Even the gigantic all-electric SUV looks like it needs testing at the Nurburgring. Because that’s where we found Kia’s all-new EV9. We first saw the concept car at last year’s LA Auto Show and the production version is likely to get a lot of design cues from that car.
The EV9 serves as a family-friendly flagship within the Kias EV range and is expected to hit the UK market at the end of 2023. This test vehicle has much less camouflage, suggesting that it is almost ready for production. Full disclosure may occur early. like this year.
The concept EV9’s boxy proportions are more consistent with the funky Kia Soul EV than the attractive Kia EV6, leading to the finished model. You can clearly see Kia’s signature Tiger-nose design cues, and expect a full grille thanks to the EV powertrain that doesn’t require a conventional radiator. There is also a smaller grille with thin vertical LED headlight strips on either side.
The side profile shows that the EV9 is significantly toned down in terms of the angular folds and boxes seen in the concept. These changes may have been influenced by aerodynamic priorities for maximizing range. Still, there are large wheel haunches and angular wing mirrors (not the rear camera like the Concept) that will help the EV9 stand out from the sea of large SUVs.
Towards the rear, we expect the window line’s bottom-up flick concept to the rear pillars to be retained, similar to the showcar’s rear lights and roof spoiler. What you don’t get is the Concept EV9s’ 22-inch wheels with a triangular aero design. They were exchanged for a smaller set of rims.
We haven’t seen the EV9 interior yet, but expect to get more inspiration from the concept car. The 27-inch widescreen display will be one of the largest screens ever fitted on a production vehicle (but still smaller than the 31-inch unit in the new BMW 7 Series) and sits high on the dashboard. We also expect a fairly minimalist cabin design with few physical buttons, but I don’t think the concept of a one-spoke, oval steering wheel will ever hit the market.
In the Concept EV9, the cabin can actually change its layout depending on which of the three settings is selected. There’s an active mode for a traditional driver-centric setup, and a pause mode rotates the front and third-row seats, turning the second row into a table to mimic a first-class lounge. Enjoy Mode offers occupants the opportunity to connect with the outside environment, with all third-row seats facing the tailgate. The EV9 will probably stop without rotating the seats, but we think there will be various modes that could change the feel of the cabin.
At 4,930 mm long, 2,055 mm wide and 1,790 mm high, the Concept EV9 is larger than the UK range-top model, the Sorento SUV, and 1 cm shorter than the North American market Telluride. We don’t expect the EV9 to deviate too much size from the concept. Naturally, it sits above the EV6 in the Kias electric SUV range and offers third-row seats to compete with the Mercedes EQB and the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7.
Like the Ioniq 7, which will be launched in 2023, the EV9 is also based on a modular E-GMP platform. That means we’ll see the EV6’s 77.4kWh battery come to the EV9.
The EV6’s maximum range is 328 miles, so if you carry this pack forward, you’d expect it to be slightly less on the EV9 due to its additional size and weight. Of course, Kia can extend the battery for this larger, heavier, less aerodynamic model, and a larger wheelbase also provides scope for this in the future.
Like the EV6, the EV9 should also offer single and dual motor options, and its 800V electrical architecture allows for super-fast charging speeds of up to 350kW.
The Concept EV9 is a key part of Kia Motors’ plan to become a sustainable mobility solution provider. By 2045, we aim to achieve carbon neutrality across the enterprise value chain through logistics, vehicle production, vehicle use and disposal.
Now read about Kia’s plans to launch seven new EVs by 2027…
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