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Edmunds: 2023 Kia EV6 GT vs Tesla Model Y Performance

The vehicles blend the acceleration and agility of a sports car with the packaging of an electric SUV.

This photo provided by Kia, shows the 2023 Kia EV6 GT, a performance variant of their all-electric compact SUV.
This photo provided by Kia, shows the 2023 Kia EV6 GT, a performance variant of their all-electric compact SUV.
Courtesy of Kia America via AP

The electric car market is speeding up as consumer interest in EVs grows and a steady stream of new models arrive to fill different niches. Speed is the operative word when it comes to describing the 2023 Kia EV6 GT and Tesla Model Y Performance.

These vehicles blend the acceleration and agility of a sports car with the packaging of an electric SUV. They also maintain a practical side thanks to their roomy second rows and a long roster of tech features. The automotive experts at Edmunds put these performance-themed EVs to the test to determine which is the better buy.

PERFORMANCE

The Tesla Model Y Performance name provides an obvious hint that speed won't be in short supply. The Performance trim sits above the base and Long Range versions of Tesla's most popular model.

Tesla doesn't provide official horsepower ratings for the Model Y but the output is certainly prodigious. At Edmunds' test track, the all-wheel-drive Model Y Performance needed only 3.7 seconds to zing its way from zero to 60 mph. That's fast for a purebred sports car, much less a small SUV with an optional third row of seats. Keep your foot in it and the Model Y will clear the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds.

Sitting atop the EV6 lineup, the all-wheel-drive GT boasts 576 horsepower, making it the fastest and most powerful production vehicle ever produced by the South Korean automaker. The EV6 GT was marginally quicker than the Tesla — 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds — but these two SUVs equally satisfy your need for speed.

Winner: tie

COMFORT

Important differences emerge when the road turns bumpy. The Model Y's handling is responsive and accurate, but over imperfect pavement, the Tesla's firm ride becomes rough and jittery. On a long trip, it can get tiring. In contrast, the EV6 GT rides much more smoothly. In addition, the EV6 GT's front seats are more comfortable and supportive than the Model Y's.

Winner: EV6

This photo provided by Edmunds, shows the 2023 Tesla Model Y Performance, a compact SUV with acceleration that can rival a number of dedicated sports cars.This photo provided by Edmunds, shows the 2023 Tesla Model Y Performance, a compact SUV with acceleration that can rival a number of dedicated sports cars.Rex Tokeshi-Torres/Edmunds via AP

RANGE

Dynamically it's close, but that's not the case with driving range. The Model Y Performance can go an EPA-estimated 303 miles on a single charge. In the EV6 GT, you have a measly 206 miles. Edmunds also performed its own independent range tests and found the difference isn't quite as stark in real-world driving, but the Model Y still has the edge. Access to Tesla's extensive network of Supercharger charging stations further makes the Model Y a more viable option for long-distance drives.

Winner: Model Y

INTERIOR DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

The cabin of the Tesla Model Y can be considered wildly futuristic or annoyingly austere, depending on your perspective. Nearly all vehicle functions are handled via the 15-inch touchscreen positioned in the center of the dashboard. The icons are large and feature sharp graphics, but the overreliance on touch controls can be distracting. Additionally, the system is not compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Kia opted for a less cutting-edge interior, but it has a more user-friendly layout and an intuitive 12.3-inch touchscreen with standard smartphone connectivity. It's not avant-garde like the Model Y, but based on our testing, it's the more appealing of the two interiors. The same goes for advanced driver aids. Tesla offers more distinctive features, such as vehicle summoning and hands-free driving, but we prefer the everyday functionality of the EV6 GT's aids.

Winner: EV6 GT

PRICING AND VALUE

Both SUVs come loaded with nearly every available comfort feature available. However, the Model Y offers nearly 10 cubic feet more of cargo space behind the rear seats, giving it more utility than the EV6 GT. Due to significant price reductions earlier this year, the Tesla Model Y Performance has a current starting price of $55,880, including destination. The base price of the Kia EV6 GT is significantly more: $62,925. Additionally, the Model Y qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The EV6 GT does not, though Kia is currently trying to compensate by offering $7,500 off EV6 leasing for well-qualified lessees. Kia does offer a longer warranty but the Model Y Performance's significantly lower price can't be ignored.

Winner: Model Y

EDMUNDS SAYS: The Kia EV6 GT is extremely quick and is more comfortable and refined than the Tesla. Subjectively, it's a more enjoyable EV to drive. But for most shoppers, the Model Y's longer range and less expensive price make it the better value buy overall.

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