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Kia EV9 SUV review

I don’t require a lot of space when I hit the road, but if you do, the Kia EV9 GT-Line S will more than fit the bill. It’s a three-row, seven-seat SUV that’s perfect for anyone with multiple family members and pets to drive around. Equally, it works if you just like having a lot of room to yourself and aren’t bothered about the snob appeal of rivals like the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX.


This is an EV that can go anywhere that’s paved thanks to its high riding chassis and impressive range.

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The all-wheel drive EV9 offers 5,511 lb of towing capacity too, which means that it’s ideal for anyone who likes to head for the great outdoors with bikes, boats and accommodation hitched up at the back. This is an EV that can go anywhere that’s paved thanks to its high riding chassis and impressive range. However, the EV9 isn’t built for off-road activities, despite the fact that it looks reasonably unstoppable.


Kia EV9

Kia EV9 GT-Line S

Journeys will be quick and easy too, with hefty performance and lots of grip coming from this four-wheel drive model. The charging architecture is 800 volts, so stops along the way should be fast and efficient. Add on lots of towing capacity and storage inside, plus seven seats, and it’s therefore ideally suited to larger families. Only the cost of the premium-level model like this one might send folks heading for German brands instead.

Pros

  • Plenty of power on tap
  • Lots of features and functionality
  • Quality interior and comfy too
Cons

  • Efficiency struggles when pushed
  • A handful in confined spaces
  • Not really up to off-roading

Price and availability

The price of the Kia EV9 GT-Line is $73,900. The S-line model I tested costs £76,025 in the UK, which is just over $95,000. The six-seater variant is priced at £77,025 (about $97,000). It’s possible to buy a rear-wheel-drive only, base-level EV9 Light model for $54,900 though, which seems like good value to me — especially considering Kia still packs in plenty of features and functionality to compliment the bold styling.

Kia EV9

Design and build, look and features

Striking and unique exterior lines

The Korean car industry should be commended for the progress it has made over the last few years. Both Kia and parent company Hyundai are trying to do things differently and forge a design identity of their own. The Kia EV9 GT-Line S is striking, with an angular design that looks and feels very of the moment. I think it’s pretty unique too — if I squint, whiffs of Land Rover, Jeep and big Volvos come to mind, but only very briefly.


The Kia EV9 is big too, with a length of 197.2 inches, a width of 77.9 inches and a height, minus roof rails of 68.9 inches. It isn’t light either, weighing in at well over 5,000lbs for the dual motor edition. This means it’s something I think works better for the US market and its spacious highways, rather than the cramped and confined country lanes found across the UK. However, everything is nicely proportioned from the distinctive front end that features neatly styled LED headlights that sandwich a blunt grille area, broken up by dark-colored intakes.

It’s something I think works better for the US market and its spacious highways, rather than the cramped and confined country lanes found across the UK.


Those angular lines follow down the side and run into a back end that also benefits from striking tail lights. Along the way, I think the 19 or 20-inch sculpted alloys really help to set off the shape of the SUV. Kia also offers the EV9 in some interesting colors, with currently trendy matte finishes also part of the possible palette if a lacquered finish doesn’t float your boat. Add it all together, and I think the overall effect is incredibly striking and gives the EV9 a real identity.

Kia EV9A refreshing interior design

Plush comfort and luxurious finishes

While the exterior of the Kia EV9 is impressive, things get even better inside. Kia’s designers have pulled out all the stops for the seat coverings and cockpit trimmings. All the seats feel great, with the best experience to be had from the electric ones at the front. However, I was happy sitting in any of the three rows, with the rear position proving surprisingly roomy even for an adult. I’m confident that even if you’ve got a full complement of family members on board, all of them will be comfortable and catered for thanks to plenty of charging ports and storage areas for everyday essentials like cups, mugs and bottles.


The trunk area is similarly spacious, with plenty of practical carrying capacity. I’m also like how Kia provides a socket that lets you plug in domestic appliances or your laptop for a charge if needed. I imagine you could spend a weekend inside the Kia EV9 GT-Line S without needing to put up your tent if the weather’s too bad.

The technology breakdown

Smart cockpit display, software, and support

Up front, the driver’s area is a real treat and emulates the Kia EV6. In fact, being familiar with other cars in the Kia range means that getting to grips with the dazzling array of tech that’s on offer is less challenging. Anyone not familiar with everything might need to take some time out to master it, as there is quite a lot to take in. Most of the controls are contained within the dual 12.3-inch touchscreens, which feature excellent graphics.Also putting in an appearance is a 5.3-inch digital panel that acts as the control area for climate options. With the EV9 featuring such a big interior, the option of being able to independently control settings works to good effect. I’m generally a fan of its driver aids too — and there are many — although less patient owners might decide to mute the speed limit chimes and suchlike.


Kia EV9Battery, range and performance

Impressive range and efficiency

Although the EV9 looks like an off-roader, its sensible tires remind you that this is a lofty SUV that Kia designed to be primarily driven on paved roads. Sure, I did dip into the mud, snow and sand settings that are available as part of the drive setup modes, but the EV9 is big and heavy. There might be four-wheel drive on my test car, but I certainly wouldn’t feel confident taking it anywhere soft underfoot. Those settings are good for backup if weather conditions change though, and you need to call on them in unexpected emergencies.

Most of my time driving the EV9 was on regular roads and this is where it feels happiest. It’s a super smooth thing to drive, with well-thought-out driver controls.


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Most of my time driving the EV9 was on regular roads and this is where it feels happiest. It’s a super smooth thing to drive, with well-thought-out driver controls. Driver aids and unwanted alerts can grate on the nerves though, but that is par for the course in most modern cars. There’s plenty of power on tap, however, thanks to that big 99.8kWh battery, though even when I was taking it easy I didn’t find the EV9 particularly efficient, with less than 3kwH per mile being fairly standard. Understandable given its size and weight.The range is 349 miles for a long-range single motor, but I’ve been driving the all-wheel drive model, which drops to 313 miles. I’ve found that real world use means that it is less, with mid-200 mile journeys still realistically achievable. Again, this is reasonably impressive given the size and weight of the EV9. There’s good news on the charging front, as the EV9 battery can be replenished at speeds up to 210kW, even if finding such a commercial charger might be less easy currently. Hooked up to one of these, I could get from 10% to 80% in an impressive 24 minutes.


Verdict: am I a fan of the Kia EV9?

I’ve enjoyed my time with the Kia EV9 GT-Line S and this SUV is every bit as good as I remember it from the initial launch experience. Stepping up and easing myself into the cockpit for the first time and peering across to the far corner of the hood, I had a feeling it was going to be too big. However, now that I’ve driven the sizable SUV along plenty of lanes and coastline-hugging twisty roads, I reckon that, for the most part, the Kia EV9 GT-Line S is surprisingly supple given its overall bulkiness.

Now that I’ve driven the sizable SUV along plenty of lanes and coastline-hugging twisty roads, I reckon that, for the most part, the Kia EV9 GT-Line S is surprisingly supple given its overall bulkiness.

It works well on a variety of surfaces too, even if you start throwing it around, although the nigh-on three-ton weight soon reminds me of the grandiose design. Drive it on standard highways and the EV9 is even better; it’s easy to control and very comfortable, even if you’re sitting all the way at the back in the third row of seats. I’m glad that it’s also possible to tame any driver aids that can be a minor annoyance. Otherwise, there’s nothing else to grumble about.


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