Review: The 2023 Kia EV6 Is a Fantastic EV With One Major Drawback

You really should consider Kia's hottest EV6 — but prepare for one huge concession

2023 Kia EV6 GT
(Images: TFL Studios | Zach Butler)
 Seriously quick Lackluster 206-mile range
Cool styling No usable frunk and small cargo area limits practicality
Good ride comfort and handling capability May not stand out enough from the “normal” EV6 for your liking

2023 Kia EV6 GT Overview: A sweet-looking hot hatch

Okay, technically the EV6 gets the clichéd “crossover” tag, but this GT model looks, feels and goes every bit like a hot hatchback. As bummed as I’ve been at the Stinger’s passing, I’m perfectly willing to give this hopped up EV a fair shake if it can deliver the same blend of style and fun as that short-lived fastback did.

Things look good on paper — at least for the most part. Using a dual-motor setup, the all-wheel drive 2023 Kia EV6 GT puts out a whopping 576 horsepower and 545 lb-ft of torque. Those figures easily make this the most powerful Kia ever and that pays dividends: It’s every bit as quick as a Tesla Model Y Performance in a drag race. Kia’s official numbers put the GT’s 0-60 time at 3.4 seconds, while the Tesla manages that sprint in 3.5.

It’s not just straight power that makes a good performance car, though: Braking and handling are also important considerations. The Kia EV6 comes well prepared in those departments too, thanks to a larger brake package with 15-inch rotors at the front and 14.2-inch rotors at the rear (all ventilated), electronically controlled suspension and an electronic rear limited-slip differential. Our tester also rides on EV-specific Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 tires, a grippier option provided you don’t plan on driving them in cold or icy conditions (more on that below).

This is one of the coolest looking EVs around

On the styling front, Kia’s design team knocked the EV6 out of the park. I admit it may take some time to take everything in, but there are so many cool details both inside and out that it didn’t take long to win me over. That’s particularly true with the swooping rear end, including the liftgate design, the slim light bar and the shoulder line that gives the car a wider, more planted stance. And those are just the broad-stroke elements that really stand out — even smaller things like the square patterns in the brightwork and how Kia integrated the charge door make the EV6 and its hot GT variant cooler than a lot of current EVs on the market.

While the 21-inch wheels are definitely a nice touch for a performance car, I’m still not entirely sure about the neon green brake calipers. They certainly stand out (not to mention that theme continues with the interior), but there’s presently no factory option to paint them a different color should you want it.

In fact, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT doesn’t offer too much choice with its color palette, period. While the Runway Red shown here is a great option, you only get four other hues to choose from, with Yacht Blue being the only other no-cost option. Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl cost an extra $495, while Steel Matte Gray will set you back an extra $695. I’d honestly choose either no-cost color and I imagine many other GT buyers will do the same, at least if they want their car to stand out a bit more against the crowd.

Looking inside the 2023 Kia EV6 GT

Interesting touches abound once you step inside the EV6, as well. Most of the major pieces carry over from the lesser models, including the two-spoke steering wheel, dual 12.3-inch screen infotainment system, prominently placed power button and rotary gear selector. The GT gets a special button (also with a bright green tint, lest you miss it) to enable GT mode, which is a step above Sport mode as the most hardcore setting. That button also points you to the custom drive mode, where you can dial in the major powertrain and handling settings to your liking.

One weird (and slightly frustrating) decision with the EV6 manifests itself when you look at the center stack. You only get a single bank of knobs and touch-sensitive “buttons”. Here’s the rub, though: Next to the top-level climate controls, there’s a section to switch to either more climate settings or media controls for the infotainment system. You can’t have both at the same time, and the selector to move back and forth between the two (highlighted in orange below) is incredibly easy to miss if you don’t already know about it.

The 2023 Kia EV6 GT largely mirrors the standard car, outside the GT button, the faux-carbon fiber dashboard trim, the special GT badging and the sporty bucket seats. Those seats can be a bit off-putting for larger drivers, but the black suede and leather seats with green contrast piping and stitching are remarkably comfortable once you settle into them for a bit.

If you’re looking for luxury, however, here’s fair warning that the GT doesn’t get power-adjustable seats on either side. Neither seat offers lumbar adjustment, either, which I find annoying as I get older and creakier.

Up front, the driver and passenger get USB-A and USB-C ports at their disposal, while you can also pair up two Bluetooth devices up to the infotainment system to make managing the tunes a bit easier on a road trip. Below the floating center console housing the power button, gear selector, heated seat/steering wheel buttons and the wireless charging pad, you do also get a reasonably deep storage bin. Useful in theory, but it’s not particularly easy to reach from either side without contorting around the controls that sticking out from the center console. Still, it’s better than not having anything at all.

Hop in the back, and there aren’t too many noteworthy details with the 2023 Kia EV6 GT. Second-row passengers get a couple USB-C ports, but there’s another nice touch in the EV6 below the middle of the rear bench. Kia provides a couple of full-blown 120V, 16-amp outlets, which is something you don’t normally see in an EV. While it is powered as long as the car is on, you can actually use the key to lock your passengers out if you don’t want them draining the battery.

Great tech, not-so-great cargo space

As is usual with any crossover, the 2023 Kia EV6 GT can seat up to five passengers. That’s all well and good, but there’s another down side to consider when packing in all their gear. Thanks in large part to that swoopy liftback design and the small cargo opening, the EV6 only offers 24.4 cubic feet of capacity with the rear seats in place.

Fold them down and you still only get 50.2 cubic feet, which is disappointing against the Tesla Model Y‘s 68 cubic feet. Even the Ford Mustang Mach-E offers up to 59.7 cubic feet of cargo volume, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping around for a performance crossover. Unlike the Model Y, the Kia EV6 has no frunk, either. All that space is filled with fluid reservoirs and powertrain components, as with your conventional gas-powered or hybrid crossover.

On a more positive note, though, the 2023 Kia EV6 comes loaded with all the automaker’s best driver assistance tech. That includes a useful surround-view camera system, forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping and following assist, adaptive cruise control, safe exit (that keeps you from opening the rear doors if a car’s approaching) and remote smart parking assist. You also get the aforementioned wireless charging, as well as a 14-speaker Meridian surround sound system.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

The Kia EV6 GT offers stellar performance…but there’s a price to pay

Beyond all your standard EV6-ness, where the GT obviously stands out is on performance. The awesome thing about powerful dual-motor EVs, no matter which model, is the smooth and immediate acceleration. That’s especially true when you put it in GT mode: Not only does that disengage the traction control so you can slide around the corners, but it also tunes the throttle response to the most aggressive possible setting. Another key element to unlocking the full 576-horsepower package, as shown in our drag race video, is enabling the “Maximum Power Output Mode”. When you’re above 70% state-of-charge, the car will condition the battery to provide the best possible grunt.

Not only is the EV6 GT stupidly quick in a straight line, but it’s decently planted in the corners as well.

I didn’t expect that given the car’s 4,795-pound curb weight, but Kia did a good job tuning the suspension to keep that bulk well under control. Of course, that does mean the car rides on the firmer side. You’ll want to leave it in the default Normal mode or switch into Eco for the best ride comfort, but I found the GT compliant even in the more hardcore settings. It will largely come down to your own tolerance, but for the enthusiast that prefers a stiffer ride (without having their fillings shaken out of their skull), this car strikes a solid balance between comfort and handling.

Even better, the GT is a car that likes to hang the tail out — sometimes a bit too much in icy conditions. It tends to shift power rearward as much as possible, which is great for drifting around the bends, but you will want to get a proper set of tires if you’re planning on daily driving this car in the winter.

Despite the car’s dynamic capability, though, there’s one massive reason you won’t want to push the EV6 GT too hard: range.

Sadly, that’s the toll for having all that grunt, because the GT packs the same 77.4-kWh battery as the normal EV6. Turning up the wick to crank out the maximum amount of power from the dual-motor setup drops the driving range to just 206 miles…a whopping 97 miles short of a Tesla Model Y Performance and 64 miles short of the Mustang Mach-E GT. The Tesla does get an 81-kWh unit, but barely cracking 200 miles (under ideal conditions) makes what is otherwise a fantastic hot crossover glaringly flawed. That sort of range just isn’t good enough in 2023, period.

There’s one (sort of) silver lining

Fortunately, Kia provides an almost get out of jail free card with the 800-volt ‘e-GMP’ architecture. That allows DC fast charging up to 240 kW. If you live somewhere that offers up high-wattage charging stations — also a more common sight these days, thankfully — then Kia says you can charge up from 10-80% state-of-charge in about 18 minutes. So, while you’ll have to visit a charging station more often, the abysmal range shouldn’t hamper your routine too much.

On an 11-kW Level 2 AC charger, charging up takes a little over 7 hours.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Verdict: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT is almost my new favorite EV

You’ll have to live with the car’s range and practicality pitfalls, should you decide to pick one up. I think you should (or at least consider it), though. The awesome styling, solid overall feel and adrenaline-pumping acceleration go a long way to selling this EV for me. It’s not the absolute best-handling electric car around — the Porsche Taycan is the hands-down winner in that competition — but the 2023 Kia EV6 GT is a hell of a lot of fun that should give the competition something to think about.

Granted, this car’s $62,865 price tag is a big ask for a Kia. As much as I’ve steamed and cursed over how expensive cars are getting these days, though, that figure is really a matter of perspective. It’s within striking distance of both Ford and Tesla, and it’s far quicker than your base Porsche Taycan 4S for more than $50,000 less.

Need some more research on your side? We pitched the hottest EV6 against our new Tesla Model 3 Performance and Tommy also offered his take, both of which you can watch below: