Nearly 600 horsepower in any vehicle can do a lot to make a person happy. Nearly 600 horsepower in a silent EV with instant torque can make a person feel like they’ve ingested a bunch of amphetamines.
That’s the appeal of the 2023 Kia EV6 GT. Normally, when you hear the call of the open road, you might seek out a traditional sports car, but this EV turns that notion inside out.
It’s not perfect – it’s probably more of a straight-line sportster than a true corner carver – and it is a tad pricey. Probably too pricey for some. But all that is easy to forget when you tromp the accelerator and summon a case of the giggles with the acceleration on tap. Just be careful not to summon a member of your town’s police department for a nice little wallet-lightening “chat.”
It may not be a true corner carver, but that doesn’t mean it’s terrible when faced with a curvy road. It simply has some limitations and certain flaws that become apparent when pushed hard. When pushing at a lower effort, the EV6 GT is fun enough. Its height, hatchback body style, and slightly heavy curb weight don’t leech too much fun away. Sport and GT mode make things even more fun, and the use of one-pedal driving is a nice brake-saver that also helps with car control.
Push harder, however, and body roll rears its ugly head and the tires sing a little too soon. Artificial, slightly numb steering saps from the experience, though turn-in is nice and sharp.
You also sacrifice some ride comfort to go for a GT – it’s definitely a stiffer-riding vehicle that the normal EV6. That’s likely to happen anytime you opt for a higher-performance model.
Another tradeoff? Manually adjustable seats that were a tad too stiff on longer drives for my taste.
At least the brakes are stout and the acceleration can make up for speed lost in corners. For those wondering, the front suspension is a MacPherson strut setup with dual lower arms and outback it’s a multi-link setup.
Peeling back the curtain on the spec sheet, the EV6 GT makes 576 horsepower, 545 lb-ft of torque, and is all-wheel drive via the use of dual electric motors (160 kW front, 230 kW rear). The lithium-ion battery pack has 77.4 kWh of energy. Find a 350 kW charger and you can get 80 percent of charge back in 18 minutes – it’s closer to 73 minutes on 50 kW units.
The cabin is a decent place to do business, with adequate front head- and legroom for most adults, and I like how the gauges sweep into the infotainment screen. Like most new Kias, one can easily switch the controls from audio to HVAC with a button press.
Standard or available features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, Meridian audio, Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, Bluetooth, vehicle-to-load charging, head-up display, cargo-area power outlet, power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, multiple USB ports, and keyless entry/starting.
Safety systems include blind-spot monitoring, blind-spot collision avoidance, driver-attention warning, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, forward-collision avoidance, lane-following assist, lane-keep assist, high beam assist, smart cruise control, and turn-signal-activated cameras.
My test car had a base price of $61,400 and just one option – carpeted floor mats at $170. So with destination, the as-tested price came out to $62,865.
That’s a lot of cheddar for a hatchback Kia EV – even one with this much performance. It’s not exactly a Sunset Strip cruiser. That price may make some buyers think twice.
For those aren’t put off by the price, they’ll get acceleration in spades and handling that’s fun enough until it isn’t. It’s a neat trick, and outside of a stiff ride and too-stiff seats, the comfort and convenience sacrifice isn’t huge.
Trying to wrap your brain around the performance-for-price equation may turn you inside out, but given the smile-inducing thrust available, this is one rendezvous that won’t leave you feeling empty inside.
[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC, Kia]
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