Video: How the Kia EV6 Compares With the Tesla Model Y
By Cars.com EditorsApril 20, 2022
About the video
Find out how Kia's new EV6 electric crossover fares against our Best Electric Vehicle of 2022 award winner, the Tesla Model Y.
(upbeat music) Why are we comparing a Kia with a Tesla? Well, if you haven't been paying attention, Kia's been making some really premium products recently. But sometimes they come with a premium price. So this is the all new 2022 Kia EV6.
It's an all-electric crossover. And this range-topping model is $57,000. And next to me is our Tesla Model Y, which is our long-term test car that we purchased last year, and when we bought it, it was $60,000. There's a hackneyed phrase out there: When any new EV comes out, it's called a "Tesla fighter." We're guilty of using it. (I didn't edit that one.) But I wanted to show you a couple areas where I think the EV6 is actually getting close to offering something compelling against the Tesla Model Y. First, though, let's talk about how they're similar. So, they're both crossovers in the sense that means they're high-riding hatchbacks, and these have all-wheel drive. And what all-wheel drive means for an electric car is there's an electric motor in the front, an electric motor in the back and powered by the battery. These also have a very similar coupe-inspired design, which means they have kind of a teardrop, fastback shape. And they also have very similar wheelbases. But here's where they differ: So let's start with controls. So the Model Y is this amazingly efficient EV with long range, it's fun to drive, has lots of great charging opportunities both at home and on the road. But one of the most polarizing things about it is this touchscreen, which is the main control for everything, pretty much: multimedia, climate, vehicle controls, even the speedometer is in here. There's no instrument panel. And, y'know, for a while, when we first bought the car, I liked this a lot, but there was a user-interface update that hid a lot of functionality. A lot of stuff we used frequently got buried in menus, and we lost some functionality, too. It did give you a couple new things, but overall, the new update kind of hurt the way that we like to use this touchscreen. There's no such concern in the EV6. In the EV6, you have large screens, you have an instrument panel right in front of you, and you also have a head-up display on this top-range model. What's pretty cool is the head-up display also shows some augmented reality for navigation, as well as driver-assist features. Bummer is, it doesn't work that well with polarized sunglasses. Now, when I say fairly traditional controls, there's one thing here that is, I think, cool? I can't tell yet, but the controls here for your multimedia and your climate, they switch between climate when you hit it here, and multimedia when you hit it again. We love volume and tuning knobs, and this gives you that function while also doubling as climate control. So, I like that a lot. The Model Y's user-interface update buried the heated seat control in a deeper menu. In the EV6, the heated seat, the ventilated seat and the heated steering wheel are all right here on this little command center touchpad. And it's great to have that access right there when you want it 'cause when I'm driving, I'm always fiddling with that stuff. Let's talk about roominess. So, because EVs are unencumbered by engines and transmissions, you don't see the intrusion in space for driveline tunnels like you would on a gas car, and some cars take advantage of that in interior packaging better than others. I think the EV6 does a better job of that than the Model Y because you have this center console storage that's open. So typically, you have a center console that flows down from the dashboard and then back, and you have storage here like the Model Y. This is open. So you have this very large tub right here, this is open over here, and you have this Starship Command console that's just really cool. Where the EV6 doesn't fare as well is how I fit in the car. I'm 6 feet tall and my head was constantly brushing up on the driver's-side grab handle. Now this car does have the optional sunroof, not even like a fancy or fun sunroof, it's just a normal sunroof, and it robs headroom. Haven't driven one without the sunroof, so I don't know if I'd fare better. But my seat is down as far as it will go and I was not comfortable driving the car. There's a lot more headroom in the Model Y. I fit in the Model Y much better, there's a lot more cargo room, too. The passenger roominess is better executed in the Model Y. It is a little bit longer and taller, and the extra length does allow you to choose a third row if you want, which the EV6 doesn't have, but the third row's usefulness is somewhat limited. Headroom in the third row? Not great. (sad horn music) So let's talk about power outlets. The EV6 has two AC household-style outlets in the car. There's one in the backseat, kind of where you would find it on an airplane, down low. And then there's another one that's part of this charge handle. You put the charge handle in and you fold down a little flap, and there's an AC outlet there, too. You may be thinking, "Big deal, I have one of those in my minivan or my pickup truck." Well, those on gas cars are often limited to just 400 watts, and that's enough for a small electrical appliance or to charge a small electric device. On the EV6, you can have up to 1900 watts, which is 1.9 kilowatts, and that is on par with exactly what you get from your house. And that's crazy. That's really powerful for this kind of outlet in a car. So what does that mean? You can do something like charge a Tesla with it. It's charging. Yeah, look at that. Now, it's not really fast, or really you should ever do this unless in an emergency situation, but it is just an example of what you can use the outlets for on the EV6. Now they're calling it V2L: vehicle-to-load. It is basically just a power transfer. As the Model Y is charging, it's discharging the battery on the EV6. And you can say at limits to where, if you go below this amount of charge, it'll turn the feature off, and it's charging slowly. Very slowly. We're adding two miles of range per hour, demonstrating Level 1 charging is not the way to go with charging an EV. But the Model Y has no outlets and no power-transfer capability. More than a novelty, we've seen how functionality like this can be useful in emergency situations where the car can act as a backup generator. And the Model Y doesn't have such function. So, how do they drive? I don't think anyone would call the Model Y's ride quality comfortable. It rides very stiffly. You know, the EV6 is more normalized in its ride quality. It's very comfortable, very nice to drive on the highway with suspension tuning that's on the softer side. Even though the EV6 is supposed to be the sporty one versus its cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, it looks the part, but it is a long ways off from the Model Y's sports car level of performance and handling. These are just some of the ways that the EV6 stands out compared to a Model Y, but when we're talking about electric vehicles, is that really what matters? We haven't really touched on it but as far as overall range, the EV6 is rated with lower driving range, lower efficiency. But, if you found yourself not buying a Tesla because of some of its more polarizing aspects, well then, yes, the EV6 is a compelling alternative.