Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD long-term wrap-up: that was a good year

By | December 22, 2023

Key learning points:

  • The EV6 managed to be cheaper to run than any long-term gas test car we tested

  • The shape may not be traditional, but it’s a striking design that will turn heads all year round and doesn’t make any major compromises on ease of use

  • Kia’s charging technology is fantastic, but it doesn’t get you beyond the current difficult and finicky fast charging network

This is a difficult goodbye. The Kia EV6 GT-Line that has been in our fleet for years is gone, and it will be one that we will miss. We eventually passed 10,000 miles, and while there were certainly some unplanned dealer visits for updates and road scraps, our EV6 proved reliable and a real joy over the course of a year.

Although we had tested virtually every new electric vehicle by the time the EV6 made its debut in our fleet, this was our first chance to test an electric car for a year. The nature of typical one-week media loans simply cannot reveal the true ownership experience of a car, especially for electric cars, when charging is such a crucial part of the experience/ordeal. That’s one of the main reasons why we wanted to commit to a year-long test of an EV6. Luckily, the Hyundai/Kia/Genesis E-GMP platform cars are heavy players when it comes to charging.

Read all long-term updates for the Kia EV6 here

But before we get into the issue of public charging, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of charging at home. Some of us here Autoblog have installed Level 2 chargers in our homes, and for those of us who do, public charging infrastructure is almost a non-issue. Road trips aside, no day trip through metro Detroit will need more range than the 270 miles our EV6 is rated for on a full charge, allowing people to come and go from home without ever seeing “EV charger” in Google Maps typing.

However, those who did require the use of public fast charging facilities, the EV6 was found to be an excellent vehicle for such an application. Thanks to its fast charging, it can go from 20-80% in just about 18 minutes, and our EV6 performed consistently at its claimed capabilities. We would show up at the local Electrify America with competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E or VW ID.4 already charging and done and gone before they were done. That may not be as exciting as winning a drag race, but it still feels like winning to us.

Where things got trickier (and more annoying) was when the weather turned. Those who charged at home continued to do so without any disruption, while those who charged at fast chargers noticed significant increases in wait times. Unfortunately, our 2022 EV6 did not have a battery preconditioning system that preheats the battery for super-fast charging right out of the gate. You’d have to be on a charger for a while before the speed increased, but it more than doubled our typical dwell time at a given fast charger. A 40-minute wait at an Electrify America or EVGo isn’t an unusual wait for many EV owners, but if you’re used to 20 minutes or less, the performance degradation is extremely noticeable. Fortunately, Kia has since added a battery preconditioning system to newer EV6s and is even offering a software update for models that didn’t have it from the factory.

In terms of long-term fit and finish, our EV6 held up to a more than satisfactory degree over the course of the year. It both arrived and departed without any squeaks or rattles. The black and white two-tone interior still looks fresh and spotless. However, the piano black trim around the center armrest and console area wasn’t so lucky, reinforcing our opinion that piano black trim is not a good finish for frequently touched interior parts. The fingerprints and highly visible dust will only go away if you continually clean the area, and that’s just extra grief that we don’t want to have to deal with on a daily basis.

All we have is praise for the way the EV6 has held up from a driving perspective too. The acceleration of the dual-motor AWD GT-Line is fantastic, bordering on excessive for what is ostensibly a family car or daily driver. We’re glad we opted for the dual motor, though, as it keeps the daily grind exciting, and driving in the snow proved to be pain-free with a good dose of sideways fun thrown in. Unlike Running The EV6, a modern gas-powered crossover, can pin you in your seat in no time with that instant maximum torque feeling you get from high-performance EVs. Thanks to its low center of gravity, it’s always ready to tackle a highway on-ramp or keep up with cars it doesn’t need to keep up with on a winding road. And when you do push the EV6, it has real staying power under acceleration, and won’t stall in a push until you’ve been driving it at a breakneck pace for a long time. The wide tires and sporty suspension keep it from flopping or otherwise behaving like the big, heavy crossover that it is. Start really pushing it, and you’ll probably get some eager rotation through tighter turns as you go through them too.

It’s a really good car to drive with no overt sporting intentions, although it’s obviously nowhere near as fun as the full-fledged EV6 GT, which goes from 0 to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds. But acceleration aside, skipping the more hardcore GT for the AWD GT-Line isn’t as sad as it might sound. The GT suffers greatly in range, and while the bucket seats are great to sit in, the manual adjustment doesn’t seem appropriate for such an expensive car.

If you were curious about some of the key details regarding efficiency and costs, we tracked them over the year. We ended up driving an average of 4.9 miles per kilowatt hour. That somewhat misses the mark of where the EV6 GT-Line AWD should be for combined efficiency (about 3.1), but we’re going to blame the final numbers on our driving. A combination of countless long road trips, lots of driving in low winter temperatures and a penchant for using the EV6’s full 320bhp often combine to help us get to that 2.9 figure. From a total energy consumption perspective, we consumed approximately 3,400 kWh of energy at a cost of approximately $1,200 per year. For perspective on that number, the U.S. Energy Administration says the average home used 10,791 kWh of energy per year in 2022.

The EPA’s fuel economy site suggests that our EV6 will cost about $750 per year for 15,000 miles of driving, but our more extravagant costs are the result of many more fast-charging sessions than an average user. The EV6 still managed to run cheaper over a year than any sustainable petrol car we tested, but beware the costs that pile up if you rely on the US’s public charging infrastructure for primary energy country. source.

And with that we end our year in what is arguably one of the best and most exciting electric cars on the market. If you have any questions about the car, please use the comments below. I’m sure we have an answer for you after a year in the saddle of the Kia EV6. And for every story we’ve written about our long run, you can go here.

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