First mainstream electric three-row SUV

First mainstream electric three-row SUV

  • These are the first pictures and videos of the production 2024 Kia ​​EV9, an electric three-row SUV.
  • Its bluff and blocky look belies the EV9 concept from 2021.
  • While we sat in each of the EV9’s three massive rows, Kia has yet to confirm any details on its powertrain, battery pack, range, or even dimensions. We expect those details to be announced at the EV9’s official debut in early April.

In both size and mission, you can think of the 2024 Kia ​​EV9 as an electric Telluride, and we’re sure Kia will liken its latest EV to the breakout success of that gas-powered SUV. The EV9’s debut is an especially big deal because it’s the first electric entry in the popular mid-size, three-row SUV segment, where vehicles like the Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and of course the Kia Teluride sell. There are hundreds of thousands a year in the US. Sure, there are some three-row EVs available like the Rivian R1S or the Tesla Model X, but they’re both more expensive. And the Model Y can be had with an optional third row, but it’s smaller.

These first photos of the production EV9, one of 15 EVs promised by Kia by 2027, show that it adheres very closely to the concept that was shown at the 2021 Los Angeles show. The Kia design team, led by Karim Habib, describes the exterior of the EV9 as “sophisticated boxiness”, a mix of sharp edges—such as the triangle shape that juts out from the rear doors, a less dramatic version than the concept. – but also many round forms. It has presence with high shoulders but a low beltline for good visibility. Expect to see these vertical head- and taillight designs on future Kias. This early build prototype has 21-inch wheels, but 19s and 20s will also be offered. The wheel inserts are also very sharp-edged, with both square and triangle options on display at the event we attended in Seoul to get a closer look at the EV9.

everything is big but frunk

Kia hasn’t confirmed the powertrain, battery capacity, range, or even the dimensions of the EV9 yet, but standing next to it we can say that it closely follows the dimensions of the EV9 concept, which are similar to the Telluride but with an eight-inch wheelbase stretch. This is no teardrop-shaped EV, and the long and flat roofline makes for excellent headroom in the second and third rows, even for extremely tall adults. The only thing small about the EV9 is its small parts. But of course aerodynamics are especially important on EVs, and small details like the rear spoiler that protrudes from the roofline are responsible for the considerable improvement—from 0.006 to 0.007—of the EV9’s coefficient of drag, according to Habib. For.

Again, Kia isn’t talking dimensions just yet, but compared to the Telluride, the second row is at least spacious — with generous fore-aft adjustments — and the third row has more legroom and especially headroom. The second-row seats also swivel to recline—Chrysler’s Swivel ‘n Go launched on its 2008 minivan? -but the remaining space between them is tight in this configuration. The EV9 will come in either a six- or seven-passenger variant, depending on whether the second row has buckets or benches. In the uplevel model, the third row is power folding.

A spacious interior with details that make it feel even more

In addition to the actual spaciousness, Jochen Peisen, VP of interior design, describes the deliberate choices made to make the EV9’s interior feel airier than ever. For example, they chose not to design a dash that wraps around to the doors, as this might give the impression of feeling closed in. , The dash is horizontal and minimalistic, and what looks like one giant screen houses two 12.3-inch screens—one for the gauge cluster and the other for infotainment—with a dedicated HVAC readout between them. Physical knobs and buttons have been reduced compared to Kia’s current lineup, with only a few key HVAC controls and volume knobs remaining, as well as touch-sensitive controls embedded in the dash to jump to different menus. It’s an entirely new generation of infotainment, but Kia isn’t talking about the details or features of this new system just yet.

Based on information from a survey conducted by Kia, we expect the EV9 to come with either a single rear motor for all-wheel drive or a motor on each axle and be priced in the $50,000 to $70,000 neighborhood. The EV9 concept boasts a range of 300 miles, and it jokes with the readout on display for this early prototype showing 91 percent battery and 436 km (271 mi) from empty. The concept promises even faster charging than the EV6, which is already one of the fastest we’ve tested.

We expect many of these questions to be answered very soon at the EV9’s official debut in late March, and Kia says it will be available for sale by late 2023 or early 2024.

Dave VanderWerp's headshot

Director, Vehicle Testing

Dave VanderWerp has spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry in various roles from engineering to product consulting, and now leads car and driverVehicle-testing efforts of. Dave got his very fortuitous start in C/D as a student at the University of Michigan, submitting an unsolicited resume just in time to land a part-time road warrior job, where he was immediately charmed by the world. Automotive journalism.

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