Boldly Designed Kia EV: The EV9
Kia has been making waves in the electric car space. The electric-powered Soul EV was a popular seller, and set the stage for the more practical, if less stylish, Niro EV that followed. More lately, the stunning EV6 electric crossover has been earning rave reviews for its stunning design, impressive performance, and good price-performance balance. Now, Kia is revealing its flagship electric vehicle: the three-row electric EV9 SUV. With bold styling and a sophisticated interior, it’s a pivotal step in the company's EV journey.
Instead of giving all of its electric cars a “family” look, Kia’s EV lineup is remarkably diverse in look and feel. So while the EV6 is sleek and swoopy, the EV9, as a large SUV, is bold, confident, and even boxy – with sharp edges and an almost retro eighties look thanks to its four-spoke wheels and diamond details. The EV9 looks rugged and capable enough to handle all conditions – as tough as any SUV, despite its zero-emissions drivetrain.
The front of the EV is simple and clear-cut, and features a digitally-lit patterned grille and striking slim vertical headlamps. Small cube lamps within the bodywork adjacent to each headlamp give the EV9 a “digital tiger face” interpretation of the brand’s distinctive front end. The daytime running lights not only have a distinctive shape while moving, but execute an amusing animation when the vehicle is unlocked.
Clearly composed from polygons, the side profile of the model looks strong and very SUV-like while preserving the vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency. The fenders are composed of triangular structures with a pronounced geometric feel. Flush door handles and an aggressively tapered window line gives a sense of forward motion. At the rear, slim, elegant rear lights mirror the design of those at the front.
The Kia EV9 Interior
While the exterior is bold and even aggressive, the EV9’s interior is an oasis of modern luxury – simple, clean, and elegant. Built on the company’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), this vehicle has a remarkably long wheelbase and a completely flat floor, making for a very spacious interior. While its exterior dimensions are similar to midsize gasoline SUVs, it has full-size interior space, with enough room for occupants in all three rows to relax in comfort.
Offered in both six and seven-seat formats, Kia captured feedback from families to evaluate various seating configurations for the EV9. The result is a cabin that gives space ad comfort for all occupants, not just the driver. Those sitting in the first- and second-row seats can recline to relax and rest when the EV9 is charging. The second-row seats can even be turned 180 degrees so that occupants can interact with passengers in the third row. The third-row seats provide cupholders and charging points for mobile devices.
The EV9’s tech is impressively simple and user-friendly. The open, panoramic dashboard includes two 12.3-inch touch screens and a small 5-inch display improve the digital experience, offering effortless control of the vehicle’s functions. Both screens are high-def, and the audio visual, navigation and telematics (AVNT) screen creates a rich and immersive experience. Beneath the central AVNT screen, a number of touch switches can change their function based on what part of the AVNT system is engaged; they are also used to operate the climate control.
Does the Kia EV9 Have What You Need?
What Kia has yet to announce is a final price, on-sale date, and technical specifications for the EV9. Horsepower, range, battery capacity, and the number of motors haven’t been revealed, though we suspect that the EV9 will have two motors with standard all-wheel drive. We’d be disappointed if the EPA-rated range was less than 250 miles, though we’ll have to wait and see.