Kias are rapidly becoming one of the brightest, forward-thinking manufacturers in the market - but cast your mind back ten years ago and they were a very different proposition.
Remember hateful Sedonas? Truly awful Rios? Those cars - built on a shoestring budget, crammed with scratchy plastics and arguably two of the worst-looking vehicles ever made, had absolutely no redeeming qualities.
Their stark - and extremely quick - rise to the top of the game is deserved, however; ultra-modern designs, an excellent choice of engines and models to suit every budget, the resurgence has been nothing short of phenomenal and Kia’s recently-refreshed line-up is set to continue that success for the next decade.
Key to the future is - like it or loathe it - electric-powered cars and although Kia’s led the way with its very good Soul EV and e-Niro, its newest arrival - the EV6 - is the firm’s best-ever car.
A bold statement, that, but one that’s thoroughly justified thanks to how good the EV6 feels in every department.
Looks-wise, it gets off to a flyer. It’s handsome, it’s unique and draws admiring glances. People are intrigued by it thanks to its imposing footprint, wide haunches, its sculpted front end and its fantastic rear which has one of the coolest curved light designs on any car I’ve ever seen this side of an Aston Martin DBX.
Unlike the Aston, though, this clever Kia starts at just over £40,000 and for that you get an impressive 316-mile claimed range. This version - which has 325bhp and four-wheel-drive - is the £52,000 range-topper, but there’s a cheaper 229bhp alternative which has a rear-drive set-up.
Get inside and you’ll be blown away by its design. The centre console’s ‘floating’ appearance - which rises from between the front seats and isn’t connected to the dashboard - is a cool touch and gives an airy feel.
The view is dominated by two 12.3-inch displays - Tesla-like - but it also retains traditional controls which you pull and twist, so while it’s extremely modern, it retains some normality and that’s certainly a plus point. While many options are housed in its infotainment system - such as its head-up display settings and irritating lane-keeping hindrance - the temperature controls aren’t buried deep inside a menu with a sub-menu.
It feels expensive, though. Cheap-feeling plastics are kept to an absolute minimum, and can only really be found in the cubbyholes beneath the floating centre console.
Prod the starter motor and it is of course eerily silent. Scroll to ‘D’ and away you go; no fuss, no drama, just a slight whirring noise from the electric motor. The steering has good feel, it handles extremely well for such a surprisingly large car and has a stark turn of pace when needed. While it’s a little soulless - as every electric vehicle is - acceleration is instant and you lunge forward at an alarming rate. For reference, 0-60mph is done in a smidge over five seconds, but in truth it feels much quicker.
So, what about charging? It’s been my only bugbear on previous electric test cars, and it proved a little frustrating at times with the EV6. However, that’s not its fault, and is more a criticism aimed at the government as they’re lagging behind manufacturers who are bending over backwards to give us these cars, only to be hampered by a lack of charging infrastructure.
An advantage of EV6 ownership is that it’s equipped with ultra-fast charging capability - if you’re able to plug into a 350kW charger, you’ll see a top-up to 80 per cent completed in 18 minutes. Depending on how you drive, Kia’s claimed 300-plus mile range is easily doable.
If you’re in the market for an electric car, the EV6 is the one to have.