No longer a science experiment for niche shoppers, electric vehicles are readily available in the popular body style today’s consumers want: SUVs. The Tesla Model Y has undoubtedly been the standard by which we judge electric SUVs since its launch and is one of the most popular EVs being sold. Kia may not have the EV cultural panache of Tesla, but it’s no stranger to electric cars, having sold limited-availability EVs since around 2014 with the Soul EV and, later, the Niro EV. But the all-new EV6 is a modern, long-range EV with the distinctive design, innovation and value we’ve come to expect from contemporary Kias. It’s a high-riding hatchback with available all-wheel drive, 274 miles of EPA-rated range (as we tested it) and DC fast-charging claims of 10%-80% battery capacity in 18 minutes — all compelling specifications against a Model Y.
An EV6’s price is also more Tesla-like than you’d think: A top-of-the-line GT-Line trim level is around $57,000 (including destination), which isn’t far off of the $60,290 we paid for our Model Y Long Range AWD (326 miles of rated range) in mid-2021. But if you ordered our Model Y now, that same SUV would cost nearly $73,000 because of substantial price hikes in only a year. That got us wondering: Is the Tesla Model Y a roughly $16,000-better EV than the Kia EV6?
Related: Hyundai Ioniq 5 Vs. Tesla Model Y: Functional Vs. Funky
To find out, we spent a week testing both in a head-to-head comparison judging home and fast charging, efficiency, acceleration, handling, ride, comfort, cargo and more. We took the EVs on a 215-mile highway route to measure efficiency and to the drag strip to measure acceleration. We also drove them on a small handling course to experience their handling dynamics and on street-driving loops. Being an EV test, categories with the most significance included home- and fast-charging speed, driving efficiency and range accuracy, accounting for a third of overall points.