Kia EV9 full-size electric SUV breaks cover

    The Kia EV9 is the brand’s flagship EV SUV; sits on modular skateboard platform; will have multiple seating options.

    Published On Mar 15, 2023 12:11:00 PM

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    Kia has finally taken the wraps off the EV9, the brand’s biggest born-EV SUV. The EV9 is the production version of the concept that was shown at Auto Expo 2023 in January.

    • Kia EV9 shares EV6’s E-GMP platform
    • Will sit at the top of Kia’s global SUV line-up
    • Expected to get multiple powertrain options

    Kia EV9 is carmaker's largest SUV globally

    The new Kia EV9 is the second of the firm’s fast-expanding global family of bespoke electric cars, combining compelling performance specs with upmarket design and equipment to enter into direct competition with new SUVs from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

    The Kia EV9 will join the segment-bending EV6, also on sale in India since November last year. The EV9 heralds the beginning of a bold new design era for Kia as it progresses with its ambitious ‘Plan S’ strategy to launch another 13 born-EVs by 2027.

    The three-row EV9 will be the most expensive Kia model yet sold globally, as well as one of its largest – being roughly the same size as the US-market Telluride SUV.

    Kia EV9 powertrain, charging details, platform

    Though the EV9 has been fully revealed inside and out, Kia remains tight-lipped on performance and technical specifics, though given its targeted maximum range of 543km – and the fact that it has around 200mm more space between the wheels than the EV6 – it is expected that maximum battery capacity will be in the region of 100kWh from launch.

    Because the EV9 shares its 800V-equipped E-GMP platform with the EV6 and sibling Hyundai Ioniq 5, it will be capable of rapid-charging at 350kW to give 100km of range in just six minutes, and will come as standard with vehicle-to-load reverse-charging functionality.

    Like its platform mate, the EV9 will be available from launch with the choice of rear- and four-wheel-drive powertrain options across a simple selection of variants trim levels – expected to be capped out from launch by a twin-motor GT-Line S variant with a projected 0-100kph time of 5.0sec.

    A full-fat EV9 GT will follow close behind to rival the BMW iX M60 and Mercedes-AMG EQS SUV, potentially boosting power beyond the hottest EV6’s 577hp.

    Kia EV9 exterior design 

    It is the first all-new Kia designed entirely under the stewardship of ex-BMW stylist Karim Habib, who explained that all future models will be obviously linked visually, without the brand pursuing a "Russian doll" approach to its line-up.

    With regard to its silhouette and definitive design cues, the production-spec EV9 remains heavily faithful to the radical concept Kia showed at Los Angeles in 2021, but rides noticeably closer to the ground – courtesy of a much thicker battery pack and 21in wheels in place of the concept’s 23s – and has softened out some of the show car’s sharpest edges. 

    But ultimately, the EV9 is much more recognisably a dedicated SUV than the rakish, low-slung EV6. The EV9 gets chunky black body cladding (available in gloss or matte) and clearly defined, two-box silhouette, while highlighting some of the more non-conventional cues that nod to the EV9’s electric underpinnings.

    Some of the EV9’s defining cues that will go on to influence future models include the distinctive trapezoidal creases on its rear quarters, its visibly stretched greenhouse (possibly due to the lack of an engine), kinked rear window line, selection of striking new wheel designs and – most obviously – its ‘star map’ LED light signatures at the front and rear.

    The latest version of Kia’s tiger face ‘grille’ also makes its debut here, though without any need for engine cooling, it now takes the form of an expansive smooth panel which can be decorated with customisable LED light patterns shining through from behind – as was the case with the concept.

    The headlights and brakelights play an important design role, too, being oriented vertically and mounted right on the corners of the body to make the EV9 appear as wide as possible.

    Kia EV9 interior

    The EV9’s new-look dashboard is topped with an expansive digital panel housing a trio of screens for use by the driver and passenger (complete with the most comprehensive array of connectivity-enabled functions yet) – and flanked by a pair of digital rear-view mirror displays.

    Meanwhile, the flat floor of the EV enables not just more space at a top level, but also new approaches to packaging and enhanced modularity. The EV9’s swivelling middle row (only available on six-seat versions) allows the four rear passengers to face each other on the move – a unique feature in this segment, and one that lends the EV9 heightened appeal outside the traditional family car market.

    Bolstering its executive credentials are tray tables on the backs of the front seats, a digital climate control panel for the rear passengers and a dedicated ‘Automode’, which enables the highest level of assisted driving available on any Kia so far.

    Kia India EV plans

    While there is no news of the full-size EV9 making it to India anytime soon, Kia currently sells the EV6 in the Indian market and is expected to introduce several made-for-India mass-market EVs in the coming years.  

    Also see:

    2023 Kia EV9 image gallery

    Kia Niro wins 2023 Women’s World Car of the Year award

    Kia Cars

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