ANN ARBOR, Mich. — I had our long-term Kia EV6 during a brutal cold snap at the end of the year, where we saw nearly a week where the daytime temperatures didn’t reach above freezing, and a couple consecutive days where the high didn’t crest 15 degrees and the wind blew mercilessly. We didn’t get much snow, but the previous days’ precipitation had slicked sheer. I didn’t put a lot of miles on the EV6 during this spell, but I did some quick supply runs once the roads has been salted and our household’s Christmas lull had broken. Here are a few things I noticed.
The only mechanical issue I had with the cold was that the folding power mirrors wouldn’t unfold on account of the crust of ice encasing them. It was only a minor thing. I simply had to give them a little nudge before I drove off to get them back where they should be. There’s an option to disable the “welcome mirrors” from activating when the vehicle unlocks.
But I had the vehicle set to unlock as I approached. I did, however, giggle when I heard them creak open any time I walked past the car in my driveway with the key fob in my pocket. Such a sad sound. Upon returning to work after the holiday, Road Test Editor Zac Palmer asked if I had issues with the pop-out door handles. I hadn’t. Despite the difficult time the mirrors were having with the cold, the door handles never failed to deploy.
One cold-related bonus is that the interior heats up quickly. I’d be hardly a mile down the road before I was unzipping my jacket and removing my hat. The heated seats and steering wheel worked almost too well. Just a couple minutes with the seat on high heat, I found myself turning it down to low or completely off. I wish the steering wheel had the same three heating levels instead of just an on/off button. That sucker would get uncomfortably hot to touch — almost painful. Though when I turned it off, the near-searing temp faded into a gentle warmth that lingered for most of a drive around town.
The front and rear defrost modes were also effective, clearing frost from the glass quickly. I did find myself wishing for a rear wiper though, as the dirty road slush that ends up covering the car just made the rear-view mirror useless.
Obligatory note about range and charging. Like I said, I didn’t drive much during those brutally cold days — it was the holidays, after all — but in other sub- or near-freezing driving, I’d been seeing an estimated driving range just over 200 miles on a full charge, down from its 282-mile EPA rating. To be fair, that was what the car was calculating when I had a heavy mix of highway driving. And as for charging, boy, it takes longer when it’s cold. Even at Electrify America’s 350-kW plugs, I rarely saw anything above 130-kW peak charging rate. I did have the “Winter Mode” activated, which is supposed to warm the battery pack for optimal DC charging (which, as the menu warns, can also negatively affect range). With my favorite local 125-kW station all to myself, I’d peak at 90 kW.
Thankfully the charging infrastructure along the I-75 corridor to Northern Michigan has improved in the last year, making trips up there easy (if a little longer) even in winter. The trip I had taken earlier in December, I stopped twice in the 250 miles up, just to be safe, and twice again on the way back as I started home with a partial charge from a remote location many miles from any fast charger, then I topped off in Bay City so I’d get home with a surplus of juice.
And for those snowy roads, the EV6 was a champ, even on its stock all-season tires. Eventually the weather warmed up enough that it could snow again, and I packed our ski gear in the car and headed to the mountain with my son. With the car in Snow Mode, the all-wheel-drive’s constant 50/50 torque split is effective, and stability control quietly takes care of the rest.