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Is the GT version of the 2023 Kia EV6 worth it?

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I’ve now driven the GT and non-GT versions of the 2023 Kia EV6, and while I liked the regular version of the electric car, the GT is something special. So, here are three reasons, why I’d shell out the extra $12,900 over the base for the boosted version of this vehicle.

GT boost

It all starts with the green little GT button on the steering wheel. When I asked James Bell, head of corporate communications and public relations for Kia America, the one thing I should try on this vehicle during a recent Car Stuff Podcast episode, he immediately pointed to the GT button. He said to hop on the highway, keep your foot on the throttle with a consistent pressure, then hit the button.

So, I did. And wow.

At 55 MPH, hitting the boost button, with out applying extra pressure to the accelerator pedal gives the vehicle instantaneous speed. I felt myself thrust back in the seat, and my stomach did a little flip as the car quickly pushed toward 80 MPH.

The GT button unlocks all 576 horsepower, delivering a 0-to-60-MPH time of 3.4 seconds. In case you’re wondering, that’s faster than a 2021 Ferrari Roma or a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO Spyder RWD. Oh, and it’s a blast to play around with.

Of course, you do lose about 30 miles of range with every boost. But assuming you aren’t hurting for range and have an at-home charger, I say play away – especially when you need to merge or pass.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Sporty poison green neon accents

Sometimes it’s the little things that set a vehicle apart, and even across the street, I noticed the poison green neon brake calipers that scream: “Look at me!” They’re more than just window dressing, however, because extra boost requires extra brakes, and the GT is equipped with larger-diameter disc brakes and quad-piston front calipers.

Outside of the calipers, you see the poison green accents move inside on the GT button, steering wheel stitching and seat piping. It creates a cohesive reminder that, yeah, this is a special vehicle.

Outside of the accent color, the GT gets special sport seats that hold you in place on aggressive corning maneuvers – like when you need to take those on and off ramps at a quick clip.

Solid handling

A lot of people complain that EVs are numb and that you lose the connection to the driving feel. I’m not going to lie, the visceral feel of the road under the wheels is certainly muted with the 1,073-pound battery underfoot. However, with standard all-wheel drive, a stiffened chassis, quicker ratio steering and electronically controlled suspension, the GT model makes some tweaks to the 2023 Kia EV6, so it feels sportier.

In addition to the GT boost, the grippy high-performance tires make exiting the highway exciting, and even though the vehicle weighs 4,795 pounds, it comes off feeling nimble with tighter steering and stiffer body feel.

The EV6 GT is a prime example, showing EVs don’t have to be numb and boring – like the VW ID.4 and Audi Q4 etron are.

A word about range

When I first drove the 2023 Kia EV6, I took it from Chicago to Indianapolis to Chicago in sub-zero temperatures, and I was cranky about the as-tested range and the inability to drive 196 miles without having to stop to charge. Especially since the range should have been closer to 280 miles. But if this past winter taught us anything about EVs, it’s that weather severely affects range, and you just need to keep that in mind if you’re road tripping and plan accordingly.

This time around, however, I had a more “normal” week behind the wheel with temperatures in the 50s, and this test vehicle topped off at about 210 miles of range. I went to the gym (5 miles) a few times and out to the suburbs a couple times (40+ miles round trip each time). All told, I put more than 100 miles on the vehicle in a week. I didn’t go to a fast charger once, and I don’t have a Level 2 at-home charger. Nope. I plugged into a 110-volt wall jack all week long and pretty much kept the vehicle between 80% and 100% the entire time.

Range anxiety was nil.

Because I drive to Indianapolis every other week and there is only one fast charger along the route at the 167-mile point heading south, I wouldn’t quite be ready to be an EV-only household, but this is totally doable for a commuter car. Even with using the GT button.

The bottom line

The 2023 Kia EV6 is a solid vehicle – otherwise it wouldn’t have won the 2023 North American Utility of the Year Award. The GT gives it a boost that pushes it over the edge toward exceptional. While Tesla may have been the first mass EV producer, with vehicles like this on the market, the former cult favorite better take a look at the calendar. Its days are numbered.

Now, if the infrastructure would just catch up

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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