Kia Unveils EV9, All-Electric SUV Proves Its Hip to Be Square

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

There’s little doubt that designers at Kia and Hyundai are currently hitting it out of the park in terms of styling, particularly with their EVs. Like ‘em or lump ‘em, at least rigs like the Ioniq5 and EV6 refuse to blend in at soccer practice.

Now, Kia has hauled the covers off its new EV9 – and its looks are bound to get a few jaws flapping.

The brand refers to the thing as having a “strong SUV identity”, though some unkind folks have already used terms like ‘block of apartments’ and ‘kitchen fridge’. Whatever your take, this is a large three-row all-electric SUV with the type of bluff front generally reserved for the white cliffs of Dover. Two clusters of small cube-shaped lamps light the way forward and contain an animated light pattern plus a so-called ‘Star Map’ pattern for daytime running lights. Expect to see the latter on more Kia EVs down the road.

Around back, its taillights reach for the sky – but not before breaking away to make a lighted spear towards the center of its liftgate. Volvo designers will find the overall vertical shape to be quite, erm, familiar. The charging port flap incorporates an edge into these lamps, while the flush-mounted door handles appear lifted wholesale from the EV6. Being an SUV, there is no shortage of black cladding over its wheel arches. There is a chance some small details will be changed before production but it’s safe to say this is, by and large, what we’ll find in dealer showrooms.

Kia is deploying many lessons from the EV6 in the EV9’s interior, particularly on its dashboard. A long single panel houses screens for a gauge cluster and infotainment gear, both 12.3 inches in size, underlined by a horizontal stretch that includes ventilation registers plus a few actual buttons for climate control. The EV architecture permits a completely flat floor that’ll pay dividends in space allocation for second- and third-row passengers. Speaking of, the model on display here permits its middle-row captain’s chairs to swivel 180 degrees – a feature we hope makes it to this side of the pond.

As expected for these types of drawn-out reveals, Kia is mum on details like range and power numbers. Still, it’s not unreasonable to speculate it may receive the 77.4-kWh battery pack found in its Ioniq5 and EV6 cousins, vehicles which also utilize the E-GMP platform. Wonks at the EPA rate an EV6 with that battery at 310 miles of range on a full charge, though the EV9’s larger size will likely shave a few clicks off that number. While there is no indication Kia is readying a battery pack larger than 77.4 kWh, it’s worth noting the EV6 is also available in a 58 kWh flavor, suggesting the unit may be scalable. 

The Kia EV9 will make its digital global premiere in late March.

[Images: Kia]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Taejin Taejin on Mar 17, 2023

    wow tough crowd here.... why so much the hate? well, I am an old school car guy raised on 90's french and italian cars... some Japanese (love Mazda), german (BMW/Mercedes) also was into american trucks at one point (2008 F350, 2013 Ram 2500) and also into Land Rover (Discoveries, LR4) and I am impressed with what Kia and Hyandai have been putting out lately and I am impressed and love this EV9s design. in my opinion, rear tailight is far more refined and better design than Volvo ones expecially their upcoming EX90 (I have a reservation on that too). I don't particularly like the wheel design but I don't mind it... it gives that futuristic "Blade Runner" look. I get that it's not for everyone... but most EV buyers, this will do really well. I have a reservation on Rivian R1S, another 3 row SUV, locked at their old pricing but I am seriously considering this instead. now that I'm used to Rivian stayle, it's getting a bit boring to me now and too old school. I want mine to stand out, be super futuristic and scream EV. Same reason I won't consider any hybrid or plug in hybrid only because they look like ICE version. I believe I'm a typical EV buyer that Kia is targeting and for that reason alone this will do very well. Plus if they manage to produce this in their US factory (they are planning), it may qualify some if not all of $7500 EV tax credit. There is currently no other option on 3rd row electric SUV of this size under $80k. Sorry Tesla Y and MB EQBs don't count... they are too small with too little space at the 3rd row to be practical they are at best 5 passenger SUVs (my wife thinks it's fraud they are even called SUV).

  • RHD RHD on Mar 19, 2023

    I wonder if these will be as easy to steal as so many other Kias are...

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.