“I would have never considered buying a Kia… until now”

close up photography of car wheel

Recent years have seen a lot of progress in this area. The dependable South Korean auto maker has always been reasonably popular in Australia, thanks to its large range of affordable and reliable (if somewhat dull) cars. However, Kia and South Korean car brands generally were characterized as boring. They’ve started to shake off that dowdy image in recent years thanks to some very inspiring vehicles.

black and gray mercedes benz steering wheel

First, there was the Stinger: a four-door performance sedan that very cleverly filled the void left by the demise of the Commodore and Falcon. It was a stunning vehicle with stunning styling, a powerful twin-turbo V6 engine and luxurious interior. Although the car didn’t achieve the sales success Kia had hoped it would, the vehicle will be discontinued at the end 2022. However, it did move the needle in terms of what Aussies expected of the brand.

Another success for Kia has been the diminutive Picanto. Picanto is one of the most affordable and small-sized new cars in the country. The GT variant is an incredible car and, dollar-for-dollar, the best enthusiast’s car currently on the market.

If the Picanto and the Stinger were a one-two punch, Kia has now thrown a third killing blow with the announcement of their newest electric vehicle – EV6. It’s high-tech, stylish, practical, and has surprisingly impressive performance credentials. This could be the most exciting vehicle reveal of 2021.

yellow honda sedan on road during daytime

Kia’s head of design, Luc Donckerwolke (who was previously at Bentley) says the EV6’s design was inspired by rally cars like the Lancia Stratos. It’s not something we can see, but it is a beautiful thing.

EV6 is a compact crossover SUV and the third vehicle to utilise the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which is shared with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the also recently-unveiled GV60. The Genesis is aimed at luxury buyers, while the Hyundai is more general, but the EV6 is more performance-oriented. This is a characteristic its futuristic, muscular looks and purposeful stance reinforce.

It’s not just looks that differentiate the vehicles. Although the Ioniq 5 is very similar mechanically to the EV6, the EV6 is faster. It has a 239kW dual-motor, all wheel drive, 77.4 kWh batteries, and a 0 – 100 km/h time of 3.5 seconds compared to the Ioniq 5’s 5.2 seconds. (which is still not bad, but it’s still.3 slower than that of the Kia Stinger). The EV6 has a longer range (528km), and can charge faster (only 4.5 minutes to recharge 100 km).

It’s quicker than the Model Y, an EV pioneer’s compact crossover SUV, which has yet to reach Australian shores. It’s faster than the Tesla Model X SUV with the highest spec, the Model X Performance. However, it’s not as fast the Model X Plaid which hasn’t yet made its way to Australia.

close up photography of car wheel

It’s clear that Kia and its parent company Hyundai are aiming squarely at Tesla with the EV6. It’s a battle that Kia can win. Kia’s build quality can be compared to Tesla’s. The EV6’s simple cabin layout (with buttons and switches! The EV6’s minimalist cabin layout makes Tesla’s otherwise sparsely furnished cabin look more luxurious than it is. Kia is likely to outperform Tesla in terms of servicing, warranty, and customer service, especially in Australia.

You could be forgiven for thinking this was a Lambo’s interior, but nope, it’s a Kia. The EV6 features a similar two-spoke steering wheel design to those found in Genesis vehicles, Hyundai’s luxury marque. Image by Kia

But the EV6 isn’t just aiming at Tesla. The EV6 is not just aimed at Tesla. South Korea stakes its claim to the future of motoring with the EV6 and its EGMP siblings. It’s a bold claim.

Kia has not yet announced a date or cost for the EV6’s arrival in Australia in the next year. But it is certain that it will be less expensive than its European/premium competitors. Or at the very least, it will be a worthy contender.

And ultimately, that’s what we think is so special about the EV6. The EV market in Australia, which is admittedly still very young, is dominated either by luxury brands on one side or plain offerings on the opposite. The EV6 is not one of these things. We believe it will change South Korean vehicle design and also shake up the EV/performance landscape.

In short, we’re bloody excited.