Starting At $61,600
The Kia EV6 GT is the highest end trim Kia currently offers on its EV6 line. It’s packed with features and in terms of performance is capable of besting many supercars.
Kia’s EV6 has won its fair share of awards, including being named Best Utility Vehicle in the North American Car of the Year awards. While the vehicle’s most basic trim offers a lot, an extra $20,000 or so will get you the EV6 GT—which Kia claims is the most powerful vehicle it has ever built.
The South Korean automaker was kind enough to send one of these out for a week, so I could test it out for myself. What followed was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in an electric vehicle. However, there are some notes and some drawbacks. What I can say right off the bat is it has earned its little GT badge. It’s everything a GT should be. You just need to make sure a GT edition is for you before you pull the trigger on one.
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I initially tested the EV6 GT in its normal “drive mode.” There are actually multiple driving modes; one is suited to snowy conditions, another focuses on eco-friendly driving, and yet another makes the EV6 safer in snow. It’s June, so aside from a brief dabble in “Sport Mode,” I stuck to “Normal” for the most part. Then, a few days in, I noticed a clear stretch of road and decided to tap the green “GT” button on the right-hand side of the steering wheel.
The first thing you may notice when you press the GT button is a significant drop in your predicted range. This makes sense, as blasting around at 576 horsepower consumes a bit more juice. That is, unless you hit the accelerator, then the first thing you’ll notice is your face somehow going through the headrest. The acceleration on the EV6 GT is enough to leave supercars looking a bit confused in your rear-view mirror. It’s genuinely exciting, a touch terrifying, and the most fun you can currently have in something battery-powered and costing less than $100k. You can even tap the GT button while on the move and experience an instant burst of acceleration as the extra horsepower kicks in.
In terms of raw numbers, you’ll get 576 horsepower, 545 lb-ft of torque, and a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds when GT mode is enabled. That torque and the AWD configuration also mean that the vehicle will stick to the road like your nervous sweat-covered shirt will stick to your back. All in all, it’s a great driving experience. The one downside comes with the fact you’re on public roads most of the time. The throttle map is very aggressive while in GT mode, and a light brush of the pedal will see you blast forward and hit most speed limits in the blink of an eye. America needs the Autobahn.
Later in the testing period, my wife, who was in the passenger seat, asked what the green button did. Instead of explaining, I tapped it at the next stop light and decided to demonstrate. Four days on, she’s still in a mood with me—some people.
It’s worth noting that there’s also a “drift mode” that can be activated by holding down the right paddle for three seconds. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to play with this as there was nowhere I could safely do so, and I didn’t want to have to chat with the nice people from the fleet management company about why the $60,000+ car they were responsible for is now wrapped around a tree in Saratoga County.
The EV6 GT has over double the horsepower you’ll get from the base trim. That comes at a pretty hefty cost, both in terms of practicality and to your savings account. A standard 2023 EV6 will set you back $48,700 before things like tax and destination charges, while the EV6 GT has an MSRP of $61,600.
Then there’s the reduction in range. The extra motors and extra power mean you’ll need to charge your EV6 GT more often than its less powerful counterparts. The vehicle I tested will go 228 miles on a single charge, though this depends on your driving style. A tap on the GT button will reduce that range by a noticeable amount.
This isn’t too much of a worry. The average driver will still only need to plug in around once per week, and if you have a level 2 charger in your garage, it becomes a lot more convenient. But it is worth noting that the EV6 GT probably isn’t an ideal road trip vehicle. The EV6 is capable of DC fast charging, and a Level 3 charger could see it refill around 80% of its battery in under 20 minutes. But the current EV infrastructure is awful, and that is in no way Kia’s fault.
The EV6 GT is a good-looking car. It has a touch of muscle about it, as many crossovers do. It also has a bit of an aerodynamic edge and a slightly futuristic look a lot of EVs tend to roll with. It all sits on a set of 21in rims, which add a hint of sporting pedigree to the whole thing. The brakes are also a striking lime green, a theme that continues throughout the GT trim. You’ll find it in various areas of the car, inside and out, and it really does make things pop.
On the inside, it’s got the feel of a futuristic racer. The dashboard looks carbon-fiber-ish, and the wheel is coated in the same, probably “vegan,” leather you’ll find lining the seats. Then there’s the suede that makes up the bulk of the seats, part of the dash, and the door lining. The suede is a very nice touch, both visually and texturally. The center console and dash are a bit Starship Enterprise, especially when combined with the two 13-ish inch displays that provide you with your instrument cluster and infotainment menus. The infotainment, AC options, and other features are also managed via a touch strip just below the central screen.
The seats also play into the racing theme. They look a bit like bucket seats and do cradle your body pretty well. They aren’t actual bucket seats, though, as you can sit in them for more than 20 minutes without wanting to die. Instead, they’re quite comfortable and likely more style than substance. Again, the GT logo and green trim feature on the seats, complimenting the dark grey upholstery wonderfully.
The EV6 GT uses Kia’s UVO infotainment system, which includes navigation, a media player, and the ability to call friends and relatives while on the road—provided your phone is connected. It also has both Apple Car Play and Android Auto if you connect via a cable. While I preferred the latter for things like Spotify access and voice commands, Kia’s map system is better than Google’s. Whatever you’re playing your music through, it will be piped through a set of Meridian speakers, which are decent enough.
In terms of USB Ports, unless I missed one, you have a grand total of one USB Type-A, which is on the floor. On top of that, you have a 12v socket, the kind that would have a cigarette lighter in it way back when, and two USB-C ports available.
While we’re steadily transitioning to USB-C, C-to-C cables are still less common than A-to-C. If there’s an iPhone user in the car, C to lightning cables are an even bigger rarity. You could argue this is future-proofing from Kia, especially as Apple might be switching to USB-C soon, but at this current moment, it’s a bit of an annoyance. This is balanced out somewhat by the wireless phone charger Kia has included.
Then there are all of the cameras and sensors dotted around the vehicle. The top-down parking camera is particularly useful, though it does lead to a situation where you’re using it for even the most basic parking jobs to ensure everything is inch-perfect. Or maybe I’m just weird there.
Things like speed limits, directions, and other information can be displayed via an augmented reality HUD, which works very well and stops you from having to take your eyes off the road. This isn’t a unique feature, but it is one that’s easy to mess up. Kia hasn’t done that.
If you ignore the enhanced performance for a second, you’ll become aware that this is still a Kia EV6 underneath all of the green trim and aggressive acceleration. That’s in no way a bad thing. Kia’s EV crossover is an outstanding utility vehicle, hence the little trophy cabinet you’ll see if you ever encounter one at a car show.
There’s plenty of space in the front and back for passengers, the trunk is generous, the seats fold down to provide over 50 cubic feet of storage space should you need to transport something massive, there’s a large storage space under the center console, one under the armrest, two cup holders, and spaces in the door cards. Don’t give this car to a hoarder; it’ll be packed with junk within a week. You even get a tiny little “frunk” for some reason. If you pop the hood and subsequent plastic cover, there’s a so-small-it’s-pointless area where you can store an emergency phone and some bandaids or something.
Storage aside, the car has exceptional grip and great ride comfort. If you couple this with the heated seats and heated steering wheel, then you no doubt have an excellent winter vehicle. I tested this in June, so I can’t 100% confirm its winter performance, but I’d rather tackle the snow-covered hills of Upstate New York in this than most other vehicles.
Finally, you have an entire suite of safety features at your disposal, including things like highway driving assist, safe exit assist, an advanced cruise control system, blind spot detection, collision avoidance, etc. etc. If you do manage to somehow bin it, it has a top-notch crash test rating, so you’ll probably be okay even if the car isn’t.
If we’re digging deep, GT stands for Grand Tourer and is meant to signal that a car is great for long-distance driving, which the Kia EV6 GT isn’t, and is significantly more powerful than the base model, which it is. But in reality, the meaning has always leaned heavily on the power aspect and not so much distance driving. GTs have always been gas guzzlers, and almost always have a larger engine than the standard trim. In terms of comfort, the ride quality and seating tick the long-distance box, too, even if “refueling” is a pain due to the current infrastructure.
On the performance front, the Kia EV6 GT absolutely nails it. Once that green button is pressed, you’ll feel like a 17-year-old behind the wheel of a Golf GTi, or someone going through a mid-life crisis blasting along in a Porsche Carrera GT. That excitement is there, and that’s what you need. Is it a sensible purchase? Absolutely not; it’s the GT trim.
If you want an EV but have no intention of ripping it down country roads for fun every now and then, you should maybe consider one of the EV6’s more basic trims because it is one of the more practical EVs on the market. If you have the extra cash, and don’t mind plugging it in more often, then the most powerful vehicle Kia has to offer is a pretty solid boredom cure.
Starting At $61,600
Here’s What We Like
- Face-rippingly fast
- Packed with tech
- All wheel drive
- Looks great
- Pretty practical
And What We Don’t
- Less range than other models
- Very expensive