By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
When you become a senior citizen, vehicle performance sometimes takes on a new meaning. Low 0 to 60 mph times, top speeds, mega speaker audio systems, massive brakes and large cool wheels and tires aren’t as important as they once were.
Instead, we seniors seem more interested in fuel economy, heated seats, easy access, intuitive controls, a quiet comfortable interior and expanded cargo space.
Best of Both Worlds
To our surprise, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT four-door offered the best of both worlds. For seniors it is comfortable, quiet, spacious, intuitive, well equipped and gets a very good miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 79 combined. Plus, it has those goodies we appreciate: heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, a 24-inch customizable infotainment and control screen, head-up display, cameras to watch on all sides and all kinds of driver aids.
For the Enthusiast
For the enthusiast, it has two electric motors, all-wheel drive, 576 horsepower and 545-lb. feet of torque. And that’s combined with impressive handling, good brakes, and an abundance of tech features. Then there’s 0 to 60 acceleration time listed by the manufacturer at only 3.4 seconds, along with a top speed of 161 mph. The performance level is equivalent to many of the so-called super cars.
Styling and Technology
The sleek unique styling of the Kia EV6 GT looks great and slices through the air at a low 0.28 Cd. This means less energy used and lower wind noise. Inside the four-door hatchback has a long list of the latest technologies including an excellent navigation system with Android Auto, Apple Car Play, HD Radio, Sirius XM, Bluetooth, and Voice Recognition.
Driver aids are also abundant with a variety of cameras to help the driver watch for obstacles all around the car. It has smart cruise control, lane following assist, high beam assist and even three buttons on the remote control that allow you to move the car in or out of a tight parking spot while you’re standing nearby.
We took a 250-mile road trip to wine country to see what the EV6 is like on the road and using public chargers. Most of the time we drove in the Economy mode which gives the best battery range. The navigation system said we had a full charge and a range of about 206 miles when we started, and the numbers were right on target. In addition to the Economy mode, we could toggle the wheel-mounted button, through Normal, Sport and Snow modes as conditions required.
On the bottom right side of the steering wheel hub is a chartreuse-colored button marked “GT”. Press that button and stomp on the accelerator and the car literally rockets forward making the skin on your face slide back like you are on an amusement park ride. This is not for the faint-hearted, it’s serious acceleration.
We’ve been reading about some electric vehicle owners having problems with public chargers so we wanted to check that out. The only challenge we faced was charging the EV6 GT the first time at the resort we stayed at. Thinking ahead, we had signed up for three charger apps on our phone. The resort had two charger stations, but from a different company. It took a while to download the new app, and successfully get the EV6 to start charging. The charge took about eight hours on the level 2 charger to refill the battery range to 90 percent. A level 2 charger is the same one that most EV owners would have in their own garages. Unless you do your homework and are patient, we think road trip charging could still be a challenge.
When we arrived home, we wanted to charge the battery to at least 50 percent, so the guy picking up the Kia wouldn’t have to stop on his way home. We did a quick search on the Kia navigation system and found a Shell gasoline station near our house. It had two available 50 kW chargers, and we were able to bump the battery up from 38 percent to 50 percent in less than 20 minutes. A very important feature of the Kia EV6 is, unlike many electric vehicles, it has a DC Fast Charge Port (800 volt) that allows it to charge using a 350-kW charger from 20 percent to 80 percent in about 20 minutes. If you can access to those chargers it takes about the same time to charge as it does to fill a car with gas, go to the restroom, and get a snack. However, fast chargers are not always easy to find.
The new GT is impressive, but battery range is only 206 miles. As senior citizens, we’d more likely choose the Kia EV6 GT-Line which has basically the same equipment, tech and features of the GT, but less power and a significant increase in range – 310 miles for the rear wheel drive or 252 miles for the AWD version. That starts sounding more like the range of gasoline powered cars.
Kia EV6 pricing starts at $49,995, including destination charge for the rear-wheel drive EV6 Wind and goes as high $62,895 plus options for a full featured all-wheel drive GT. The Wind and the GT-Line are both available with rear wheel drive or the optional all-wheel drive ($3,900 to $4,700).
Just like we had to adapt to smart phones, television streaming and air fryers, we know that the electric vehicles are mandated nationally by 2035 and sooner in some states. So at some point in the near future, you’ll probably be shopping for an electric vehicle, and we think the Kia EV6 is a great choice.