What we drive: Kia’s electric and controllable EV6

There’s a lot to like about Kia’s first electric vehicle, the EV6: the bold SUV design, the spacious interior and, of course, the satisfying response you get from pressing the accelerator.

  • The $56,195 all-wheel-drive GT version I drove has a range of 274 miles and charges in about 20 minutes with a 350kW fast charger.
  • But, oh boy, this infotainment system is infuriating.

Why is this important: Electric vehicles open up all kinds of opportunities for car designers to try new things. When they don’t have to work around an internal combustion engine and transmission, they can reinvent a car’s interior, creating more space for passengers and adding innovative features and spaces. of storage.

  • Bigger, flashier touchscreens are becoming the norm, not just in electric vehicles, but in many new cars.
  • But touchscreens are difficult to use – not to mention distracting – at 65 miles per hour.

Kudos to Kia for trying to come up with a better solution. By default, the EV6’s center display is dark when the car is in motion. The bottom left corner displays the current radio station, and that’s about it.

  • If you want more information on the screen, you have to press the separate radio, air conditioning or navigation buttons on the center console, near the gear lever.

To simplify the dashboard (and save some weight, it turns out), the climate and entertainment systems are controlled by a single, narrow touch bar on the center console between driver and passenger.

  • Buttons to the left and right of the Touch Bar control either volume and setting or the dual climate control system, depending on which mode you’re in.
  • Ah, here’s the catch: you have to switch between entertainment and climate control modes using nearly invisible arrows on the black Touch Bar control panel.
  • And that means taking your eyes off the road to squint at the Touch Bar. You might think you’re setting the fan, but end up blasting the music.
On the left, the Touch Bar displays climate controls; on the right, the Touch Bar turns into controls for the entertainment system. Pictures: Kia

The other side: The editors of WardsAuto, a well-respected industry publication, named the EV6 to its 2022 Top 10 Interiors and UX (User Interface) list, citing its sleek, sporty interior “and highly innovative morphing controls. that save space and reduce clutter”.

My thought bubble: Knobs and buttons are actually good, especially in a moving car.

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