KIA EV6 Is Much More Reliable Than the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf, Study Shows

Consumer Reports 2022 Reliability Study 12 photos
Photo: KIA
KIA EV6 - 84 pointsTesla Model 3 - 58 pointsNissan Leaf - 53 pointsHyundai Ioniq 5 - 41 pointsTesla Model Y - 38 pointsFord Mustang Mach-E - 35 pointsVolkswagen ID.4 - 32 pointsTesla Model S - 25 pointsChevrolet Bolt - 17 pointsChevrolet Bolt EUV - 5 pointsHyundai Kona Electric - 5 points
So you wanna know which 2022 EVs are the most reliable? Here are the Consumer Reports' scores: KIA EV6 - 84 points, Tesla Model 3 - 58 points, Nissan Leaf - 53 points. All the other models scored less than 50 points. Now let’s see the insights behind the numbers.
First of all, the very definition of reliability is this: "the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well." A car model will prove itself reliable (or not) after some years in service and tens or hundreds of thousands of miles. Also, the higher the number of satisfied drivers, the more credible the reliability index.

Now, do you remember what was one of the biggest selling points of electric vehicles? Right, their better reliability compared to internal combustion cars. Which was based on pretty logical arguments.

ICE cars pay a high toll because of complicated engines with a lot of moving parts probe to intensive wear. There are also all those complicated fuel and exhaust systems, the transmission and water pump, and, more recently, a myriad of computers and electronic devices for emissions control.

Right. But let’s not forget that car makers are building ICEs for a century now, while mass-market EVs have been with us for only a decade. So, it’s only natural to assume that gasoline-powered models benefit from a broader technical experience than their comparable 100% electric models.

Wait a minute, EVs reliability is not the best?

In recent years, Consumer Reports compiled data from millions of vehicle owners. And it seems that EVs, as a category, have more frequent problems than ICE and hybrids. Ouch, that hurt! But there’s no need to fear a Big Auto conspiracy.

There is a better (and more sane) explanation. Modern EVs showcase completely new platforms and innovations. All of this requires a learning curve for engineers, and early adopters are very helpful in accelerating this process.

But, for the time being, in CR’s surveys, many owners of EVs reported a number of problems associated with battery packs, charging, or electric drive motors. Besides, all those electronic gimmicks behave differently in an EV than in an ICE.

After all, most EVs on the market today are based on or simply derived from ICE platforms. E-mobility is still in a transition phase, where carmakers are experimenting a lot, while technical solutions need time to prove themselves. Or not.

So, there’s a simple rule: carmakers that have embraced earlier electromobility tend to manufacture more reliable cars. Well, they still lag behind many conventional cars but remember that learning curve we talked about earlier.

KIA EV6 is the best, but for how long?

Let’s get back to Consumer Reports’ ranking. KIA EV6 is better by a wide margin, but there’s a simple explanation. There were few respondents and they tended to be very excited about this very new model. The KIA EV6 was unveiled in 2021.

By comparison, there were over a thousand Tesla Model 3 owners to respond to the survey. The same goes for the second-generation Nissan Leaf on the market today. So, as it ages, the 2022 KIA EV6 is to see if it will still be more trouble-free than the Model 3 or Leaf.

Tesla and Nissan have been building EVs for a decade now. Based on data from users, the Model 3 has either average or better reliability than all other Tesla models. The Leaf is more of a big improvement of the first generation, so less innovation favors better reliability.

CR recommends all three models, but they make it clear that the Tesla Model 3 is their favorite. A strong point for the American car is, of course, the Supercharge network, “the nation’s best.” The Leaf is more affordable, so the Japanese model is a very practical everyday commute car.

Watch out for declining reliability

It's worth mentioning that in CR’s ranking, in fourth place, there is also a Korean EV. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 (41 points) is using the same architecture as the KIA EV6. So things are looking bright for the Koreans. Not so fast, though, as Ford can teach them a harsh lesson.

At the beginning of 2022, the Ford Mustang Mach-E was among CR’s Ten Top Picks. In November, it was excluded from their recommendations, because many owners of early units pointed to many problems with the infotainment screen freezing, battery cell failures, or charging issues.

Things are a little different with Hyundai-KIA because the EV6 and Ioniq 5 are not their first mass-market electric vehicles. Remember the Hyundai Kona or KIA Niro and Soul? Of course, you do, those nameplates are very popular now among EV owners.

Well, Koreans had their share of problems, too. The Kona was very high-ranked in CR’s rankings, but now it’s the last, with only 5 points. It also was the subject of a painful battery recall. Today we’re pretty sure that the Koreans paid much more attention to developing the new platform for the EV6.

After all, reliability is such a subjective feature. It really can’t be measured in a lab, it’s just a matter of different user scenarios and people’s judgments. Consumer Reports study is really a useful tool, but you should take it with a grain of salt.
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About the author: Oraan Marc
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After graduating college with an automotive degree, Oraan went for a journalism career. 15 years went by and another switch turned him from a petrolhead into an electrohead, so watch his profile for insight into green tech, EVs of all kinds and alternative propulsion systems.
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