Kia unveils details for its much-anticipated 2024 EV9 electric SUV with three-row seating, the first battery-powered vehicle of its size from an affordable brand.
“The Kia EV9 breaks new ground, offering customers an exceptionally high-quality proposition and a fresh EV perspective in the family SUV sector,” says Karim Habib, executive vice president and head of Kia global design center.
In the past, shopping for an electric car has largely meant surveying a range of smaller vehicles: sedans, like a Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3, and 5-seat SUVs, such as a Volkswagen ID.4. To get three rows and an electric powertrain, consumers have had just two options: a Rivian R1S or Tesla Model X (with a third row upgrade.) Both are considered high-end products, clocking in at $90,000-$100,000 or more.
The Kia EV9 adds a third option to the mix, the first from a brand that offers some of the most affordable EVs available today. Kia has not disclosed the price yet, choosing to focus its announcement on the design details and features.
2024 Kia EV9
“Polygonal” is how Kia describes the vehicle, referring to its boxy look (though it’s not quite as boxy as the EV9 concept vehicle revealed in 2021, Car & Driver reports(Opens in a new window).) “Kia’s designers have fused a unique combination of sleek, sculptural shapes and assured, assertive geometry to deliver a strikingly contemporary yet gracefully serene SUV,” Kia says.
The vehicle has flush door handles, similar to those found on both Teslas and Rivians, and a sleek roof for optimal aerodynamics—an important contributor to preserving electric range.
Second row seats swivel to face third row passengers
Inside, the vehicle seats six or seven, depending on the trim. Both the first and second rows recline, which Kia says customers can use to “relax and rest when the EV9 is charging.” The second row takes modularity a step further with the capability to swivel 180 degrees “so occupants can interact with those sitting in the third row.” The third row, usually a passenger’s last choice, gets some love with cup holders and ports for phone charging.
For the driver, a panoramic dash extends from behind the wheel to the center console. Two 12.3-inch touch screens connect for a combined 24.6 inches of pure digital display. While impressive, it’s clearly inspired by the dash found on Kia’s current vehicles, such as the EV6 midsized SUV.
Kia EV9 Dash
“The EV9’s extended high-definition audio/visual, navigation, and telematics (AVNT) screen creates a rich and immersive experience,” Kia says. “It enhances occupants’ ability to engage and interact with the digital world seamlessly. Beneath the AVNT screen, an array of hidden type touch buttons provides a start/stop function along with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning control.”
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Inside the Kia EV6 at the Chicago Auto Show, featuring a similar panoramic dash as the EV9
(Credit: Emily Dreibelbis)
The most important details that will make or break the vehicle’s success—price, battery size, and range—will be revealed at the EV9’s official global premiere later this month. “During the event, Kia will disclose all product information, ” Kia says.
As a price reference, the gas-powered, 8-seat Kia Telluride(Opens in a new window) starts at $35,890. The Telluride has done well with customers and received a 2023 refresh which Kia chose to feature in its 2023 Super Bowl commercial over its EV lineup.
However, the EV6 already costs more than the Telluride—starting at $48,700—despite its smaller size. Kia may target the $80,000 range for the EV9, which is the federal limit for an electric SUV to qualify for a tax credit. While Kia’s vehicles do not qualify for tax credits because they are produced abroad, its US-based competitors will likely aim to come in below the $80,000 mark to make sure they do qualify, which would give them an edge on pricing.
According to documents obtained(Opens in a new window) by Car & Driver, Kia sent out a customer survey suggesting the EV9 will fall between $56,000 and $73,000 with multiple trim options, but we’ll have to wait a few weeks to learn for certain.
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