Kia EV9 GT-Line (2024) review
The Kia EV9 lives up to its billing as flagship SUV with a versatile and spacious interior.
Dave Humphreys
Dave Humphreys

Published on November 8, 2023

Kia has come a long way in the last decade, and the introduction of the EV9 marks another milestone for the Korean brand. Its unapologetic, bold styling and sheer size make a statement. Backing that up is a roomy interior, an abundance of technology - both safety-related and for convenience - and, most importantly, a large capacity battery to give it plenty of driving range.

In the metal

Whether looking at the Earth or the slightly sportier GT-Line specification, there's a lot to take in when you first set eyes on the Kia EV9. For starters, there's the size: at just more than five metres in length and almost two metres wide, it occupies a sizeable footprint. The design is equally as impactful, from the bejewelled LED headlights that prominently feature two vertical columns of six square LED units each to the bonnet that flows downwards into a blunt face. There's no mistaking this Kia when it rolls up into your rearview mirror.

Besides its length, the exaggerated proportions are helped by chunky wheel arch extensions, finished in a contrasting gloss black paint, framing the 21-inch wheels. Standard Earth specification models get 19-inch wheels, and both look well, with distinctive squarish designs that suit the angular bodywork. The door handles retract inwards when locked to clean up the airflow and overall look, and there is the option of a camera-based door mirror system in some markets, though Kia Ireland has no plans to offer this option at present.

Among the benefits of Kia's platform architecture is that the designers have been able to push the wheels further outwards to increase the wheelbase (the space between the front and rear wheels) to 3.1 metres, resulting in more interior space and making the exterior proportions work better. A low beltline enables a larger glasshouse so occupants get a good view outward, and the roof extending all the way to the rear without any slope means that even adults can sit comfortably in the third row - not something that can be said for many seven-seaters.

The EV9's broad tailgate is framed on either side by slender Y-shaped lights that make the car instantly recognisable from behind. As the hatch swings upwards electrically, it reveals a useful 312 litres of boot volume even when the rearmost seats are in use. When the third row isn't required, the boot space swells to 828 litres, and with only the front two seats in use, the Kia can swallow a small-van-like 2,393 litres. The option of six or seven seats is an interesting one, with the former providing middle-row passengers with individual chairs that can also swivel through 180 degrees. But it's their ability to swing through 90 degrees that could be good news to parents of smaller children as it makes it far easier to access a child seat when it's facing directly out the door.

Greeting the driver is a comprehensive digital dashboard comprising a pair of 12.3-inch displays sandwiching a smaller 5.3-inch unit that features the climate control settings. Pleasingly, there are still chunky physical toggle buttons on the leading edge of the centre console for adjusting temperatures and fan speeds. Menu shortcuts are printed across the haptic dashboard facia, similar to how Nissan does it in the Ariya. Kia's native infotainment system is expansive, and there are plenty of connectivity options, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - both available wirelessly.

Within the centre console between the front seats is a pair of cup holders and a wireless charging pad. Most button clusters here and on the doors are painted in a thick, glossy grey paint that makes them more pleasing to use and enhances the quality feel of the secondary controls throughout. It's in this area in particular that Kia has made great strides, as the interior build quality is first-rate, from the quality of the surfaces to the assembly of the whole package. It certainly goes some way towards justifying the vehicle price.

Driving it

The size of the EV9 is noticeable when you drive for the first time, though it is reasonably manoeuvrable at low speeds, and the detailed parking camera system certainly helps. Kia also offers an automated parking function that allows owners to move the car directly forwards or rearwards in or out of a parking space remotely via the key, which can be helpful if you have a narrow garage or somebody has parked that bit too closely next to you.

A 99.8kWh (usable) battery in the EV9 provides a WLTP combined driving range of 512 kilometres for the dual-motor all-wheel-drive version and 563 kilometres for the single-motor rear-wheel-drive car. Kia has been at the sharper end of the battery technology race and equips the EV9 with a 210kW DC-charging capability to allow for ultra-rapid battery top-ups when you can find the fastest chargers.

A 10 to 80 per cent recharge can be done in as little as 24 minutes in theory. It has V2L (vehicle to load) capability as well, to power external devices such as power tools or camping equipment. Kia also has built-in preparation and compatibility for V2G (vehicle to grid), V2H (vehicle to home) and V2B (vehicle to building), meaning that it can make energy from the battery available to external locations when plugged into a bidirectional charging unit.

With a fully-charged battery indicating a driving range upwards of 500 kilometres, buyers ought to have plenty of confidence to undertake longer journeys as they wish, and the layout of the interior would certainly encourage you to do so. Besides all that space, the driver's seat is very comfortable, and there's plenty of adjustability to find a preferred driving position. We're not so sure about the squarish steering wheel. The spokes are thick, and there's not much room with the paddles mounted on the rear (which allow for adjustment of the brake energy recuperation).

During our time with the car, across various driving situations, the average consumption didn't quite match the official 22.8kWh/100km, but it wasn't far off.

The Kia EV9 also demonstrates how the latest raft of safety systems pertaining to driver attention operate. Gaze down at any of the three display screens in front of you and the front-facing infrared driver monitoring camera will chirp an alert to request that you pay attention to the road. Creep a handful of kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, and you'll hear a ping to politely nudge you into slowing down. That's something that's all too easy to do in the EV9 when you've got 700Nm of instantaneous torque at your disposal, though it's no excuse for speeding, obviously. The good thing is that you never have to speed to enjoy the EV9's ride comfort, and even on those large 21-inch wheels, the Kia does a very decent job at managing body control and its weight - 2,674kg at its heaviest specification.

As with many large electric vehicles, there is a certain firmness to the suspension, though you can feel its low centre of gravity when cornering or even just circulating a roundabout. The ride quality is never uncomfortably harsh. The combination of most weight being positioned low down and having all-wheel drive thanks to the dual-motor setup means that the Kia feels impressively surefooted and stable at all times. A multi-link rear suspension setup contributes positively to the EV9's handling, where it can manage quick direction changes without feeling unsettled.

Kia's attention to quality and refinement comes to the fore when driving longer distances. Acoustically optimised front glass helps to reduce wind noise and at motorway cruising speeds the interior remains refreshingly free from tyre roar despite those large wheels.

What you get for your money

The Kia EV9 is available in two specification grades called Earth and GT-Line, both featuring the same 99.8kWh battery. The rear-wheel-drive version uses a 203hp electric motor that produces 350Nm. It's this version, in the €77,500 Earth specification, that provides the longest driving range at 563 kilometres. Seven seats are standard in this car, and other equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree camera system, a head-up display, a Meridian sound system and heated seats in the front and second rows, with the front row also gaining a ventilated function. The exterior styling of the Earth trim differs slightly from the higher-spec GT-Line, though the most obvious visual difference is the smaller wheels.

Moving up to the GT-Line costs a further €8,000, and for your €85,500 you get the dual-motor 384hp all-wheel-drive setup and can choose at no extra cost between the six- or seven-seat layouts. Other features at this grade include the dual sunroof, Remote Smart Parking Assist, LED Cube headlights with Intelligent Adaptive Beams and synthetic leather upholstery.


The Kia EV9 is likely to divide opinion based on its polarising exterior design, but it's on the inside where many more are likely to be won over. Standard equipment levels are very good, but it is the option of selecting different rear seat layouts in the GT-Line that adds further appeal on top of the additional performance that spec brings. A combination of concept-car-like exterior styling, an abundance of space inside with top-notch quality, and polished driving dynamics help to make this car's price tag justifiable, especially when you consider some of the competition. Kia's march upmarket continues.

World Car of the Year 2024


Tech Specs

Model testedKia EV9 GT Line
Irish pricing€85,500 as tested; EV9 starts at €77,500
Powertrainelectric - two 141.3kW electric motors, lithium-ion battery of 99.8kWh usable energy capacity
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - single-speed, all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, six-seat SUV (seven-seat model available)
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120
Energy consumption22.8kWh/100km
Electric range512km
Max charge speeds210kW on DC, 11kW on AC
Top speed200km/h
0-100km/h5.3 seconds
Max power384hp
Max torque700Nm
Boot space312 litres with all seats in use, 2,393 litres with rear seats down
Rivals to the Kia EV9