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Top of the world? Kia EV9

I have been a big fan of Kia for many years, it makes excellent cars and to be fair, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the EV9. But to achieve World Car of the Year, surely it has to have worldwide appeal – and this car doesn’t in my mind.


3 April 2024

What is it?

It’s the 2024 World Car of the Year, as voted by more than 100  motoring journalists around the world.


I have been a big fan of Kia for many years, it makes excellent cars and to be fair, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the EV9. But to achieve World Car of the Year, surely it has to have worldwide appeal – and this car doesn’t in my mind.

Why? It’s too big, too expensive and too cumbersome. Whoever voted for the EV9 doesn’t spend much time in shopping centre car parks, city streets or rural roads – and they certainly don’t live in Dorset.

But, more of that later. Let’s have a look at the good points.

Kia’s all-new EV9 is an all-electric SUV and, as the company’s first three-row electric flagship it’s packed with sophisticated technology. Available as a six- or seven-seater, it combines bold styling, premium versatility, multifaceted connectivity, and Kia’s signature ‘Opposites United’ design to deliver a vehicle that’s ready for anything, with a driving range of up to 349 miles under WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure).Original 24521 ev9 gt line pacific blue exterior 4

The EV9 is the second vehicle in Kia’s range to be built on its Electric Global Modular Platform (e-GMP). All editions offer a 99.8kWh battery pack with Kia’s fourth-generation battery technology. The rear-wheel drive EV9 ‘Air’ is capable of achieving a range of up to 349 miles (WLTP combined), while all-wheel drive ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ can travel up to 313 miles on a single charge. As one of only few vehicles on sale with 800-volt charging capability, EV9 can harness high DC power to recharge the battery from 10 to 80% state of charge in 24 minutes.

It is offered in a choice of ‘Air’, ‘GT-Line’ or ‘GT-Line S’ specifications in the UK, with ‘Air’ featuring rear-wheel drive, and the ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ versions fitted with all- wheel drive as standard. In addition, the flagship ‘GT-Line S’ model is offered with a choice of seven- or six-seats, with the latter featuring lounge-like seating with swivelling middle-row chairs. All models in the EV9 line-up come with a comprehensive range of standard equipment and cutting-edge safety kit.

The EV9 is the largest of Kia’s UK line-up and joins the Soul EV, Niro EV and EV6 in offering zero-emissions mobility. In Europe and the UK, the EV9 marks another Kia in the large SUV segment, sitting above the popular seven-seater Kia Sorento as the brand’s new flagship SUV model. At the time of launch, it is one of the only full-size seven-seat electric SUVs available to new car buyers in the UK.

With a length of 5,010mm (5,015mm in ‘GT-Line’ or ‘GT-Line S’), a wheelbase of 3,100mm, and the wheels pushed further into the corners of the car’s footprint than other seven-seat SUVs, the EV9 is Kia’s largest and most spacious passenger vehicle yet.

The ‘Air’ model is 1,980mm wide and 1,750mm tall (not including the roof rails). The EV9 also offers additional storage in the form of a ‘frunk’, or front boot. The rear-wheel drive ‘Air’ model has a maximum frunk volume of 90 litres, while the ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ all- wheel drive versions offer 52 litres of storage space up front. The load bay at the rear offers 828 litres of storage space when 4/5 seats are upright, and up to 333 litres when 6/7 seats are in use.

Original 24479 ev9 gt line pacific blue interior 28

It is available with either rear-wheel drive on the ‘Air’ grade or all-wheel drive on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ versions. All editions come with a 99.8kWh battery pack featuring Kia’s fourth-generation battery technology.

The rear-wheel drive ‘Air’ version is powered by a single motor on the rear axle, producing 149.5kW (200bhp) and a maximum torque output of 350Nm. With a top speed of 114mph, the EV9 ‘Air’ can accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds. It has an all-electric driving range of up to 349 miles on the WLTP ‘combined’ cycle, and up to 480 miles on the ‘city’ cycle.

The all-wheel drive ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models are powered by dual 141kW electric motors, one on each axle. These produce a maximum combined power output of 378bhp and maximum torque of 700Nm – 350Nm for both the front and the rear. In AWD guise, the EV9 has a top speed of 124mph, can accelerate 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, and boasts an estimated WLTP ‘combined’ all-electric driving range of up to 313 miles. It is capable of up to 415 miles on the WLTP ‘city’ cycle.

AWD examples of the EV9 offer a maximum braked towing capacity of up to 2,500kg. RWD models are capable of towing braked loads of up to 900kg.

The EV9 is also equipped with Plug&Charge capability, intended to simplify the charging experience. Plug&Charge allows Kia customers to start a charging session at a Plug&Charge-capable public charging station simply by connecting their vehicle. Users need to enable their vehicle using the Kia Charge account. Charging networks currently supporting Plug&Charge include Ionity and Aral Pulse, with more networks set to come onboard in the near future.

The EV9 is available in six glossy colours in the UK: White Pearl, Midnight Black, Aurora Red, Shadow Grey, Lithium Silver, and Pacific Blue. Carried over from the Concept EV9, Pacific Blue can be applied to the ‘GT-line S’ six-seater in a matt or glossy finish.

What do we think?

The vehicle’s long wheelbase and completely flat electric vehicle architecture provide generous space for all occupants, with lounge-style comfort in all three rows of seats. On ‘GT-Line S’ versions with six seats, when the vehicle is stationary, customers can swivel the second-row seats 180-degrees to face the third row, creating a lounge-like atmosphere.

In addition, the EV9 features numerous innovations to make journeys more comfortable and convenient, including pop-out and auto flush door handles, a panoramic display and relaxation seats on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models for the driver and front passenger.

The car is characterised by a spacious interior with a minimalist layout. Its EV architecture, with the long wheelbase and flat floor of the e-GMP, allows for plenty of cabin space. There’s a digital rear-view mirror which can be used as a normal electric chromatic mirror, or as a display for the camera picture which enables the driver to get a safe rear view in situations when sightlines are obscured.

The centre console is equipped with a fast wireless phone charger. The lower part of the crash pad contains a USB-C port and charger. The second and third rows also feature two USB-C sockets each. Various ambient mood lights – colour-customisable – are applied inside the front and rear armrests and on top of the map pocket, providing different lighting functions.

First row seating can be reclined with the footrest extended while parking or charging. The electrically adjustable seats are equipped with an integrated memory system on the driver’s side, automatically adjusting the position of the seat as well as the steering wheel to the driver’s pre-set preference.

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Additionally, the third row is equipped with armrests including bottle and cup holders. Each relaxation seat is equipped with an additional leg rest while ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, both first- and second-row passengers receive heated and ventilated seats.

On top of the first-row relaxation seats, the six-seat layout (only available for ‘GT-Line S’) comes with a standard option for second row passengers which can be activated when the vehicle is stationary: turning the vehicle interior into a lounge using second row swivelling seats.

The six-seat version has second-row seats equipped with a 180-degree swivel function. When the car is stopped, second-row passengers can turn their seats to face the third row and directly interact with each other. In this layout, the long sliding tray, extending from the centre console, acts as a table in between the seats.

The swivelling seats not only create a sociable layout for rear passengers, but can also make it easier for people to help children, or people with reduced mobility, in and out of the car as the seat can lock at 90 degrees and face the rear door.

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There are separate settings for the driver and the front passenger, the completely independent climate system in the back of the vehicle offers greater rear passenger comfort. This also saves energy by only heating or cooling passengers when they want it, where they want it.

On the road, the EV9 is pretty faultless in terms of ride and comfort, a little floaty perhaps over the bumps but that softens any pothole issues. Steering is light enough although the chunky steering wheel adds to a feeling of size, and this car feels big in every sense.

While this makes for plenty of room inside, I found issues on the narrow Dorset Lanes. The EV9 is wide which makes passing cyclists and horses a challenge. Meet anything coming in the other direction and you really have to hug the hedges.

Even the A roads aren’t that wide which means the lane-keep assist keeps jolting you around so needs to be turned off – car parks are another challenge and in all honesty I’ve found 3.5-ton panel vans easier to manoeuvre, particularly as the EV9s turning circle is not that great.

I also didn’t find the controls easy to manage probably because I’m old school and prefer clearly marked buttons than a swipe screen.

Finally the range, I couldn’t get anywhere near the 300+ miles claimed – the best I achieved on an overnight wallbox charge was 291 miles but once on the road the range countdown was very accurate.

The car did generate a lot of interest, however, and for a large family, car or school run share, a long motorway cruise it’s ideal if you have the money – prices range from around £58,000 to £78,000 depending on specification.


Kia EV9


Model Power (bhp) Torque (Nm) 0-62mph (sec) Max speed (mph) Range (miles)
‘Air’ 99.8kWh
RWD 1-speed Auto
200 350 9.4 114 349 0
‘GT-Line’ 99.8kWh
AWD 1- speed Auto
378 700 5.3 124 313 0
‘GT-Line S’ 99.8kWh
AWD 1-speed Auto
378 700 5.3 124 313 0

Award Winners 2024

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