Built for purpose. The 2022 Kia EV6 is rakishly handsome from any angle, with hints of performance car at the front and a kicked-up hatchback rear with brake lights flowing up from the wheel arches. Some people would probably guess this is an EV purely from its creased, contemporary appearance. After all, the EV6 was designed specifically as an electric vehicle, on a modular platform that will support other plug-powered cars in time. And because Kia’s designers didn’t need to factor in fuel tanks or transmission tunnels while siting the motors and batteries, the interior makes optimal use of its dimensions.

Although Kia describes the EV6 as a crossover, it defies categorization. It’s not an SUV – the roof is too low – and it’s no load-lugger, with a 24.4 cu ft cargo space allied to a tiny frunk. It seats five in comfort despite that coupe-like roofline slope, while the small rear windows are reminiscent of compact hatchbacks like the Mazda3. It’s best to think of this as a purpose-built electric vehicle, rather than trying to apply traditional labels to it.

Swift, silent progress. The standard EV6 powerplant is a 77.4 kWh battery pack, supplying 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via a single motor. Adding a second motor to the same battery pack raises power output to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft, as well as ensuring standard all-wheel drive. However, it’s the delivery of this performance that impresses most; the dual-motor configuration will hit 60 mph in four and a half seconds, which is bordering on supercar territory. It does this within a stable bodyshell whose ride is firm but controlled, and only vague steering spoils a satisfying driving experience.

Later in the 2022 model year, two other power options will arrive. A GT version will shave another second off the dual-motor’s 60 mph time, while a more affordable Light model with a 58 kWh battery pack will deliver 167 hp to the rear wheels. This will bring the starting price down to $42,115 including destination, with the single-motor 77.4 kWh engine costing $48,215 and the dual-motor configuration retailing at $52,415. The forthcoming GT-Line will cost over $57,000 when it arrives in dealerships.

A charged atmosphere. Charging remains a drawback of EV ownership, from insufficient infrastructure to limited range. While the recharging industry remains fragmented and incompatible, Kia’s efforts at advancing the cause deserve recognition. The EV6 can use 350 kW DC connectors to increase the charge from 10 to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes, while the 77.4 kWh model with RWD can cover an EPA-estimated 320 miles of range while returning 117 MPGe. AWD models see their range drop to 274 miles, while their fuel economy stands at 105 MPGe. Light versions can cover 232 miles, which is still impressive, and fuel economy is identical to the other RWD model.

A pleasant way to travel. Settle into the comfortable driver’s seat, and you face a steering wheel whose paddle shifters don’t adjust the gears – instead, they control six levels of regenerative braking (including a one-pedal driving mode). Twin 12.3-inch screens are allied to a strip of touch-sensitive buttons, and toggles on the steering wheel provide further control. Everything is responsive and well screwed-together, reflected in the presence of a five-year warranty (ten years for the powertrain itself). Apart from the motor whining under heavy acceleration, the cabin remains hushed at any speed.

Standard specification on every model includes navigation, satellite radio, and smart key functionality, while GT-Line models receive an AR head-up display, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Safety is strong across the range, with pedestrian and cyclist-detecting smart braking, adaptive cruise, and active lane control. You’ll need GT-Line models for evasive steering assistance, while the cruise control receives machine learning technology to improve performance over time. We would flag up that the EV6 hasn’t been crash-tested yet, though we’d expect a brand-new design like this to perform very strongly.

Final thoughts. It’s already becoming clear that purpose-built EVs make far more sense than ICE models which are retrofitted with batteries. The clever packaging and spacious, futuristic interior of the EV6 is testament to that, while its performance and fuel economy are outstanding. It delivers safe and comfortable travel for five adults across hundreds of miles, recharging quickly when range runs low and placing few compromises in the path of ownership.

Our complaints are few and far between – the lack of wireless smartphone mirroring is baffling while specifying AWD pushes the price close to $50,000. It’ll be easier to commend the impressive standard safety roster once the EV6 has been crash-tested, and it’s a shame base models miss out on features like parking sensors or a rearview camera system. Even so, the EV6 is a fine demonstration of how electric technology is moving the car away from internal combustion towards a more efficient future.

Alternatively, the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 offers a similar package at a lower price of $40,945 before incentives and a range of up to 303 miles. With a difference in price of just $1,170, the Hyundai could be a solid choice for those looking to get their hands on an EV with the latest technology. Both vehicles significantly undercut the Tesla Model Y crossover, which currently starts at over $60,000 and isn't eligible for a federal EV tax credit.

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