Should You Buy the Kia EV6? 7 Key Drawbacks to Consider First

So you‘re interested in the 2023 Kia EV6 all-electric SUV? As an affordable yet sporty crossover with up to 310 miles of range, the Kia EV6 catches the eye of many EV shoppers. However, as an early entry into the EV space for Kia, the EV6 has some notable shortcomings that give me pause in fully recommending this vehicle.

As an experienced technology analyst who has studied EVs extensively, I want to provide an in-depth examination of 7 key drawbacks with the Kia EV6. This isn‘t to say the EV6 is an outright poor choice – it has plenty of positives as well. But any vehicle lacking in a few key areas bears extra scrutiny before purchase. By objectively weighing both pros and cons with evidence, you can determine if the EV6 truly fits your needs and expectations for a capable electric SUV.

Let‘s dive deeper on thespecific compromises and issues you should factor into an EV6 buying decision:

Overview – Practicality and Reliability Issues Mar the Ownership Experience

The Kia EV6 touts up to 310 miles of maximum driving range from its 77.4 kWh battery pack – an impressive number for any electric vehicle today. It delivers pleasing performance as well, accelerating 0 to 60 mph in as little as 5.2 seconds courtesy of a potent dual-motor AWD setup. Early reviews praise the EV6‘s technology features and over-the-air update capability too.

On paper, it checks many of the boxes buyers expect from a practical yet quick electric crossover SUV. However, actual customer experiences reveal underlying flaws that compromise daily livability and reliability:

  • Cramped rear seat and cargo areas reduce passenger and storage capability
  • Fast charging problems plague certain model years, limiting DC charging speed
  • Concerns over brake light activation while regenerative braking

Combine this with visibility issues, real-world range and driver assist shortcomings, and it becomes clear the EV6 forces uncomfortable compromises onto owners in key areas. As an enthusiast, I can overlook cramped quarters and a stiff ride. But issues touching on charging, safety and range strike at the very competencies expected from a modern electric vehicle.

While Kia will surely iron out some teething pains on future versions, early adopters may be left frustrated by the EV6‘s lack of refinement. If you prioritize passenger space, flexible storage, and trouble-free operation, this first-generation EV crossover might disappoint.

Drawback 1 – Rear Seat and Cargo Space Can‘t Accommodate Families Well

The Kia EV6 falls short as a pragmatic family vehicle due to limited rear seat legroom and constrained cargo space:

  • Rear legroom measures just 36.4 inches, several inches less than compact SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson
  • Headroom comes in at 37.8 inches, which forces taller passengers into a reclined posture
  • Only 28 cubic feet of cargo room behind rear seat, far less than gas-powered alternatives:
VehicleRear LegroomRear HeadroomCargo Capacity (cu. ft.)
Kia EV636.4 in.37.8 in.28
Hyundai Tucson38.2 in.39.6 in.38.7
Ford Mustang Mach-E37.6 in.39.7 in.29.7

This gives the EV6 one of the tighter rear row seating areas among compact electric crossovers. While adults can manage short trips, you‘ll constantly wish for more room. Don‘t expect to take two child seats and a passenger back there either.

Cargo volume similarly disappoints for a vehicle of this footprint. You only gain access to 54 cubic feet when folding the rear seats down – an improvement but still far below the 63+ cubic feet offered by gas counterparts.

If you frequently travel with kids, grandparents or gear in tow, the Kia EV6 forces difficult compromises compared to alternatives like the Mustang Mach-E or Volkswagen ID.4.

Drawback 2 – Some Model Years Exhibit 50+ kW Charging Defects

Reliable fast charging proves essential to long-term electric vehicle satisfaction. In that regard, early Kia EV6 model years alarmingly fail to deliver consistent 50+ kilowatt rapid charging.

Owners cite multiple issues when attempting to use 50 kW DC fast charging stations, including:

  • Failure to initialize charging session
  • Charging randomly stops at 17 kW level
  • Won’t charge over 36 kW despite unit supporting 50 kW

This charging defect leaves affected vehicles totally reliant on Level 2 charging. A typical 7 kW home charger requires nearly 11 hours to replenish the EV6 battery from empty. That compares poorly to just 73 minutes when functioning as designed on a 50 kW station.

While an over-the-air update addresses detection problems, some owners report no change even after the fix. And troublingly, Kia hasn’t pinpointed the root cause behind these 50 kW failures.

Until resolved, I can‘t confidently recommend 2022 or 2023 model years of the EV6 to any buyer dependent on public DC fast charging. As an essential utility of EV ownership, buyers deserve confidence in rapid charging at the advertised 50 kW rate.

Drawback 3 – Brake Light Activation Falters During Regenerative Braking

A key EV technology that improves driving range, regenerative braking converts momentum into battery energy when decelerating. It lets you slow down by easing off the accelerator instead of using brake pedal, enabling ‘one-pedal driving‘.

For safety, the vehicle activates brake lights to warn other motorists you are slowing down. But testing by Consumer Reports confirms an issue on EV6 vehicles where brake lights intermittently fail to turn on when regen braking:

"During several hours of one-pedal driving, our EV6‘s brake lights would illuminate most of the time. But there were instances when we‘d lift our foot off the accelerator to slow down and the brake lights wouldn‘t react."

This heightens chances of a rear collision if vehicles behind you receive no warning when you slow down. Kia admits it is working on a fix. But until then, I advise manually engaging the mechanical brake pedal well before stops as an extra precaution when driving the EV6.

Drawback 4 – Rear Visibility Marred By Thick Pillars and Sloped Glass

While modern vehicle sensors and cameras aid visibility enormously, there’s no replacement for effective outward sight lines to spot potential hazards. Here the Kia EV6 will leave drivers constantly struggling to peer around large blindspots.

The rear window glass is heavily raked, seriously cutting downward visibility. Massive C-pillars further obstruct your peripheral vision, making it difficult to view adjacent lanes when changing highways:

Measurement Visibility Rating
Rear Window RakePoor
C-Pillar ThicknessVery Poor
Rear 3⁄4 VisibilityPoor

Checking blind spots requires an exaggerated head turn compared to vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This strains long drives, while making you solely reliant on cameras when backing up. If parking sensors ever fail, damaged bodywork becomes a real danger.

Drawback 5 – Real-World Range Falls Well Below 310 Mile EPA Rating

EPA test cycles allow EV automakers to advertise best-possible range figures. But reality often paints a different picture. This holds true for the Kia EV6 as energy used under real-world conditions reduces available range significantly:

  • 2022 EV6 RWD 77.4 kWh model rated for 310 miles range by EPA
  • Motor Trend test of same trim nets 274 miles at 70 mph – a 12% reduction
  • Cold weather can cut range a further 30% per InsideEVs testing

Credit Kia for eking out every last mile from the battery during laboratory tests. But for shoppers judging the EV6 by its 310 mile rating, expect around 275 miles at highway speeds, less in winter and towing. Still good usable range, but dropping below 250 miles hampers road trip viability.

If chasing maximum distance, the Tesla Model Y Long Range touts 330 miles EPA range, yielding roughly 300 at highway speed. The upcoming 2023 Chevrolet Blazer EV also beats the real-world EV6 range, with Chevy citing 280 miles range even under demanding conditions.

Drawback 6 – Driver Assist Prone to Lane Centering, ACC Glitches

Today‘s EV buyers expect state-of-the-art active safety and self-driving features comparable to Tesla‘s Autopilot system. On that front, owners report dissatisfaction with the EV6‘s Highway Driving Assist (HDA) system:

  • Frequent ping-ponging within highway lane makes HDA tiring to use
  • Multiple owners cite acceleration/braking delays when using Smart Cruise Control and HDA concurrently

This indicates room for improvement in the EV6’s lane keeping capability and adaptive cruise control integration. HDA annoyances grow quickly apparent during long highway drives. Rival GM and Ford EVs exhibit smoother, more confident assist functionality.

Admittedly, no manufacturer matches Tesla‘s self-driving prowess yet. But Kia trails behind other automakers in refinement of its assist features. The EV6 forces too many interventions to truly relieve driver workload on road trips. Expect improvements here in future model years.

Drawback 7 – IONIQ 5 Delivers Stronger Value Proposition

As a corporate sibling to the Hyundai IONIQ 5, the Kia EV6 shares plenty in common with its crossover platform mate. Yet the EV6 commands a sizable price premium over Hyundai’s alternative despite nearly identical interior room, battery capacity and performance:

ModelPriceRange (RWD)Battery0-60 mph
2023 Kia EV6$47,000310 miles77.4 kWh5.2 sec
2023 IONIQ 5$42,000303 miles77.4 kWh5.1 sec

The EV6 touts a few advantages in design, styling and features to justify its higher cost. But fundamentally, both deliver extremely similar electric SUV experiences. Unless the edgier looks sway you, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 presents a more convincing value at over $5,000 less to start.

The Verdict? Factor In Compromises Before Buying an EV6

In many respects, the Kia EV6 moves the needle forward in delivering an affordable, long-range electric crossover SUV for the mainstream. Yet early production issues around charging, safety and ergonomics risk tarnishing ownership satisfaction. Like most first-generation EVs, this Kia comes across as an ambitious work in progress rather than a fully honed effort.

I don’t dissuade buyers from considering the EV6 outright. In fact, if you adore the styling and prioritize performance over practicality, many flaws fade to the background. But families and road-trippers with high expectations around flexibility, visibility and extended fast charging need to carefully weigh the above drawbacks before signing on the dotted line.

The Kia EV6 requires accepting compromises many buyers find unpalatable given ample competitive options without such deficiencies. While attractive on paper, reality may leave you wishing you purchased its IONIQ 5 cousin instead.

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