Over the past two decades, there has been a surge in the popularity of large family-oriented SUVs. These vehicles come with spacious interiors, three rows of functional seating, refined road manners, and the latest safety and convenience technology. At the same time, electric vehicles have also gained popularity for their refined road manners and advanced features. The question is, can family shoppers find all these characteristics in a single model? The options available are limited to premium nameplates that come with a high price tag of $75,000 or more.
However, Kia is set to revolutionize the electric-powered, three-row family SUV segment with its highly anticipated 2024 Kia EV9. Initially produced in Korea, the EV9 will later be manufactured at Kia’s Georgia plant, which is currently under construction. This plant plays a crucial role in Kia’s future product plan, as the automaker aims to have seven dedicated electric vehicles in the U.S. market by 2027. While Kia hasn’t released pricing details for the EV9 yet, it is expected to start at a much lower price point than the $75,000 benchmark.
A recent drive of the EV9 confirmed that it possesses all the traits that modern SUV buyers look for. It offers a spacious and technologically advanced interior, wrapped in a sleek and stylish exterior with a remarkable 0.28 coefficient of drag.
The EV9’s sleek exterior design plays a significant role in its impressive range. The mid-grade, rear-wheel drive “Light Long Range” model can achieve up to 300 miles on a single charge, thanks to its efficient design and a powerful rear-wheel motor delivering 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The base “Light” model, equipped with a smaller battery, offers slightly more power (215 hp) but a shorter range of 223 miles. The top-of-the-line GT-Line trim includes all-wheel drive, delivering 379 horsepower, 516 pound-feet of torque, and a range of 270 miles.
Our experience driving the EV9 GT-Line model confirmed its exceptional performance as an electric SUV. The immediate throttle response, especially in “Sport” mode, allows the EV9 to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds, thanks to its impressive torque output of 516 pound-feet. This powerful SUV also features precise steering, excellent weight distribution, a wide track, and a long wheelbase, resulting in controlled body roll. Despite its weight of 5,700 pounds, the EV9 handles remarkably well, providing a nimble driving experience.
While the EV9’s performance on a road course was more enjoyable than expected, we understand that most potential buyers prioritize other aspects. The cabin of the EV9 offers a serene and quiet environment during highway drives, with a noise level of just 58.2 decibels at 55 mph. The first and second-row seats can be reclined for added comfort, and the SUV comes packed with high-tech features such as customizable exterior lighting patterns, remote-controlled parking, and dual 12.3-inch high-definition displays for the gauge cluster and central touchscreen.
As for interior space, the EV9 surpasses the Kia Telluride, with a 7.8-inch longer wheelbase maximizing the roominess of the cabin. With its larger dimensions, the EV9 offers approximately 160 cubic feet of interior volume, along with minimal front and rear overhangs. The ground clearance ranges from 7 to 7.8 inches, depending on the chosen trim. While the first and second rows provide ample legroom, the third-row legroom may be slightly lacking compared to our initial expectations.
The EV9 offers a comprehensive list of family-friendly features across its five trims. Noteworthy amenities include a retractable center console that extends to the second row, USB charging ports for every seat, a digital rearview mirror, an optional premium audio system, and the ability to use a smartphone as a key to start and drive the EV9. Additionally, the EV9 has the capability to charge other devices, including other electric vehicles, as well as power a home using a Wallbox DC bidirectional home charger.
In terms of future upgrades, Kia has stated that the EV9 will receive over-the-air updates through the Kia Connect app, enabling the addition of new features even after purchase. Furthermore, the EV9 boasts an 800-volt charging system, making it the only three-row SUV with such fast charging capabilities. With this system, the EV9 can charge from 10 to 80 percent in just 25 minutes, assuming a compatible fast charger is available. Pricing details for the EV9 will be revealed closer to its on-sale date in December.
For family shoppers in search of a large, stylish SUV that offers three rows of seating, impressive range of up to 300 miles, robust power, cutting-edge technology, and swift charging speeds, the 2024 Kia EV9 is set to redefine the segment with its unique offerings.
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