We put two of the most desirable electric vehicles, the Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model 3 against one another to find a winner.
The 2022 Kia EV6 vs the 2022 Tesla Model 3 is a battle that’s a lot closer than it might seem on paper. Tesla led the way with its Model S and then later, the smaller, and more affordable Model 3. It’s had years to refine and improve the product as other brands like Jeep, Honda, and Toyota struggle to find their footing in the EV market.
On the other hand, a decade ago, Kia would’ve been laughed out of a conversation about cars that make sense in the $50,000 range. But today, it’s a well-respected leader in the segment. Now, they’re going up against one another head to head. We’ll compare specs, pricing, driving and performance, trims, and features, and then we’ll decide which one is worth your time.
When brand new the 2022 Kia EV6 started at $42,155 and could cost as much as $57,115 for the top-of-the-line GT-Line AWD model. Power ranges anywhere from 167 hp all the way up to 320 ponies. Rear-wheel drive is standard though AWD is available, and sometimes standard, depending on trim, motor, and battery configuration.
Speaking of batteries, the base EV6 comes with a 58 kWh battery pack and touts 232 miles of range. The upper trim levels carry a 77.4 kWh pack and can go up to 320 miles. Additionally, the whole car rides on an 800-volt architecture which enables DC fast charging. It can go from 10 to 80 percent in just 18 minutes.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 doesn’t look too much different on paper. Its base RWD configuration goes for $44,990 and its dual motor Long Range Performance trim costs $58,990. Range varies from 272 miles to 358 miles; both figures that continue to lead the pack in the EV segment. It achieves that extra range through the use of larger battery packs. The smallest of the bunch is still 50 kWh while the top end caps out at 82 kWh. At the same time, it takes longer to charge with a DC fast charger able to move the needle from 10 to 80 in 25 minutes.
Kia’s EV6 is one of the most fun EVs we’ve driven this year. It’s light on its feet so to speak and directional changes are crisp and easy. The acceleration isn’t all that much to write home about on the lower-spec trims with RWD but the AWD GT-Line cars are downright fast. It’ll rocket from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds. In addition, it’s playful. It offers the driver the chance to get real mid-corner oversteer should they want it. We’d never have guessed that it actually weighs some 4,600 pounds.
The Tesla Model 3 on the other hand is kind of the standard when it comes to all-electric sports sedans. It set the bar and it’s going to keep doing that because as good as the EV6 is, the Model 3 is simply better. The steering feedback is louder, the brake pedal bites a little harder, and the car follows directions just a bit smoother than its Korean rival.
Of course, we only get that sort of performance out of the ‘Performance’ model. The two lower Tesla trims are still good, but the waters between them and the EV6 trims are much muddier.
On the road, the most impressive thing for us about the Kia EV6 is how quiet it is. Cabin noise is kept to an absolute minimum in the same way that we expect out of something like a Lexus or an Audi. Ride comfort is good too. The seating is supportive and well-cushioned throughout the car. We also love the blend of futuristic styling and conventional and familiar trim and switchgear.
The higher ride height makes entry and egress easier and the shooting brake-like body style provides ample headroom for rear-seat passengers. Cargo space is solid behind the third rows as well with up to 24.4 cu-ft of room for gear. Sadly, it doesn’t offer much of a frunk. A small backpack-sized cargo space rests up there instead.
The Tesla Model 3 is actually somewhat less refined on the road when it comes to road noise. The suspension still does a great job of smoothing out bad road conditions though. Where opinions split is the interior design.
The Model 3’s brutal simplicity is not for everyone but we like it. At the same time, we prefer the control systems of the Kia. The Model 3 is more than spacious enough for adults in both the front and back seats and the trunk features 15 cu-ft of cargo space. Why it’s not a hatchback we may never know.
For its first year only, Kia offered the EV6 with five trims.
Light RWD – This trim is the only one to use the 58 kWh battery pack and only comes with RWD. It gets 19-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch infotainment system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and a wireless charging pad. Every EV6 comes with adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision mitigation.
Wind RWD – The larger battery pack sits under this trim. The Wind RWD also gets faux leather upholstery, a 14-speaker Meridian sound system, parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, and ventilation for the front seats.
Wind AWD – This trim adds a heat pump for colder climates along with a surround-view camera system, an automated parking system, and blind-spot cameras for those who go for the optional technology package.
GT-Line RWD – Those who go for this trim get everything from that technology package along with lane-keep assist, a sunroof, automatically-deploying door handles, an upgraded adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist.
GT-Line AWD – The top trim adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Tesla offers three different trims to choose from.
Standard Range RWD – This base trim comes with the smaller battery pack listed above, a 15-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth, a glass roof, heated front seats, heated rear seats, a wireless charging pad, and a heated steering wheel. Tesla’s Autopilot technology is also included but those that want the brand’s Full Self-Driving Beta software will have to pay for it.
Long Range AWD – The big change to this trim is that it gets the big battery pack and another motor up front. In addition, it adds a 13-speaker sound system, floor mats, and an 11.5 kWh onboard charger.
Performance – The top-spec Model 3 gets less range (315 miles) but it gets a sport suspension, a track mode, 20-inch wheels, aluminum pedals, and high-performance brakes.
We think the EV6 is a better all-around everyday car and that’s ultimately what these two are aiming for. While the Tesla is a better performer at the limit, they’re both fun to drive and great on everyday roads. In addition, the interior of the Kia is more approachable when shuttling friends and family that aren’t familiar with EVs.
Dollar for dollar, these are nearly identical cars when it comes to value. We don’t think anyone will be disappointed with their purchase on either side of the spectrum for our cash, we’d go with the Kia.