We’re closing in on a year with our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line, and the Kia Connect app has been a real joy throughout the year. More so than internal combustion engine vehicles, being able to control an EV and observe data through an app is a vital part of the ownership experience. Just ask Senior Editor James Riswick, who recently bought a Kia Niro EV. This app just makes life better.
Open it up, and the interface displays a lot of information, but it’s easily digestible. The state of charge and range is right at the top where it should be, and an icon of our EV6 — in the correct color/trim/wheels — is front and center. This upper portion of the home screen is also where you’ll find handy charging data that has saved us more than a few times while using unreliable public chargers.
When plugged in, the app lets you know that the car is charging and estimates the time to a 100% charge. You can also set up notifications (for this and virtually anything else you can think of) for when the car begins or stops charging so that when you’re hanging out deep inside the Walmart by the Electrify America charger, you’ll know when the charger randomly fails and stops. Instead of being deeply disappointed upon your return to find the car barely charged, you know the instant it happens that you need to make the half-mile walk back out to the charger and try again. Yes, this has happened on more occasions than we can count at Electrify America stations across the country. Using the charging station’s app can work as a redundancy, but if you activate charging via a traditional card swipe, you’ll be happy to have the Kia app around to keep tabs on the process. Our one note for improvement would be for Kia to include the current charging speed within the app to know if the charger is functioning at peak performance.
The typical features you’d expect to find in a vehicle’s app are also present. An option to start and change the climate control is a nice one. Remote start is possible via the fob, but the more pinpoint control of the interior’s temperature via the app is better. You can also lock or unlock the car, sound the horn, flash the lights and observe the surround view 360-degree camera in real-time via the app. There’s also a Find My Car feature should you misplace it in a parking lot or someone runs off with it. All of these features are easy to find within the quick-to-respond app, making it genuinely nice to use.
A bunch of other features such as location tracking, maintenance and recall details and driving history can be found within the app. Seriously, you can do some very in-depth analysis of your drives. Kia will tell you the watt-hours used from every trip and break the usage down between the drivetrain, climate control, accessories and battery care. You’ll even get the amount of energy you recuperated via regenerative braking. EV nerds, apply here.
Riswick has been having fun using his Niro EV’s app, too, which is functionally the same as our EV6. He’s been lucky enough to completely avoid public charging altogether and has exclusively charged at home using his Wallbox home charger that can match the Niro (and EV6’s) max AC charging speed of 11.5 kW. He uses the Wallbox app to schedule when charging starts, but then monitors that charging with the Kia app. He also uses it to specify what percentage of charge to stop the charger — if the Niro charges to 100%, it’s iPedal one-pedal driving feature won’t function because there’s no need for the regenerative braking it relies on. Throttling back to 90% keeps it active and still gives him 235 miles for the week ahead. Should the full 253 be needed, he can swipe the slider in the app over to 100% (you can do this in the car, too).
The main appeal has been the climate control system, though. Making sure the cabin is a toasty 72 on chilly morning pre-school runs has been great apparently, though remembering to do so has been the tricky bit. If they can figure out a way to schedule the climate control activation, that would be even better. So too would be turning on the heated seats and wheel, and ventilated seats — you can do that with Audi’s app.
“These apps are one blind spot we have as car reviewers,” Riswick said. “We typically evaluate a car for a week and don’t have access to apps like this. Getting the opportunity to try one out for the first time has been an illuminating experience into a recent and genuinely helpful advancement in car ownership.”
To read all of our coverage on our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line test car, click here.