New SUV

2022 Kia EV6 is a 577-hp, fast-charging crossover that showcases a new design direction

The Kia EV6 is coming to North America in a few months, boasting impressive performance.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The future of Kia is here. The first model built on Kia's new dedicated electric vehicle platform, the 2022 Kia EV6 brings rapid acceleration, quick charging capability, and advanced driver assistance features to the table all in a crossover package that features a fresh design.

At its front, the 2022 EV6 has a new take on Kia's typical 'tiger nose' grille. The 'Digital Tiger Face' features daytime running lights that include a sequential dynamic light pattern. The sides are sleek with a character line that runs from the bottom of the doors to the rear wheel arches. A sloping C-pillar has a gloss black insert and above sits a wing-type roof spoiler.

The car's 114-inch wheelbase is about 11 inches longer than the Kia Soul's. That helps the crossover get the same cabin space of a midsize SUV out of its compact package.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

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The EV6 will be sold in two different two trim levels, GT-Line and GT. Kia will also sell the model in a variety of powertrain configurations. Long-range models will have 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery packs while standard-range has 58.0-kilowatt-hour packs. Buyers can get the EV6 GT-Line with either powertrain. The EV6 GT will only be available with a long-range battery.

Kia has given standard-range versions of the car one electric motor while all-wheel drive EV6s have one motor at the front and one at the back. The 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery has a total output of 577 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque.

The crossover has the ability to get up to 316 miles (WLTP) on a single charge. The long-range, two-wheel drive EV6 is the most efficient. This model can get from zero to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. The performance-focused EV6 GT accelerates from zero to 62 mph in a quick 3.5 seconds. That model has a top speed of 161 mph.

The GT version gets an exclusive electronic limited slip differential.

The crossover will be capable of charging at a speed of 800 volts, getting from 10 to 80 percent charge in just 18 minutes. That would allow the car to get 62 miles of range in as little as 4.5 minutes. Currently, 800-volt charging is rare. Called ultra-rapid chargers, the high-powered machines deliver the fastest charge currently available to a modern vehicle. The Porsche Taycan can utilize these types of chargers but most other EVs cannot due to their strength.

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The car's electronics allow for new vehicle-to-load functionality that is capable of discharging energy from the battery to supply power, up to 3.6-kilowatt-hours worth. That's enough to power a 55-inch television or air conditioner.

Kia's regenerative braking system allows for power to be regained at various levels, regulated via paddles on the steering wheel. One-pedal driving is available.

Kia has made the seats out of recycled plastic, each has the material from 111 plastic bottles.

A curved infotainment system sits on the dashboard housing the all-digital instrument cluster and infotainment touch screen under one housing. Each measures 12 inches. The car also features an augmented reality head-up display system that shows alerts from the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), vehicle speed, and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.

Kia has renamed its Uvo technology "Kia Connect" and added real time services and over-the-air updates for the new model. The system can give drivers details on charging point pricing, allow them to see their charging status, plan smart charging schedules, and check range radius.

A 14-speaker Meridian sound system is available. Active Sound Design is also available. It provides drivers with audible feedback to the speed the car is traveling via the interface.

Kia has given the EV6 flexible interior packaging and numerous storage areas. There's 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row erect. With those seats folded, the number increases to 45.9 cubic feet. That's slightly less than what you'll get in a Kia Niro. There's also a front trunk that provides an additional 1.83 cubic feet of cargo space for two-wheel drive models while all-wheel drive versions get less than half of that.

The crossover has a long list of standard and available safety technology including Safe Exit Assist, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, highway drive assist with lane change functionality, and remote parking assist (Kia's version of Hyundai's Smart Park, made famous by the Super Bowl ads last year).

The EV6 will be produced in South Korea. It will go on-sale in select global markets starting from the second half of 2021, with online reservations beginning from March 30 in some markets.

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The EQXX Concept features a crazy driving range.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is putting its century-plus of automotive experience into building electric cars, and the results are impressive. The EQS is an electric flagship with great range, and the automaker has unveiled several concepts to show its future plans. The Vision EQXX concept debuted today as an ultra-efficient luxury EV with astonishing range numbers.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept Mercedes focused on efficiency over power with the car. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' focus with the EQXX is efficiency over power, as it says the car is its most efficient it has ever made. The EQXX uses less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers (around 62 miles), which equates to 620 miles on a single charge. The battery was designed with tech and knowledge from Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, especially when it comes to size and weight. The EQXX's battery pack is 50 percent smaller by volume and 30 percent lighter than the pack in the EQS, which already featured astonishing efficiency.

The car's impressive range comes at the expense of horsepower, which in this case means just 201 ponies from the EQXX's electric drivetrain. Mercedes says that the system is capable of delivering up to 95 percent energy efficiency - an impressive figure for power delivery to the wheels. Extremely efficient gas powertrains only achieve around 30 percent efficiency and a human long-distance runner can hit around 50 percent.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept The EQXX is impressively slippery, which improves its range.

The EQXX is a slippery car, too, and with a drag coefficient of just 0.17, the car cuts through the air with ease. The typical EV uses up to two-thirds of its battery capacity just to push through the air, so the EQXX's aerodynamics is a big part of its efficiency. The other big part is Mercedes' thermal management system, which uses shutters and cooling plates to maintain an ideal battery and electric drive unit temperature. The plates allow the EQXX to gain about 12 miles of range in its most aerodynamic mode.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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