2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line Long-Term Update: Blizzaks carry us through

Our 2022 Kia EV6 AWD GT-Line long-term tester is zipping through winter with little fuss, and some of its success comes down to the rubber fitted to its 20-inch wheels. We acquired a set of Bridgestone Blizzak LM005 tires for the cold months here in Michigan, and the results have been what you’d expect and more from a Blizzak tire.

The specific model of Blizzak winter tire we’re testing, the LM005, isn’t what you’d typically find fitted to a family crossover/SUV/whatever the EV6 is. Bridgestone says the LM005 is a “performance” winter tire designed for performance cars to ensure the vehicle maintains handling and mobility on dry roads and provides the grip in snow we know and love from the more traditional Blizzak lines.

How does the LM005 provide that dry performance boost? The answer involves a bunch of nerd stuff, if you’ll indulge us. Its rubber compound is made with a unique high-silica material, and it’s molded into a directional pattern with both 2D and 3D sipes — Bridgestone says this design improves dry grip and braking traction. The internal structure also features a special nylon reinforcement for enhanced steering response and high-speed capability. This is the model of Blizzak that Bridgestone recommends to drivers with high-performance cars who drive on the autobahn in the winter. Unlike many winter tires with low top-speed ratings, the LM005 is V-rated for up to 149 mph. For comparison purposes, the venerable Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is only R-rated for about 105 mph.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD Long-Term

What all of this ultimately means in real-world applications is that the Blizzak LM005 hardly feels like a winter tire when you’re driving on dry pavement. The squishiness, instability and general softness from the tread you may be accustomed to with a non-performance winter tire is simply not present in the LM005. Driving the EV6 GT-Line around with these tires fitted does little to dull the sharpness of its steering or reduce its road-holding ability versus the standard all-season tires. You can carry a surprising amount of speed through sweepers and highway cloverleaves before the rubber starts to cry uncle. Plus, once you get to its talkative limit, the tire is friendly and predictable.

When driving along without performance in mind, the Blizzak LM005 tracks straight and comfortably. Steering feel remains tight and reactive, and there’s no unsteadiness at freeway speeds. 

Our EV6 comes with Continental low-rolling resistance all-season tires from the factory. Of particular note here, though, is the layer of vibration-dampening polyurethane foam in the inner surface of the tire that reduces tire noise in the cabin. This Blizzak doesn’t have similar tech, and driven back–to-back, more tire noise is noticeable in the cabin. That said, the extra sound is minimal and well within our expectation for a winter tire.

But how about the EV6’s snow performance with these tires? With all-wheel drive and powerful electric motors, getting going is effortless and fun. Stability control will try to rein in the acceleration, but the more powerful rear motor still gives the EV6 a rear-drive bias to the all-wheel drive system. Pop it into “Sport” mode, and you can positively rocket off the line on snow-covered pavement. Doing donuts in a car with a great-sounding engine is great fun as you get to work through the whole rev range and really spin the tires up, but don’t discount the entertainment that comes from always-on torque in the snow, too.

Turning and braking are handled without much stress, but you will definitely feel the EV6’s weight in the snow. These tires will dig in and take you to where you point the car, but the 4,661-pound mass of the EV6 can’t be ignored. Using the regenerative braking in the snow didn’t lead to any sort of funny business either, as the tires never struggled to provide enough traction for it to slow down controllably and safely. 

If you’re catching on to a theme here, there are very few bad things to say about how these Blizzaks performed on the EV6 — cold weather charging and winter driving efficiency is another topic for another time. But when it comes to tires, it comes as no surprise that these Blizzaks fulfilled the design brief.

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