If you think of battery-electric vehicles as quirky little crossovers like the original Nissan Leaf, you’re likely to be surprised by the flood of all-new EVs coming to market over the next year. That’s especially true when it comes to the 2024 Kia EV9. Following up on the Korean carmaker’s original EV6, it’s a three-row SUV that serves as the all-electric alternative to the Kia Telluride.
Like the EV6, the 2024 Kia EV9 adopts a distinctive take on the brand’s “Opposites United” design language — starting with the pixelated lighting up front. Though it falls into the midsize category, Kia’s new entry is surprisingly spacious. While roughly the same overall length as the Telluride, its wheelbase is nearly 8 inches longer, translating into expansive head and legroom for up to seven passengers.
Depending upon the trim package, EV9 will deliver up to 379 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch the GT-Line package from 0 to 60 in barely 4.5 seconds.
Range, meanwhile, is expected to run as high as 300 miles per charge, depending upon the trim. And, owners will have the ability to use EV9’s Vehicle-to-Lead and Vehicle-to-Home capabilities to power up a work or campsite, even keep the lights and appliances running at home in the event of a blackout.
In short: The 2024 Kia EV9 is a visually striking three-row electric crossover that will offer plenty of room for up to seven passengers. It offers solid performance, reasonable range, and a variety of useful tech features, including the ability to serve as a mobile generator. You will, however, pay a large premium over a comparable gas-powered vehicle, and AWD versions will offer a much lower range.
2024 Kia EV9
- Drivetrain 1 or 2 electric motors and either a 76.1 or 99.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack
- HP/Torque 215 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque or 379 hp and 516 lb.-ft.
- Cargo Capacity 20.2 cu.-ft. up to 81.7 cu.-ft.
- Towing 1,000 lbs. to 5,000 lbs. (depending on model)
- Extremely roomy cabin with good cargo capacity
- Solid performance, especially with Wind and GT-Line AWD models
- Range of up to 300 miles with long-range pack
- Reasonably quick charging
- Range drops sharply with sportier, AWD models
- Hefty price premium over comparable Telluride packages
- Design is likely to be controversial
- Kia will charge for a number of over-the-air update features
Kia EV9 Review
Kia made its first foray into power-electric power with an EV version of the little Niro crossover introduced in 2018. It followed with the dedicated EV6 SUV, which, last January, was named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Next in line among the seven exclusively electric models planned by mid-decade is the EV9.
While it shares the same underlying E-GMP “architecture” as the EV6, the new, midsize model is decidedly bigger, measuring 197.4 inches in total length, 77.9 inches in width, and with a height of 70.1 inches. The three-row model is roughly the same length, overall, as the gas-powered Kia Telluride, but has a nearly 8-inch longer wheelbase at 122 inches. That translates into a surprisingly roomy cabin and cargo compartment.
Buyers will be offered a variety of different configurations, from a single-motor, short-range Kia EV9 Light, to the muscular, twin-motor EV9 GT-Line. Meanwhile, the midsize SUV will offer a variety of high-tech features, including the ability to serve as a mobile generator, and even a backup power supply for a home in the event of a blackout.
Kia EV Exterior Styling
EV9 doesn’t stray far from the brand’s “opposites united” design language, starting with its blunt, upright nose and contrasting curves and sharp creases.
The three-row model does adopt a distinctively pixelated front lighting scheme. Buyers will be able to order a variety of different lighting patterns using EV9’s smartphone-style over-the-air, or OTA, update technology.
The utility vehicle is far more aerodynamic than one might expect — something critical for maximizing range and performance — with a drag coefficient of just 0.28. To achieve that target, designers went with a steeply raked windshield, smooth underbody, and pop-out door handles.
But they did make a few concessions, including the availability of wheel options ranging from 19 to 21 inches. And, unlike most other electric utility vehicles, the 2024 Kia EV9 does get a rear windshield wiper.
EV9 Interior Styling
The midsize EV9’s cabin makes good use of the SUV’s skateboard-like platform. That starts with a flat load floor. Buyers should also appreciate the surprising amount of interior space, head, shoulder, and legroom pushing closer to many full-size utility vehicles. Those seated in the third row will no longer feel like they’ve been stuck in a penalty box.
A floating center console, meanwhile, offers plenty of storage space. There’s also a sliding storage bin for the second row.
Overall, the EV9 delivers 20.9 cubic feet of storage with the third row up, more than many comparable three-row models. And that jumps to 81.7 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded down.
One of Kia’s goals was to maximize the use of sustainable fabrics and other interior materials. There will be no leathers, for one thing. Instead, Kia has come up with a fabric using corn and other sustainable materials to create a similar look and feel. Recycled materials from pop bottles and fishing nets also are used.
Tech-Laden Kia EV
Inside, designers picked up on the geometric look of the exterior. But they also went for a decidedly high-tech appearance, starting with twin 12.3-inch digital displays, the touchscreen on the right operating the EV9’s infotainment system.
A third screen, mounted in the middle of the center stack, controls the utility vehicle’s climate control system. Kia also will offer an optional head-up display, as well as a camera mirror that could prove very useful when the cabin is fully occupied.
There are plenty of useful, high-tech features, from the array of USB ports to the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. The 4G technology serves a critical purpose in EV9, linking the EV to the cloud for such functions as real-time traffic guidance, as well as the ability to automatically upgrade onboard software, power the infotainment system, and download new digital features. The navigation system helps a driver plot out when and where to charge up.
Looking forward, said marketing chief Russell Wager, Kia will include those new lighting schemes, as well as potential improvements to EV9’s performance and range.
Kia plans to begin offering a fully hands-free drive system, Highway Driving Pilot, on some versions of the EV9 in 2025. Unfortunately, that system — similar to Ford’s current Blue Cruise technology — will require the use of Lidar, a 3D form of laser vision. That means early versions of the utility vehicle won’t be able to upgrade until a Lidar sensor becomes available.
Kia EV9 Powertrain Options
As with the earlier EV6, Kia will offer a broad range of powertrain packages.
This starts with a single-motor rear-wheel-drive EV9 Light with a modest 76.1kWh lithium-ion battery. It is currently rated at 215 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It is expected to deliver an EPA-estimated 225 miles per charge.
That drops to 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet with the Light long-range model. It’s bumped to a 300-mile range using a 99.8kWh pack.
The mid-range Wind goes all-wheel-drive, with a combined 379 horsepower and 449 pound-feet — though torque briefly jumps to 516 pound-feet when you use Boost Mode. The range comes in at an estimated 285 miles.
The AWD Land package boasts similar power ratings but gets 10 mpg less range. Kia added a handful of features intended to give the EV9 Land a bit of modest off-road driving capabilities.
Finally, the GT-Line matches the Land’s ratings but is tuned for more aggressive performance, here dipping to an EPA rating of 270 miles per charge. The GT-Line will launch from 0 to 60 in approximately 4.5 seconds, Kia claims, which is in line with what I experienced during my test drive.
Charging & V2L
Given access to the fastest public quick chargers, the short-range battery pack can go from a 10% to 80% state-of-charge in 20 minutes. That rises only slightly, to 24 minutes, with the larger battery pack. Plugged into a level 2 240-volt home charger, that climbs to 6:45 for the short-range pack, and 8:45 for the larger pack.
When Kia introduced its EV6 it added a feature that many motorists could find useful, the ability to tap into the EV’s pack and use it as a mobile generator. EV9 is capable of providing up to 1,900 W of 120V current, which can be accessed either through a plug in the cargo bay or by using an adaptor plugged into the EV’s charging port.
There are several terms that you’ll hear applied to this feature: vehicle-to-load and vehicle-to-home, or V2L and V2H, respectively. What matters is that you can power up a campsite or a worksite, even provide power to a home hit by a blackout.
As part of its sales promotion, Kia is offering initial EV9 buyers a free home charger from Wallbox.
For those who want to upgrade, however, Wallbox has an optional charger that can automatically reverse the flow of electrons, much like a gas-powered home generator. If it senses a blackout it will, in less than 20 seconds, start drawing power from the EV9’s pack.
You can set specific limits to ensure that it doesn’t completely drain the battery. You also can set the system up so that it shuts off power from the grid, say, during peak energy pricing times, drawing battery power. It will subsequently recharge the battery at a reduced rate.
2024 Kia EV9 Driving Impressions
I spent a long day with the 2024 Kia EV9 at the automaker’s proving grounds out in the parched Mojave Desert. Most of that time was spent with the GT-Line edition, though I also had a run through the desert in the EV9 Land package.
For a vehicle weighing in at as much as 5,714 pounds — with a GVR of 7,099 pounds — the EV9 GT-Line proved pleasantly quick and far more nimble than the numbers would suggest. I was able to flog the SUV around a dynamic course, weaving in and out of a series of coned-off traps, with only a rare complaint from the suspension. Even when I overcooked things, finally causing the back tires to break loose, I was able to quickly and confidently regain control.
Credit some sophisticated suspension tuning, as well as the location of the battery pack, which translates into a lower center of gravity than the comparably sized Kia Telluride.
On a 6-mile high-speed oval, the GT-Line comfortably ran loop after loop at more than 100 mph without even climbing the steeply banked walls.
As for the EV9 Land, we took it out through a well-worn desert course, the EV soaking up all but the worst ruts and bumps without slamming my kidneys. Several useful features, including Kia’s version of Hill Descent Control, allowed me to both climb a steep hill, and then slide back down, without having to flutter back and forth from throttle to brake.
No, you’re not going to take the SUV out to Moab, but it will more than readily handle the sort of modest to moderate trails the average motorist might experience.
2024 Kia EV9: Pricing & Availability
Unfortunately, we’re still a bit too far from the public rollout of the 2024 Kia EV9 to have the final word on pricing. But we’re expecting to see the electric SUV start at somewhere in the mid- to high $50,000 range. The EV9 GT-Line, if the EV6 is any indication, will push close to $70,000, perhaps above that fully loaded.
Like dozens of other new EV models, the EV9 got caught by the domestic production language of the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August 2022. That means it’s no longer eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. That is, if you buy one. Due to a loophole in the IRA, Kia will pass that incentive on to those who lease — as it now expects 50% of customers will do.
As with pricing, Kia has not confirmed the EV9’s on-sale date, though I was told by a Kia representative that will happen sometime “between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.”
Is it worth the money? If you’re seriously considering an EV and need maximum space and seating, the 2024 Kia EV9 is more than worth checking out. Based on early buzz, the three-row SUV could be another Kia contender for North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.