Interested in a Kia EV9?
    Pros
    • Spacious interior
    • Impressive performance
    • Solid energy efficiency on highway
    Cons
    • It's a heavy ol' bus
    • More than $110k drive-away
    • Interior looks and feels dull at time
    Specs
    0.0L
    283kW
    5 Star

    Want an electric seven-seat SUV? You have two options.

    WATCH: Paul’s video review of the EV9 GT-Line AWD

    One is the Mercedes-Benz EQB, which is a small-ish SUV built on bones shared with a petrol-powered car. The other is the big, brash Kia EV9 you see here.

    The EV9 is a statement of intent from Kia. It’s massive on the outside, but the design team hasn’t bothered trying to mask its sheer bulk – despite being dimensionally very similar to a Toyota LandCruiser 300, it has way more presence in person. It’s like a concept car brought to life.

    The cabin is similarly head-turning, while the price no doubt had a few jaws on the floor when it was announced. Even the base model is more than $100,000 on the road, while the Earth AWD on test will set you back more than $110,000.

    At that price, the EV9 needs to be more than just a pretty face.

    How does the Kia EV9 compare?
    View a detailed breakdown of the Kia EV9 against similarly sized vehicles.

    How much does the Kia EV9 cost?

    The mid-range EV9 Earth is one of just two Kia models ever to sit above $100,000 in Australia – the other is the EV9 GT-Line topping the range.

    2024 Kia EV9 pricing:

    • 2024 Kia EV9 Air RWD: $97,000
    • 2024 Kia EV9 Earth AWD: $106,500
    • 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD: $121,000

    All prices exclude on-road costs

    To see how the EV9 compares with its rivals, use our comparison tool.

    What is the Kia EV9 like on the inside?

    This is a big car. The driver and passenger sit what feels like miles apart, staring out over a massive expanse of bonnet.

    There’s more than a hint of Range Rover about the way it makes you feel from the behind the wheel, although the eco-friendly dash and seat trims aren’t nearly as nice as what’s offered in the (significantly more expensive) Rangie.

    It’s easy for drivers of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable in the generously padded front seats, while the chunky wheel feels appropriate for a beast as big as the EV9. The backlit emblem in its central boss is pretty cool, but we’re not sold on the gloss grey plastic finish used on the spokes.

    The EV9 benefits from a version of the infotainment technology rolling out across Hyundai and Kia’s new cars.

    The graphics look modern, and it’s easier to navigate than the outgoing setup – with fewer small icons, a shorter reach to the Android-style home/back buttons, and a degree of differentiation from the setup in cars like the Picanto.

    Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still a no-show, though, which just isn’t good enough in 2024. The tech is finally making its way into top-end Hyundai and Kia models, but the fact it hasn’t been in the the EV9 since launch is hard to understand – it’s meant to be coming with an over-the-air software update.

    Kia hasn’t fallen into the trap of killing buttons wholesale. There’s a series of shortcuts below the central touchscreen allowing you to hop from function to function, and the four toggles flanking the hazard light switch allow you to fiddle with the climate control without taking your eyes off the road.

    Yes, some climate control features are hidden in the little display between the driver’s screen and the touchscreen, but you seldom need to use them – which is a good thing, because you find yourself peering awkwardly around the wheel when you do.

    Storage space is abundant up front. The flat floor allows for a handbag or backpack-sized space under the central tunnel, and the tunnel is home to cupholders and wireless phone charger. The central bin is tiny though.

    It’s also worth calling out the fact it all feels very solid. The fact a lot of the plastics and finishes are similar shades of grey is disappointing, as it makes the cabin feel more drab than it otherwise would, but the general sense of quality is impressive.

    Space in the second row is standout. There’s acres of headroom and legroom, even behind tall drivers, and the heavy doors open wide enough to make loading children into the rear a simple task.

    The windows are massive, which will no doubt make carsickness-prone passengers feel more comfortable.

    Roof-mounted air vents with dedicated controls for rear passengers, manual sun blinds on the rear windows, USB ports, and a massive storage bin beneath the central tunnel round out the amenities back there.

    As for the third row? It’s more Hyundai Palisade than Kia Carnival back there, but the sixth and seventh seats really are usable.

    Access is simple enough once the second row seats are tilted and slid, and once back there you have enough legroom for kids or younger teenagers… provided the bench is slid forward. With it slid back there’s absolutely no space, as is the case in most large SUVs with three rows of seating.

    Cupholders, roof-mounted air vents, and USB ports are all welcome back there – as is the fact the curtain airbags extend all the way to the third row.

    It’s a bit disappointing Kia hasn’t managed to extract more space for passengers in the third row, given the flat floor of the E-GMP platform beneath the EV9 theoretically offers the freedom to package those seats in ways not possible in a petrol or diesel car.

    There’s a claimed 333L of boot space with seven seats in use, expanding to 828L in five-seat configuration and 2318L with the second and third rows folded – all quoted measurements are VDA.

    What’s under the bonnet?

    The Kia EV9 is available in two different electric powertrain setups. On test here is the dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.

    ModelKia EV9 Earth AWD
    DrivetrainDual-motor electric
    Battery99.8kWh lithium-ion
    Power283kW
    Torque700Nm
    Driven WheelsAll-wheel drive
    Weight2552kg (tare)
    Energy efficiency (claimed)22.3kWh/100km (WLTP)
    Energy efficiency (as tested)18.8kWh/100km
    Claimed range512km
    Max DC charge rate270kW

    To see how the EV9 compares with its rivals, use our comparison tool.

    How does the Kia EV9 drive?

    The EV9 might weigh more than a Ford Ranger, but it accelerates like a Golf GTI.

    Put your foot down from the traffic lights and it leaps off the mark like a car half its size, throwing your head back in the seat like a hot hatch. Want to make the family giggle? Bury the accelerator, and wait for their reactions.

    Although the six-second 100km/h sprint isn’t impressive on paper in the age of Ludicrous and Plaid acceleration, there’s a delightful disconnect between how the EV9 looks and how it performs.

    Of course, it’s more than a one-trick pony. When you’re not embarrassing GTI drivers away from the traffic lights, the EV9 is a near-silent way to slink around the city in comfort.

    Ride quality on the standard 19-inch alloy wheels errs on the firmer side, with the occasional pothole or expansion joint really slapping into the cabin, but it’s generally good at steamrolling pockmarked city streets into submission. With excellent noise suppression, the EV9 is a lovely place to spend time in traffic or at low speeds.

    It’s easy to get exactly the right amount of performance from the long-travel accelerator pedal, and with the EV9 set to its most aggressive ‘i-Pedal’ regenerative braking mode it’s possible to drive around without touching the brake.

    It’s a shame Kia still forces you to opt into one-pedal driving every time you start the car, given one-pedal driving is one of the perks associated with driving an EV.

    Measuring up at 5010mm long with a whopping 3100mm wheelbase, the EV9 isn’t what you’d call a natural city car. You’re always aware of that bulk, but once you’re dialled into where the corners are it’s surprisingly easy to pilot in tight spaces thanks to the light steering and high-resolution cameras.

    Most people don’t associate electric cars with long trips on the highway, but that’s where the EV9 arguably feels most at home.

    It’s whisper quiet at 110km/h, with barely any road roar from the tyres or wind whistle from the mirrors, and the ride settles down nicely once you’re up and moving. The sharpness that’s noticeable at low speeds fades away on the move, and Kia has done an impressive job keeping the considerable 2500kg mass in check.

    There’s no awkward bouncing over big crests or dips, which is more than can be said for some of the car’s siblings in the Hyundai and Kia world.

    As always, we need to talk about the active driver assists here.

    On the plus side, the adaptive cruise control smoothly maintains a gap to the car in front, and the lane-keeping assist intervenes smartly if you drift towards the white lines.

    The highway driving assist system is also capable of handling lane changes for the driver. Indicate, and the car checks its blind-spot and then confidently moves into a neighbouring lane – provided the driver has their hands on the wheel, of course.

    But the active lane-centring is too hands on, and the speed limit assist that spends all day beeping at you is one of the most annoying features in any new car on sale in Australia today.

    What’s more, you can’t just turn it off forever; it automatically activates whenever you turn the car on. Thanks for that, Euro NCAP.

    What do you get?

    EV9 Air highlights:

    Exterior

    • 19-inch alloy wheels
    • LED headlights
    • LED daytime running lights
    • LED tail lights
    • Roof rails, silver
    • Acoustic windscreen
    • Acoustic window glass
    • Power folding mirrors

    Interior

    • Leatherette seats
    • Leatherette steering wheel
    • 2-way power lumbar (front seats)
    • Remote folding 2nd row seats
    • LED interior lighting
    • V2L interior outlet
    • LED ‘Frunk’ light

    Convenience

    • Integrated Panoramic Display
      • 12.3-inch driver cluster
      • 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment
      • 5.0-inch climate control panel
    • Satellite navigation
    • Kia Connect incl. OTA updates
    • 8-speaker sound system
    • Fingerprint authentication
    • Wireless smartphone charger
    • USB-C chargers (in all 3 rows)
    • Rain sensor (auto wipers)
    • Electrochromatic rear-view mirror
    • Heated, ventilated front seats
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Smart tailgate
    • Remote engine start

    EV9 Earth adds:

    • Gloss Black wheel mouldings, side sills
    • Ambient mood lighting
    • Steering wheel logo illumination
    • Leatherette upholstery inc. striped stitching

    Is the Kia EV9 safe?

    The Kia EV9 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on testing carried out by Euro NCAP in 2023.

    It scored 84 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 76 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 85 per cent for safety assist.

    Standard safety features include:

    • 9 airbags
    • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
      • Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
      • Junction Crossing Assist
      • Lane Oncoming Assist
      • Lane Change Side Assist
    • Blind-spot monitoring, assist
    • Highway Drive Assist 2.0 (HDA 2.0)
      • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
      • Lane centring
    • Intelligent Speed Limit Assist
    • Lane Follow Assist (centring)
    • Lane keep assist
    • Parking sensors front, rear
    • Power child lock
    • Rear cross-traffic alert, assist
    • Reversing camera
    • Tyre mobility kit

    EV9 Earth adds:

    • Blind Spot View Monitor
    • Parking Collision Avoidance – Reverse
    • Surround cameras

    How much does the Kia EV9 cost to run?

    Like the broader Kia range, the EV9 is backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. The lithium-ion battery and motor are backed for seven years or 150,000 kilometres.

    The EV9 requires maintenance every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, with several pre-paid packages available.

    Kia offers three-, five- and seven-year packages which list for $706, $1351 and $1997 respectively.

    CarExpert’s Take on the Kia EV9

    The EV9 is a statement car, but it’s capable of backing up its significant swagger.

    With acres of space for five, or enough room to haul seven people around when required, it doesn’t really have any direct rivals in Australia.

    The EQB is much smaller, and it’s hard to see the sort of person who wants an EV9 being happy to settle for a dorky electric van instead.

    The Earth AWD is a smart pick, with plenty of luxurious equipment and the longest driving range in the lineup.

    It’s not perfect. Refinement is still required on the active driver assists, the minimalist interior is a bit too light on for visual excitement, and the third row isn’t meaningfully better than what’s on offer in a Hyundai Palisade despite the all-electric platform beneath the EV9.

    There’s also a broader question to be asked about whether our sustainable future looks like the EV9, a 2500kg electric SUV with a 100kWh lithium-ion battery under the floor, or whether a smaller, less resource intensive approach makes more sense.

    But we’d wager owners aren’t going to care. Kia has swung for the fences with the EV9, and has delivered a home run.

    Click the images for the full gallery

    MORE: Buy a Kia EV9
    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.

    8.1
    Overall Rating

    Cost of Ownership8
    Ride Comfort7.5
    Fit for Purpose8.5
    Handling Dynamics8
    Interior Practicality and Space8.5
    Fuel Efficiency8
    Value for Money7.5
    Performance8.5
    Technology Infotainment8.5
    Pricing
    $106,500 MSRP
    Tell us about your car
    Share your thoughts and write a review of a car you own or have owned
    Tell us about your car
    Share your thoughts and write a review of a car you own or have owned