Exclusive: Kia EV9 Review

Siddharth Vinayak PatankarSept 9, 2023

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The Kia EV9 is the first of three more products coming this year. So let’s get up close and personal with this large SUV.

The Kia EV9 is the third product from the company on the massively successful and awarded electric global modular platform, or E-GMP. And I am in Korea for the exclusive international media drive, to test it. This platform has spawned the EV6 and EV6 GT, the IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6, and the Genesis GV60. The EV9 is the first of three more products coming this year from the group. So let’s get up close and personal with this large SUV

Kia EV9: Design

The EV9 is a large SUV, with three-row seating, and plenty more to boast. It truly is a flagship for the Kia brand and I don't just say that because of its ample size. With the EV9, Kia is taking forward the overall story of where this brand is headed from a tech point of view and also from a design point of view. The design language, Opposites United, has been around for a few years now but with the EV9, Kia adds a second layer and it calls it ‘bold for nature.’ The star map kind of pattern in the DRLs is vertical now it’s not spread out across the face. You do have the addition of a digital tiger nose, which is where you also get digital lighting that's embedded into the front face. That’s optional, and you can have different customised patterns for that as well.

Length

5010 mm

Width

1980 mm

Height

1780 mm

Wheelbase

3100 mm

The EV9 is ample in terms of size. It's meant to be it's a large SUV more than 5 metres long and the wheelbase is more than 3 metres long. So you can imagine how there is a lot of room inside and Kia has played around with that room so you get the option of a 6 or a 7 seater.

Kia EV9: Interior

You have seats in the second row that can swivel around. There's a whole lot that you can do with this car in terms of its customisation and in terms of the colour palette that you see, well it follows that nature theme so you see things that are inspired by the light by air by the earth and by water and the colour pallet reflects exactly that. There are 12 colours for the exterior and 6 combinations for the interior, all inspired by nature.

The GT line gets sportier elements of course. And a specific effort has been to showcase innovation in every aspect of the EV9. While the obvious is technology, it is also true of the design, space utilisation and performance. The EV9 is large as you saw, and it is tall and very upright. But it still has an incredible aero figure of 0.28 Cd.

Kia EV9: Range

Overall, you get 541 kilometres of driving range that is with the 19-inch wheels and of course that is on the long range you can try and optimise that through your driving pattern and there are lots of different charging options, again as you would expect with the flagship model. But I am driving the range-topping variant which has the dual-motor and, therefore AWD capability. This means the range is just a smidge below 500 km.

Kia EV9: Ride & Handling

The first thing I like about the EV9 is the suspension. It has a multi-link front suspension and a 5-link multi-link at the rear. It is pliable, yet stiff, firm yet comfortable. And that’s also true when you sit in the third row.

Kia EV9: Driving Dynamics

The EV9 uses the 4th generation of Kia and indeed the Hyundai Motor Group’s battery technology. You have different variants on the EV9, you've got the standard model which comes with the 76.1 kWh battery that's familiar from the e-GMP family in the past and that's, of course, the rear wheel drive version, you have a long-range rear-wheel-drive and you also got the all-wheel drive with the twin motor they have a bigger battery pack 99.8-kilowatt hour and there's obviously differing variance in terms of power output and torque giving you a fair amount of flexibility and a lot of options.

Std model (RWD)

Long-range (RWD)

Long-range (AWD)

Battery

76.1 kWh

99.8 kWh

99.8 kWh

Max Power

215 bhp

215 bhp

380 bhp

Peak Torque

350 Nm

350 Nm

600 Nm

Claimed Range

418 km

541 km

497 km

Kia says it's focused on the car offering good range so that buyers can freely take road trips with their families or spend more time on the road and less time charging the car. Different drive modes, that's again parred for the course when it comes to all-electric vehicles and so you can adjust the amount of re-gen that you are getting in you can manipulate the kind of settings you have in terms of the power consumption, and of course on eco mode you find the car runs at its most frugal and gives you obviously the best kind of range.

There’s a very obvious difference between the sport mode and the eco mode, you can really push this car hard despite its shape, its size, and its massive amount of bulk. It is pretty quick in sports mode. In that all-wheel drive variant which sits at the top of the pile, you have 600 Nm of torque. That's a lot you think but here's an interesting thing you can do. Go to the KIA connect store and actually buy a more performance-oriented option that gives you 700 Nm of torque, and this is something that a customer can do even after they’ve bought the car if they want that little bit of a boost or an upgrade.

The boost takes combined torque to 700 Nm on the top-spec AWD model. And while the regular dual motor car can go 0-100 in 6 seconds, the boost makes it quicker, achieving it in 5.3 seconds. And that’s incredible for a car that can weigh between 2.4 to 2.6 tonnes!

Kia EV9: Technology

This is the most tech-laden Kia yet. And so besides the interface-related tech that’s top-notch, it is also studded with a safety kit. It gets 10 airbags and a stiffer chassis that uses a new kind of structure. There’s a bunch of ADAS or automated driver assistance systems. The are 16 sensors around the car and that includes 2 lidars. This also gives you level 3 autonomous driving capability. Intelligent Speed Limit assist, lane keeping, collision avoidance, highway driving assist, and blind spot collision avoidance are some of the ADAS features. The EV9 also has Kia’s Smart Parking Assist 2 – which lets the car self-park.

Moving on to that interface then, the EV9 has what’s Kia’s new ‘Panoramic Wide Display’. This is made up of a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster, a 5-inch segment display, and a 12.3-inch infotainment. V2L or vehicle to load lets you use the EV9‘s battery to power appliances, but it also has a V2G or vehicle-to-grid function, that will potentially let owners sell energy back to the grid through the Kia Connect Store – in some countries.

Kia EV9: How Is The 3rd Row?

The EV9 is a 6-seater, with 7-seater variants likely. The cabin is roomy thanks to the flat floor, and the design offers a surprising amount of legroom in all seats. It also has diffused air vents and smart climate control, and some markets will get in-built air purifiers too. This really gives you a living room or meeting room-like environment. This would be especially appealing to families with small children and babies. The car’s first and second-row seats can also go into relaxation mode, so you can rest on a stop during a long drive or while the car is charging. The EV9 has a massive 571 litres of boot space. Fold down rows 2 and 3 and that expands to a humungous 2320 litres!

Kia EV9: Will It Come To India

But the question you are asking of course, will this car come to India? Well, we always want all the new models to arrive in our market. The point though, if you look at the EV 6 experience that KIA has had, that was a direct import, it was niche, it was pricey and this one's even bigger even pricier.

So, does it make sense for Kia to bring it in, as a flagship maybe even with limited units? Yes! it absolutely makes sense because also points to what the brand is doing globally, its parous both in technology and design terms and also in terms of the confidence that offers to buyers in markets like India where Kia is still a pretty young player.

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