The Kia EV9 is not going to be the brand’s best-selling car for obvious reasons: it is too big for our country (and for Europe) and it has a high price. It is expensive in absolute terms, but not in relative terms. For the same money, there are few cars that offer the same as the EV9, a colossal car not only for its dimensions.
This huge electric SUV is Kia’s most Kia in several ways. It is the largest vehicle of the brand, the most expensive, the most technologically advanced and the most spacious, both for its occupants and in trunk capacity. It may also be the most eye-catching, judging by the heads it turns on the street.
There is no arguing that the EV9 is an imposing car at first glance. Its size and spectacular design are eye-catching. It measures 5.01 meters long, 2.26 meters wide and 1.78 meters high. It is by far the largest Kia to set foot on our roads.
At the front, the EV9 presents the latest generation of the brand’s Digital Tiger Face. The main protagonism is taken by the vertical LED headlights and their small cubic projectors, together with the daytime running lights that span the full width between the two headlights and make an L-shape bordering the main headlights.
The central area of the front end has no traditional grille, it is faired to improve aerodynamics. The only air intakes are below the license plate, but they cannot always be seen open: they are only deployed when cooling is needed and when the vehicle is opened, at which point the active louvers open and close in a sort of greeting to the driver.
At the rear, we find a very smooth and simple trunk lid, flanked by LED lights that give it an instantly recognizable look and a huge spoiler that is not only for aesthetic reasons.
The door handles are flush with the bodywork and are deployed only when you need to access the vehicle. The wheels, as is usual in electric cars, are partially faired to improve aerodynamics. The final design, as is also common with this type of wheel, is not the most attractive in the world.
The EV9 will be available in six metallic colors: Snow Pearl White, Aurora Pearl Black, Flare Red, Pebble Gray, Ocean Blue and Iceberg Green. It will also be available with the striking Ocean Blue matte finish, which gives it a more original and different look from the usual paints.
The more than 3 meters wheelbase (3.10 meters specifically) makes the interior space is huge. The EV9 has three rows of seats and will be available with six seats or seven, making it one of the few electrics to offer this number of seats.
When I say there’s plenty of room inside, I’m not exaggerating one bit. I mean it. In the front seats, the driver and front passenger are separated by a huge center console and you feel like you’re in an American SUV.
The Relaxation seats in the front row can be reclined with the footrest extended when the car is parked or loaded. By means of an electronic adjustment with integrated memory, they automatically adopt the position of the seat and steering wheel according to the driver’s preferences. With the six-seat configuration, the second row also features Relaxation reclining seats with fold-down footrests.
In the second row, there is enough width for three medium-sized adults to travel comfortably. As for legroom, I’ll be brief: it’s huge. The bench seats can be moved lengthwise (the backrests can also be reclined) to leave more space in one row or the other, depending on how many people are traveling. In addition, the floor is completely flat and the front and center seats are heated and ventilated.
One server raises 1.83 meters off the ground and, depending on how the second row is positioned, I can travel relatively comfortably in the third row of seats, something that is not usually common in seven-seater vehicles. To fit, it is necessary to move the bench of the second row, because in the rearmost position (maximum space for passengers in the middle row) it is impossible to fit.
But, if the seats are properly positioned, there can be an adult of 1.83 meters in the second row, while behind, in the last seats, fits another adult of the same height. The knees are higher than normal, the seats are not as comfortable (they are smaller and harder), but you can travel well. The third row seats even have armrests, bottle holders, cup holders and USB-C sockets.
Also, access to the last row is quite good thanks to the ease with which the seats fold down – by simply pulling a lever – and the car’s huge rear doors, which leave a large gap for access.
The trunk has a minimum capacity of 312 liters (with all seats available), which rises to an impressive 828 liters in case of using five seats. With the second and third row seats folded down, the volume rises to 2,393 liters (2,318 in the 7-seater version). In the front there is another small trunk of 52 liters where you can leave, for example, the charging cables.
Materials and finishes
The equipment of the EV9 is really abundant and is reflected in the amount of things you can do as soon as you sit down. The seats are heated, ventilated and have endless adjustments: you can even adjust the width of the side ears so that they are more or less tight in the area of the kidneys.
The triple touchscreen brings a modern look, though nothing we didn’t already know from the EV6 or Sportage. The design is similar to the latter, but the EV9 includes a third screen for the climate control, somewhat smaller, located between the instrument panel and the screen of the multimedia system.
All the sophistication of the equipment contrasts somewhat with the choice of materials Kia has chosen for its most expensive car. The top of the dashboard and doors have some padding, but the rest of the dashboard is plastic, as are the doors (except for the armrest area). A good portion of the materials, more than in any other Kia, are recycled or sustainably sourced.
The fittings between parts are exceptional, with a robustness that invites you to think that it will stand the test of time and the truth is that it offers a feeling of high quality. However, I miss some more luxurious material that brings an extra sophistication and perceived quality in a car that, remember, exceeds 85,000 euros.
In terms of ergonomics, the seats are very comfortable, the light and wiper controls are where they should be and Kia has rightly kept physical buttons for the climate control. This can also be controlled through the small touch screen, specific to the climate control and a novelty in the brand. The negative note at the ergonomic level are the haptic buttons on the dashboard (Nissan ARIYA type), which force you to take your eyes off the road to know which one you are pressing.
The EV9 carries literally every driving assistant that exists today in a production car. It is even prepared for level 3 autonomous driving, although it will not be deployed in Spain for legal reasons.
Some systems can be activated or deactivated from the infotainment screen. The first one I recommend deactivating is the acoustic warning for exceeding the speed limit. It is irritating for two reasons: it beeps as soon as you exceed the speed limit by 1 km/h and it is not always right. Sometimes it misreads a signal or memorizes an old one (for example, when changing the type of road) and, of course, it will still beep at you. You can deactivate it, but, when you turn the car off and restart it, it is activated by default.
The other system that makes no practical sense to me is the driver attention alert. A camera behind the steering wheel detects whether the driver is attentive to driving or not; if not, it emits a vibration on the steering wheel and an audible alert for the driver to regain attention. It’s fine on paper, but a couple of times it alerted me when I was looking to the side at an intersection: the car understood that I wasn’t paying attention to the traffic when that’s precisely what I was doing.
The Kia EV9 GT-Line is available with only one powertrain: it has a 99.8 kWh capacity battery, all-wheel drive and two electric motors of 192 hp (141 kW) each, delivering a maximum output of 384 hp and 700 Nm of torque. Although it has all-wheel drive, most of the time it operates as rear-wheel drive: the front axle motor is disconnected when that drive is not needed and thus reduces consumption.
Performance is good: 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and 80-120 km/h in just 3.7. It has a homologated range of 505 kilometers (WLTP), although it will not be easy to reach this figure in real use.
It’s a big car and it feels big. From the seat we are looking at the huge hood, very wide and square. It is not a comfortable car to drive in the city due to its dimensions and turning diameter (12.4 meters). North Americans will love it, but for our streets and parking lots it is very bulky.
The city’s burden is transformed into comfort and a sense of power when we hit the road. Although many cars of this size have air suspension, the EV9 uses a conventional spring suspension with McPherson strut geometry at the front and multi-link at the rear. Air suspension is not lacking, as it offers a very high level of comfort, especially over high-frequency bumps/irregularities.
At highway speeds there is little noise in the cabin, something that pleasantly surprised me considering the huge tires mounted (285/45 R21 at all four corners) and the shapes of its body. In any case, anyone who might be bothered by the little noise that comes through can always turn on the standard Meridian audio system, with fourteen speakers and fantastic sound.
We had time to drive on national roads and even mountain passes, which, a priori, are not the EV9’s natural habitat. The car’s weight of almost 2,600 kilograms (567 of which correspond to the battery) is to be respected, especially when braking, but it can go surprisingly fast in fast cornering areas. In more twisty areas it suffers a bit more and body roll is unavoidable, although it is less noticeable than the pitching under braking.
What we could not test is the Terrain Mode Select off-road system, which allows you to select between Mud, Sand or Snow modes (mud, sand or snow) by pressing a button on the steering wheel. With each mode, it adjusts the powertrain control, torque distribution and chassis differently for the best traction on each surface.
Consumption, range and recharging
As usual in the first contact, the time and distance traveled are not enough to draw accurate conclusions about consumption, of which we will have more precise data when we test it thoroughly. However, we can have a reference.
After completing the almost one hundred kilometers of route we did, combining city, national road and highway/highway, the car performed an average consumption of 24.1 kWh/100 km, according to the vehicle’s computer, and we used 22% of the battery.
With this consumption, the total autonomy of the battery would be about 410 kilometers. The range between 20% and 80% of the battery would be about 250 kilometers. However, as we said, these data are indicative.
An important feature of the Kia EV9 is its fast charging. The E-GMP platform uses an 800-volt system thanks to which it can recover 223 kilometers of autonomy in 15 minutes and charge from 20% to 80% in 24 minutes. It supports up to 240 kW of DC power, one of the highest charging capacities on the market today.