Kia’s new electric flagship will offer up to 541km of range, downloadable features and, in some markets, Level 3 autonomous driving technology.
The Korean automaker has detailed the global EV9 range ahead of the three-row SUV’s local launch before the end of 2023. The SUV will make its in-person debut at this month’s Seoul Mobility Show.
It’ll offer a choice of several powertrains, with Kia publishing some preliminary specifications:
- Standard: 160kW/350Nm single-motor rear-wheel drive, with a 0-100km/h time of 8.2 seconds
- Long Range: 150kW/350Nm single-motor rear-wheel drive, with a 0-100km/h time of 9.4 seconds
- 283kW/600Nm dual-motor all-wheel drive, with a 0-100km/h time of 6.0 seconds
A Boost feature is available on the Kia Connect store for dual-motor versions, increasing torque to 700Nm and cutting the 0-100km/h time to 5.3 seconds.
Kia claims the EV9 will offer towing capacity of up to 2500kg.
All bar the rear-wheel drive Standard model will use a 99.8kWh battery, with the base model using a smaller 76.1kWh battery.
Kia has only published a range figure for the rear-wheel drive Long Range model with 19-inch wheels, which works out to 541km on the stricter WLTP cycle.
The EV9 offers 800V ultra-fast charging capability like other vehicles on the E-GMP platform, and Kia says 239km of range can be added in 15 minutes.
It can also be used to power appliances thanks to a Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) function, which puts out up to 3.68kW of power.
The flagship (for now) GT-Line will offer a Level 3 autonomous driving feature in selected markets, called Highway Driving Pilot, which allows the driver to temporarily take a break from controlling the vehicle where conditions permit.
This system employs 15 sensors, including two LiDAR units, for a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s environment. A hands-on detection sensor is employed “to ensure driver engagement”.
Kia has indicated this feature won’t be available at launch, with full details to be disclosed closer to its introduction.
The company says various features and “services on demand” will be available via the store, and the EV9 supports over-the-air updates.
Downloadable features will be available either as a one-off purchase or on a subscription basis.
Features Kia mentions include a Lighting Pattern feature for the Digital Pattern Lighting Grille, streaming services for the infotainment system, and Kia’s Remote Smart Parking Assist 2.
The latter allows the EV9 to park itself regardless of whether the driver is inside or outside the vehicle, provided they have the Digital Key 2 smart key. The system in turn controls the accelerator, brakes and gearshift.
In a first for Kia, the Digital Key 2 uses ultra-wide band technology which allows owners to open and start their car using their smartphone, even when the key is in their pocket or bag.
A full range of safety features will be available, including:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Blind-spot assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Navigation-based adaptive cruise control
Kia has also paid careful attention to passive safety, citing “the world’s first patent-pending B-pillar connection structure technology featuring an extended overlap between crash barrier and side sill”.
The Kia EV9 measures 5010mm long, 1980mm wide and 1755mm tall (1780mm tall on the GT-Line) on a 3100mm wheelbase – 30mm longer, 5mm wider and riding a 200mm longer wheelbase than a Hyundai Palisade.
The EV9’s drag coefficient is 0.28, with Kia citing the use of its first-ever 3D-sculpted underbody cover – convex at the front, concave at the rear – and other aerodynamic touches like optimised wheel designs and front bumper air curtains.
Kia will offer the EV9 with 19-, 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels.
All models get so-called Digital Tiger Face front-end styling with cube-shaped lighting elements in the vertical headlights and Star Map LED daytime running lights.
Kia will debut what it’s calling a Digital Pattern Lighting Grille on the EV9 GT-Line, available in selected markets, with the flagship receiving other visual tweaks to distinguish it from lesser EV9s.
These include unique front and rear bumpers, wheels and roof rack, with a “distinctive black colour palette”.
Note the GT-Line will be the flagship at first, but Kia has confirmed it’ll launch a hotter GT in 2025.
Inside, the EV9 will be offered in a total of six different combinations. These include a “light modern grey”, “elegant natural tones”, and a more sporting cabin for the GT-Line.
There are dual 12.3-inch displays, plus a 5.0-inch screen for the climate controls.
There’s a choice of six- and seven-seat configurations, with the second row available with four different seating options: a three-seat bench, as well as either basic-, relaxation-, or swivel-type individual seats.
With the swivel option, the second-row seats can turn 180 degrees to face the third row.
The company claims someone 182cm tall can comfortably sit in the third row, and there are also cupholders and charging outlets back there.
Kia is aiming to increase the proportion of recycled plastics it uses to 20 per cent by 2030, with PET used in the EV9.
The company says it will continuously increase the use of bio-based materials such as corn, sugarcane and natural oils. It’s also phasing out leather.
MORE: Everything Kia EV9