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]
Price: $62,925 US, $78,944 Canadian
Horsepower: 576 continuous horsepower in GT Mode.
Electric Motors: 160 kW front motor, 270 kW rear motor.
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).
Body Style: Five-door crossover.
How Does It Look?
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.
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.
How About The Inside?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Does It Have The Electronic Crap I Want?
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.
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.
Three Things To Know About The 2023 Kia EV6 GT
- Your buddy’s Tesla Model Y Performance doesn’t stand a chance against this thing.
- It’s a very serious sort of speed.
- It’s still a perfectly livable daily driver.
Does It Fulfil Its Purpose?
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?
Want to hunt Teslas? Get one of these.
(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.