When Kia announced they were going to sell an SUV quicker than everything else on the road, we chuckled in disbelief. Fast forward a few years and the 2023 EV6 GT is very real, much like its 430kW of power and exceptional driving dynamics.
An electric vehicle (EV) from a family-centric brand sounds like something for the masses, but the EV6 GT offers nothing short of driving nirvana. Too short to be an SUV, it’s also too cool to be a crossover. It’s also not a sedan or a wagon.
The silhouette of the Kia EV6 falls under none of these categories. Its low roofline and long bonnet make it appear almost wagon-like, but its ground clearance matches that of a crossover. Forget trying to pigeon-hole it, basically.
All you really need to know is that the 21-inch alloys and neon green brake callipers make the EV6 GT stick out in a carpark like white sneakers at a funeral; it’s inappropriate, and that’s why we love it.
Coloured brakes and tailgate badging aside, it would be almost impossible for car nerds to identify the GT trim. Sure, the headlights are slightly different and the car rides 5mm lower, but that’s pretty much it.
Visual upgrades over the less expensive EV6 Air and GT-Line are virtually non-existent, but that’s not necessarily a negative. From the rear wing to the Cyberpunk-esque rear lightbar, the EV6 GT is a striking car in the flesh.
Moonscape Matte is the coolest finish in the paint palette, but we adored the Aurora Black Pearl on our test vehicle. Interestingly, the only option you can tick on the EV6 GT is paint, which is at a premium unless you fancy Runway Red.
A stealth package to de-chrome the vehicle would be outstanding, but perhaps that’s a little too ruffian. Inside, the bucket seats in the GT take some getting used to. They’re manually adjusted and incredibly supportive.
It’s what you would expect for a vehicle tested at the Nürburgring. The green seat stitching and piping only adds to the interior pizzazz. The build quality and materials on the inside are acceptable too, with a chic blend of artificial suede and faux leather.
The plastics used for the centre console and steering wheel controls are subpar for a circa $100,000 car, but manufacturing costs had to be cut somewhere. We’d love to see a full carbon-fibre interior package, just to highlight this is the performance variant of the EV6.
On the dashboard is a pair of crisp 12.3-inch screens. The left infotainment screen is responsive and exclusively operated by touch, which would be fine if the gear selector wasn’t the same shape, size and position as a conventional infotainment ‘swivel wheel’.
You can get used to it, unlike the screen’s far back position, which makes it a faff to operate on the fly. Thankfully though, a copy of your essential audio controls can be found on the steering wheel.
Standard across the range, you get goodies such as wireless phone charging, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, as well as wired Apple CarPlay and Android Audio. The GT takes it up a notch, featuring an augmented reality head-up display.
It also grabs heated front and rear seats, and a tasteful 64-colour ambient lighting arrangement. The vehicle also boasts a 14-speaker Meridian premium sound system, which includes a subwoofer and four tweeters.
It’s highly configurable and produces decent bass, but we could not get the speakers to tickle our audiophile pickle. At this price point, Volvo’s Bowers & Wilkins sound system takes the cake.
The rear seats are spacious enough for most adults up to say the 190cm mark, but seating three abreast is a squeeze. For children, however, it’s perfect. There are three top tether anchors and two ISOFIX mounting points.
Plus, if your little ones are escape artists, the powered “child-proof” rear locks will keep them safe. We found it a bit finnicky to control though, so it did cause some grievance among colleagues.
The boot is a respectable 480-litres with the rear seats up, meaning it’s more spacious than a Volvo XC40 Recharge but less deep than the platform-sharing Hyundai IONIQ 5. There is also a “frunk” under the bonnet, but it offers a measly 20-litres of storage.
Frankly, or ‘frunkly’, it’s next to useless since closing the bonnet requires more effort; the boot is all you need. The EV6 GT boasts plenty of outward visibility, but a plethora of cameras, including blind spot cameras while indicating, make the behemoth easy to drive.
Almost every safety gadget on the market is standard on the GT, including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and even haptic steering wheel feedback.
The bells and dings will drive you nuts, but thankfully most of them can be disabled. On the road, the EV6 GT is calm and composed in most drive modes. It’s quiet on the inside, power delivery is predictable, and the suspension wafts over most imperfections.
Like the 2022 Kia EV6 Air this writer drove last year, this vehicle exceeded expectations as an everyday cruiser. However, once you hit the neon green “GT” button on the steering wheel, all hell breaks loose.
Traction is reduced and all performance becomes accessible. The EV6 GT produces an astronomical 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque, making it the Korean marque’s most powerful production car to date.
All-wheel-drive means the 0-100km/h sprint is achieved in around 3.5 seconds, and top speed peaks out at 260km/h. Yes, there are online videos of this soccer-parent-mobile humiliating supercars in a straight line, but we were also impressed by the handling.
In the bends, the GT offers decent steering feedback and benefits from a low centre-of-gravity since the batteries are well placed. A spirited drive is brought to a speedy halt thanks to beefy brakes, which have 380mm and 360mm discs at the front and rear.
Being all electric, the instant delivery of torque is a bizarre sensation. The uninitiated will wee in fear in Sport mode, but they will defecate in terror while in GT Mode. As mentioned, traction is reduced, so this over-two-tonne vehicle will ‘dance’ if you floor it.
You also have no chance of a perfect launch if the surface is wet. Of course, you could always drive the vehicle like a rational human being, but then why buy the GT variant? To add to the mayhem, the GT features a hidden Drift mode.
We certainly should not be telling you that it can be engaged using a series of steps found on Kia’s website, including turning stability control completely off. We gave it a crack in a controlled environment, but sadly it requires significant speed to effortlessly slide.
Kia knew us petrolheads would miss the burble of a motor, so the EV6 GT produces some funky techno noises as you accelerate. The sounds are configurable, and while they won’t pump adrenaline into your veins, they’ll make city driving a tad less mundane.
As for range, the EV6 GT can go 424km on a single charge, which is significantly less than the Air’s 528km. However, Kia’s range calculator is dead accurate, so range anxiety isn’t too bad.
If you’re charging at home using an 11kW AC charger, 10-100 per cent takes over seven hours. However, 50kW and 350kW DC charging is supported and will slash that figure drastically. Like any other electric car, charging tends to be an overnight procedure.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT will set you back a cool $99,590 before on-road costs. Yes, it is the brand’s most expensive, and it’s crazy that it shares the same badge as the sub-$20k Picanto S.
That said, almost nothing gets close to the GT’s performance and practicality at this price point. Both the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Volvo XC40 Recharge are excellent alternatives that offer similar equipment for less, but they lack the GT’s absurd power figures.
Beyond the GT lies the Porsche Taycan GTS, but that’s more than double the price. Meanwhile, petrol-powered SUVs with this level of performance are deep into the six-figure realm. All that aside, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT is no rational purchase.
It’s simply too quick for suburban roads and school runs. If you want something sensible, get your hands on the Air or GT-Line. But, if you want a little anarchy in your life, this offers practicality and stupendous performance – and we’d own one in a heartbeat.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Kia EV6 GT, contact your local Kia dealer.