The 2023 Kia EV6 electric crossover offers a shared powertrain and chassis with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, distinguishing itself by featuring a lower ride and a sportier character compared to competitors like the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
In its 2023 lineup, Kia unveils a high-performance GT model while discontinuing the base Light trim level that previously included a smaller 58-kWh battery pack. All 2023 versions of the Kia EV6 now come equipped with the larger 77.4-kWh pack.
With its low roof reminiscent of a European touring wagon, the Kia EV6 GT boasts a sleek and aerodynamic aesthetic. The rounded yet muscular body is accentuated by the presence of 21” alloy wheels equipped with summer tires, perfectly filling the vehicle’s corners.
GT models of the Kia EV6 showcase neon calipers and GT brakes, accompanied by a rocker garnish that gracefully extends along the side, ultimately guiding the gaze towards a tailgate-hugging light bar. At the rear, a raked windshield, an integrated roof spoiler, and a greenhouse effortlessly rest upon the broad shoulders of the body, adding to its captivating design.
In the interior of the Kia EV6, a more understated design approach is taken. Instead of a glass roof seen in other electric crossovers, Kia introduces a distinctive console that extends outward, resembling a diving platform positioned between the seats and dashboard.
The spacious and horizontally stretched dash incorporates a line of vents, dividing a dynamic climate control panel that cleverly transitions into an infotainment menu when activated, with temperature dials transforming into volume and tuning knobs.
Highlighted by lime green cross-stitching and accents, the GT trim tester of the Kia EV6 showcases a performance-oriented flair on the steering wheel, upholstery, and dash. The interior’s most notable feature is the dual panoramic 12.3-inch Dual Panoramic Displays, seamlessly merging to form a curved 24-inch display.
This extensive display provides a wide range of navigation, diagnostic, convenience, entertainment, and vehicle information features.
To alleviate eye strain and driver fatigue, the Kia EV6 offers an integrated blue light filter as an option. Furthermore, an advanced system enables the display of live feed from blind spot cameras on the instrument panel when the turn signal is activated, contributing to enhanced situational awareness. The Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist-Rear feature can also assist in maintaining the current trajectory if an object is detected in the blind spot during a lane change maneuver.
Utilizing the 111.2 kWh Long Range lithium-ion battery pack, the EV6 GT shares its power source with the rest of the EV6 lineup. Notably, the Standard Range EV6 Light base model has been discontinued in the US due to low demand, leaving this battery as the exclusive option for the EV6 GT.
The charging hardware remains the same, supporting fast charging with the Combined Charging System at 350 kW stations, taking about 18 minutes from 10% to 80%, and at 50 kW stations, it extends to approximately 73 minutes. Level 2 home and public charging with the 10.9 kW onboard AC charger requires around 7 hours for a full charge, and the EV6 GT retains the vehicle-to-load power output feature with the adapter provided.
Impacted by its impressive performance, which includes powerful motors, high-grip tires, and added weight, the efficiency and range of the EV6 GT are affected. The EPA estimates its range to be around 206 miles per charge, trailing behind the GT-Line’s 252 miles and the Wind AWD’s 282 miles.
Setting it apart from the other trim levels, the EV6 GT showcases distinctive features. Notably, its electric motor configuration differs significantly. Kia’s engineers made a noteworthy adjustment by relocating the robust 160-kilowatt rear electric motor from the standard EV6 to the front axle.
Furthermore, they incorporated a more formidable 270-kW motor at the rear, seamlessly connected via a limited slip differential. This innovative dual motor system delivers an exceptional combined power of 576 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque, surpassing the previous best by an impressive margin of 256 horsepower and 99 pound-feet of torque.
Ensuring outstanding traction are the specially designed Z-rated 255/40R21 Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires that hug the road on distinctive 21-inch wheels. With its enhanced power and exceptional grip, the EV6 GT achieves an impressive 0-60 mph acceleration time of 3.4 seconds, outpacing both the Ferrari Roma and the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder RWD.
It’s worth noting, however, that while the EV6 GT delivers remarkable performance, its top speed of 161 mph falls short of the Stinger’s 167 mph, maintaining the Stinger’s status as the fastest car in Kia’s lineup.
In addition to its formidable power, the EV6 GT elevates the driving experience with notable enhancements. This electric hot hatch features an upgraded suspension system equipped with electronically controlled active dampers, delivering a noticeably firmer and more responsive ride across all drive modes.
Interestingly, the ride height remains unaltered. The GT’s chassis has been strengthened at strategic points, providing a solid platform for the suspension to perform optimally. Moreover, the steering has been finely tuned to achieve a tighter 2.30 turns from lock-to-lock, surpassing the 2.67 turns of the other EV6 models in Kia’s lineup.
Featuring larger wheels and high-traction tires, the EV6 commands attention with its confident exterior design. Notably, the eye-catching neon-green big brake upgrade adds a distinctive touch. At the front, four-piston calipers grip 15-inch rotors, while single-pots with 14.2-inch discs are found at the rear. These enlarged brakes not only enhance the visual appeal but also deliver improved performance by reducing the GT’s stopping distance.
Of notable importance, the upgraded brakes of the EV6 GT offer enhanced consistency and fade resistance. This improvement becomes particularly valuable when pushing the limits of the vehicle during high-speed street and track driving. It is worth mentioning that the EV6 GT weighs 5,732 pounds, which is 176 pounds heavier than the GT-Line model.
When it comes to on-road performance, the EV6 shines brightly when you activate its unique GT mode. By pressing the eye-catching neon green button, the powertrain, suspension, steering, and stability programs are all optimized for maximum aggressiveness.
This transformation takes the already nimble E-GMP chassis to new heights, making it an exhilarating companion for spirited drives. While the firmer suspension, narrower sidewalls, and sport seats may introduce a slight increase in road noise and bumps inside the cabin, the GT maintains an impressive equilibrium between sportiness and comfort, ensuring a smooth ride without compromising its dynamic capabilities.
The base price of the 2023 Kia EV6 GT is $61,400, and when accounting for minimal additional features, the total cost amounts to $62,865.
When it comes to the electric vehicle market, the Kia EV6 GT, Hyundai Ioniq 5 AWD, Mustang Mach-E GT, and Tesla Model Y Performance are all highly competitive options. While the Tesla Model Y takes a slight edge overall, the Hyundai and Kia offerings are not far behind, offering strong competition in terms of horsepower, range, and features.
In terms of horsepower, the Kia EV6 GT leads the pack with an impressive 576 horsepower, closely followed by the Mustang Mach-E at 480 hp and the Tesla Model Y at 456 hp, all of which offer strong performance in their respective high-end trims. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 lags slightly behind with a maximum of 320 horsepower, but it still offers ample power for most driving scenarios.
When it comes to range, the Tesla Model Y stands out with its impressive EPA-estimated range of up to 330 miles, setting a high bar for the competition. The Kia EV6 GT and Hyundai Ioniq 5 lag behind with 206 and 266 miles, respectively. The Mustang Mach-E, while offering respectable range options, falls to second place with 270 miles.
In terms of features, all four vehicles come well-equipped with advanced technology and driver-assistance systems. The Tesla Model Y benefits from Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network, Autopilot capabilities, and over-the-air updates. However, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 GT offer their own unique features, such as the V2L (vehicle-to-load) capability in the Ioniq 5 and the augmented reality head-up display in the EV6 GT.