The KIA EV9 SUV: The all new Electric SUV

Kia has officially revealed its new, all-electric EV9 SUV. It is available as a six- or seven-seater, and it’ll take the crown as Kia’s all-electric flagship when it goes on sale towards the end of 2023. After its design reveal earlier this March, Kia has now confirmed specifications for its flagship EV.

And, while it might look like a properly premium machine, Kia promises it’s still a mainstream brand. ‘I think this will stay within the DNA of the brand, but just touch upon the boundaries between premium and mainstream – those boundaries are getting more blurred,’ says vice president of brand strategy, Kumasegawa Kaoru, ‘and, obviously, these values will be trickled down into our future line-up.’

The brand has revealed images of the exterior and interior design so far, with more technical specifications expected to follow at a later date. For now, though, let’s dig into the look, feel and tech on offer.

It looks huge!

And, interestingly, extremely close to the Concept EV9 we first saw at the 2021 Los Angeles motor show. Ride n Drive understands the EV9 is around five metres in length, making it longer around 200mm longer than the Sorento SUV (Kia’s largest car before this arrived) and a similar length to a Range Rover, so its in good company.

The EV9’s geometrically-inspired lines – from its triangular-shaped, deeply-flared wings and chunkily wraparound windscreen, to the “star map” LEDs and animated digital lighting patterns – add up to a new design approach. Much of which will filter down to its smaller electric cars, and fulfil Kia’s masterplan of having 14 EVs on sale by 2027.

Former-BMW design veteran Karim Habib, who heads up Kia’s design division, cites ‘aerodynamic reasons’ as to why the EV9 has ‘slightly less ground clearance than a normal SUV’, before adding some other justifications. ‘I think that’s partly what makes the car, like the bonnet being shorter, the cabin longer and the beltline low. The beltline is definitely lower than on the concept car. In its glass-to-body proportion, it’s a bit less-classical SUV-like. That was all part of the message of this more ‘living space’ architecture.’

What about the EV9’s interior?

Up front, the EV9 sports one large 27-inch instrument panel combining a trio if slim screens underneath, which Kia’s friendly wizard-like global head of interiors, Jochen Paesen says is a ‘newer generation of screens beyond the EV6, which will be rolled out across the range’. The EV9 also has a new steering wheel with a chamfered top edge to create a shallow, elongated capital “D” shape to make viewing that driver display easier, while all of the key physical driver controls are clustered around the steering column to avoid greater visual clutter elsewhere.

The EV9 is available as a six- or seven-seat version in the UK, and the second row does most of the heavy lifting. In six-seat mode, captain-style chairs are able to swivel rearward 180 degrees and be horizontally offset in relation to the forward-facing third row, so all passengers can find a place to put their legs without clashing kneecaps. Those second-row seats can also be fixed perpendicular to the rear-door opening to aid frail folks’ exit and entry and there’s a large centre console between the two front seats with a small tray that can extend rearward to place drinks, phones and more.

Marilia Bill, head of the colour, material and finish design team, says the EV9 marks the start of Kia’s phasing out of leather upholstery across its entire range, for example, adding that the brand will ‘increase the amount of plant-based components and, in the future, we plan to go further. We’re investing in something called biofabrication in order to be part of a material revolution by growing our own materials.’

Are there any tech specs you can tell me?

The EV9 runs on Hyundai Motor Group’s e-GMP platform – the architecture that underpins the EV6, as well as Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 and 6. The platform runs an 800-volt architecture for faster charging, and allows for rear- and all-wheel drive versions.

With the EV9, the standard range car has a 76.1kWh battery pack and rear-wheel drive and a ‘Long Range’ model available with rear- or all-wheel drive has a 99.8kWh pack. The thriftiest EV9 is capable of around 336 miles of e-range, while the quickest GT Line model is capable of a 5.3sec 0-62mph time. Kia’s top management also confirmed there would be an EV9 GT – likely using a similar power output to the EV6 GT ­– arriving in early 2025. On top of that, the EV9 can be had (in certain markets) with a remote parallel parking assistant, a platform for new software to be installed over-the-air, a 2500kg towing capacity (matching that of a Range Rover Velar), the ability to power your home (like Ford’s F-150 Lightning) and even vehicle-to-grid power supplementation. Kia also promises Level 3 autonomous technology on board.

When can I buy a Kia EV9?

Kia says it’ll go on sale towards the end of 2023 in the UK, but we’ll have to hang on a little while for pricing and specifications. That said, we expect the EV9 to command a premium price to reflect its size, battery and tech on board – likely from around £65,000/$80,000.

We will know more in time, stay tuned.