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Kia EV9 design and interior shown

Kia EV9 design and interior shown Kia EV9 design and interior shown Kia EV9 design and interior shown Kia EV9 design and interior shown Kia EV9 design and interior shown
The exterior and cabin of the electric Kia EV9 have been revealed.

Kia has taken the wraps off the showroom-bound EV9, an all-electric SUV sired from the 2021 concept car of the same name. Set to top Kia's line-up - in size and price - the EV9 features three rows of seating and is expected to be capable of over 500 kilometres on a charge. It should hit the Irish market in time for the '241' registration plate in January 2024 and will be priced considerably higher than the top-of-the-range Kia EV6 offered in Ireland - the €65,000 GT-line S.

Shared EV platform

The Kia EV9 is built on the same core E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) underpinnings as the EV6, though it has been stretched in all directions and, though Kia has yet to confirm dimensions, it's expected that the EV9's wheelbase will be similar to that of the concept car at circa 3,100mm. The pictured car sits on 21-inch wheels, which are notably smaller than the 23-inch rims of the concept - and the production car sits much closer to the ground, too.

A wheelbase of 3,100mm would give the EV9 200mm more between the front and rear wheels than the EV6, freeing up space for an extra row of seating. Kia has confirmed that all versions of the EV9 will feature three rows of seats, though it will be possible to choose between having two or three seats in the middle row. When there are just two middle chairs (making the EV9 a six-seater), it will be possible to - depending on options - rotate them through 180 degrees to face those in the rearmost row. And reports suggest that it will be possible to drive the car in that formation with the rear passengers facing each other. All rear-seat backs fold down to create a large flat area for carrying large loads.

Though Kia has yet to confirm how many ISOFIX points the EV9 features, images suggest that it should be possible to fit three child seats in the middle row when the three-seat option is chosen.

A final trick up the EV9's sleeve in terms of seating allows those in the front two rows to fully recline their seats "to relax and rest when the EV9 is charging" - as is possible in the front row of some versions of the Kia EV6.

Digital dashboard

The modern cabin and dashboard of the EV6 is instantly dated by that of the EV9, which is far slicker and less fussy in design. Admittedly that's due to movement of even more controls to the touchscreen, though we're glad to see physical buttons in the middle of the dashboard to alter the climate control.

A clean new appearance defines the graphics of the single wide display screen, which incorporates the digital instruments and then neat segmentation of the rest of the area into separate functions. Underneath is a touch-sensitive panel with shortcuts to main menus, while the buttons for seat and steering wheel heating and driving position memory are on the driver's door.

A large, chunky steering wheel takes the form of a squashed circle and houses four vertical spokes. The top two are conventional enough, holding switchgear for the adaptive cruise control and the infotainment. Below the steering wheel boss are buttons to select the driving mode and terrain mode, while the drive selector is in the form of a steering column stalk on the right of the wheel.

That frees up the centre console for what appears to be a huge amount of storage space. USB ports are mounted in the sides of the front seats, accessible to those in the back, while even passengers in the rearmost row get cupholders and device charging.

Fast charging, long range

Kia remains tight-lipped on the technical specifications of the EV9, though previous reports suggested that a range of up to 540 kilometres was being targeted. That would likely require a lithium-ion battery pack of over 100kWh, though it's expected that there will be several different versions of the car at various price points.

Zoom in on the cabin images and you'll see that the car is showing a 98 per cent charged battery pack and a predicted range starting with a "4". Its efficiency is "5km/kWh", which is equivalent to 20kWh/100km.

It's conceivable that the EV9 will be available with the same 77.4kWh battery fitted to the Kia EV6 and that it could be offered with rear-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive as an upgrade.

Either way, the E-GMP architecture means the potential for very fast DC recharging - at up to 350kW.

New design language

The EV9's chunky detailing and stance clearly peg it as an SUV - in stark contrast to the Kia EV6, which isn't so easy to pigeonhole. Much of the EV9 concept's design has been carried over, most notably the lighting. Upright LED units of intricate shapes are used front and rear, while the flat panel between the headlights hides a matrix of LEDs that form the 'Digital Pattern Lighting Grille'.

We'll get to see what that looks like, and to hear the full technical specification of the EV9, before the end of this month.

Published on March 14, 2023
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