CHARLEVOIX, Mich. — My friend Jamie wants an electric car — in particular, one with a hatchback so he can stow his bicycle for ride excursions. There are plenty of roomy EV hatches available, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model Y and Cadillac Lyriq. And the Kia EV6 that I just used to haul a bike here.
Electric chargers are scarce in Charlevoix, where my wife and I often visit family. The most convenient is a 240-volt charger at the LaFontaine Ford dealership on U.S. 31 south of town, which kindly allows me to charge overnight. Running low on juice in my $57,410, 2022 EV6 tester one summer weekend, I plugged into the charger for a six-hour feeding.
But how to get back and forth from our cottage 2.3 miles away? A bicycle, of course.
As with Hyundai’s similar Ioniq 5, the Kia EV6 has used its skateboard chassis to maximize interior room. That means expansive rear legroom of 39 inches — just 2.5 inches shy of a three-row Ford Expedition mega-ute, for goodness' sake — and a cargo hatch that swallowed my bike easily with the second-row seats down.
The following morning, I pedaled 15 minutes to the dealership, unplugged the Kia, loaded in the bike and returned home for breakfast.
The 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD costs $57,410 and is loaded with goodies like driving assist, leather seats and head-up display.
So the EV6 has the hatchback Jamie requires, but with the usual EV charging challenges. Which is why most EVs remain a niche product aimed at customers with multi-car garages and $50K-$80K burning a hole in their pockets.
Which begs another question from another friend, Ron: If I have $57K in my pocket, why would I spend it on a Kia and not on, say, a comparably equipped $64,990 Cadillac Lyriq or $60,090 XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate? Or even the segment’s volume king, the $67K Tesla Model Y?
Based on folks I talked with, the Kia brand name is a big challenge. But this is an ambitious brand determined to wow ... one vehicle at a time.
Take the Kia Stinger GT sportback, which offers style, power and handling for $55K — a whopping 20 grand below a comparable Audi S7. Or behold the Kia Telluride, a three-row SUV with the looks of a Caddy but a sticker price $5,000 below a comparable Ford Explorer. The sheer audacity of these handsome mainstream vehicles means they can’t be ignored.