Kia Motors continues to expand its EV lineup in the U.S. market, following the Kia EV6 with the three-row EV9, the brand’s first global fully-electric SUV, one that’s more or less the same size as the Kia Telluride.
It would seem to be a vehicle that’s particularly well-timed; the popularity of both three-row SUVs and battery-electric vehicles are increasing. One only has to look at sales of the Telluride to understand the appeal of a Kia three-row SUV. As such, it follows the familiar path trod by other electric vehicles, starting with a standard, single-motor rear-wheel drive offering, with a dual-motor setup with all-wheel drive being the step up.
Specific details, such as trim levels and pricing are not yet finalized, however.
The 2024 Kia EV9 is crisply sculpted with a boxy, linear silhouette, and wears an electrified rendition of Kia’s signature Tiger Face fascia that features optional animated lighting. Designers endowed it with a low beltline, which not only enlarges the windows for better outward visibility, it also makes its 21-inch wheels look bigger.
But the EV9’s boxy form is echoed throughout the vehicle, although its blunt back end and side window shape recall the iconic Kia Soul. Yet the forms aren’t merely replicated and enlarged; they are reimagined to lend a familiarity to the vehicle, while avoiding duplicative design. The end result is simple and clean, with vertical taillamps and a look you’re sure to see on future Kia vehicles.
And despite its boxiness, the EV9 boasts a drag co-efficient of a mere 0.28.
With seating for six or seven spread across three rows, the EV9 is not only welcomingly spacious, it’s filled with thoughtfully touches that will make you appreciate its design. Consider the seats: they’re non-leather polyurethane surfaces that are blessed with heat and ventilation in the first two rows.
Then there’s bi-level, center console extends from the front to the second row, and can be fitted with an available sliding storage console for second-row passengers. And, up front, it’s carved in such a way that there’s room for a lady’s purse or a guy’s man bag. And USB ports abound. Speaking of storage, there’s 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space, expandable to 81.9 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.
The overall ambience is reductionist, but without feeling cold, a function of the recycled materials and interesting textures that dominate the interior.
From the start, the EV9 will come with one of two powertrains. Base models come with a 76.1-kWh battery with a single 215-horsepower (160-kW) motor with 258 pound-feet of torque propelling the rear wheels. Although Kia didn’t release full driveline stats, a 99.8-kWh battery will be available that’s expected to give the EV9 a 300-mile range. But neither of these models will be particularly quick, as Kia estimates 0-100 kph times of 8.2-to-9.4 seconds depending on model.
A dual-motor variant will also be offered, producing 379-hp (283-kW) through a torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system with 516 pound-feet of torque, enough to endow this model with a 5-second 0-60 mph time.
Kia says the new EV9 comes with a standard 800-volt electrical architecture that enables a 10-to-80% charge in less than 25 minutes, with a maximum DC charging speed of 230 kW. An 11-kW onboard charger is provided for Level 2 charging.
The 2024 Kia EV9 built using Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform, the same one that underpins the EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Genesis GV60. For the EV9, it’s built with 7.8 inches of ground clearance. Towing is rated at 5,000 pounds.
And Kia says that the EV9’s Highway Driving Pilot provides Level 3 autonomy, but it won’t activated until govern approval by the U.S. government, as Level 3 autonomy is not yet legal here.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crash-tested the EV9. However, it comes with a pile of advanced driver assistance systems including Blind-Spot Collision, Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance and Parking Collision Avoidance Assist.
The instrument panel features two 12.3-inch screens separated by a 5-inch screen for some, but not all of the climate control functions, the rest of which are covered by traditional switch gear. Even worse, the 5-inch screen is hard to see while driving, as the driver’s right hand and steering wheel block it. And separating climate control functions makes little sense.
This is one smooth character. We had the chance to sample the 2024 Kia EV9 driving cost-to-coast across South Korea, where speed cameras and speed bumps abound, and the speed limit never exceeds 100 kph – that’s 62 mph. We tested a dual-motor all-wheel-drive model and found it to possess a premium feel due to a ride that ably soaks up bumps while remaining comfortable, and seats that made long turns in the saddle a comfortable affair. Add in a total lack of any kind of noise, thanks to noise abatement and the lack of an internal combustion engine, and you have a haven of solitude. Even when it rains, there is little of the raindrop rhapsody that typically emanates from wheel wells when traversing rain-soaked roads.
Outward visibility is excellent; kudos to the low beltline, a refreshing change from the Harry Highpants beltlines that have afflicted car designs for far too long.
Then there’s the driving experience itself. Given the 0-60 mph time of 5 seconds, this is about as fast a three-row family bus as you’re likely to find. The steering seems ideally weighted, body lean is mostly held in check and the whole vehicle is beautifully balanced, lie a luxury car. Except it’s a Kia. And that’s what makes this so remarkable.
2024 Kia EV9 Specifications
|L: 197.4 inches/W: 70.1 inches/H: 77.9 inches/Wheelbase: 122 inches
|Dual electric motors, 1-speed transmission and all-wheel drive
|379 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque
|Available fourth quarter 2023
While Kia has yet to announce pricing, and the EPA has yet to release their fuel economy ratings, the 2024 Kia EV9 is an incredibly deft Electric SUV, reaching the market long before many others. ANd it’s so good, it’s going to be the one to beat, just like the Telluride is in its class.
However, one final note: all Kia EV9s will be built in Korea until sometime in 2024, when production begins at the automaker’s plant in West Point, Georgia.
2024 Kia EV9 – Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the EV9 cost?
Unknown, as Kia hasn’t released, or even hinted, at pricing.
Is the Kia EV9 bigger than the Telluride?
No, it’s about the same size.
Will the Kia EV9 have a frunk?