New 2023 Kia EV9 priced from £64,995
The Kia EV9 is the brand’s new all-electric range-topping SUV, boasting up to 336 miles on a single charge
The all-electric EV9 SUV is only the second model within Kia’s EV-badged line up, after the EV6. It’ll soon be joined by the EV4 crossover and a wider range, as Kia has already announced plans to launch nine new models by 2027.
Order books for the EV9 will open on 6 July and Kia says first customer deliveries should be expected in early 2024. Rivals for EV9 range from the upcoming Volvo EX90, the all-electric Range Rover and the BMW iX - although the Korean offering undercuts all three of these models significantly on price.
Kia EV9: batteries and powertrains
The EV9 will be offered with rear and dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrains, all featuring the brand’s innovative 800-volt electric architecture built into the E-GMP platform that’s shared with the EV6. That tech should ensure a 10-80 per cent charge in just 25 minutes when plugged into a 350kW charger.
The base rear-drive car uses a 215bhp/350Nm electric motor and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds, and is equipped with a 76.1kWh battery. The four-wheel-drive variant, meanwhile, almost doubles the power output to 380bhp and 600Nm of torque, slashing the benchmark sprint to six seconds flat. An optional boost function – available as an over-the-air (OTA) update – increases torque and reduces the 0-62mph time to 5.3 secs. This version of the car comes with the 99.8kWh battery, while a third option exists in the form of a Long Range RWD car that combines a 201bhp motor with the larger pack; this is the variant Kia claims a range of 336 miles for, whereas the dual-motor version gets a maximum range of 308 miles.
OTA updates are expected to feature prominently on the EV9; owners can visit the Kia Connect Store to purchase digital features and services on demand. The firm says this gives owners the flexibility to choose features they want to “continuously upgrade the capability of the EV9”.
Kia EV9: price and trim levels
Three trim levels will be offered with the EV9, made up of entry-level ‘Air’, mid-range ‘GT-Line’ and top-spec ‘GT-Line S’. The first customer deliveries will be GT-Line S, with the other two following soon after.
As standard, the EV9 Air gets a wireless smartphone charging pad, heated and ventilated seats front and rear, tinted windows, dual-zone air conditioning, a heated steering wheel, a powered bootlid, six USB-C charge ports, a vehicle-to-load system allowing the car to power appliances and a 360-degree camera.
Up front there’s a dual-screen set-up on the dash with 12.3-inch driver’s display and a 12.3-inch central touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There’s a third panel too – a 5.3-inch touchscreen dedicated to climate control functions.
Starting from £64,995, the Air gets the rear-wheel-drive single-motor powertrain. The exterior gets a ‘standard’ EV9 styling, but there’s still 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, roof rails and chunky body cladding throughout.
Above this is the GT-Line from £72,495. This adds the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain with the larger 99.8kWh battery. The exterior gains new bumpers front and rear, adaptive headlights with ‘small cube’ design, larger roof rails, an electrically adjustable steering column, ‘relaxation’ front seats with massage functions, aluminium pedals and Kia’s remote park assist.
Step up to the £75,995 GT-Line S and again you’ll find the dual-motor powertrain but with seven seats as standard, or with a bespoke six-seat layout from £78,745. The six-seater features ‘captain’s chair’ seats in the second row that can swivel towards the doors. There’s also 21-inch wheels, two sunroofs, a head-up display and an uprated sound system.
Kia EV9: interior design and technology
We first got a look at Kia’s new car during its debut at the New York Auto Show and climbed inside to see what the EV9 can offer in the increasingly competitive electric SUV sector. So can it match up to the luxury of established premium rivals? On first examination, the answer’s yes – on quality, comfort and tech.
Pulling hold of the flush-fitting, retractable door handles we were struck by the weight of the doors themselves. They open to a cabin using calming colours and more inviting materials than we’ve seen from Kia before – not surprising given the price point – but visually at least a match for any other premium SUV.
There are a few surprisingly hard plastics, notably around the window switches on the doors, but there’s an impressive feeling of airiness with a low scuttle and deep windows for a good view out. A small steering wheel sits in front of familiar Kia/Hyundai twin information and infotainment screens – not surprising given the EV9’s sharing its E-GMP platform architecture with the group’s other recent EVs.
There are plenty of sustainable materials used inside, while the seats are comfortable with plenty of storage in the door cubbies and between the front seats. Smart, subtle interior LED lighting gives a very premium feel, too.
While rows one and two – with good access through wide-opening doors for both – provide plenty of head and kneeroom, the third row is considerably tighter unless those in the middle row compromise their leg space.
The payoff is a very usable 572 litres of space with all seats up. Fold the back row into the floor using the pull straps velcroed to the seat backs and fold the middle row, too, and that space rises to 2,319 litres.
With a very premium tech list that includes a digital key stored on your smartphone and over-the-air updates, the EV9 certainly feels very upmarket. And with a long queue of buyers already willing to shell out well over £60,000 for an EV6 GT, spending such a considerable sum on a car with a Kia badge on the nose doesn’t seem like the problem it might have been just a couple of years ago.
At more than five metres long and almost two metres wide, the range-topping seven-seat EV will sit above the existing EV6 and forthcoming EV5 in the Kia model range. The most expensive versions of the EV9 will feature a large 99.8kWh battery, and its maker is targeting a maximum range of 336 miles on a charge for the very longest range version.
Kia EV9 design details
The EV9 is designed to be the largest and most expensive zero-emissions vehicle in the Kia range. It’s one of 14 new EVs that the company will launch globally over the next five years, and is the first of nine that will make it into UK showrooms.
The new creation is an overtly upright, blocky SUV that’s larger than the Sorento – more in line, in fact, with the five metre-long Telluride that Kia sells in the United States. That means it’s only very slightly shorter than the current Range Rover. It’s conceived as a seven-seater, although it will also be available in a six-seat layout, complete with two individual centre-row seats.
The car was previewed by a concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in 2021 and the production model sticks pretty closely to that vehicle’s lines.
The roof is a little lower, because the EV9 sits on slightly smaller 21-inch wheels, plus the concept’s rear-hinged back doors have been replaced by more conventional items, and there’s less ground clearance, courtesy of a proper floor that’s now thick enough to contain the battery pack. But the overall profile of the finished production car looks remarkably similar. The front features a fresh interpretation of Kia’s family grille, adapted for the greater height of this model compared with the EV6.
The ‘tiger grille’ design has been used on internal-combustion engined Kias for a while now, but given that the EV9 doesn’t have a grille at all, Kia designers say the phrase should changed to ‘tiger face’. Whatever it’s called, there’s a framed body-coloured panel, and at either side of it, laser-etched areas of the body will allow patterns of LED light to filter through; users will be able to choose these designs through the infotainment system.
The daytime running lights at either side of the ‘tiger face’ are intricate vertical items inspired by star constellations, meanwhile; Kia calls them ‘star maps’ and says that they will be a feature on subsequent models.The car’s bodywork includes a mixture of treatments. Some of the largest panels are extremely clean; the bonnet itself has no power dome like you’d find on a combustion-engined vehicle. But in line with Kia’s design philosophy of contrast, while the main flanks have only gentle curves, the adjoining shoulders are created by huge, brutal squared-off wheelarches, flared out through edgy triangular motifs. These give the car a strong, chunky look, almost like a Tonka toy.
For an alternative view, see our sister site Driving Electric's coverage of the Kia EV9...