As we barrel towards an all-electric future, many EV makers have well targeting the preferred automobile lessons. There at the moment are loads of compact electrical SUVs, however what when you want one thing higher suited to a big household? Three-row mid-size SUVs are the go-to alternative, however the electrical choices are decidedly sparse and have been restricted to costly luxurious manufacturers.
The 2024 Kia EV9 appears to be like to vary all of that. The EV9’s dimensions are similar to the seemingly unassailable Telluride SUV’s, although the EV’s wheelbase is sort of eight inches longer. We had the chance to drive a Korean-spec EV9 from Seoul to the east coast of the peninsula and again. After this primary expertise with Kia’s family-size EV, we anticipate it will likely be as profitable as its gasoline-powered sibling.
Three EV powertrains
In fact, specs are vitality essential right here, so let’s bounce in. The EV9 might be provided in three guises. The entry-level customary battery has a capability of 76.1 kilowatt-hours and is estimated by Kia to ship 223 miles of vary. Output from the one rear motor involves 215 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That ought to get the EV9 to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds or so.
The Lengthy Vary fashions improve to a 99.8-kWh battery and are provided in both rear- or all-wheel-drive. The newest data means that the long-range rear-drive mannequin will ship the identical energy because the standard-battery model, however vary will increase to 300 miles. The added weight of the bigger battery slows 60-mph acceleration to round 9.2 seconds, which is relatively pokey for a contemporary EV.
We drove the Lengthy Vary with a second motor powering the entrance wheels. Mixed with the rear motor, it churns out 379 horsepower and as much as 516 pound-feet, though vary drops to an estimated 270 miles. It ought to hit 60 mph in a way more respectable 5.0 seconds.
EV9 preliminary driving impressions
Kia continues to be finalizing how the North American fashions will differ from Korean-spec ones, nevertheless it’s a good assumption we’ll get sportier tunings for the suspension and throttle mapping. Contemplating it is a mid-size, three-row household SUV, we actually do not see the necessity for a special tuning, since our Okay-spec EV9 was a pleasure to drive. Off the road, energy supply is as speedy as most different EVs and can simply exceed most drivers’ expectations. On the freeway, the journey high quality is appropriately tender whereas not being floaty over undulations. One-pedal driving is accessible by adjusting the steering-wheel paddles, and it is simple to roll the EV9 to a whole cease easily. For extra pressing deceleration, the brake pedal has a well-known really feel and will get the job completed, however you’ll really feel the automobile’s substantial weight shift ahead.
That mass elements in far much less prominently on the few sections of curvy mountain roads, because of the underfloor battery that offers the EV9 a low heart of gravity. It is poised and really controllable when pushed tougher than is prudent. This instills confidence that you can swerve round surprising obstacles whenever you’re simply cruising. We’re curious how the U.S.-spec EV9 will differ, however as it’s, we haven’t any complaints in regard to driving. Nicely completed, Kia.
In distinction to the EV9’s engaging cyberpunk-like beveled exterior, the inside is softer and extra inviting. The horizontal sprint stretches from door to door and options what seems to be a single extra-wide show that extends from the instrument panel to the infotainment display. In actuality, there are two 12.3-inch screens, plus a 5.0-inch touchscreen for secondary local weather controls.
Regardless of what initially appears to be a scarcity of bodily switchgear, there are certainly some shortcut buttons embedded within the woodgrain sprint trim. It’s good to give these embedded buttons a critical push, however you get affirmation with a strong haptic faucet again. We’re additionally happy that there are levers for the temperature and fan controls just under and a quantity curler dial in between. The infotainment system reveals some sluggish reactions right here and there however is simple to make use of with its quite a few however well-organized menus.
The cabin makes liberal use of sustainable supplies, with most surfaces getting a grained-leather look. There are many engaging components, and we even just like the shiny plastic trim items, however lots of the coverings we count on can be effectively padded are noticeably agency. In consequence, they don’t seem to be as pleasurable to the contact.
We’re particularly thrown by the awkward van-like hump that helps the middle of the dashboard. Its exhausting plastic shroud appears extra at dwelling in an airliner’s economy-class seatback, however we’re glad there’s not less than one thing to interrupt an in any other case flat flooring. It ought to preserve errant objects from rolling from the passenger facet to below the pedals, however we predict it might have been styled to higher mix in with the remainder of the cabin.
The entrance seats are firmly cushioned, and after an hour we started to really feel some exhausting factors. The artificial upholstery appears to be like and feels as downmarket as what you’d get in a rental-spec sedan. We’re hopeful that the U.S.-bound fashions can have different choices and maybe a textile masking much like a number of the inside trim components. The driving force seat has the entire mandatory energy changes to get comfortably located, however we needed to scoot the seat ahead greater than we most popular as a result of the steering wheel does not telescope far sufficient again.
The seats have a recline function with a powered leg relaxation for whenever you’re ready whereas the battery recharges. There’s additionally a singular mesh headrest and a small lip behind it that you could grasp your coat on. The floating heart console has a roll-top cowl, a wi-fi charger within the center, and a big armrest bin. Beneath is a deep tray for bigger objects.
The second-row captain’s chairs are related in look and luxury to the entrance seats. On our pattern automobile, they’d heating, air flow, and an oddly aggressive therapeutic massage operate. The seat vibrates and in addition kneads your again and backside, however even in its lowest setting, it tended to scramble our innards. The seats slide ahead and again fairly a methods, however sadly we can’t get the 180-degree swivel operate different markets will take pleasure in. A second-row bench is accessible and will increase passenger capability from six to seven.
The dual third-row seats have sufficient headroom to accommodate adults, however second-row passengers might want to slide ahead to provide back-benchers sufficient legroom. Thankfully, there’s ample legroom for each rows on this configuration. Behind the third row, the cargo space can maintain as much as 20 cubic toes, which practically equals the Telluride’s capability. With each rows stowed, cargo area expands to 82 cubic toes. We’ll have to attend till later for the intermediate quantity that pertains to stashing the third row whereas the second row is occupied.
Kia matches the EV9 with an 11-kW on-board charger, which is sufficiently giant to get the max out of most 240-volt Stage 2 home- and public-charging setups. DC fast-charging functionality, alternatively, tops out at 230 kilowatts when plugged into 350-kW charging gear utilizing the CCS connector. Kia says says that ought to replenish the usual battery from 10 to 80 p.c in solely 20 minutes, with the bigger long-range battery needing 24 minutes. Our earlier EV6 testing largely validated Kia’s claims previously, so we do not doubt their estimates right here.
On the entire, the 2024 Kia EV9 managed to exceed our admittedly excessive expectations primarily based on the general excellence of the smaller EV6. Whereas some inside supplies are considerably disappointing, it does not bitter the general expertise.
Pricing hasn’t been introduced, however we’d be shocked if it have been anyplace as costly because the restricted batch of three-row electrical SUVs already on the market: the Rivian R1S, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, and the Tesla Mannequin X. Meaning, when it arrives late this yr, the EV9 can have few if any direct rivals. And a higher-performing GT mannequin is also within the works, which ought to additional set the EV9 aside.
2024 Kia EV9
Car Kind: rear- or front-and-rear motor, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 6- or 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE (C/D EST)
Base RWD, $56,000; Lengthy-Vary RWD, $63,000; Base AWD, $68,000; GT-Line, $73,000
Rear Motor: permanent-magnet AC, 215 hp, 258 lb-ftOptional
Entrance Motor: permanent-magnet AC, 215 hp, 258 lb-ft
Mixed Energy (w/elective entrance motor): 379 hp
Mixed Torque (w/elective entrance motor): 442-516 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 76.1 or 99.8 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC Quick-Cost Charge: 230 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive
Wheelbase: 122.0 in
Size: 197.4 in
Width: 77.9 in
Peak: 69.1-70.1 in
Cargo Quantity, Behind F/M/R: 82/TBA/20 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 5000-5800 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.0-9.2 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.8-16.5 sec
High Velocity: 115 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
MPGeRange: 223-300 mi
With a background in design and open-wheel racing, Mark Takahashi bought his foot within the door as an artwork director on automotive and motorbike magazines. He parlayed that right into a profession as an automotive journalist and has reviewed 1000’s of automobiles over the previous few many years.