Kia Concept EV9 Is the Future of Full-Size American SUVs

Kia’s Concept EV9, which is on display this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is everything I hoped I’d drive when I was a kid watching “The Jetsons” on Saturday morning cartoons.

Boxy, with triangular and trapezoidal shapes sprinkled throughout, the Kia Concept EV9 is a promise for a future we can’t quite grasp but can see on the horizon. The Concept EV9 is the next step/evolution of Kia’s ‘Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP),’ which already underpins the 2022 EV6.

While the EV9 is just a concept vehicle, which was just unveiled at the LA Auto Show, we have little doubt that we’ll see something very similar — and carry the same name — come to market in the next 2 years. The Concept EV9 is a super-versatile and configurable three-row SUV that will no doubt be the Kia flagship very soon.

“The Kia Concept EV9 is yet another important marker for us in what has been an incredible journey since the start of the year. Having made our intentions clear — to become a global leader in sustainable mobility solutions — today we are proud to show the world our all-electric SUV concept, which fuses together an advanced zero-emissions powertrain, a cutting-edge exterior design and a contemporary and innovative tech-based interior space,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center.

Kia Concept EV9

new kia ev9

The brand has been offering electrified models for a decade, but this particular EV is making a statement. Slightly taller and wider than Kia’s off-road-themed Telluride, the Concept EV9 appears firmly planted. The design is clean and modern, and it’s definitely in line with the product renaissance Kia has been experiencing in the last several years, starting with the Stinger.

This Kia concept EV is targeted for a 300-mile range with next-gen ultrafast charging technology, with a 350-kilowatt charger. Even at only a 10% charge, the vehicle can recoup energy back to 80% in 20-30 minutes.

That is getting closer to what potential all-electric vehicle buyers are demanding. Those who want to road trip in their EV don’t want to sit at a charger for any longer than that.

kia ev9 -

Pushing Boundaries

In line with future-facing concept car designs, the Concept EV9 pushes the boundaries of convention. Machined 22-inch wheels with a triangular piece in the center evoke Max Headroom from the 1980s, and the nose sports a digital, grille-less version of Kia’s “Tiger Face” design.

The entire front is accented with a light display that wakes up when the Concept EV9 is in use, including cool headlamps that are a collection of shapes instead of one big bulb.

On top, retractable roof rails lie flush when not in use, improving aerodynamics. Replacing traditional wing mirrors, dual triangular outcroppings house cameras for more comprehensive visibility. And check this out: The hood vent duct area doubles as an energy-recouping solar panel.

The doors open like a pantry, revealing a streamlined interior. The absence of a B-pillar opens up the space, and a giant 27-inch display dominates the dash.

We weren’t permitted to sit inside, so I can’t vouch for the comfort factor. Seats appear more streamlined than plush, with funky headrests that have what appears to be a mesh covering.

kia ev9 - wheels

Concept EV9 Seat Configuration

Like a private jet, the seats are configurable in three modes: Active, Pause, and Enjoy.

The first, Active mode, is a traditional setup with all passengers facing forward to meet safety regulations.

Flip the first row around and transform the second row into a table for Pause mode, which may only be used when the vehicle is not in motion. I guess if you need a conference room and none are available, you can ask meeting attendees to meet you in your vehicle.

The last seating mode, Enjoy, opens the tailgate and all of the rows face the back. I’m thinking this would be ideal for parents watching a soccer game from the car or a family watching a fireworks display.

kia ev9 - seat configuration

KIA EV9 Concept: Conclusion

Kia doesn’t yet have a name for the blue paint on this concept that it says “mimics the expansive depth of the ocean.” If you’re reading this, Kia, I say Cerulean Lagoon Satin (please send all royalties to me).

The more I look at the EV9, the more it grows on me, and no one is more surprised about that than I am. Then again, what I love about ’50s-style cars includes angular fins and big interior spaces, and the EV9 is the great-great-great-great-grandchild of that era.

If this is the future, I say bring it.