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Kia EV9 (2023 - )

The safety kit includes smart cruise control with highway driving assist, blind spot collision avoidance, lane follow assist, rear-cross traffic assist and automatic emergency braking.

Starting price:
from £65,025

Why we love it:
  • Spacious and opulent interior
  • Decent range and charging speeds
  • Very well equipped
Where it could be better:
  • Expensive (for a Kia)
  • Very heavy
  • The climate control screen is awkwardly positioned
Secure your test drive today
Request a Kia Ev9 test drive


Kia EV9

Kia has a new kingpin in the form of its latest all-electric vehicle, the EV9, which has dethroned the Sorento as the brand’s long-serving largest car.

The EV9 – giant by nature – also has other leviathans in its sights, hoping to knock the premium brands off their perch, such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz – not to mention aiming for customers that might otherwise want a Tesla.

So, has Kia done enough to win this David versus Goliath battle?

As a manufacturer, it’s certainly no slouch nowadays, having forged a reputation for building well-equipped, reasonably priced, reliable family cars which exceed expectations.

Admittedly, ‘fairly priced’ might raise a few eyebrows, given this is the most expensive Kia ever. Still, the EV9 hopes to be taken seriously as a rival to the biggest names in the business.

The EV9 is offered in three versions, with the latest entry-level Air trim available with 202PS and rear-wheel drive from its single electric motor.

It also comes well-equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, a couple of 12.3-inch screens for the digital instrument cluster and infotainment, and a 5.3-inch screen dedicated to the climate control system.

Luxuries include heated, ventilated front seats, a 360-degree around-view monitor, keyless entry, electrically adjustable folding door mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and automatic headlights.

The equally new GT-Line and top-of-the-tree GT-Line S get 383PS thanks to their dual motor configuration, including all-wheel drive.

Regarding equipment, the GT-Line gets giant 21-inch rims, LED headlights with adaptive driving beams, electrically adjustable front ‘premium relaxation’ seats with driver memory function, electric steering adjustment, and GT-Line exterior styling.

The GT-Line S bolts on a head-up display, a Meridian premium sound system with no fewer than 14 speakers, and a tilting and sliding sunroof.

All models are seven-seaters, although the GT-Line S is exclusively available as a six-seater version, too, with second-row ‘swivel’ seats that can face backwards to face the third-row seats, along with a sliding table for added luxury.

Kia EV9

The EV9 is boxy in shape, looking like it’s taken inspiration from the Range Rover of about 15 years ago. That shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning the EV9 looks dated, though – far from it.

Instead, there's a blanked-off panel where a grille would usually be, and the light arrangement is very showy, both at the front and rear.

Aggressive indentations around the side, along with flush door handles, really complete the look.

Is it pretty? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder, but opinions at the latest EV9 press launch ranged from “menacingly futuristic” to “downright ghastly”, so take your pick.

Inside, though, it's lovely indeed, with a light grey colour scheme that's a welcome departure from the darkened cabins of most manufacturers.

As is the current style, minimalism is the order of the day, with few buttons (except on the bold, horizontally-spoked steering wheel) and no fewer than the three screens we mentioned earlier.

They all sit next to each other in one unit, and the infotainment system is pleasingly good to use, albeit not quite a match for the best brands in the business.

Sustainable, recycled materials adorn the cabin, too, not that you’d notice – it has a fresh feel and appears solidly screwed together.

On The Road

Kia EV9

Handling & Performance

When it comes to pace, comparing the Air version with the GT-Line and GT-Line S is like measuring up chalk and cheese.

While the Air version, with its single motor, takes a leisurely 9.4 seconds to do 0-62mph, the other two manage the same in just 5.3 seconds.

We’d have liked to have seen a version somewhere in the middle, as one seems a little sluggish while the other seems overkill in a car like this.

Nevertheless, speed (or rate of acceleration) is unlikely to be a priority to buyers of a large SUV. And if you can manage without all-wheel drive, there's little to be gained by choosing anything other than the entry-level model.

Besides, in the higher-powered GT models, the EV9 struggles to settle itself when you floor it, so you can never make the most of the high performance.

Taking a bend at speed is out of the question, too, as the weighty EV9 (over two-and-a-half tonnes, by the way) leans quite heavily in the corners.

While no SUV is excellent when it comes to handling, Kia has pushed the focus to the other end of the spectrum, notably the EV9’s ride comfort, which is impressive and adept at absorbing lumps and bumps in the road.

The steering wheel is effortlessly light, while the adjustable regen braking you'll find on all-electric cars feels consistent and intuitive.


Kia EV9

Space & Practicality

The EV9 isn’t just practical for an all-electric car – it’s practical full-stop.

There is so much space inside that you can comfortably fit seven adults, even in the traditionally cramped third row.

All the seats are comfortable, too, especially if you opt for the new GT-Line trim, which comes with premium relaxation seats.

Rearward visibility is a slight problem caused partly by the bodywork, which goes from horizontal to diagonal at the sides towards the back of the car. However, the surround-view monitor and parking sensors at both ends help.

Looking forward, the driving position is pleasingly high-up, as you’d expect in a large SUV, providing excellent visibility out of the windscreen – helped by Kia keeping the pillars as thin as possible.

Even with all seven seats in place, there are around 333 litres of space on offer, increasing to 2,318 litres with the third row of seats down, while you’ll also get an additional 75 litres if you opt for the six-seater version.

A ‘front boot’ underneath the bonnet provides an extra 52 litres of storage space in the GT versions or 90 litres in the Air model.

You will also find many places to store smaller items in the cabin.


Kia EV9

Running Costs

Expect ongoing costs to be much more pleasing to the eye – helped by the fact that the EV9 only requires a service every two years or 20,000 miles.

Despite the high cost of electricity today, you’ll still be making savings compared with topping up an equivalent petrol or diesel car at the pumps.

If you're a company car user, the EV9 is very attractive, coming in the bottom band for Benefit In Kind tax thanks to its zero emissions.

A large 99.8kWh battery is installed in all versions, good enough for a 349-mile range on a full charge in the Air version, while this figure reduces to 313 miles in the GT-Line and GT-Line S, accounting for the all-wheel drive and second motor.

You might think such a large battery will take ages to charge – and it does if you plug it into a 7kW wall box at home, which takes around 15 hours to top up from 0-100%.

But, if you can find a public charger fast enough, its maximum 350kW charging speed means a 10-80% fill-up can be achieved in just 24 minutes.

We say ‘if’ – very few chargers in the United Kingdom are capable of such speeds, but this will improve with time.

While the EV9 is too new to say for sure, we hope that electric Kias will be as reliable as their combustion-engined siblings. Kia has a sweet reputation for dependability and offers a vast seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as a result.


Kia EV9

All things considered, the Kia EV9 is a very tempting buy that offers something different.

It is phenomenally practical, has super-quick charging speeds and impressive range and is superbly well-equipped – even at entry level.

And that last bit is why we'd likely stick to the base model – the Air trim – unless you need (or really want) the extra power or all-wheel drive.

Yes, an entry-level Mercedes-Benz EQB (also a seven-seater) is cheaper. But it’s nowhere near as spacious and lacks many features you’ll get as standard on any EV9 unless you opt for a higher, more expensive trim.

Secure your test drive today
Request a Kia Ev9 test drive
By Tim Barnes-Clay
Mar 01, 2024

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