Up close with the 2022 Kia EV6: A more futuristic take than the Ioniq 5, with charms of its own

Parsing the strange relationship between automakers Hyundai and Kia would take a licensed therapist. The two companies (but really kind of one company?) share so much DNA between their vehicles, but also have a stubborn insistence that each is very different. The same paradigm will be true with the 2022 Kia EV6, which was conceived […]

Parsing the strange relationship between automakers Hyundai and Kia would take a licensed therapist. The two companies (but really kind of one company?) share so much DNA between their vehicles, but also have a stubborn insistence that each is very different.

The same paradigm will be true with the 2022 Kia EV6, which was conceived and planned alongside the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. They will be both relatives and rivals, riding on the same electric-global modular platform (E-GMP) and offering the same basic powertrains as well. Flip open the hood of both and you’ll even see the exact same “EV” stamp on the cover of the front storage area.

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

But as I started to look closer at the EV6 after seeing the Ioniq 5 in person and snap some photos last month, I think that Hyundai and Kia might have a point in this instance. The Ioniq 5 leans heavily into retro nostalgia with its 8-bit inspired styling cues, while the EV6 takes the opposite approach with a futuristic look that wouldn’t look out of place on a movie set in a distant future. 

While the Ioniq 5 tries to hide its size, the EV6 wears its crossover-ness much more proudly. It is long and lean, with a roof that tilts downward slightly once you clear the end of the A-pillar. Move down the sides and there’s a prominent black trim piece below the doors that shoots up at the rear fender and matches the cut of the taillights in an appealing way.

Dimensionally, it’s 185.0 inches long which is 2.3 inches longer than the Ioniq 5 even though the wheelbase is 3.9 inches shorter, thanks to much more prominent overhangs front and rear. There is 27.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, slightly more than the Ioniq 5’s 27.2 cubic feet, but it has less cargo space with the seats folded (53.5 cubic feet vs. 59.3 cubic feet). There is a tiny storage compartment under the front hood that seems like a place to potentially store some rags or towels, but not much more than that. It certainly won’t fit a bag or a backpack. Do we even call it a frunk?

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

The interior styling matches the exterior’s futuristic vibe. The ambient lights were set to a magenta in the EV6 I was inspecting, popping brightly against the black interior (most prominently in the rear door storage pocket). There isn’t a sliding center console like the Ioniq 5, but that’s fine by me; it didn’t seem to be of much use in the Hyundai. A prominent start button that’s shaped like a “power on” button sits in front of a rotary gear selector and a rather large wireless charging pad that can fit even supersized phones. 

There is one part of the interior that closely matches the Hyundai: a pair of 12.0-inch screens stationed in a single housing, one serving as an instrument panel and the other controlling the multimedia system. Instead of a white housing however, this one is piano black and there doesn’t appear to be the same magnetized display board to the left of the screen in front of the driver. Above that screen will be an augmented reality head-up display, a first for Kia. There will also be 100% vegan leather surfaces on some trim levels, to lower the vehicle’s carbon footprint even further.

Despite appearances and the shorter wheelbase, backseat room in the EV6 still impresses. Four adults will fit comfortably even on longer trips and the headroom is better than that sloping roofline would suggest. It feels like a compact SUV inside on size, albeit one that’s rather close to the ground to preserve some of the aerodynamics and keep range higher.

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

There will be six different EV6 variants offered eventually (matching the name), offering a choice of 58.0-kwh or 77.4-kwh battery packs, and rear- or all-wheel drive. All versions will thankfully offer the same 800-volt DC fast-charging capability, with the ability to charge from 10% to 80% in less than 18 minutes. With the larger battery pack, you can add nearly 70 miles in less than 5 minutes, says Kia. And similar to the Ioniq 5, the EV6 can function as a generator to power appliances, tools, campsite equipment, etc., via a socket between the rear seats or an adapter that plugs into the charge port.

The question that comes to mind after seeing both vehicles, is which one do I prefer? Give me the Kia. I like the vibe of the interior more and I think the exterior styling is very cohesive. And Kia is going to offer a performance oriented GT version that will have 576 horsepower and a 0-60 time of under 3.5 seconds. There is no equivalent planned for the Ioniq 5 as of yet. But truly, you can’t go wrong with either. The pair forms the most exciting vehicles to come from the Korean automaker(s) in perhaps their whole history.

Kia has already begun accepting pre-orders as of June 3 for the EV6, which is set to arrive at dealerships in early 2022 with the EV6 GT to follow in late 2022. Though the EV6 has my heart for now, I can’t wait to drive both.