The Kia EV9 has arrived, pushing the Korean brand further into premium territory. We like the EV6, a very competent operator, so is Kia’s biggest EV even better?
What’s the price of the Kia EV9?
The electric seven seater starts at $105,990 for the RWD Light, while this model you see here is the AWD GT Line, all $134,990 of it.
The RWD model uses a 76kWh battery, Kia stating a WLTP range figure of up to 443km. Its single motor makes 160kW and 350Nm, and that means it takes 8.3sec to hit 100km/h.
The AWD models get a bigger 99.8kWh battery, with range quoted as between 492km and 505km, depending on model. With two motors, total output is 282kW and 700Nm, which sees the 0-100km/h time fall to six seconds. That’s pretty quick for something that in top spec weighs in at a claimed 2624kg. The AWD model can tow up 2500kg braked (though expect the drive range to reduce significantly), and along with the five year/150,000km vehicle warranty, the battery is covered for eight year/160,000km,
How big is the Kia EV9?
It’s mammoth, 5.1m long, almost 2m wide and 1.8m tall. It makes the firm’s other seven seater SUV, the Sorento, seem small when parked next to it. Kia’s styling takes a bold new leap with the EV9, there’s nothing quite like this on the road at present. So if presence is what you are after, this delivers just that.
Don’t need such a large Kia SUV? Try the EV6, read our comparison review here
What about the real world range of the EV9?
Hard to say really as we had just a brief encounter with the EV9 over a couple of days. We’ll get it back later for the full test. Fully charged it had 519km to empty displaying when we picked it up. And that should be plenty for most buyers. But being so large, and heavy, it can chew through the energy, the average consumption figure on the trip computer registering between 23kWh/100km (sedate urban ramblings) and 26kWh/100km (the highway figure). It rose up to 30kWh/100km during more rigorous driving.
The big battery will likely necessitate a wall box for home charging, the fastest AC rate being 11kW and taking a stated nine hours from 10-100 per cent. The AWD models can handle up to 235kW of DC charge, meaning 10 – 80 per cent in 24mins under optimal conditions. On a 50kW DC charge, that’s more like an hour and a half.
How does it go?
The ride is decent, not overly plush, but refined enough and it’s quiet on the go. With two motors powering you on, even the 2.6 tonne kerb weight does little to curb the EV9’s enthusiasm. There’s always plenty of torque available, this feels effortless everywhere. Yet always smooth, the tuning of the power delivery refined. The steering, while light, is a tad slow with 2.9 twirls between the stops. And that long wheelbase doesn’t lend itself to an easy turn around, the turning circle measuring 12.4m.
Kia always gives you a multitude of options for energy regeneration from fully off to a one pedal mode. We like that you can hold the left paddle and it’ll initiate max regen, the retardation coming in smoothly but strongly, and bringing you to the smoothest of halts.
Big and practical?
While it’s big, it doesn’t range too high off the deck, so the seat height is conducive to human loading, you literally slide on in while there is virtually no sill to negotiate, the doors opening out wide. And it’s not such a climb for wee folk, this being an urban centric SUV.
There’s oodles of room in the second row, a flat floor giving the middle passenger ample space for lower limbs, though the squab is firm there.
Access to the back row is grand, the middle seats sliding and tilting quickly and smoothly with just a touch of a button. In the rear, the space is good for kids and while adults do okay for headroom, the second row needs to slide forward to give them a semblance of leg room.
On boot space, the EV9 has plenty of that too. The third row sinks into the floor easily when not required, the boot being wide and long, although height is somewhat limited. While there is no spare underneath, there is space for the charging cables.
The cabin has a premium feel to it, the plastics top notch, and most with ‘eco’ credentials; recycled this and bio-based that. There is the usual twin touchscreen set up, the driver display clear though non configurable, keeping tabs on the DTE, the safety systems and speed (both yours and the prescribed limit). Buttons have been kept to a minimum with a few to quickly adjust the ventilation and audio volume, and some more on the wheel for the usual stuff. The rest is in the touchscreen area, which is all rather straightforward in that home screen and sub-menu manner.
The EV9 is a unique proposition, being there is little choice in the seven-seat, full-size, fully-electric SUV space, the other being the M-B EQS, starting at $196k. You can no longer get the Model X here. The EV9’s presence is immense, it’s spacious and practical and a refined drive, while the towing capability might appeal too. If you’re not convinced that bigger is better, or don’t have the need for so many seats, Kia’s EV6 will be the better fit however.