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If you’re looking for a compact electric SUV, you can’t go wrong with a Tesla Model Y or the Kia EV6. In many automotive publications, the two are neck and neck in the rankings. So which one should you buy? The answer requires a hard look at both vehicles.

Comparing the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y

A silver Kia EV6 parked indoors.
Kia EV6 | Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

The 2022 Tesla Model Y and 2022 Kia EV6 are a hit with both consumers and automotive critics. According to J.D. Power, the EV6 earned an 80% rating from consumers. While the Model Y earned a 78% from consumers. Edmunds’ reviewers have called the EV6 a “legitimate contender to be Edmunds’ Top-Rated EV.” Edmunds also considerably praised the Model Y.

Car and Driver named the 2022 Kia EV6 an Editor’s Choice vehicle. Car and Driver reviewers also gave the Model Y high marks. Both vehicles received considerable praise from Business Insider as well.

Why are these vehicles ranked so closely together? Let’s take a closer look.

The Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y, feature by feature

Looking at each vehicle in detail can help shed some light on the better option.

  • Cost: The 2022 Kia EV6 starts at $41,400, while the 2022 Tesla Model Y is $58,190.
  • Range: With a Model Y Performance trim, you can get 303 miles on a single charge, while you can get 326 miles with the Long Range version. The EV6 only provides 300 miles of range.
  • Charging speed: The EV6 can fully charge with a Level 2 charger in 7 hours. The Model Y base model also requires about 6 hours to fully charge, though the Long Range and Performance trims also require more than 7 hours to charge fully. Business Insider notes that charging the EV6 from 10 to 80% would take 18 minutes, while it would take 30 minutes for the Model Y.
  • Performance: The EV6 gets excellent reviews from Car and Driver and Edmunds for performance, handling, and acceleration. The Model Y gets a bit less praise, with reviewers noting that the vehicle’s handling is not that responsive, especially on rough roads.
  • Interior style: The EV6’s interior is not the most luxurious in the segment. But it has personality, with two-tone interior trim touches blended in with high-tech amenities that make each ride enjoyable. There’s also 28 cu-ft of space behind the back row and 54 with that row folded down. As for the Model Y,  there are some build quality issues. Moreover, for those used to a traditional interior, the sparse cabin of a Tesla has a 15.0-inch touchscreen, coupled with the brand’s notorious steering yoke, which may be offputting to some. But it is very spacious, with 30.2 cu-ft of cargo space beyond the back row and 76.2 cu-ft of cargo space in total.
  • Technology features: If you’re in a Tesla, don’t expect to see conventional integrations like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Instead, you’ll use their proprietary infotainment and telematics system, which can take a bit of getting used to. You’ll also get quite a few advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alerts, and lane-centering. Plus, for an upcharge, you can get Tesla’s misnamed Full Service Driving feature, which is really semi-autonomous driver assistance.

The EV6 offers a 12.0-inch touchscreen whose bland infotainment system is one of the few areas where reviewers are unimpressed. It offers standard integrations of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, and onboard WiFi. A 14-speaker system is available as well. And Kia offers automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance standard.  

Which is the better electric SUV?

So which is better, Kia’s EV6 or Tesla’s Model Y? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a more affordable electric SUV, the EV6 is the better choice, hands-down. Because the two are so close in so many respects, you won’t need to worry about buying a lower quality car if you opt for the less expensive one.

If you’re looking for superior performance and tech options comparable to most other vehicles in the segment, the EV6 has the Tesla beat. However, the Model Y is the better option if you’re looking for maximum range. Further, if you’re a fan of Tesla’s unique stylings and proprietary tech, then the Model Y is your choice.

The EV6 performs better in most of the above categories but not overwhelmingly. It’s tough to go wrong with either option.


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