The 2024 Kia EV9 has officially been revealed in South Korea, and we're fortunate enough to be able to see the car in person before it debuts next week at the New York International Auto Show 2023 (NYIAS 2023). As this is a global spec Kia EV9, there will be minor differences in terms of spec, aesthetics, and performance. However, most of what you'll be seeing here will be applicable to the American model, and we're impressed by what we're seeing already.
Distinctive Design Is Now Second Nature At Kia
As a follow-up to the highly successful and world-renowned EV6, the EV9 rides on the same E-GMP platform as other pure electric Hyundai and Kia models. We've already seen its styling before from provided press photos, but this is the first time we're getting to see the GT Line model--and in person. The GT Line is characterized by its sportier bumpers and rocker panels, a unique set of 21-inch alloy wheels, and this model also gets a "Digital Pattern Lighting Grille". It's a unique take on the grille because, in Kia's case, the grille has a set of LEDs that accentuate its Digital Tiger Face front end that's catered to electric vehicles.
The EV9 serves as the pinnacle of the brand's Opposites United design language, combining voluminous shapes like rectangles whilst combining them with slimmer shapes such as triangles. The electric SUV looks massive in photos, and it looks even more imposing in person. In fact, if you know the body-on-frame Kia Mohave, its design is sort of a modern take on the rugged SUV. Dimensionally, it's just a few tenths here and there of the equally-sized Telluride. The EV9 measures 97.2 inches long, 78.0 inches wide, and 69.1 inches tall, but its wheelbase is 7.8 inches longer thanks to the platform not being designed to accommodate an internal combustion engine (ICE) in the first place. It's an electric SUV that's perfect for America, but more importantly, it's an EV that has been designed to fit American needs.
No Range Anxiety With This Three-row SUV
That's because of its huge range. Initially, this is where we had reservations based on leaked EV9 specs, but depending on the configuration, that probably won't be the case. The biggest battery size available is 99.8 kWh, which is found in the rear-wheel drive (RWD) Long Range and all-wheel drive (AWD) variants. The RWD Long Range's single motor produces 201 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque, which gives the EV9 a leisurely 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 9.4 seconds. Fitted with the smaller 19-inch wheels, this model can travel up to 541 km (336 miles) based on Europe's WLTP testing. It still won't beat an ICE midsize SUV for range, but it does hit the EPA-estimated ranges of the Tesla Model X. That said, the Tesla is far more powerful than the EV9 despite having nearly equal range.
Splurging for the AWD model gives the EV9 a total output of 380 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. This enables a 0-62 mph time of just 6.0 seconds, but Kia will soon sell an optional Boost feature via the Kia Connect store--not dissimilar to Mercedes-Benz's Horsepower Increase optional extra for its EVs. This increases the torque to 516 pound-feet, shaving 0.7 seconds from its 0-62 mph run. With added grip and performance also comes the expected range penalty, though Kia has not yet disclosed range figures for the AWD variants.
If you happen to need a top-up, the EV9 also utilizes the E-GMP platform's 800-volt architecture, which means it can charge up to 350 kW DC if you manage to find such a charger. That enables a range of 239 km (149 miles) in just a 15-minute charge. An entry-level Standard model with an RWD single-motor layout will also be sold, which comes with a 76.1 kWh battery. Range figures for this model haven't been revealed yet, but don't expect this to replace your ICE car anytime soon. Treat it instead as a short- to mid-range EV with seating for up to seven.
A Living Room On Wheels
Inside, the 2024 Kia EV9 feels like a living room on wheels. The high amount of sustainable materials used in the cabin reduces the EV9's carbon footprint from its production. Kia has even set an internal target to increase the proportion of recycled plastics in their vehicles to 20 percent by 2030. This also means phasing out the use of leather, but even then, the EV9's interior feels very premium and lounge-like--just as what they intended to achieve. Globally, the 2024 Kia EV9 can be specced with the optional Digital Mirrors, which were first seen in the Ioniq 6. This probably won't reach the United States as regulations probably won't allow it, and I think it's for the better because right at the show floor, the lack of depth perception already makes for a disconcerting experience, even at a standstill. The front dash is dominated by a single glass panel that houses the two 12.3-inch screens. There's also a 5-inch display in between the two screens along with a mix of capacitive and physical controls to make the interior very easy and ergonomic to operate.
In terms of usability, there are a total of four different seating configurations, with seating for either six or seven occupants. There's even a second-row seat option that can rotate up to 180 degrees if you fancy having a board meeting or a game of footsies inside the EV9. Third-row seating comes as standard as well, and while they're a bit better than the Telluride thanks to the packaging advantages of an EV, it's still a place that's mostly meant for children. Cargo space numbers have also not yet been revealed, though we expect more information to be released at the upcoming NYIAS 2023.
Level 3 Autonomous Driving Is Coming
Though we were not able to test this, the 2024 Kia EV9 will debut the brand's Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) conditional SAE Level 3 autonomous driving feature. In certain markets in the world that allow such autonomy, the Kia EV9 will be capable of completely hands-free driving on certain roads and cities. Fifteen sensors, including two lidars located at the front bumper, scan for and detect objects in a full 360-degree field of view, enabling the EV9 to detect and react to the road and other users to prevent potential collisions.
A Kia EV9 GT Is Confirmed
And, oh boy, is a Kia EV9 GT coming! Following in the footsteps of the blisteringly-quick EV6 GT, a high-performance EV9 GT is confirmed to arrive in early 2025. This isn't even speculation as this has been announced via a Zoom interview with the global media. Right now, the EV6 GT has a dual-motor AWD setup that produces 576 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for a 0-62 mph time of just 3.5 seconds, so in order to match or outperform the EV6 GT, expect the EV9 GT to significantly have more power as a result. The full details of the 2024 Kia EV9 will be revealed at the NYIAS 2023, which is on April 7. Based on our first impressions, the Kia EV9 does fulfill most of the needs of those looking for a three-row EV. For now, this isn't a crowded space, as its rivals only consist so far of the aforementioned Tesla Model X and Rivian R1S.