EV6 features vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-load charging, which simply means, the car can be used as a power bank to either power some electric appliances or to charge up some other EVs.
The Kia EV6 features regenerative braking and there are a total of five levels to play around with. Level 4 enables the highest amount of regen and driving the EV6 with just one pedal is very much possible. The regen is so strong that we saw an increase of 3 kilometres in range after one hot lap of the track.
The steering feels perfectly balanced and is well-weighted at high speeds. At low speeds though, it is easy and light to maneuver. We spent a lot of time in sports mode as the steering response in this drive mode is perfect to tackle the corners of the Buddh International Circuit.
The battery pack that weighs nearly 500 kilograms is placed on the floor. As a result, the Kia EV6 handles brilliantly. It is difficult to find some body roll. The suspension and steering were only tested on proper tarmac at the track. We're yet to find out how it handles out on the road. Stay tuned for that.
Increasing grip levels were the Kumho Ecsta PS71 tyres. These tyres, combined with the disc brakes on all four wheels made sure braking is crisp and the brakes didn't fade even after being pushed to the limits on the BIC. Level 4 regen further increases the braking prowess.
On the whole, the Kia EV6 offered a brilliant first-drive experience. It showcased its high-speed prowess at the BIC and we can't wait to put it through its paces out in the real world as well. Stay tuned for the same.
Safety & Key Features
With the EV6, Kia has been pretty vocal about safety and its importance. Safe to say then, that the EV6 features lots of safety features, both active and passive.
Kia EV6 Safety Features:
- Advanced ADAS
- Adaptive Beam LED Headlamps
- Lane Keep Assist
- Forward Collision Avoidance
- Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist
- Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go Functionality
- Lane Follow Assist
Kia EV6 Key Features:
- 14-speaker Meridian Audio
- 12.3-inch Touchscreen Infotainment
- Kia Connect
- Remote Climate Control
- Remote Charging Control
- Ventilated Seats
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging
New electric vehicles are being launched in the Indian market at an unfathomable pace. Kia is now contributing to this sea change and the EV6 is a properly significant contribution to the EV industry. It offers everything you need of a premium EV and much more and is already a winner in our books.
However, we're yet to know the pricing. It will be imported as a completely built unit and it will therefore be on the expensive side. Will it really find any takers in the market? We feel it will find quite a few takers. Guess only time will tell. That being said, if you are in the market for a premium EV with lots of features and impressive range combined with explosive performance, well, you have yet another contender to consider.