The 2024 Kia EV9 is not only the super-sized sibling of the Kia EV6, but this all-new model is intended to be Kia’s new flagship model. It’s a fully electric three-row SUV packed with smart technology set within a very inviting interior. But Kia won’t have you thinking the EV9 is just a futuristic Telluride with a pair of electric motors; the automaker claims the EV9 kickstarts Kia’s commitment to being “a sustainable mobility solutions provider in the era of electrification.”
Say what? Well, in terms of the EV9, this means several leaps forward in electric motoring. For one, your party of seven can all ride in the same electron-sipping vehicle. With a third row of seating, the EV9 opens up electric vehicle ownership to groups that were previously too large to consider one. And although pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, we’re anticipating not having to crack the wallet too wide either — at least when you compare the EV9 to competitors like the Tesla Model X or Rivian R1S. But most importantly, the EV9 also aims to prove you don’t have to limit your electrified experience to just commuting back and forth — the EV9 has a roomy, spacious cabin that you’ll want to spend time in. It’s a vehicle not only to be driven, but to be enjoyed, with friends and family.
What’s powering the EV9?
The EV9 is built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), Kia’s dedicated battery electric vehicle platform. If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same platform that the EV6 rides on.
At 76.1 kWh, the EV9’s base battery size is slightly down on capacity compared to its smaller sibling (which has a 77.4-kW pack) and is only offered with a single rear motor that produces a modest 215 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Kia says this rear-wheel-drive model, referred to as the RWD Standard, can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds. Estimated range for this version is not available at this time.
Buyers can also opt for a larger 99.8-kWh battery pack. The entry-level variant is called the RWD Long Range, and, confoundingly, makes do with a less potent rear motor. It makes 201 hp in this application, and this, plus the extra weight of the larger battery, contribute to a lethargic 0-62 mph of 9.4 seconds. That said, this should be the EV9 that offers the longest driving range. Kia says this model, with 19-inch wheels, can drive up to 336 miles before recharging. Keep in mind, however, that this figure is calculated using the European WLTP standard, which is typically more generous than our EPA estimates.
At the top of the range is an all-wheel-drive model, which adds a second motor at the front axle. Output climbs to 380 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, giving the EV9 the grunt to sprint to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds flat.
Kia joins the growing number of automakers charging extra for content included in the vehicle from the get-go. A Boost feature will be sold via the in-vehicle Kia Connect Store, unlocking a full 516 lb-ft of torque and reducing the 0-62 mph time to 5.3 seconds.
Note that all above powertrains are for the global EV9; we don’t yet know which versions will make the journey stateside. No matter how much power the EV9 puts to the ground, every model comes with an 800-volt architecture for DC fast-charging capability. A high-speed charger can add as many as 149 miles of range in 15 minutes, according to Kia.
How’s the EV9’s interior?
Roughly the same size as a Telluride but with a wheelbase 8 inches longer, the EV9 feels cavernous. Similar to the Telluride, the EV9 dazzles upon entry — everything from the small design details to the actual materials used throughout the cabin feel clever and inspired. The dashboard is attractive, the large display screen is clean, the seats are comfortable, and the sense of space is palpable. You also won’t find trendy plastic piano black surfaces inside the EV9. The electric SUV uses newer sustainable materials to create materials and textiles that feel good to the touch — and your conscience.
There are many things to love about the EV9, but its biggest strength is that airy, spacious cabin. The interior feels open enough that you have room to breathe and relax, even when it’s fully occupied. The EV9’s long wheelbase provides generous interior space for both passengers and cargo. The third row fit a pair of our 6-foot-tall colleagues without complaints, and the captain’s chairs in the second row can swivel and recline. (A traditional three-seat middle row is available for maximum people-carrying capacity.) Headroom and legroom is ample in all rows thanks to the EV9’s boxy exterior styling.
How’s the EV9’s tech?
Though we don’t know if it’s in the cards for the U.S. yet, the EV9 will be the first Kia sold with Highway Driving Pilot, which allows for conditional Level 3 autonomous driving. To date, only one Level 3 system is technically on the market, but only 100 examples of the Honda Legend with Honda Sensing Elite were ever produced, and they were only available in Japan. Later this year, we’ll get the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS with Drive Pilot, but those systems are currently only approved for use in Nevada and only at speeds up to 37 mph.
Kia says that its HDP system, which consists of 15 sensors — including two lidar arrays — allows for Level 3 autonomy, which means it’s hands-off and shouldn’t require the driver to constantly monitor the road.
Kia always excels at packing in a lot of features for the money, and as the brand’s new flagship model, we expect the EV9 to be loaded to the brim. At the very least, the SUV will be equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, USB ports aplenty and wireless charging.