Flash Drive: 2023 Kia EV6 GT
Hold On Tight As the Fastest Kia Takes Off
When Clean Fleet Report first reviewed the all-new, all-electric 2022 Kia EV6 in January 2022, it was an eye opener for design and performance. But there were rumors, even then, that a performance version was lurking in design studios and engineering labs someplace in the world.
That day has come, and the wait was worth it, as our day driving the 2023 Kia EV6 GT was a pin-you-back-in-your-seat experience. It places this Kia in some pretty heady performance company with electric vehicles costing way more. This Flash Drive review is a brief first look at the EV6 GT, so check back with Clean Fleet Report later for a full Road Test review.
Quick and Fast
Clean Fleet Report spent several hours on a beautiful December Las Vegas day driving the 2023 Kia EV6 GT. Tackling highways, open desert and canyon roads, venturing to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and then on the famed Las Vegas Strip, we came away appreciating not only the day-to-day usability, but also the power and performance in the EV6 GT.
The EV6 GT is a true driver’s car. With production limited to no more than 2,500 units, Kia expects it to be a second or third car for those seeking driving excitement. Marketed as a performance crossover, the EV6 GT is civil enough to handle all daily driving needs. But when placed in GT drive mode, it will turn 0-60 times of 3.4 seconds, the 1/4 mile at 118 mph and, if you’re daring enough to do so, spin the dual electric motors to their maximum of 161 miles per hour. Yes the all-electric driving range (AER) is reduced when driving the EV6 GT at 10, but the trade-off is it is the most fun place to be.
The handling on the all-wheel drive EV6 GT, weighing-in at 4,795 pounds, planted it solidly as we drove from The Four Seasons Las Vegas to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, through the Valley of Fire State Park, and then to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This 200+ mile route highlighted the performance and handling perfectly as we climbed mountain passes and wound our way through rock outcroppings and wide open desert.
In our earlier EV6 reviews (links at the end of the story) we were impressed with the performance and handling. The EV6 GT takes it up a few notches with bespoke bits and pieces that Kia says makes it “optimized for performance” compared to the base EV6 AWD, such as:
- The front motor has an increase of 115 horsepower
- The rear motor has an increase of 140 horsepower
- Total horsepower bumps from 320 to 516
- The torque goes from 446 to 545 pound-feet
- Dedicated sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers
- Performance front suspension
- Electronic limited slip differential
- Larger front brakes: 15.0” versus 12.8”
- Larger rear brakes: 14.2” versus 12.8”
- GT-only 255/40 Goodyear Eagle F1 asymmetric tires on 21” alloy wheels
The 2023 Kia EV6 GT has four drive modes of Eco, Normal, Custom and Sport that are selected from a toggle on the left side of the steering wheel, while the GT toggle is all alone on the right side. The modes are self-explanatory with Eco best when on long highway runs, Normal for everyday driving and Sport when a bit more accelerator pedal response is desired. The GT mode does even more as it also maximizes the motors for performance, but also activates the electronically controlled sports suspension.
For even more fun, the car can be placed into a drift mode by turning off the traction control and electronic stability control features, which will then send all the power to the rear wheels. We don’t recommend doing this without professional instruction, practice and a wide-open place to slide around and erase the tread from your tires.
On the Road
The front-to-rear torque vectoring seamlessly provided the needed power to whichever wheel had the most demand. The result was a confident feel when cornering with the 2.3 turns of the steering wheel (lock-to-lock) making for sharp and precise turning.
The EV6 GT has standard ABS and power-assisted ventilated front and rear solid discs. Handling and driving confidence were aided by the standard electronic stability control, electronic brake-pressure distribution and brake assist.
Kia shines with its development of one pedal driving. With three pulls of the left side steering wheel paddle, the brake regeneration force reaches the maximum setting. Regenerative braking, which uses the motors to slow the car, recharges the battery when slowing or coasting converting kinetic energy into electric energy, which is stored in the battery.
Whether around town or attacking curves like we did, this is the most convenient, efficient and fun way to drive the EV6 GT. For diehard manual transmission and internal combustion engine fans, accepting that one-pedal driving an EV is a smoother and faster experience will be hard. The only thing we can say is, it isn’t necessarily better (we at Clean Fleet Report are big fans of manual transmissions), but different.
The EV6 GT also has the very handy Auto Hold feature where, at a stop light, the brakes are automatically applied, relieving the driver and reducing fatigue in the driver’s right leg from pressing on the brake pedal.
On the Track
After driving on pubic streets and highways, we headed to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and its 1.1-mile, nine-turn road course. A pro driver took us around on a lead-follow reconnaissance lap to get a feel for the course. Then we were cut loose for two hot laps where the EV6 GT handled with superb aplomb, with top speeds on the 1,100-foot straightaway hitting 120 miles per hour. Fast is fun, but at those speeds brakes are everything, and we were not disappointed. Will you be driving your EV6 GT on a race track? We hope you do!
Movement That Inspires
Kia’s slogan “Movement That Inspires” fits well describing the 2023 EV6 GT exterior design. First up is the seamless clamshell hood that, when closed, reveals a small tiger nose grille and rectangular LED lights peeking out from the far edges of the curved nose. The sides reveal automatic pop-out flush door handles that sit above a subtle line running across the doors.
The sculpted rear features a high deck that morphs into a spoiler and incorporates the full-body tail lights. The 21-inch silver alloy wheels with black inserts and gloss black heated and power outside mirrors, finish the look. The power hands-free lift gate is sleek, smooth and unencumbered by a wiper.
The EV6 GT is built on Hyundai Motor Group’s all-new dedicated EV platform, which will see service on future EVs from Kia, plus on models from sibling brands Hyundai and Genesis. This design has a completely flat floor and provides ample leg, shoulder and head room for five occupants in a spacious interior.
The driver and passenger get heated seats that are manually adjustable, with the driver’s seat also being ventilated. The seats have suede and vegan leather trim.
Wide second row access led to comfortable rear seats; the outbound seats are heated. The split 60/40 rear seat slides and reclines, producing 50.2 inches of cargo space when folded down. Without an engine up front there is a front trunk, or frunk, for stashing small items.
The low slung dash has dual 12.3-inch horizontal color display screens that look like one piece. One screen is for the digital instruments and the other for the infotainment system. Sounds came from a 14-speaker (with a subwoofer) Meridian premium audio system with AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM/HD Radio, and wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth connection for up-to two devices, and USB power and data ports, wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi Hotspot complete the connectivity technology.
Kia has a clever design to go between the dual-zone climate controls and infotainment controls. On the narrow horizontal screen below the main touch screen, there are capacitive touch points for the temperature and fan, and then the radio controls, which include volume and channel knobs. This space saver had a short learning curve, quickly showing its benefits.
The color head-up display included augmented reality where the driver can opt-to project relevant information, such as turn-by-turn navigation and advanced safety alerts of the EV6’s surroundings.
Kia Connect provides access to vehicle systems including remote start and remote charging, and connects to a smartphone app for Apple and Android operating systems. The electro-chromatic auto-dimming rear view mirror is Homelink equipped.
The Kia EV6 GT comes with an extensive list of standard safety features beginning with seven airbags: front, side impact, side knee and side air curtain with rollover sensors. Kia’s Drive Wise safety tech is robust with advance driver assistance systems (ADAS), including lane keeping assist, blind spot detection, forward collision avoidance and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist. Other safety features are hill start assist, surround and blind view monitor with parking sensors and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Highway Driving Assist is activated when the navigation based adaptive cruise control is engaged. This technology, designed to aid in driving and reduce fatigue and stress, includes the ability to automatically change lanes on a highway by using the turn signal stalk.
Power and Range
Beyond the GT, Kia has made some changes to the EV6 models for 2023.
The two other Kia EV6 models—Wind and GT-Line—come in either rear-wheel drive (RWD) with one motor or all-wheel drive (AWD) with two motors. The EV6 Light has been dropped for 2023.
Wind and GT-Line RWD
310 miles of all electric range (AER)
77.4 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery
Single electric motor
225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
Electronically controlled top speed: 115 mph
Wind and GT-Line AWD
282 miles AER (Wind)
252 miles AER (GT-Line)
77.4 kWh NMC battery
Dual electric motors
320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
Electronically controlled top speed: 117 mph
206 miles AER
77.4 kWh NMC battery
Dual electric motors
576 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque
0-60 mph: 3.4 seconds
Electronically controlled top speed: 161 mph
The 10.9-kW onboard charger can charge up to 800 volts. When used with a 350 kW charger, it can deliver 70 miles of range in about five minutes and 217 miles in under 18 minutes.
The EV6 GT can be plugged into a 120V common wall plug, but expect replenish times to be long and slow, as in 68 hours. The best bet for owners will be to install a Level 2, 240V home charger that will take the battery from 10-percent to 80-percent charge in seven hours.
The EV6 GT also has vehicle-to-load (V2L) where power can flow out of the battery to charge e-bikes, camping and outdoor equipment or run your office while traveling. It can also be a home electricity source during a power outage.
Pricing and Warranty
The 2023 Kia EV6 GT comes in all-wheel drive only with one trim level at an MSRP of $62,695 that includes the mandatory $1,295 destination fee.
The new car warranty of five years and 60,000 miles is accompanied by the 10-year and 100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain, which includes the battery.
Observations: 2023 Kia EV6 GT
Kia says the owner of an EV6 GT will be buying it for the experience and to make a statement. Sitting lower than its competitors, it will make you do a double take trying to determine if it is a crossover or a sports sedan. It is a bit each. Performance-wise, it is a blast to drive.
So, how does the 2023 Kia EV6 GT stack-up against its competition? The Porsche Taycan GTS does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and costs $134,100, versus the EV6 GT coming in at 3.4 seconds and $62,695. It also bests the Tesla Model Y Performance and Ford Mustang Mach-E GT in price and performance.
So the question is asked: Do you really need a Kia EV6 GT or merely want one? We say yes to both!
Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all news stories and vehicle reviews, and check back with Clean Fleet Report for a full Road Test review on the 2023 Kia EV6 GT.
Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Kia.
Our time with the 2022 Kia EV6:
Flash Drive: 2022 Kia EV6
Road Test: 2022 Kia EV6
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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