The Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are two of this year’s most wanted EVs. And with the Ioniq 5 essentially unavailable to those in some regions of the country this year, it may seem to some fixated on the Hyundai that they’ll need to settle for second-best.

There is a school of thought, that whilst the design and fundamental interface choices of the Ioniq 5 a bit better, the EV6 is the preferred vehicle. Why? The Kia side of this dynamic duo of EV cousins is tuned better in almost every respect. And that helps to see the whole car in a better, more desirable light.

To that, here are some point-by-point observations on range, charging, and liveability—with some details woven in on why the EV6 both the better pick of these two right now, and one of the best electric vehicles right now available at a (somewhat) affordable price.

Range: Count on better than 320 kilometres—even for damp-and-chilly Interstate trips. An EV review account from USA states:

“I have travelled over several highway-trip experiences now in these Hyundai and Kia EVs, which have essentially identical propulsion systems. I have confidence that no matter what the conditions, the 77.4-kwh battery pack will return more than 200 miles (320km) of range. However, in less-than-ideal conditions—and probably most real-world driving—you won’t see anywhere close to our test car’s 310-mile (436km) EPA range rating.

As part of my week with a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive EV6—in typical stubborn Pacific Northwest spring weather, chilly with frequent showers—I almost measured up to the 3.4 miles per kWh (5.44km/kWh) in the fair weather of a very spirited Napa-region first drive earlier this year.

To get a sense of its less-than-ideal highway range, I took the EV6 from Portland to Shelton, Washington, covering 149 miles (238km) and averaging 3.1 miles/kwh (4.96km/kWh) keeping a rapid pace that broke well past 70 mph (112km/hr) for some stretches and averaging nearly 65 mph (104km.hr). It was 50 degrees (10 degrees C) and damp the whole way, with spotty showers. Then over another 74 miles (118km) of errands and back-and-forth to an event, on easy going 40-55-mph dual carraigeway, I averaged 3.4 mi/kWh (5.44km/kWh). Finally, on a 123-mile Interstate leg back to Portland, I kept to under 70 mph (112km/hr) for much of it, using the adaptive cruise control. Over a total of 123 miles (197km), I averaged, surprisingly, the same as my much faster outbound trip—3.1 mi/kWh (4.96km/kWh).

The difference? On the return trip it was pouring, and I had to run the climate control in its defog mode for much of the trip.

Meanwhile, my colleague Brian Wong, in Los Angeles, averaged 4.3 mi/kwh (6.90km/kWh) over 174.3 miles (279km) of mixed driving, with an average 5.2 mi/kWh (8.32 km/kWh) over 54.7 LA street miles (88km) losing 1,000 feet (300 metres) in elevation, plus 3.7 mi/kWh (5.92 km/kWh) over 54.6  freeway miles (87.36km), gaining 1,000 feet.

It underscores that somewhat chillier weather and rain might have a pretty significant impact.

Ironically, my rainy highway-driving profile—and these temperatures—also would have been right on the mark for the energy-saving heat pump that’s included in dual-motor all-wheel-drive models, but not the rear-wheel-drive model I was driving.

Charging: Don’t seek out 150-kw charging

As I emphasized recently in a review update of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, there’s no need to go seeking out 350-kw DC fast-charging, because the actual time it takes to restore most of a charge is going to be remarkably close in real-world conditions. The Ioniq 5 and EV6 are finicky about accessing their peak charge rate of 235 kw or a bit more, and if you see that—and even more than 200 kw—it’s likely to be very brief.“