Kia has stepped into the electric vehicle (EV) market with its new seven-seat offering, the Kia EV9. While the standard configuration accommodates six passengers, you have the option to go for a seven-seater. The EV9 aims to provide a quiet and refined SUV experience, emphasizing the comfort and isolation of its occupants. The vehicle runs silently, making city driving a serene experience without the noise of motors or tires disrupting the peace.
In terms of ride comfort, the EV9 performs admirably. It comes equipped with an active damping setup, offering a plush ride most of the time, particularly at higher speeds on the motorway. However, it may struggle with sudden jolts or potholes, occasionally transmitting unwanted thumps into the cabin. While it generally maintains a comfortable ride, real-world performance on Australian roads may provide more insights.
The Kia EV9 is a spacious and quick family SUV, but it doesn’t redefine the laws of physics. As a large and heavy SUV, it can sway quite a bit during cornering despite its relatively low center of gravity. The steering is somewhat slow to respond, which limits its agility.
Nonetheless, the EV9 provides an enjoyable driving experience when you ease off. The regenerative brakes offer various modes, allowing you to switch from near-frictionless coasting to effective one-pedal driving. The strongest regenerative setting is easy to control and can be adjusted using the steering wheel paddles.
Maneuvering through narrow streets can be challenging due to the EV9’s size, and the rear window may seem distant compared to smaller Kia models like the Sportage or Sorento. Nevertheless, the stubby front bonnet aids in parking, and every version includes a practical front trunk for storing charging cables. The numerous sensors and cameras make urban maneuvers hassle-free.
The EV9’s generous dimensions allow ample space for six (or seven) occupants to sit comfortably. Unlike many vehicles, the EV9 genuinely accommodates adults in the third-row seats, providing sufficient legroom and headroom. Even with the rearmost seats in place, you can fit three carry-on cases.
The large 99.8kWh battery beneath the floor provides a competitive 505km range for dual-motor GT-Line models. However, the EV9 is not the most efficient SUV, with energy consumption close to 4.8km/kWh under gentle driving conditions. In typical driving conditions and colder weather, energy consumption is expected to be higher, averaging around 400km between charges, with rear-wheel drive models offering slightly better range.
Charging is quick and convenient, thanks to Kia’s excellent 800-volt architecture and 210kW peak charging speed. Despite the larger battery, you can still achieve a 10-80% charge in around 24 minutes at the fastest public charging stations.
The Kia EV9 is available in three trims: Air, Earth, and GT-Line, with the Air trim exclusively available in more affordable rear-wheel-drive form. While the vehicle strikes a balance between mainstream and premium quality, it doesn’t reach the luxurious standards of a diesel BMW X7, which falls in a similar price range. The Kia’s standout features include its comfortable seats, but its infotainment graphics aren’t as sharp as competitors, and the system itself can be laggy at times.
Standard features across all trims include automatic LED lights, three-zone climate control, heated and ventilated vegan leather seats, a powered tailgate, and multiple USB ports throughout the cabin. The infotainment system consists of three screens, including a small display for heating and ventilation controls, and the addition of physical toggle switches on the lower dashboard allows both the driver and passenger to easily adjust the temperature on the go.
The Earth trim upgrades the base Air trim by introducing a sportier appearance and a potent front motor for all-wheel drive. It also offers a 360-degree camera and side-view monitor. The top-of-the-line GT-Line trim, priced at $121,000, can be configured with a six-seat layout and includes twin sunroofs, a 14-speaker Meridian stereo, and a head-up display. Regardless of the trim, the vehicle comes with an extensive list of standard safety features.
In the current landscape, options for seven-seat electric cars are limited, but that’s set to change. However, Kia has taken the lead by introducing a highly appealing family SUV with the Kia EV9. It’s quiet, comfortable, and overall a pleasant drive, offering a wealth of technology and ample interior space. The only drawback may be its relatively high cost.