Kia EV9 Powertrains Revealed, High Performance Variant Coming in 2025

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

While the Kia EV9’s existence isn’t news, the manufacturer has released the all-important details regarding powertrains and they really span the gamut.

From the sound of things, you’ll be able to have the standard version of the all-electric SUV optioned to be unsatisfyingly slow or surprisingly quick. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend and your sensibilities as a driver. However, news has also broken that Kia is developing a high-performance GT model that’s slated to arrive in 2025.

Though you would also have to decide whether you would want a juiced-up SUV that’s effectively the same size as the Kia Telluride. At 197.2 inches long, 78.0 inches wide, and 69.1 inches tall, it’s hard not to make direct comparisons. But the EV9 should have more interior space (figures are being kept secret) thanks to the e-GMP electric platform creating a much longer wheelbase and flatter floor. Still, it’s a big vehicle and you’ll have to ask yourself how crazy you want the performance to be.

That said, we might advise against the Standard rear-wheel-drive setup that features a single electric motor mounted on the back axle. The configuration yields a maximum output of 214 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which would be lovely to have on a much smaller vehicle. Kia said the model (which is limited to the smaller 77.6-kWh battery pack) can breeze through 62 mph in 8.2 seconds. Not great, though faster than some of us would have guessed.

The Long Range model increases range by utilizing a larger 99.8-kWh battery (estimated at 336 miles on the wildly forgiving European WLTP cycle) and further culling the power to help maximize its operating area between charges. As this model will also be heavier due to the bigger battery, Kia suggests the 201 horsepower the trim has been limited to is only good enough to get you to 62 mph in 9.4 seconds on flat, level ground.

Kia’s EV9 GT-Line likewise comes with the larger battery. But the company hasn’t said what that will translate to in terms of range. Unlike its siblings, it comes as a dual-motor setup with power being delivered front and rear for a combined 379 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The manufacturer is also offering it with a boost mode that can temporarily deliver more torque.. When everything is going your way, the system should be capable of hitting 62 mph in 5.3 seconds.

Car and Driver has also reported the company is working on a high-performance variant utilizing the same powertrain from the EV6 GT – which utilizes a 576-hp dual-motor setup. The car is slated to arrive sometime in 2025, without outlet speculating on its potential based on what we already know about the EV6:

A special green "GT" button on the wheel unlocks the full range of chaos in the GT, giving drivers access to blisteringly quick acceleration. How quick? The one we tested hit 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds. Of course, the heavier EV9 GT likely won't be quite as quick. However, it could adopt other hardware found exclusively on its EV6 counterpart, such as its eLSD that can overdrive the outside rear wheel in corners, improving agility and giving the machine a more rear-drive demeanor. Adaptive dampers, upgraded brakes, and a set of summer tires like those found on the EV6 could also be part of the mix.
Unfortunately, the added performance benefits that come along with the EV9 GT are likely to result in the same issues as the EV6 GT. While Kia boosted the available power in that car, it stuck with the same 77.4-kWh battery pack, which led to its estimated range to drop to 206 miles. So, expect the mighty GT to have the shortest range in the EV9 family.

Regardless, it should still possess the 800-volt electrical architecture that the rest of the EV9 lineup has and probably needs. With the range of these vehicles looking serviceable for most errands and less-than-ideal for a road trip, ensuring they can quickly charge with help from the right charging stations will be important. Kia claims the largest EV9 battery can take on about 148 miles of range in about 15 minutes.

While that’s about 14 minutes longer than any comparable gasoline car, this is a pretty big battery we’re talking about. So, in the world of all-electric vehicles, this represents a modest victory.

Everything else Kia had to offer this week pertained to how the company wanted to up its game in terms of driver assistance technologies. Currently, the brand said it would be working on a Highway Driving Pilot that'll allow Level 3 autonomous driving in certain situations and is reliant on lidar. We’ve been less than impressed with a lot of modern driving assistance packages (though some features are nice) and would prefer not to celebrate before someone can offer reliable SAE Level 4.

Level 3 will still force you to pay constant attention while the vehicle acts as though it’s doing most of the driving for you. It’s basically like asking someone to be ready for anything as you’re tucking them into bed and makes little sense to your author as a valid safety feature. The EV9 is also coming with park assist and numerous phone-based features that you can unlock via subscription through Kia Connect Store.

That’s another black stain for the vehicle. With the exception of multimedia, there are very few features that seem like they should be attached to monthly subscriptions – especially if the hardware is already equipped to the vehicle. But we don’t yet know what the brand is offering and will save our full ire for future updates.

Kia has said the 2024 EV9 lineup will go on sale in the United States in the second half of this year. While pricing has yet to be announced, leaked details suggest they’ll start around $55,000 and easily crest $70,000 if you’re going for the GT-Line. Your guess is as good as ours on the high-performance model, however.

[Images: Kia]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 16 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 30, 2023

    @Matt Posky: This may surprise you, but I agree with your criticisms is this story.

    This vehicle has the look and weight of the Telluride, but without the right chops. A vehicle like this is intended to be a great highway cruiser loaded up with all the stuff one takes on a trip - not a 0-60 racer.

    My former Sedona (RIP, sniff) had a great blend of space, power, and towing capacity. It was lovely for countless road trips, but it was a ponderous commuter.

    The EV9 won't make a great road trip car due to its short range, and it is too hulking to make sense as a commuter. They should have fitted a 150 - 200 kWh battery so it could at least go some distance, and that might justify the bulk.

    No way I'd go in for ~$60k for this vehicle.

    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on Mar 31, 2023

      I don't want to be too mean before I've learned more about it and seen it in action. But I think the world will agree with us whenever an EV like this comes out.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 30, 2023

    "creating a much longer wheelbase" Mmmmm...

  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain