Kia EV9 Review – Car Blog
We road tested the Kia EV9 – the South Korean brand’s all-new, all-electric flagship SUV
With its concept-car looks, long range, and easy drive, the Kia EV9 is absolutely perfect.
About the same size as the BMW X5, it is available with six or seven seats – the former swivel middle-row sports seats.
Pricing starts at £65,025, which is expensive for a Kia, but you’ll definitely get a bang for your buck. The big question is: Will this lure buyers away from established EV rivals like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz?
First impressions couldn’t be better. It’s an epic car with a bold, boxy design that focuses on maximizing interior space and passenger comfort. Despite its size, the EV9 looks much better in the metal than it does in photos.
Previewing Kia’s future design direction, the combination of a long wheelbase and a completely flat floor creates ample space for everyone in the three rows of seats.
Even with all the seats occupied, there’s still 333 liters of luggage space – expanding to an impressive 828 liters with the third-row seats flipped, or a whopping 2,320 liters with the second and third row seats folded.
The Kia EV9 is equally impressive on a technical level. All models in the range come with a large 99.8 kWh battery, and there are two electric motor options.
The first is the 201-hp single-engine model that powers the rear wheels. Or step up to the EV9’s dual-motor all-wheel drive, which has 378 horsepower and a whopping 516 pound-feet of torque. If economy trumps performance on your checklist, the former offers a range of 349 miles, while the flagship model still offers a respectable 313 miles.
Or to put it another way, the single can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 9.4 seconds (19-inch wheels), while the more powerful model takes just 5.3 seconds (21-inch wheels).
Ultra-fast charging is standard, meaning 154 miles can be added in just 15 minutes. Or to put it another way, a 10-80% charge will take less than 24 minutes over a 350kW connection. Of course, it will also charge overnight at home, if you have a wall box.
The Kia EV9 is also generously equipped, with a three-screen layout that combines a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 12.3-inch driver’s display, and a 5.3-inch touchscreen for climate control. With a few physical buttons too, it’s as logical and cool as ever – exactly what we’ve come to expect from Kia.
There’s also wireless phone charging, Apple and Android connectivity, heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning, LED lights everywhere, a 360-degree camera system, V2L charging, a power liftgate, and a three-pin socket in the boot.
I haven’t even mentioned the long list of safety and driver-assistance technologies that helped earn the EV9 a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP, or the regenerative braking that can be easily adjusted via paddles behind the steering wheel.
It’s hard to fault the overall build quality, while the interior materials (many of which are recycled) are just about the job, although there’s still a long way to go for Kia to challenge the plush interiors of major premium German brands.
Once you enter the cabin, you immediately feel spacious and comfortable, with excellent visibility. It doesn’t feel seated, like some electric SUVs, and there are plenty of seat adjustment options.
I drove the Dual Motor EV9 in GT-Line S specification on a variety of roads around Aberdeen, Inverness and the Scottish Highlands.
To say that progress has been comfortable and effortless is an understatement. It feels great, especially in town and on narrow country roads, but most of the time it’s not a problem and cruises silently along the road (wind and road noise are barely noticeable). Ride quality is impressive and the steering is light and precise.
Despite its large size, it manages to stay surprisingly flat in the most challenging turns, but it would be a stretch to call it “nimble.” Aided by a low center of gravity, there’s no escaping the fact that this car weighs 2.6 tons.
As you would with the exception of all-wheel drive, traction levels are great. I wasn’t able to test the EV9 off-road, but in addition to the Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes activated on the steering wheel, there’s also a Terrain mode button, offering Mud, Snow and Sand options.
There’s no shortage of power either, but if longer range is more important to you, it may be worth opting for the single-engine model.
Freezing conditions probably didn’t help, but after two days with the AWD EV9, average power consumption was 2.5 mph, which is a bit disappointing. However, this still equates to a tidy real-world range in the late 2000s (more in an urban environment), and I hope the rear-drive version can return around 300 miles.
Finally, a quick word about the seats. If you opt for the seven-seater (it’s one of the few electric cars on the market), the third row will be usable for adults (I managed that just fine and I’m 5’11”) — partly because the second-row seat can slide back and forth.
The two individual ‘captain’s chair’ seats, which swivel and recline in the six-seater version, are a neat gimmick and certainly add to the car’s wow factor.
Verdict: Kia’s EV9 is as impressive as its sheer size. A premium car if there ever was one, this stunning SUV is competitively priced, spacious and safe; Provides easy driving and realistic usable range.