Hatchback With A Kick
EVs are notoriously quick off the line. The Kia EV6 GT takes it to an entirely new level.
By J-F Wright
Thu, Jun 15, 2023 10:37 AM PST
Images by the author.
Sure, the Kia EV6 GT starts at over $61,000, but what other hatchback gives you 576 horses and the ability to accelerate away from supercars? By the way - the word “hatchback” doesn’t seem to be in use anymore, with the auto manufacturers opting for words like “crossover” and acronyms like “CUV” (Compact Utility Vehicle) when talking about the car category in their branding. Unfortunate, in my opinion, since a hatchback has so much to offer. But, I guess the choice in name doesn’t change that.
GT vs GT-Line
When it comes to model names, and their respective trim levels, there’s even more flexibility. The branding and marketing department can call their cars whatever they want and then give each model a couple of trim levels. So, why oh why did Kia opt to call one of the trim-levels of the EV6 the “GT-Line” when they also have the Kia EV6 GT..? There’s a big difference, at least in power - 256 extra horses to be exact… With a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds, the Kia EV6 GT will accelerate faster than a Ferrari Roma and the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder RWD. The Kia EV6 GT-Line - although it’s also plenty fun - will not.
There are two types of people when it comes to cars. There are those who are at least somewhat interested and who at least make some effort to appreciate a new feature or function or capability on display. Then there are those who could not care less, barely glancing at the technology available to us fortunate enough to live in this rapidly advancing era of vehicular transportation. The latter group, of course, is the hardest to impress.
Not that you’d ever get one of the absolutely-not-at-all-interested to go for a random test-ride (why would they?), but on the off chance they are riding with you - maybe you’re carpooling, good on ya! - the Kia EV6 GT might be one of the very few normal-looking cars capable of impressing even the most car-averse individual. For when you smash the accelerator of an EV6 GT, things change.
Frowns turn to smiles. Stomachs tickle. Butterflies flutter by. Heads hit headrests. Calm, risk-adverse wife says “do that again”. Kids go silent. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Supercar Expectations Met
What’s expected in a supercar becomes reality in a KIA… In a KIA! The EV6 - being an all-electric vehicle - immediately accesses all 576 horses and a full 545 lb.-ft. of torque whenever the accelerator is floored. It’ll whip in place whoever isn’t already sitting back in their seat, and may even surprise a driver inexperienced with this kind of power. When a car takes off this fast, you rapidly cover a lot of ground and your speedometer quickly adds up the MPHs.
While demonstrating the acceleration capabilities of the EV6 to a friend I noted that I’m only accelerating really hard, not breaking the speed limit. His comment was that if we got pulled over I could plead to a judge “I was in a KIA, there is no way what that officer claims I did can have happened. You must have me confused with some other (super)car”.
For those who know what to look for, they’ll definitely see the bright red EV6 GT with the yellow-green brakes. For the random person on the sidewalk it’s just another electric vehicle in an ever-growing mass of EVs. Sure, the EV6 certainly has a few exterior details that hint at the power available, but those hints don’t make it stand out (too much). You have the take-off power of a Lambo without the head-turning that goes with it.
The EV6 GT looks like a hatchback on fire - especially wearing the red coat our review vehicle adorns. Sharp and edgy - in the physical sense - lines traverse from front to back, the headlights swooping to the side of the car morphing into the outer wheel well. The black door-sill turns into an artistic design element that lines up with and connects with the taillights. All together, it’s very nicely held together by these eye-catching cues.
The EV6 isn’t huge, no. But, fold the rear seats down and you’ve got yourself a large and very useable flat space for hauling stuff. With the rear seats up, three kids can fit abreast and maybe three adults - if they’re either really small adults or you’re only going a short distance.
Does that mean that the Kia EV6 GT would qualify as a family car? Absolutely - plenty of space for a family (we have three kids) and their stuff, with the added bonus of hatchback versatility enabling you to haul larger items or Costco-scores. And let’s not forget the fact that you can burst away from supercars - maybe the most fun bonus of all.
The sport seats - actually the entire interior is sporty - hint at the power available. They also come in very hand if you decide to tear up a corner, keeping your butt and torso firmly still. They’re comfortable enough for longer drives too - again, the versatility is impressive.
With two giant screens tilted slightly towards the driver, a myriad of controls accessible on the steering wheel, and a head-up display projecting pertinent information directly in front of the driver, there is no need to take your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes off the road. Kia has done a good job making sure that the driver has all the possibilities in the world to drive safely, even if they’re also supplying 576 horses.
Power & Handling
I’ve already mentioned the smile-provoking whiplash-inducing acceleration of the Kia EV6 GT. With that kind of power comes a great deal of responsibility - not just on behalf of the driver, but of the car as well. That much power - raw electric torque - can easily get out of control if the car itself can’t handle it (assuming the driver can).
The EV6 GT, fortunately, can handle it. Engage sport mode or GT-mode and the car transforms from an eco-friendly EV to something much much more aggressive. The entire feel of the car tightens up and the accelerator responds a whole lot faster. Colors change in the displays - in GT-mode the green on the screen matches the green seems in the seats - and the eco-friendly features make way for displays of power available.
Cornering - especially in sport or GT modes - is sharp and precise. As long as you still have the traction control active (it turns off in GT-mode but not in sport mode) you can floor it and let the system deal with keeping the tires from spinning.
It’s worth an extra note, that the traction control is turned off when in GT mode. This is a very powerful electric vehicle, and as such the EV6 GT would make for a great drifting car. However, for pulling out of parking lots one should probably not go higher than the sport mode as the rear will most definitely pop out if you floor it in GT-mode. Trust me.
The fact that this is a hatchback is, for me, really appealing. The ability to fold the rear seat and suddenly have more space than some so-called SUVs would with their rear row folded away is awesome. Having a race-car disguised as a red hatchback - an EV at that - also has its perks. I’m being eco-friendly while having a good time driving. If it weren’t for the yellow-green brakes and some extra exterior styling (the latter less apparent for the untrained eye) the Kia EV6 GT would fly under the radar as a hatchback EV. Nothing to see here folks. (Oh but there are)
About The Author
John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.