Kia EV9 review
As posh as it is palatial, the Kia EV9 sets a new standard for large mainstream SUVs while offering a strong and accurate electric range to boot
- Sci-fi design
- Luxurious cabin
- Acres of space
- Slightly firm ride
- Finicky touch-sensitive controls
- Single motor car not that fast
|Car type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||336 miles||13hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||149 miles of range in 15 mins|
Kia EV9 verdict
The Kia EV9 pushes the boundaries of how upmarket a mainstream manufacturer can make a car before it’s officially seen as a true luxury item. The space-age seven-seater impresses with its plush and spacious cabin, while a strong electric range and seemingly endless equipment list is sure to draw in UK family buyers. We’re interested to see how the EV9’s suspension copes with treacherous UK roads, but the big Kia’s smooth powertrains have us content for now. Top all this off with a industry-leading seven-year warranty and it begs the question why anyone would ever spend the extra cash on the upcoming Range Rover EV.
Details, specs and alternatives
The Kia EV9 is the second model in the South Korean maker’s new line of futuristic EV-badged electric cars. Following on from the medium-sized Kia EV6 and soon to be joined by an even smaller EV5, the seven-seater EV9 sits at the pinnacle of Kia’s lineup, acting as a rival for the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7, Range Rover EV and Volvo EX90. Of course, that’s not forgetting the now-left-hand-drive-only Tesla Model X, the smaller Mercedes EQB and several van-based electric MPVs such as the Citroen e-Berlingo.
Hidden underneath the EV9’s Blade Runner-esque exterior is a stretched version of the EV6’s E-GMP underpinnings. Also used by the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60, the EV9’s E-GMP setup incorporates a huge 99.8kWh battery, which Kia says will provide a range of up to 336 miles on a single charge – more than what’s possible in a Tesla Model Y Long Range.
This is paired with one of two electric motor setups: the first – likely to be the most popular – incorporates a single electric motor on the rear axle, producing 201bhp. The journey from 0-62mph takes a leisurely 9.2 seconds, however, there is another option for those looking for a bit more poke.
Dual-motor cars, as their name suggests, incorporate a second electric motor on the front axle; this not only provides four-wheel-drive, but also ups power to a healthy 380bhp. The dual-motor EV9 takes just six seconds to hit 62mph, although this can be slashed further to 5.3 seconds via an optional over-the-air ‘boost package’.
The Kia EV9 will go on sale later this year and while full trim level specifications are yet to be revealed, we understand there will be at least three trim levels: Baseline, Air and GT-Line Opting for the latter will be the only way to get a six-seat configuration; instead of a traditional three-person bench seat, six-seater EV9s will get a pair of swivelling captain’s chairs in the second row.
Range, battery size & charging
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Single-motor||336 miles||13hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||149 miles of range in 15 mins|
|Dual-motor||308 miles||13hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||149 miles of range in 15 mins|
Kia says the single-motor EV9 will manage up to 336 miles on a single charge, with the dual-motor car doing slightly less at 306 miles. While a Tesla Model X can, in theory, travel further without needing to be plugged-in, the EV9 can go for longer on a charge than, say, the Mercedes EQB, which can only do around 250 miles.
It’s worth noting, however, that filling the EV9 up with people and luggage is likely to take its toll on the car’s overall range; like an overladen petrol car, the EV9 will be less efficient the more it’s weighed down. During our time with the EV9 – albeit with just one person and their luggage in the car – we easily averaged 3.1 miles/kWh, which equates to just over 300 miles on a charge.
When the battery does eventually run dry, the EV9’s 800v architecture means it can charge at speeds of up to 233kW; plug the EV9 into a 350kW ultra-rapid charger and Kia says 149 miles of range can be added in as little as 15 minutes. The maker is yet to quote wallbox charge times, but we expect a full charge to take around 13.5 hours.
Running costs & insurance
Pricing for the Kia EV9 is yet to be confirmed, but we expect the brand’s new range topper to start from around £65,000 when it eventually goes on sale – a lot of money, yes, but not extortionate considering the sheer size of the EV9 and the pricing of key rivals.
Company car drivers, however, can almost completely ignore the EV9’s starting price as, like all electric cars, it slots into the ultra-low 2% Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket. Kia’s seven-seat SUV will also be exempt from road tax (VED) and from paying the London Congestion Charge until 2025 thanks to its zero-emissions powertrain, too.
Performance, motor & drive
|Model||0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels||Power|
The Kia EV9 is likely to constantly be laden with family members and their belongings, meaning it requires a punchy powertrain in order to shift all of that mass. Thankfully, for the most part, this is exactly what it gets; while the entry-level 201bhp single-motor setup may seem a tad slow with its 9.2 second 0-62mph time, a healthy 350Nm torque figure means it shouldn’t have much problem hauling whatever it is you plan to load the car up with.
The car we drove, however, was the range-topping dual-motor model. This gets a more muscular 380bhp and accelerates with the same kick-in-the-back sensation as most electric cars. The four-wheel-drive setup means there’s plenty of grip and while we wouldn’t exactly call the EV9 ‘fun’, there’s surprisingly little body roll on a twisty road, plus the steering has a heavy, meaty feel to it.
As is the case with most electric Kias, the EV9’s ride is a little on the firm side; this was no problem on smooth Korean roads – even on 21-inch alloys – but we’ll hold judgement in this regard until we get to test the EV9 on British soil, and tarmac.
Interior, dashboard & infotainment
As was the case with the smaller EV6 before it, the Kia EV9 manages to match its bold exterior with a strikingly contemporary interior. It’s amazing to think that Kia also makes one of the cheapest new cars on sale – the tiny Picanto city car – as the EV9’s cabin feels anything but budget. Even the third row is wrapped in luxurious soft-touch materials, while front-row passengers are treated to things like massaging and reclining seats on top models.
The Kia EV9 debuts the next generation of the South Korean brand’s infotainment system, which once again comprises a dual-screen setup comprising a digital instrument cluster and central touchscreen. Both measuring 12.3-inches, these are pretty responsive to your inputs and come pre-loaded with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They’re also supplemented by a small 5.3-inch display that houses several of the car’s functions, as well as a touch-sensitive wood-effect panel and a row of toggle switches; the touch-sensitive controls, like in the Nissan Ariya, can be a little finicky to use, but we like the inclusion of physical toggles for the climate controls.
Boot space, seating & practicality
|Length||Width||Height||Boot volume (seats up/down)|
The Kia EV9 is a pretty big car – larger than the hybrid Sorento SUV and more in-line with the US-only Kia Telluride. However, it feels even bigger than you might expect on the inside; flat floors mean there’s plenty of space to stretch out, while there’s lots of places to tuck away valuables and more USB points than even the most tech-obsessed family has devices to plug into them.
The second row feels incredibly airy, but for the ultimate in traveller comfort, buyers should opt for the six-seater layout with dual captain’s chairs. Not only do they make accessing a child seat easier, but they can be rotated to face the surprisingly roomy third row, which is spacious enough for two adults to sit comfortably, even if it’s a bit of a pain to access.
With all three rows of seats up, the EV9’s boot offers 333 litres of space – slightly more than a Vauxhall Corsa Electric. This should be plenty for the weekly shop, although you can electrically fold the third row to reveal a cavernous 828-litre load area. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 90-litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, which shrinks slightly to 50 litres in dual-motor cars.
Reliability & safety rating
The Kia EV9 is brand-new so, as you’d expect, we have little reliability data to go off of. That being said, it does sit on the same E-GMP platform as the smaller EV6, which was ranked the second-best electric car to own in our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Owners praised the EV6 for its striking looks, roomy interior – something the larger EV9 improves upon even further – and overall build quality.
Euro NCAP is yet to crash test the EV9, but the EV6 did manage to clinch a full five-star safety rating Kia says the EV9 is capable of up to Level 3 autonomous driving and comes loaded with safety kit such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance and lane-keep assist. The EV9 also boasts up to nine airbags, which even protect those in the rearmost row.