• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line Long-Term Update: There’s not a lot of GT in the GT-Line

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 28, 2023
2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line Long-Term Update: There's not a lot of GT in the GT-Line

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Our Kia EV6 is the GT-Line trim. It’s a trim that implies it has a little taste of the monster-motored EV6 GT, even though it’s down by 256 horsepower. It certainly delivers on the surface. Visually, it’s darn near identical to its athletic sibling, from the bumpers to the wheels. The interior gets a little extra flair, too, if not the GT’s wonderful bolstering. But what’s bothering me is, that’s where the sportiness ends. Otherwise, it drives just like the other EV6s that have no real sporting pretenses. And the suspension is what frustrates the most, because that’s where Kia could’ve made the GT-Line an interesting in-betweener.

That’s not to say the EV6 GT-Line has bad suspension tuning. On the contrary, it’s remarkably smooth and comfortable. It’s a great cruiser. Arguably, it’s more true to the traditional use of “GT” as “grand tourer.” But when you want to hustle it, you discover that the body isn’t quick to respond, and it rolls a fair bit. At least it isn’t as lackadaisical as the Ioniq 5. And it’s disappointing because the 320 horsepower on tap and rear-drive bias would be so much fun to play with, if the chassis were willing to as well. Even the single-motor version could be entertaining, maybe even more so without front-powered wheels to help keep things in check.

I focus on this for a couple of reasons. Suspension can make such a huge difference in the character of a car, for better or worse. In a particularly dramatic and poor example, look at the short-lived Corolla Apex, which went from a tossable but compliant commuter to a rock-hard misery machine with its suspension tweaks. By no means would I want this hypothetical stiffer GT-Line to go that rock hard, but there’s plenty of room to reduce roll and increase response while maintaining a comfortable ride.

There’s also the fact that suspension changes can be a really affordable way to differentiate a car. Bigger, more powerful motors and limited-slip differentials like in the GT are expensive. That’s exactly why said GT is the most expensive EV6. But differently tuned shocks and springs? Those are pretty affordable, especially if you’re not making them adjustable like the GT’s. Sure, it’s not free, but the GT-Line isn’t exactly cheap to begin with. From the Wind with rear-drive to the rear-drive GT-Line, there’s a $3,200 upcharge. Going from the all-wheel-drive Wind to the GT-Line like ours is a $4,700 jump. It does come with a few other standard features (some safety equipment, sunroof, ambient lighting) in addition to the “sportier” exterior and interior parts, but nothing that makes the actual driving sportier.

One could reasonably argue that if you really want the sportiness that much, just buy the GT. The GT isn’t even that much more expensive than our all-wheel-drive GT-Line at just $3,000 more. That’s fair, but you know what else happens when you go to the GT? You lose a lot of range. The GT is rated at just 206 miles, versus 252 for the GT-Line. And the GT-Line with rear-wheel drive can pull off 310 miles. That can be a big deal for a lot of buyers. Furthermore, while the price climb from GT-Line all-wheel drive to GT isn’t that big, it is from the rear-drive GT-Line, specifically $7,700. That’s a bummer if you wanted a dash more sport without blowing your budget.

Like I said, I still very much like our Kia, but I am wishing it had more of the GT’s soul, and not just its looks. As it stands, I’m starting to think the really smart money is on either the Wind trims or the GT.

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