As the automobile industry continues to move toward an electric future, buyers can expect to have more and more options available. One such option, the Kia EV6, which hit the market in February 2021, has already won plenty of praise for its good looks and reliability.
Attempting to grab market share from the Tesla Model 3 is no easy task but Kia, with its revitalized brand over the past few years, is more than ready to battle the current EV giant. While the Kia is never likely to have the rabid Tesla fanbase or focus heavily on making dozens of games available on its big screens, it will attempt to battle Tesla on range, price, and technology.
Let’s take a deeper look at these two competing EV superstars and see which one is right for you.
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model 3: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Tesla Model 3||Kia EV6|
|Date of Release||July 2017||February 2021|
|Range||272-358 miles||206-310 miles|
|0-60 Speed||3.1 seconds (model dependent)||3.2 seconds (GT trim)|
|Charging Speed||10-80% in 18 minutes, under 7 hours on a 240V charger||20-80% in 20 minutes, just over 7 hours on a 240V charger|
|Number of Seats||5||5|
|Cargo Space||22.9 cubic feet||24.4 cubic feet|
|Self Driving||Enhanced Autopilot, Full Self-Driving Capability||Highway Driving Assist, semi-autonomous driving assistance|
|Warranty||4-year 50,000-mile bumper to bumper|
8-year 100,000-mile battery warranty
|5-year 60,000 mile basic|
10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model 3: What’s the Difference?
At the top of any car buying decision is likely to be the price for the majority of people looking for a new (or used) car. Especially now, as the last two years have been a rollercoaster for demand and cost, price is a more important consideration than ever before. For its part, Kia is looking to attract all types of buyers with a starting price of $48,700 on its RWD entry-level Wind trim level.
That price can jump up to $61,600 for its vaunted GT trim level which is viewed as the closest competitor to the Tesla Model 3 in the EV6 lineup due to its extra horsepower. For the most part, Kia’s price point is in line with other car models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. Considering more premium level EVs can double in price, for the range and features buyers are receiving with the Kia EV6, the price tag is quite good.
Looking at the Tesla Model 3, nailing down the price is a little more tricky as it can raise or lower at any point depending on how Tesla views demand. After seeing big increases in its prices over the past 18 months, Tesla made a major price reduction in January 2023 that has helped drop the price of the Model 3 significantly. As of this writing, the Tesla Model 3 in its RWD trim starts at $43,990 while the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive trim level increases its starting price to $53,990. Tesla’s Model 3 Performance option is not available but is expected to fetch around close to $60,000 when it’s re-released sometime in 2023.
For any EV competitor entering the market, Tesla has been the standard bearer of range and in order to gain market share (and mindshare), any rival would have to compete directly on this front. To that end, Kia has introduced the EV6 with a spread of available range options including its performance-driven GT level, though it fails to properly compete on range with only 206 miles.
However, the more popular trim levels with the Wind RWD or GT-Line RWD both offer 310 miles of range. Swapping either of those trim levels to AWD reduces the total range to 282 and 252 miles respectively. These numbers are a little lower than Tesla’s RWD Model 3 but not significantly so that it’s a huge factor.
Tesla has really set forth the standard with its RWD model delivering 272 miles of range on a single charge. The range drops a tiny bit if you opt for the 19” sport tires but the impact is only a loss of five total miles of range. Jumping up to the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive trim level increases the total range to 315 miles which is more in line with the Kia EV6 base configurations. The trade-off is that you get a much more powerful car with the Tesla Model 3 so if 0-60 times matter more, the Tesla Model 3 is the best combination of speed and range, albeit at a higher cost.
When looking at any electric vehicle for purchase, one of the most important factors is charging speed. Just as the size of a gas tank is important to many fans of regular vehicles, so too is the charging speed for anyone looking to make an electric vehicle purchase. Between the two cars, the Tesla Model 3 has a distinct advantage overall, at least on paper. According to most studies, the Model 3, using a Level 2 240V charging plug, can completely charge the car in around six and a half hours, or around 37 miles per hour depending on the trim level. Using a DC fast charger, the Tesla can charge from 0-80% (or 200 miles) in about 15 minutes.
The Kia EV6, on the other hand, takes a little more time, though not so much that it’s an unfair comparison. On a 240V Level 2 charger, the EV6 can completely recharge in just over seven hours. On a DC fast charger, the EV6 can go from 20-80% in about 20 minutes. Where the Kia really falls down is the use of a Level 1 charger which can take 68 hours to fully recharge the EV6 compared to Tesla’s 35.5 hours. While it’s never recommended to use a standard at-home 120V charging plug, it’s available in a pinch and the Tesla has a pretty significant charging difference in a good way.
Unsurprisingly, Tesla and its lineup of electric vehicles have been the standard bearer of the infotainment era over the past few years. With an emphasis on 98% of the vehicle’s functions running through the large 15-inch display, it’s pretty easy to see where Tesla makes a strong case for ownership. With the exception of window controls, door handles, gear shifting, and of course the gas and brake, every other vehicle function is worked through the touchscreen. It’s a glimpse of the future and Tesla owners swear by it. With its intuitive controls, there’s truly something for everyone with streaming services, games (a whole lot of games) and as of recently, Apple CarPlay has also been made available through a software update.
With the Kia EV6, you still get an impressive array of infotainment and interior options, it’s just not as futuristic-feeling as the Tesla. You still have two 12-inch dual displays providing detailed information about charging, battery life, and a whole lot more info including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available as standard options. Most Kia EV6 models will also have the 14-speaker Meridian Premium Audio system which sounds awesome, but not quite as awesome as the surround view monitor which provides on-screen cameras to let you know it’s safe to navigate, open a door, and more.
Tesla Model 3
Overall safety is a strong case for all-electric cars and once again the Tesla Model 3 sets the bar for safety excellence. Emphasizing that point is the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2022 from the IIHS safety report. The Model 3 received similar praise from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association which has also provided the car with top-tier safety rankings. To help earn these awards, Tesla has put significant focus into the overall strength of its cars including a patented side sill structure that absorbs impact thanks to its rigid body frame. On top of the body frame, the Model 3 offers crumple zones and airbags all across the vehicle’s sides and front.
In addition, Tesla has added eight separate cameras that surround the vehicle offering it a 360-degree field of view. This is incredibly helpful for parking or avoiding collisions and that’s on top of automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane departure avoidance, and forward collision warning. However, Tesla has yet to prove that its Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability is safe enough to be truly useful on the road by Tesla owners.
Like the Tesla Model 3, The Kia EV6 has also been awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2022 with only one Acceptable score for its safety cage. To help achieve this score, Kia has included a host of features standard including a blind-sport view monitor that appears on the instrument panel. The surround view monitor uses four exterior-mounted cameras to provide a bird’s eye view of everything surrounding the exterior of the car to help you park or maneuver in tight spots.
Getting more technical, Kia developed its Auto Emergency Braking Technology which is a standard system across the EV6 lineup that helps avoid possible collisions with oncoming vehicles when turning left or right in an intersection. The same braking technology is enabled with lane changes as well to help detect any obstacles including cars that might be in a blind spot.
On the more autonomous side, Kia has included its Highway Driving Assist 2 technology which combines forward-facing cameras and radar sensors to help maintain the proper distance from the car ahead of you when using cruise control. The system will also provide assistance with the steering wheel when changing lanes but only if the turn signal is active. Finally, Kia includes its Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist which alerts the driver to any hazards when backing up.
Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: 5 Must-Know Facts
- The Kia EV6 borrows a lot of the same safety and technology functions including Highway Driving Assistant 2 technology from the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
- Tesla recently dropped the prices of the Model 3 by up to 20 percent in January 2023, one of the largest such drops in its history.
- The Kia EV6 GT model is the fastest car in the EV6 lineup and runs only 0.1 seconds behind the Tesla Model 3 0-60 times.
- While it appears larger overall, the Kia EV6 only has two additional cubic feet of storage over the Tesla Model 3.
- Tesla offers significantly more as far as autonomous driving as Kia (and Hyundai) have been more hesitant in providing self-driving capabilities until the technology is further along.
Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model 3: Recent Updates
Kia and Tesla have made several technological advancements since February 2023 that have made their vehicles safer and more enjoyable to drive. Some of the updates they’ve made are:
- Auto Emergency Braking Technology: Kia’s Auto Emergency Braking Technology is now standard on the EV6. This technology helps you avoid possible collisions with oncoming vehicles when turning left or right in an intersection.
- Kia’s Highway Driving Assist 2 technology: The EV6 also now comes standard with Kia’s Highway Driving Assist 2 technology. This technology combines forward-facing cameras and radar sensors to help maintain the proper distance from the car ahead of you when using cruise control.
Tesla Model 3:
- New autopilot feature: This allows the car to automatically change lanes on the highway.
- New media system: The new media system supports more streaming services.
Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model 3: What’s Next?
It’s an exciting time to be an EV owner, especially with all the improvements that are being made. Here are some improvements we may see for the Kia EV6 and the Tesla Model 3 in the next 6 to 18 months:
- Improved battery technology: We can expect to see more improvements in battery technology for both vehicles. Newer batteries will have a longer range, faster charging speeds, and longer lifespans.
- Advanced driver-assistance features: Both the EV6 and the Model 3 have several driver-assistance features. We will most likely see even more advanced features in the coming months. These features could include adaptive cruise control and automatic parking.
Kia EV6 vs. Tesla Model 3: Which One Should You Get?
At the end of the day, the question of which car is right for you comes down to what you want. If you want practicality as an everyday driver, the Kia EV6 is more of a family-friendly car with a tiny bit of extra storage. The Tesla Model 3 still offers the same number of seats at five but the Kia is roomier overall thanks to two extra inches of overall vehicle width. Where Tesla really has the advantage is its Supercharger network which has been building up steadily over the past few years. While Tesla is slowly opening up their charging stations to other vehicle models, they make it very easy for Tesla owners to locate and reserve a station.
So far everything looks good on the Tesla side but ultimately, it’s the Kia EV6 that’s the right car for most people. As it stands today, Kia has significantly more experience building cars that are ready to go right off the manufacturing line. Tesla, even after years of making cars, still battles with production issues including doors not lining up correctly, window seals not properly sealed, poor paint jobs, etc. The Kia costs around the same price but offers roughly the same amount of range and as the more reliable car, is the right choice for most people. Unless you absolutely need games or fart noises, the Kia is the way to go.