Kia EV6 Air

Kia EV6, 2021, front
Kia EV6, 2021, nose
Kia EV6, 2021, side
Kia EV6, 2021, side
Kia EV6, 2021, interior
Kia EV6, 2021, rear
Kia EV6, 2021, boot

IF this is the future, then count me in.

Kia's EV6 is a game-changing all-electric crossover which brings long-range, zero emissions power and ultra-fast charging to the family market for the first time. And it's deeply impressive.

It's currently available with two configurations - 321bhp four-wheel-drive form, and the more affordable single-motor, 226bhp rear-drive version here. Battery capacity is 77.4kWh regardless of which motor set-up you choose.

GT-Line and GT-Line S models are available with both rear- and all-wheel-drive. The Air is sold exclusively with rear-wheel drive.

Naturally, the single-motor version of the EV6 is actually the one that promises the greatest range - a whopping 328 miles (similar to the distance between London and Edinburgh) or, 459 if you stick to the city.

All versions come with an 800V charging capability which means the EV6 can go from 10-to-80 per cent battery charge in just 18 minutes.

We're getting close to the Holy Grail, it seems. You'll still need to allow around seven and a half hours to perform the same function on a home wallbox though

The rear-wheel versions come with a plentiful 350Nm of torque which will spirit the EV6 to 62mph in 7.3 seconds though it feels so much quicker due to the instant availability of its electric power.

The EV6 definitely looks better in the metal than in photos but it's not just stylish on the outside - the cockpit is a bit of a stunner too. Two curved 12.3-inch high-definition widescreens wrap around the driver providing easy access to key vehicle information at a glance.

Directly in front of the driver is a customisable ‘cluster screen' which displays information such as speed, range and state of charge. Next to it, paired in a seamless curve, is the central display screen combining the navigation, infotainment, and menu systems.

Below this sits the car's new multi-mode display, something which will feature in future Kias. This replaces physical buttons with a dedicated ‘haptic' touchscreen, providing easily accessible shortcuts to control the heating and air conditioning or, at the touch of a button, the infotainment and navigation system. This gives drivers quicker access to the car's most used systems while allowing them to keep more attention on the road.

The eye-catchingly futuristic centre console, which contains the forward/reverse rotary dial, sits at elbow height and quite literally ‘floats'. It's not connected to the dash at the front and there is no connection between it and the floor, opening up a huge amount of extra storage room.

Quality materials are used throughout for a durable but welcoming feel. The cabin is also trimmed in a range of sustainable materials, with seats trimmed in vegan leather. Sections of the dashboard and centre console are clad in recycled plastics.

Despite the EV6's relatively compact exterior dimensions - it's no longer than a compact saloon - its 2,900mm wheelbase is longer than that of the Sorento SUV, the largest car Kia sells in the UK. With the flat battery under the floor, cabin space is class-leading with plenty of legroom for those in the front and the rear.

However, adults in the back might find the low, sloping roofline design cutting into their head room.

There's an ample 490 litres of boot space which increases to around 1,300 litres with the 60:40 second-row seats folded, and there's an additional 52 litres of storage space under the bonnet for RWD models.

Even the entry point Air is well equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED rear lights, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, automatic headlights, rain sensing front wipers, smart keyless entry, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, smart cruise control, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats and steering wheel.

All models feature front centre, twin front, twin curtain and centre side airbags and there are also ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings for the outer rear seats. There's also the usual suite of safety devices including an emergency braking system and lane keep assist.

But, the EV6's ace in the hole is that it's been engineered to be fun to drive. Essentially, Kia's engineers have conspired to give it the feel and engagement of a rear-wheel drive sports saloon and, by and large, they have succeeded. Anyone who has written off electric cars as characterless and boring needs to get behind the wheel of one of these.

With a low centre of gravity, the EV6 is endowed with a sportier, lower slung driving position and, with no need to accommodate an engine or driveshafts, its wheels are pushed far into the corners of the car. Mixed with its long wheelbase, you have a vehicle which is stable, steady and comfortable at cruising speed but an absolute hoot on something a little more twisty.

The steering is precise and agile and allows you to place the car perfectly through corners. Together with that instant electric power and masses of grip, it's highly engaging. It doesn't take long to build your confidence high enough to push it hard through a series of bends, complete with idiotic smile.

FAST FACTS

Kia EV6 Air

Price:£40,945

Mechanical:225bhp, 77.4kWh electric engine driving the rear wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed:114mph

0-62mph: 7.3seconds

Combined MPG:328mpg

Insurance Group:0g/km

C02 emissions: 1%

Warranty:7yrs/100,000miles

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