Kia’s flagship electric car in Australia won’t feature the fancy swivelling seat arrangements offered abroad.

    A spokesperson for the brand confirmed the EV9 will be a seven-seater only Down Under because the seatbelt sensors that feature on the six-seat configuration don’t meet ANCAP criteria.

    “Australia won’t apply outboard swivel seats as it will forego seatbelt reminders, which are necessary for a five-star ANCAP rating,” a Kia Australia spokesperson told media.

    “The seven-seat layout was identified as the safest, most functional, and practical layout for the Australian market.”

    UPDATE, 01:00am 22/06/2023 – Kia Australia has clarified its statement as to why the swivel seats don’t feature in Australia. We’ve updated our story with the updated statement.

    The full EV9 line-up hasn’t been revealed for Australia, but Kia Australia executives have previously indicated we’ll get a rear-wheel drive Air with a 77.1kWh battery, and two models (Earth and GT-Line) with the 99.8kWh battery pack.

    Claimed range for the base rear-wheel drive model is 418km. The 99.8kWh battery ups range to 541km in the single-motor rear-wheel drive model, while the long range AWD has a claimed range of 497km on the WLTP test cycle.

    It’s not clear whether both the Earth and GT-Line will feature all-wheel drive, or whether Kia will offer three separate powertrains.

    In the smaller EV6, the mid-range model features rear-wheel drive in Australia; only the flagship GT-Line and high-performance EV6 GT feature all-wheel drive.

    However the EV9 is a much bigger car, and will face off with everything from the combustion-powered Mazda CX-90 to vehicles like the electric Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90 in Australia.

    Kia has previously told media that buyers across its SUV range, from the Seltos to the Sorento, tend to prefer all-wheel drive. That would suggest the EV9 Earth is more likely to feature all-wheel drive than not.

    As for pricing? Kia has previously pointed to a starting price around the $90,000 mark, and a sticker at the top end around the $130,000 mark. That would make it the most expensive Kia ever in Australia.

    Supply will be limited. The brand is expecting 100 per month in its first 12 months on sale, or 1200 in the first year on sale.

    Stay tuned for our review of the Kia EV9 on June 28.

    MORE: Everything Kia EV9

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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