Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD Long-Term Wrap-Up: Now that was a good year

Key takeaways:

  • The EV6 managed to be cheaper to operate than any gas-powered long-term test car we’ve tested

  • Its shape may not be traditional, but it’s an eye-catching design that turned heads all year and doesn’t make big compromises to utility

  • Kia’s charging technology is superb, but that can only take you so far with today’s troublesome and finicky fast-charging network

This one’s a hard goodbye. The long-term Kia EV6 GT-Line that’s been in our fleet is gone, and it’s going to be one we miss. In the end, we steamed on past the 10,000-mile mark, and while there have certainly been some unplanned dealer visits for updates and road debris, our EV6 proved reliable and a real joy over the course of a year.

While we had tested virtually every new electric vehicle by the time the EV6 made its way into our fleet, it represented our first chance at putting an electric car through a year-long test. The nature of typical weeklong loans for media simply can’t reveal the true ownership experience of a car, especially for EVs when charging is such a pivotal part of the experience/ordeal. That’s one of the big reasons why we wanted to commit to a yearlong test of an EV6. Thankfully, the Hyundai/Kia/Genesis E-GMP platform cars are heavy hitters when it comes to charging.

Read all Long-Term Kia EV6 updates here

But before getting into the public charging question, it’s vital to recognize the importance of charging at home. Some of us here at Autoblog have Level 2 chargers installed at our respective homes, and for those of us who do, the public charging infrastructure is almost a non-issue. Outside of road trips, no day trip around metro Detroit will require more range than the 274 miles our EV6 is rated for on a full charge, leaving folks to come and go from their homes without ever typing “EV charger” into Google Maps.

However, those who did require use of public fast-charging facilities found the EV6 to be a superb vehicle for such a use case. Its fast charging allows it to go from 20-80% in just about 18 minutes, and our EV6 consistently performed at its claimed abilities. We’d show up at the local Electrify America with competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E or VW ID.4 already charging and be done and gone before they finished. That may not be as exhilarating as winning a drag race, but it still feels like winning to us.

Where things got trickier (and annoying) is when the weather turned. Those who charged at home continued to do so without so much as being slightly perturbed, while those who charged at fast chargers found the wait times significantly increased. Unfortunately, our 2022 EV6 didn’t have a battery preconditioning system that pre-heats the battery to allow for ultra-fast charging straight out of the gate. You’d need to sit at a charger for a little while before the speed ramps up, but it more than doubled our typical dwell time at any particular fast charger. Waiting 40 minutes at an Electrify America or EVGo isn’t an uncommon wait for many EV owners, but when you’re accustomed to 20 minutes or less, the reduction in performance is extremely noticeable. Thankfully, Kia has since added a battery preconditioning system to newer EV6s and is even offering a software update on models that didn’t have it from the factory.

In terms of long-term fit and finish, our EV6 held up over the course of the year to a more than satisfactory degree. It both arrived and left without any squeaks or rattles. The black and white two-tone interior is still looking fresh and unblemished. However, the piano black trim all around the center armrest and console area wasn’t as lucky, further cementing our view that piano black trim is not a good finish for often-touched interior components. The fingerprints and highly visible dust only go away if you constantly clean the area, and that’s just extra heartache we don’t care to deal with on a daily basis.

All we have is praise for how the EV6 has held up from a driving perspective, too. The acceleration from the AWD dual-motor GT-Line is fantastic, verging on excessive for what is ostensibly a family car or daily driver. We’re glad to have opted for the dual-motor, though, as it’s kept the day-to-day slog exciting, and snow driving turned out to be pain-free with a big dollop of sideways fun thrown in. Unlike a run-of-the-mill gas-powered crossover, the EV6 can positively pin you to your seat at the drop of a hat with that instant maximum torque sensation you get from powerful EVs. The low center of gravity means it’s always ready to tackle a highway onramp or keep up with cars it has no business keeping up with on a winding road. And when you do push the EV6, it has some real staying power to its acceleration, not falling off in shove until you’ve run it ragged for a long while. Its wide tires and sporty suspension keep it from flopping around or otherwise behaving like the big, heavy crossover that it is. Really start pushing it, and you’re likely to get some eager rotation through tighter corners when you power through them, too.

It’s a genuinely good car to drive without having overt sporting intentions, though it’s obviously nowhere near as much fun as the full-fledged EV6 GT that goes from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Acceleration aside, though, skipping the more hardcore GT for the AWD GT-Line isn’t as sad as it might sound. The GT is heavily compromised when it comes to range, and while its bucket seats are great to sit in, the manual adjustment doesn’t seem fitting for such an expensive car.

If you were curious about some of the nitty-gritty details concerning efficiency and cost-to-run, we kept track of those over the course of the year. In the end, we averaged 2.9 miles per kilowatt-hour. That is slightly missing the mark of where the EV6 GT-Line AWD should be for combined efficiency (right about 3.1), but we’re going to blame our driving behavior for its final figures. A combination of numerous long road trips, lots of low-temperature winter driving and a penchant for using the EV6’s full 320 horsepower often combined to help us to that 2.9 figure. From a total energy used perspective, we consumed approximately 3,400 kWh of energy at a cost of about $1,200 for the year. For some perspective on that number, the U.S. Energy Administration says the average home in 2022 used 10,791 kWh of energy in a year. 

The EPA’s fuel economy site suggests our EV6 will cost about $750 per year for 15,000 miles of driving, but our more extravagant costs are a result of far more fast-charging sessions than a typical user. The EV6 still managed to be cheaper to operate over a year than any gas-powered long-term car we’ve tested, but do beware of costs stacking up if you’re going to rely on the nation’s public charging infrastructure as a primary energy source.

And that wraps up our year in what’s arguably one of the best and most exciting EVs on the market. If you have any questions about the car, make sure to hit the comments below, and I’m sure we have an answer for you after a year spent in the saddle of the Kia EV6. And for every story we wrote about our long-termer, head right here.

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