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Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: Which EV is right for your needs?

Over the past few years, a lot has happened in the EV space. While only a few short years ago, the Tesla Model 3 was considered the go-to for those who wanted a premium EV “on a budget,” since then we’ve seen a number of high-quality competitors, like the Kia EV6.

To be clear, neither the Tesla Model 3 nor the Kia EV6 are cheap cars. But we’re still somewhat in the early adopted phase of electric cars, and while we will get cheaper and cheaper electric cars over time, for now, you’ll need to spend the cash if you want anything more premium than a Chevrolet Bolt EV.

If you are deciding between the Tesla Model 3 and the Kia EV6, there are a number of considerations to make. Here’s everything to keep in mind.

Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: design

Front three-quarters view of a 2023 Kia EV6 GT in a desert setting.
Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

When it comes to design, both the Tesla Model 3 and Kia EV6 are standout options. Both cars offer a sleek, modern, and sporty aesthetic, however, they also look quite different.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the cars is that the Tesla Model 3 is a sedan, while the Kia EV6 is more of a crossover, with more interior space and a taller profile.

The Tesla Model 3 offers a pretty typical Tesla design. It has a slightly rounded front end, with Tesla’s slanted headlights, and most will appreciate the design. Tesla hasn’t really radically changed its design language in some time now, so in some ways, the Model 3 is starting to feel a little dated — but it looks far from bad.

The Kia EV6, today, looks a little more unique. It has a shorter nose at the front, with a wide light bar at the back. It has more angular lines in general, with a meaner-looking face, which I generally like.

Ultimately, design is down to personal preference. Both cars look great, and you’ll have to decide which one you like the look of best.

Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: size

A Tesla Model 3 on a road.
Tesla

As mentioned, the EV6 and Model 3 are different sizes — with the Model 3 being designed as a sedan and the EV6 closer to a crossover. Some marketing even notes the EV6 as an SUV, but it’s far from a large SUV like the upcoming Kia EV9 will be.

When it comes to interior space, there’s a pretty huge difference. The Kia EV6 offers significantly more interior space than the Tesla Model 3, allowing for up to five adults to sit comfortably in the car, with plenty of head and legroom — something you will struggle with in the Tesla Model 3.

In terms of cargo space, the Tesla Model 3 offers 19.8 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Kia EV6 has 24.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up — a big difference, and ample space for a weekend away.

Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: performance

View of the 2023 Kia EV6 GT from the rear.
Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

Electric cars are known for their zippy performance, and that’s something you’ll get with either the Kia EV6 or the Model Y — but depending on the model you get, you might experience slightly faster acceleration in the Tesla.

The base model of the Tesla Model 3 offers rear-wheel drive and will accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. Upgrade to the Model 3 Performance, however, and you’ll get to 60mph in a super-fast 3.1 seconds. There’s also the Model 3 Long Range, but that wasn’t available for purchase at the time of this writing.

The 2023 Kia EV6 comes in a few different models too, and the highest-end Kia EV6 GT sacrifices some of its range to get you from 0 to 60mph in an impressive 3.2 seconds. A fraction of a second slower than the Model 3 Performance, but still very, very fast.

Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: range and charging

A Telsa Model 3 drives along a road.
Tesla

Options like better performance and all-wheel drive eat up more battery life, and that has a direct impact on range on both the Model 3 and the EV6.

The base Model 3 has a range of 272 miles, while the Model 3 Performance steps that up to 315 miles. Both models can charge at up to 250kW, which is pretty fast, and should get you to 80% in around 25 minutes.

The EV6 offers more variation in range. The base model, the EV6 Wind, has a range of 310 miles for the rear-wheel drive model, or 282 miles for the all-wheel drive model. Then there’s the GT-Line, which has 310 miles for the RWD, or 252 for the AWD. Last but not least is the Kia EV6 GT, which offers 206 miles of range. All of these models support charging at up to 350kW, which means you can charge from 10% to 80% in only 18 minutes — though you’ll have to find a charging station that supports those speeds.

Kia EV6 vs Tesla Model 3: price

Both cars are expensive, but if you’re strapped for cash the Model 3 may be the way to go. The Model 3 starts at $42,990 for the base model, or $53,990 for the Performance. The Kia EV6 starts at a more expensive $48,700 for the base model and ranges up to $61,600 for the Kia EV6 GT. Due to its assembly outside the U.S., the EV6 is also ineligible for a $7,500 federal tax rebate, while the Model 3 is eligible.

Conclusions

The Kia EV6 and Tesla Model 3 are both top-tier electric cars with a lot to offer. Both offer a decent range, good performance, and solid tech. But the Tesla Model 3 is cheaper, and probably represents better value overall. That said, if you prefer the design and features of the EV6, or simply don’t want a Tesla, then the EV6 is an excellent car.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
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