Home » The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is Unbelievably Quick And Precise, But It Might Be A Bit Too Serious

The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is Unbelievably Quick And Precise, But It Might Be A Bit Too Serious

Kia Ev6 Gt Review
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The future of the performance car looks weird. After all, we’re living in a time where some of the quickest cars in the world aren’t million-dollar hypercars made of carbo-titan-unobtanium, but are instead perfectly usable family cars that happen to be really quick in a straight line. However, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT is a bit different. It doesn’t just want to be quick in a straight line, it wants to be quick everywhere, all while achieving proper sleeper status. So, does it, and has it?

[Full disclosure: Kia lent us this EV6 GT for a week so long as we returned it with plenty of charge and reviewed it]

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The Basics

Price: $62,925 US, $78,944 Canadian

Horsepower: 576 continuous horsepower in GT Mode.

Electric Motors: 160 kW front motor, 270 kW rear motor.

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Battery: 77.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Charging: CCS DC Fast Charging at 233 kW, Level 2 AC charging at 11 kW.

EPA Range: 206 miles (332 km).

Drive: Dual-motor all-wheel-drive.

Curb Weight: 4,795 pounds (2,175 kg).

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Body Style: Five-door crossover.

How Does It Look?

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Right off the bat, the Kia EV6 isn’t your typical crossover. Where others puff up their chests and paint their faces with borrowed rugged bravado, or adopt the rotund visage of roadgoing pufferfish, the EV6 goes low and lean, skin stretched taut over four wheels and a necessary passenger cell. In a world of hyenas and jellyfish, it’s a king cobra looking for a victim to sink its fangs into. It even has scales around the taillights. Every automaker, take note: This is how you style an electric crossover.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

For as cool and reptilian as the 2023 Kia EV6 GT is, this wickedly quick trim is refreshingly subtle. Aside from the massive wheels, nuclear green calipers and a little GT emblem, it can be hard to tell the hi-po EV6 GT from the lesser EV6 GT-Line. It’s a total Q-ship set up for asymmetric highway warfare.

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How About The Inside?

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Upon opening the driver’s door to the 2023 Kia EV6 GT with a delicate handshake, there are two things you’ll notice. The first is more shiny black plastic than the electronics section of your local Goodwill. Can we cut this cliché out already? Even the cheapest smartphones transitioned to smooth, matte plastics years ago, so the shiny black stuff doesn’t scream technology anymore. It attracts swirl marks like a rotting peach attracts insects, collects fingerprints like a three-letter agency, and generally ages like milk in the sun. I’ll take that silver stuff every center stack had in the mid-aughts over shiny black plastic any day of the week.

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However, you soon start to forget about the hectares of shiny black plastic as you’re magnetically drawn to a phenomenal pair of seats that should feel weirdly familiar to anyone with seat time in a Hyundai Elantra N. Sure, manually-adjustable seats in a car this pricey may seem weird, but the bolstering, lumbar support, and thigh support are all on-point, and the seat heaters get toasty. Plus, these seats actually go low, as they should in a performance car. However, the steering wheel position is as imperfect as the wheel is perfect. Kia could only do so much, given that most EV6s feature a higher hip point, but the wheel just doesn’t come far enough down or out to be conducive to a good driving position. On the plus side, the front armrests are absolutely perfect, some of the best-positioned on the market this side of a Range Rover. Armrests may sound insignificant, but they make all the difference in the world.

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The comfort continues in the second row with business-class legroom and soft yet supportive cushioning that hugs you like your mum’s basement couch. Rear headroom is a bit tight and toe space under the front seats is restricted by the buckets, but if you’re under six feet tall, you’d have to sit on a Lego to not be comfortable in this second row.

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One significant miss inside the EV6 GT is the rather disappointing cargo space. Not only is the frunk just barely big enough to fit a wheel lock key, the load area inside the hatch isn’t even close to as usable as what you’d get from a typical crossover. While 24.4 cubic feet sounds like plenty, it’s awkwardly-shaped enough that cramming the factory bag of charging cables and a folding e-scooter in the EV6 GT required folding down half the rear seat.

What’s It Like To Drive?

 

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Well, let’s get the obvious out of the way: The Kia EV6 GT is quick. Spleen-rearranging quick. Zero-to-60 mph in the low threes quick, in fact. The EV6 GT is a time machine of a car capable of blowing a Tesla Model 3 Performance or Model Y Performance into the middle of last week, all while wearing a Kia badge. I put a buddy who daily drives a Land Rover Series IIA in the passenger seat and man, have you ever recalibrated a human being before? Oh, and that savage acceleration isn’t even the shocking bit.

The first clue, aside from the massive brake calipers, is the presence of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. You know, the sort you’d find on serious performance cars rather than typical crossovers. When these magic rubber donuts are combined with stiffer springs, re-tuned dampers, and a litany of other tweaks over the standard EV6, you end up with an electric crossover that just does whatever you want it to do in the bends. Want to do all your braking in a straight line, turn it in, and ease on the power as the corner opens up? No problem. Want to trail-brake it in, apex late, get on the power early, and use the electric motors’ thrust to rotate the car on corner exit? It’ll do that too. Granted, friction brake feel in my test example wasn’t impressive, but there’s a chance it ran a hillclimb before my loan started, so the fluid might’ve been cooked.

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That being said, outstanding tires and excellent suspension calibration can only mask 4,795 pounds so much. The EV6 GT feels heavy every step of the way, which bolsters confidence at higher speeds but feels like running in clogs through tighter, low-speed stuff. Thankfully, it’s easy to sit back, relax, and marvel at how well this electric crossover rides for a vehicle on 21-inch wheels. It’s certainly firm, but even over the most pockmarked pavement, it never grows harsh. Yeah, this’ll do the school run alright.

There’s just one minor issue with the EV6 GT’s speed: It’s a bit serious. The Genesis GV60 Performance I had last year rolled and yawed about on more comfort-oriented suspension and higher-treadwear tires, occasionally feeling like a poison dart frog on a pane of glass. It wasn’t as precise or ruthless as the EV6 GT, but it was more engaging. Focusing too much on outright numbers often sacrifices fun, and I’m sorry to say this, but this ballistic Kia isn’t much fun on the street. Oh, and that’s before we get into the big, friendly, tail-wagging Labrador known as the Stinger GT. You just get the sense that if the EV6 GT was a person, it would consider weekend pickleball matches a blood sport.

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Does It Have The Electronic Crap I Want?

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The answer is an unequivocal yes. You get two massive screens, a heads up display, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, an electronically-actuated moonroof shade, a power liftgate, a powered charge port door, automatic power windows, LEDs everywhere, wireless phone charging, this thing’s fizzing fit to burst with technology. The Meridian sound system is even leagues better than typical Kia branded premium fare, with actual bass and reasonable staging.

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That being said, the EV6 GT also has electronic crap you don’t want. For instance, the radio controls aren’t actually hard buttons or even capacitive touch switches, but a separate screen. Pressing a capacitive touch button turns the volume and tuning knobs into climate control knobs, the radio buttons into HVAC controls, et cetera. The side effect here is that it’s ridiculously easy to fat-finger the automatic climate control fan speed limiter with the side of a knuckle while cranking the volume, so you’ll inadvertently turn the cabin into a sauna if, say, Death From Above 1979 comes up on shuffle.

Oh, and I’m not sure about the fake propulsion noises. There are several different noises to choose from and they’re all varying degrees of grating or annoying, so it’s best to just turn the artificially-generated noises off and enjoy the ride.

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Three Things To Know About The 2023 Kia EV6 GT

  1. Your buddy’s Tesla Model Y Performance doesn’t stand a chance against this thing.
  2. It’s a very serious sort of speed.
  3. It’s still a perfectly livable daily driver.

Does It Fulfil Its Purpose?

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Even though the 2023 Kia EV6 GT isn’t the most charismatic performance crossover on the market, it nails its brief as a flagship for Kia. Sleek, stylish, and absurdly quick, it’s a rightful heir to the Kia Stinger GT’s throne.

What’s The Punctum Of The 2023 Kia EV6 GT?

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Want to hunt Teslas? Get one of these.

(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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BOSdriver
BOSdriver
8 months ago

Funny how a lot of the talk about EVs is about performance and speed. The article mentions hunting Tesla’s but when do you ever see any of these EVs being driven above 70-75 mph or ever accelerating quickly, besides youtube? In the real world and since the first Tesla cars were rolling in the streets, I think I have seen a blazing 0-60 Tesla once or twice – and not nearly likely at full speed acceleration, let alone seeking a top speed run. The Boston area has one of the higher % of EVs and has for years, they just don’t ever seem to be driven that way. I totally understand why as well, I had a PHEV before so I know how to wring mpgs out and the desire to maximize range. I am not against these types of cars, having good efficiency and also being able to outperform nearly everything on the road is a good mix to have. Do others regularly see EV’s tearing up the streets?

Ben
Ben
8 months ago

206 miles of range is uncomfortably short even for a weekend car. One of my favorite drives comes in around 160 miles round trip, which doesn’t leave you a lot of headroom for weather and battery degradation. And given that my weekend drives generally take me into the least populated areas possible it’s not like I’m going to be able to stop and give it a quick jolt if I come up short. This only confirms to me that the minimum range I would accept from a pure EV is 250 miles, which should give me enough range to comfortably get most of the places I go regularly even in the winter.

Six
Six
8 months ago
Reply to  Ben

I mean, 206 is on the low side, but you just go and charge the thing if you’re on your favorite 160 mile trip or whatever. 20-30 min charge while you have a snack.

Ben
Ben
8 months ago
Reply to  Six

There is zero charging infrastructure on that loop. It’s almost exclusively through rural areas, and even if I wanted to take a detour I’m not sure where I’d go. There are vast areas between major metropolitan areas here that have no charging.

I don’t know if it’s still the case, but a couple of years ago I mapped the route to my brother’s house ~4.5 hours away and even in a Tesla I couldn’t get there. The estimated range on one of the route planners ended up being -12 miles or something like that because I couldn’t even get to the closest charging station in that direction from my house.

Until the charging infrastructure improves dramatically, a 200 mile EV is only good for short trips because once I get more than an hour from home I have to start wondering if I’m going to make it back.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
8 months ago

Serious question – what makes this a crossover as opposed to your regular ol’ hatchback? I don’t detect any pretence of high ground clearance, any black plastic cladding around the wheel arches or any tall body. Is it just the giant wheels? The thing is, I’ve had a general disdain for crossovers (faux wheel drives, as we call them in Aus) since their inception. I think I… like the way this looks? The fact that there is a crossover that I think I may want makes me feel all dirty inside.

Acevedo12
Acevedo12
8 months ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

I saw three of these yesterday and they seemed on par with our Crosstrek, but It’s almost a foot longer, slightly narrower, and lower to the ground.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
8 months ago
Reply to  Acevedo12

Crosstrek is an interesting comparison for dimensions. In the pictures this looks wider than a Crosstrek – obviously things look vastly different in the flesh than photos.

Acevedo12
Acevedo12
8 months ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

the proportions from this platform really are deceiving. I remember when the Ioniq 5 came out every review made mention of how much larger it was than it looked in photos

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
8 months ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

Price. It’s hard to justify that kind of money for a “hatchback” so they just call it a crossover.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
8 months ago

True. As a performance oriented EV it’s already eye wateringly expensive though.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
8 months ago

I was seriously tempted to get one of these. Maybe once the markups faded a bit, at least. A stupid-fast electric hot hatch! What’s not to like! But that range hit is rough. With the fast charging, 270 miles is about the point where road trips aren’t too bad along interstates if the chargers are mostly functioning properly. A couple hours driving, quick pee/charge/drink stop, a couple hours driving, lunch and charge all the way up, Couple more hours with a pit stop, then stop for the night and charge to 100% while sleeping. But just over 200 miles is kind of an awkward middle ground that’s overkill around town but too short for longer trips.

Still kind of tempted by the AWD Wind EV6, but I may hold out for an EX30 or maybe just replace the fun car with an electric Cayman when it comes out.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
9 months ago

Gentleman and gentle ladies, let’s imagine an alternate world. Let’s take the design language and all of the drivetrain etc and package it into a sleek, sexy coupe. It would be lighter, lower and handle better and get more range. And would sell like shit. It’s ironic that we live in a world of CUVs but also have the performance potential that we do. So we end up with this weird, jack of some trades, master of none, God forbid its a sports car, mash up.

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
9 months ago

Death from Above! Right on Frankenstein is my driving jam!

Rafael
Rafael
9 months ago

Hey, no fat shaming here! Leave them pufferfishes alone.
As a matter of fact, I would love one of those in rotund minivan form!

Factoryhack
Factoryhack
9 months ago

“capable of blowing a Tesla Model 3 Performance or Model Y Performance into the middle of last week”

Uh, no.

Sure, the EV6 GT is fractionally quicker than the Model Y Performance, but it certainly isn’t blowing it into last week.

The Model 3 Performance is slightly quicker than the EV6 GT, at least up to about 80 mph.

Being about 700 lbs. lighter, the M3P stops better, has better lateral grip, quicker passing times, and would likely have the dynamic advantage to have lower lap times on most tracks.

Of course, a slight Achilles heal is range on the GT. I suppose Kia didn’t want to add more weight with a bigger battery pack and figured it was worth the compromise.

Car and Driver got 190 miles of range in their 75 mph test which isn’t all that bad compared to 220-230 for the Model 3 and Y Performance.

Still, the Kia has a really compelling overall package that brings something new and unique to the EV market.

I can see why shoppers would be intrigued. Plus they look absolutely sinister in dark colors.

The Dude
The Dude
9 months ago

This is my top car choice for now if there’s a world where I ever need to commute regularly.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
9 months ago

> collects fingerprints like a three-letter agency

I read these articles for Thomas’s similes as much as the content.

Ben
Ben
8 months ago

I enjoyed this line:

You just get the sense that if the EV6 GT was a person, it would consider weekend pickleball matches a blood sport.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 months ago

“Body Style: Five-door crossover.”
(followed by a paragraph telling us how un-crossover it is)

That’s because this isn’t a crossover. And it baffles me why Kia (and Hyundai with their Ioniq5) call these crossovers – as it would behoove them for CAFE purposes to consider them cars.
Like the VW Golf, the Mazda3, the old Lancia Delta, the Saturn/Opel/Vauxhall Astra or the MINI 5 door hatch, etc. – It’s a 5 door liftback.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Last edited 9 months ago by Urban Runabout
Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
9 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Hatchback? Fastback-wagon? Either doesn’t matter to me, because they’re both NOT crossover and therefore inherently cooler.

Edit – As a side note, I refer to my Niro EV as a hatchback, even though Kia calls it a CUV. It’s lower than any SUV/CUV I’ve owned. It’s FWD. The only thing that gives ANY CUV vibe at all is the ubiquitous application of body cladding.

Last edited 9 months ago by Geoffrey Reuther
Genewich
Genewich
8 months ago

I’ve said it before, these quick EV crossovers are 7/6th scale hot hatches and I’m OK with that.

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
8 months ago
Reply to  Genewich

Absolutely, because it means us tall people (in 4 seats) can finally fit comfortably in something that looks like a hot hatch.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago

“I wonder where Ruth is…” – Firesign Theatre

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

“Want to hunt Teslas?”

Oh, are we encouraging street racing now? Because this kind of talk sure sounds like you’re encouraging street racing.

“Get one of these”

With a range of 206 miles and our shitty EV charging network for $62k? No thanks.

Kasey
Kasey
9 months ago

I wish automakers would just bring back fake plastic wood instead of this piano black crap

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago
Reply to  Kasey

Totally agree. Piano black just looks super-cheap.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 months ago
Reply to  Kasey

This.

Marlin May
Marlin May
8 months ago
Reply to  Kasey

It doesn’t even need to be fake plastic wood. With modern plastics tech, even recycled, it could be fake plastic granite, marble, fabric, whatever you want, with a nice matte finish and feel to hide fingerprints.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
9 months ago

It’s faster than a Model Y performance but not a model 3 performance. Its more a competitor to the Y. I just can’t get past that range penalty vs the GT Line. I would still love one just to decimate cars and then they have to live with the shame of losing to a Kia. Charger owners would be inconsolable. They are also selling for $57k around me.

Is Travis
Is Travis
9 months ago

That is asking a lot from those brakes at 4,700 lbs with that amount of scoot.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago

This drive system needs to go into an Ioniq 6, except with perhaps a 35 kWh battery pack that is designed to be much more power dense than anything Hyundai is currently using so as to make enough power to maximize the capability of this drive system, while keeping the car around 3,600 lbs. Then I’d be interested.

Last edited 9 months ago by Toecutter
3WiperB
3WiperB
9 months ago

It’s a total “get off my lawn” moment, but the base EV6 AWD 0-60 seems plenty fast for a daily at 4.8 seconds. Even the base RWD version at 7.3 seconds is probably still going to feel really fast around town because of the instant torque an EV provides. When I rode in a BMW I4 M50 at the auto show, my reaction was, that’s cool, but I’d probably buy a lower trim if I were to get this car, because there’s no reason I need to accelerate that fast in a daily driver. It was a bit much. Our PHEV will do 0-60 in the mid 4’s in Sport Mode. I tried it a couple times to check it out, but it generally it is in EV mode with 0-60 over 10 seconds, and that’s just fine around town in traffic.

Drew
Drew
9 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

I’m with you. I drove the GT-Line for a week and I don’t think I’d ever really want more speed/power. Especially with the GT having quite a range hit, there is no way I’d go for one.

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
8 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

What is your PHEV, Volvo S60 Recharge or V60 Recharge?

3WiperB
3WiperB
8 months ago
Reply to  BOSdriver

BMW 330e

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
8 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Thanks, didn’t realize those were that quick off the line!

Gewf631
Gewf631
8 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

An 18-month EV6-Wind AWD owner (24K miles) here.
With a 0-60 time around 4.5 secs, it’s faster than most of the Mustangs and Camaros (that can’t even come close in wet/snow driving). – and try to put 2-3 people in the back seat of either, for any length of time, and you’ll never be the car pool favorite.

It’s basically a wickedly fast largish 4-door hatch, with enough range for a weekend road trip. Perhaps an over generalization, but with the average EV cost/mile about 60% of an ICE, and without getting into the whole EV infrastructure/charging debate, it works really well for 90% of my driving.

JC 06Z33
JC 06Z33
9 months ago

You keep saying crossover… but is it really? To me, this is a hot hatch with maybe a few extra inches sticking out over the rear wheels.

Drew
Drew
9 months ago
Reply to  JC 06Z33

It’s a short wagon, in my estimation.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  JC 06Z33

The EV6 is about halfway between a Volvo V60 CC and XC70 with the square back clipped off. In person, it looks like a long hatchback or a clipped wagon.

Rob
Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  JC 06Z33

I went from a 2015 Volvo XC70 T6 AWD to a 2023 EV6 Wind e-AWD. This car is stupid fast as it is. I bet the GT is amazingly fast.

I test drove my EV6, along with a Nissan Ariya, Mustang Mach-E and Ioniq 5. Those three were crossovers. The EV6 is more of a wagon. It’s lower to the ground, has a lower roofline.

The Dude
The Dude
9 months ago
Reply to  JC 06Z33

I agree, but if the future of crossovers means we’re just returning to proper hatchbacks and wagons under a “crossover” label then I’m all for it.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
9 months ago
Reply to  JC 06Z33

It’s got 6.1 inches of ground clearance, so a bit higher than a regular car (eg Kia Forte at 5.3), which is probably enough to fit the increasingly blurry definition of a crossover

Arturia
Arturia
9 months ago

I still wince when I see prices for any car above 55k-ish, but relatively speaking it’s pretty incredible to think this sort of performance in this price range is going to become the norm.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
9 months ago

80k…. yikes

Drew
Drew
9 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

I don’t know about Canadian dealers, but local dealers have been knocking a few thousand off of the MSRP (looks like around 6k off the GT, so it’s still over $50k American, but not quite as bad as MSRP suggests, plus they are knocking an additional 7500 of leases for the EV tax credit). Kia definitely overshot on price, though, especially considering the GT range hit.

Last edited 9 months ago by Drew
Drew
Drew
9 months ago

I had a loaner GT-Line for a week recently, and I definitely don’t think I’d need to move up to the actual GT, but those seats do look more supportive.

I didn’t really care for the capacitive buttons for the seat ventilation/heating, much like the radio/climate dual-function. At least the seat heat is always one thing. That switching was kind of a pain, especially with a passenger unfamiliar with it trying to do things (even more distracting than me messing with it).

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