The Korean EV6 is a game-changing, head-turning, mood-lifting machine, says Campbell Spray.
I had been feeling very modern and electrified about life until last Tuesday dawned. The baseball legend Yogi Berra got it right when saying “it’s deja vu all over again.”.
Once more, the pathetic targeting of young people with restrictions on night clubs, just three weeks after they had opened, looks like the beginning again of our descent into lockdown hades.
A totally unfixed health service with exhausted, poorly paid staff struggles on under a political class bereft of ideas.
Messaging is more than confusing. Look at the scenes at the Aviva and the surrounding area this afternoon for the rugby, and next Sunday when hopefully Bohemians will win the FAI cup final.
Then they’re telling people Covid comes out just as Cinderella returns home and that it is time to go back to post-midnight house parties. Enough already!
The week started so positively. I was driving the wonderful new Kia EV6 and we took this vision of the future to the Hill of Tara on Sunday. The walk among the sacred history invigorated us and gave an amazing pep to Ziggy and Dooey, although the flock of sheep halted their gallop for a while.
I had been looking forward to the EV6 since seeing it in Marbella last month. The large coupé/crossover electric vehicle, aims to move Kia’s credentials from being a “fast-follower” to flying the flag as a “game-changer”.
It looks quite stunning to look at, although the metallic black paint (actually Aurora Black Pearl) of the test car didn’t show it off to its ultimate.
That didn’t stop someone in the Phoenix Park oohing and aahing over it as one of the smartest cars he had seen. He was even more blown away when I showed him the interior.
The overall space is impressive but the almost floating pier central unit and the lovely dual 12.3 panoramic curved displays on the facia add another dimension.
“This is really a Kia?” he queried. His feeling for the car’s beauty was replicated many times over subsequent days. It’s a real head turner.
The EV6 is a very grown up, sophisticated vehicle with lots of tech, even if some of the excellent safety equipment is a bit nanny-like. Comfort levels are high, especially upfront. And the little touches, like the door handles which come out to greet you, and the camera view on the facia of the rear-side view when you use an indicator are rather special.
The surround view for parking was absolutely first class and made up for a rather intrusive A-pillar on the driver’s side.
The Remote Smart Parking Assist will even let you park or unpark the long and wide EV6 when you aren’t inside.
The acceleration of 0-100km in 7.3 seconds isn’t mighty in EV terms but is enough to leave virtually everything in your wake at the lights.
The power comes from a 77.4kWh battery pack delivering to a single 168kWh electric motor which in turn gives 229bhp through the rear wheels.
Unlike its Hyundai Ioniq 5 sister, Kia is keeping to just one battery size and two trim levels. I was driving the GT version which at €55,00 is €5,000 (including metallic paint) more expensive than the Earth model, after the €5,000 EV grant — but worth it,
The Korean duo of Hyundai and Kia were really — with Tesla — the first big people into the EV market for large cars and they might look askance at the massive catch-up Volkswagen has made with cars like the ID.3 and ID.4 and the Skoda, Audi and Cupra iterations of them.
However, with the EV6 and the Ioniq 5, Hyundai and Kia have stolen a march again with their looks and the massive array of equipment in the cars at an all-in price that is hard to beat.
The heat pump on board the EV 6, together with its advanced charging system and regenerative braking, help deliver a very real range well in excess of 400km and maybe even the claimed 504km.
A week was too short to get to grips with all the little extras on board like the ability to power a TV, electric mower or charge a bicycle battery from the very convenient rear-harging point in the bumper area.
The ventilated front seats, head-up display, sunroof, automatic opening tailgate, remote second-row seat back-folding and front storage trunk are all elements that will make the owner’s life just that bit easier.
Yet it is the drive and handling that most delivers, even if the 19” alloys of the Earth model are more comfortable than the GT’s 20” wheels.
A shallow boot and high passenger floor are downside.
Yet there is no doubt that the Kia EV6 is a game-changer for both the company and EVs in general.
It is an incredibly modern vehicle that feels premium but delivers at an affordable level, not forgetting the company’s famous seven-year warranty.
I am testing the Ioniq 5 at the end of next month but the EV6 has really put it up to its sister as well as Tesla, the premium marques and the VW conglomerate.
When I travelled to the Kia HQ for the EV6 pick-up in a VW ID.4 taxi from the Red Cow Luas stop, it seemed very drab by comparison.
The extent that Kia has upped its game was even more explicit when we were introduced to BMW’s new iX xDrive40 MSport last Monday for a quick drive down to Burtown House in Co Kildare.
There’s no doubt that the iX new breed of performance electric vehicles are very special but they start at €85,000 and my test model for a few hours came in at just under €100,000. This is mighty stuff and while you felt you were in a more powerful, luxurious and bigger machine, you weren’t in something worth almost double the EV6.
However, driving down from Dublin on beautifully autumnal back roads, the big BMW was a delight even if the large infotainment screens took some getting used to and I had to stop to work out how to use the de-mister. Flying back in a small convoy along the motorways was rather exhilarating and fed my little boy special services vibe.
Back to the EV6: a UK colleague called it “arguably all the EV you’d ever need”. It will see you to 2030 and gave me great pleasure before a bad week.