The EV9 Is More Proof That Kia Is Killing It With EVs

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

It’s kind of absurd that the Kia EV9 doesn’t have any current rivals. Sure, there are other three-row EVs, but none are designed around the primary function of transporting lots of people. So really, the Kia EV9 has the three-row EV market all to its own. It goes to show just how far ahead of the curve the Korean brand is.

And it’s not just that the EV9 is the only game in town. It’s a fabulous car.

Quick Specs 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line
Battery 99.8 Kilowatt-Hours (Usable) Lithium-Ion
Motors Two Permanent Magnet Synchronous
Output 379 Horsepower / 516 Pound-Feet
Range 270 Miles (EPA)
As-Tested Price $79,390

Like the smaller EV6, the EV9 rides on Hyundai Motor’s E-GMP electric-car platform. While similar in size to the hugely popular Kia Telluride, the EV9 has a longer wheelbase and a bit more interior passenger room. Brewing an EV, it’s unsurprisingly more expensive, with a base price of $54,900 and this top-trim GT-Line tester stickering for $79,390. (Right now, Kia imports EV9s from Korea, but in the summer, it will begin manufacturing in the US. Those EV9s should qualify for some of the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs.) 

What immediately strikes you is the refinement. Yes, EVs are quiet and smooth in general, but the EV9 is especially hushed and silky. The GT-Line comes with motors at the front and rear combining for 379 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It is damn quick for something this large—Kia quotes a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds—but the power delivery is expertly calibrated never to be jarring. There’s no slamming-into-the-headrest histrionics, and just a faint whine under acceleration.

2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line

Pros: Smooth Demeanor, Fast Charging Speeds, Excellent Efficiency, Thoughtful & Well-Built Interior

I spent some time in a Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Max just before testing the EV9, and while that car has a very nice hybrid drivetrain, the Kia shows just how much nicer things are when you get rid of internal combustion in a car like this. The effortless acceleration and near silence make the EV9 feel like a true luxury car by comparison. 

All long-range versions of the EV9 come with a 99.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack, and for the GT-Line, Kia quotes a 270-mile EPA range. I didn’t do any scientific range testing with it, but on one relatively fast highway drive I easily saw 2.7 miles/kWh, and on a slower drive that included a mix of highway and city traffic, I managed 3.1 miles/kWh. These were both on a dry, overcast 45-degree day and suggest that you should have no trouble matching or beating the official range figures. The efficiency is especially impressive when you consider the EV9’s size and weight, over 5,800 pounds as tested.

2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line

Like the rest of its E-GMP family, the EV9 uses an 800-volt electrical architecture that provides for very fast charging speeds. At a busy Electrify America station and with minimal battery pre-heating, I managed around 160 kilowatts from around 40 percent state of charge. Kia says maximum charging is 210 kW, which is far better than most electric SUVs on the market.

Overall, the EV9 is a very comfortable car, though the driving dynamics are what you’d expect from an SUV. It’s a nitpick, but I think the car is a little underdamped—roll over a big bump and it takes a little while for the body to settle down. And while the center of gravity typical of EVs helps with handling, this thing still weighs close to three tons. But, none of these are really points against, and certainly not for the EV9’s target customers. If you’re coming out of an internal-combustion three-row and into this, you won’t be disappointed.

2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line

What buyers will appreciate are the EV9’s great ergonomics. There are physical buttons for basic climate controls, plus a dedicated screen between the gauge cluster and infotainment display for more HVAC adjustments; the heated/cooled seat controls are on the doors; Kia’s infotainment system is simple and easy-to-use, with notable improvements over previous iterations; there are buttons on the steering wheel instead of the in-vogue haptic touchpads that never really work. It’s all so sensible and easy. 

I also love Kia’s use of paddle shifters to adjust lift-accelerator regeneration settings. Everyone has their preferences on how much regen you get when you lift off the accelerator, and paddles make it easy to toggle. Personally, I switch between the lowest regen setting and full coast, and not having these settings buried in a menu makes life so much simpler.

Frankly, there aren’t many more issues with the EV9. There are a few too many ways to orient the seat, and I never got quite comfortable, but our mileage will probably vary. It’s also undeniably an expensive car no matter how you slice it. 

2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line
2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line
2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line

Cons: Price, Somewhat Unsettled Ride

The base price essentially picks up where the Telluride leaves off. And regardless of powertrain, a car’s price comes with certain sets of expectations. With the GT-Line, for example, none of the interior materials are bad or cheap feeling, but they don’t necessarily feel $75,000 nice. 

In the ways that matter, the EV9 is a knockout. A car that allows Kia to run away with what should be a hot segment, and one that’ll be a tough benchmark to meet for all other comers. And as of right now, real rivals are a ways away. We won’t get the mechanically similar Hyundai Ioniq 7 until later this year, and Toyota’s electric three-row doesn’t arrive until 2025. Luxury rivals like the Lucid Gravity and Volvo EX90 are still months out too, and both will be more expensive than the Kia.

If it wasn’t already obvious, every other automaker is just letting Kia run away right now. Their electric three-rows need to come soon and they need to be very good. 

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *