- One of the most versatile electric vehicles on sale
- Impressive real-world range
- Well equipped as standard
- It's a lot of money
- It's also very, very big
- Not as luxurious as premium competitors
The Kia EV9 enters the electric car market with little competition around it. This is a big, seven-seat EV aimed at families who want enough space for the kids, the dog and associated luggage.
There’s only a handful of seven-seat fully electric rivals currently on the market, so the EV9 finds itself up against the Mercedes-Benz EQB, Volvo EX90 Electric and the charming VW ID Buzz. And this brings up the main sticking point with the EV9 - the price.
It starts at £64,995, which is comfortably more than the EQB (from £55,310) and Buzz (from £58,915). Kia is really pushing the premium agenda, as witnessed with the price point of the EV6, and it means the EV9 really has to nail what it does to justify the cost.
The good news is the EV9 puts in a strong showing - and its striking bodywork makes it a head-turning vehicle which stands out on the road. The angular lines provide a playfully futuristic look, and the Ocean Blue paint (available in both ‘glossy’ and ‘matt’ finishes) looks gorgeous. It’s the most striking of the paint options, but isn’t available on the baseline ‘Air’ trim - you’ll need to opt for the pricer GT-Line or GT-Line S if you want this finish.
What you do get on the baseline model is a heap of features and tech, with plenty of driving assists, heated and ventilated front seats and outer second-row seats, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (which required us to plug in our phone to use, but a free update will arrive this year to bring wireless support).
Kia has kept things simple in the EV9 battery department with a 99.8kW power pack in all models, providing 348 miles of range on the entry-level Air, and 313 miles on the GT-Line and GT-Line S. While they may have less range, the two GT-Line models are all wheel drive and produce more power.
Considering its size (over five metres long and almost two metres wide) there’s plenty of poke underfoot when you’re out of Eco mode, and while it can mean you need to be a little more careful on narrow streets and in tight car parks, the EV9 has enough cameras and sensors to keep you out of trouble.
Does the Kia EV9 feel sufficiently special to justify its lofty price tag? We'd say so. Its impressive real-world range, versatile cabin and extensive list of standard equipment all add to its appeal.
Is the Kia EV9 right for you?
If you’re ready to switch the family car to a fully electric model and want the flexibility of an additional couple of seats in the boot the Kia EV9 comfortably fulfils the brief. It’s not the cheapest seven-seater EV around, but you get a ton of kit included, even on the base model. It’s spacious, comfortable and has enough storage (and USB ports) to keep everyone happy. There are rivals with more premium cabins - and less scratchy plastic - and a lower price, but few look quite as good as the EV9.
What’s the best Kia EV9 model/engine to choose?
In terms of equipment, even the most affordable (relatively speaking...) Kia EV9 Air won't leave you wanting. But we'd recommend upgrading to the mid-spec Kia EV9 GT-Line, if only for the punchier dual-motor powertrain (as well as some nice-to-have extras such as the 21-inch alloy wheels and massage seats).
What other cars are similar to the Kia EV9?
As we’ve mentioned, seven-seat EV rivals to the Kia EV9 are few and far between at the moment, with the Mercedes-Benz EQB, VW ID Buzz and new Volvo EX90 Electric the core competition. While the former duo are cheaper, the EX90 Electric is quite a bit more (from £96,255) than the EV9, and there’s always the Tesla Model X although it’s only available new in LHD (left hand drive) and will set you back around £100,000.
If you’re after a more affordable seven-seater, Kia’s own Sorento is roughly £20k less than the EV9 and offers hybrid powertrains, and if you’re just on the hunt for a budget seven seater the Dacia Jogger starts at just £19,595 with a full hybrid engine.
Slide inside the Kia EV9 and you’re greeted with a smart, modern cabin. The swath of glossy black plastic from the Niro EV and EV6 has thankfully been dialled right back (it’s an absolute fingerprint magnet) and replaced with a mix of materials.
The soft-touch roofline, faux leather dash surround and material dash insert give the cabin a premium look and feel, although it’s not completely devoid of scratchy plastic in places which is a small reminder that you’re not sitting in a premium brand vehicle.
There’s plenty of space, with decent head and legroom in the front and for second row passengers. Things get a touch tighter in the third row, although there’s still enough headroom for passengers just over six feet - although legroom is at much more of a premium.
These seats are perfectly adequate for children, and add to the fact they get their own cup holders and USB-C ports (as do second row passengers) there shouldn’t be too many complaints from those at the back.
If you opt to have the third row of seats up, boot space is dramatically reduced. You won’t get seven people’s worth of luggage behind them, so if you’re going to be travelling regularly at full capacity a roof box will be needed.
Kia also offers a six seat configuration of the EV9, but only in the top-spec GT-Line S model (from £76,995). This sees the second row, three-person bench replaced with two independent seats - affording passengers more space. There’s also the option to have these seats rotate 180 degrees to face third row passengers - just in case you need to hold a quick family meeting at a charging stop.
Quality and finish
If you've driven the Kia Niro EV or EV6, you'll find that the interior of the Kia EV9 feels like a step up in quality. Kia has added a wider variety of premium materials to give a smarter finish in the cabin, and while some cheaper plastic is still present it tends to be reserved for areas which are less obvious. That said, it still doesn't feel quite as plush inside as premium competitors.
Build quality in general appears to be good, although the mesh material cover of the dashboard insert feels like it may be a potential weak point for wear and tear.
The seats are well padded and provide ample support for both driver and passengers - which especially liked the trampoline-like headsets which provided a pleasing level of support (and bounce) to our cranium.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Kia EV9
The Kia EV9 boasts the firm’s new triple panoramic display. There’s a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display behind the wheel and a central 12.3-inch infotainment display - the two are connected via a smaller 5.3-inch segment display which Kia uses to display climate control information.
It’s good to see a dedicated area for this information, but unfortunately from the driver’s seat you’ll find the edge of the steering wheel and your hand tends to block this smaller screen, which prevents it from being useful.
The infotainment system provides the features and functions you’d expect, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (with wireless support for these coming in a future software update), and a well designed navigation system which ensured we reached our various destinations on time.
We did find the system overall was a little on the slow side, and there was a noticeable delay between us tapping one of the touch-sensitive buttons built into the dash trim below the central screen, and our action being delivered on the display.
There’s a wireless charging pad for a smartphone and a couple of USB-C ports to charge devices (and to connect your phone for Auto or CarPlay needs).
While the segment display is a bit of a let down, the EV9 thankfully does away with the touch-bar controls for climate and instead provides physical switches, allowing you to easily adjust the in-cabin temperature and fan speed.
An electronic rear-view mirror is included as standard, giving you a digital view of what’s behind you via the camera of the back of the EV9. It definitely takes some getting used to, as you lose a sense of perspective not seeing the rear headrests and windshield when looking in the mirror. Some will love it, others will prefer to stick to the traditional mirror - which is also included as standard.
You can also opt to have digital side mirrors, which sees the wing mirrors replaced with small camera stalks, and small displays are mounted on the inside of the front doors to show you the live video feed from the external cameras. We weren’t able to test an EV9 with digital side mirrors, but from driving other vehicles with this technology we’ve found it can be hit and miss.
Only the top-spec GT-Line S benefits from the 14-speaker Meridian Premium Sound System, with the Air and GT-Line models making do with an eight speaker system.
Space and practicality: Kia EV9 boot space
As we’ve already mentioned, the EV9 is a big car. It’s 5,010mm long, 1,980mm wide and 1,755 tall (the GT-Line is slightly longer [5,015mm] and taller [1,780mm]) - making it bigger than the Mercedes-Benz EQB and similar in size to the VW ID Buzz.
The size translates to a spacious cabin, and those travelling in the first two rows will benefit from plenty of legroom and headroom. For those confined to the third row of seats, there’s more space here than in the EQB, but access is still via the second row folding forward, meaning these seats aren’t accessible for those with more limited mobility.
Headroom is good, and the average adult will be able to sit upright without having to tilt their head, although legroom is where you’ll compromise. The second row of seats will need to be slid forward a little to allow for legroom unless it’s just small children sitting here.
For the ultimate in rear-seat comfort, the Kia EV9 is offered as a six-seater. This replaces the second row of seats with individual 'swivel' seats that can be rotated 180-degrees, so occupants can sit with their backs to the front-seat passengers and facing the third row of seats. We guarantee that kids will love this feature.
The third row does fold flat to open up 828 litres of cargo space, and there’s no load lip so you can easily slide large items in and out of the back of the EV9. Put the third row seats up however, and space is dramatically reduced to just 333 litres (312 in the six seater model).
There's no hiding the sheer size of the Kia EV9 - at more than five metres long, it's bigger than a Land Rover Discovery. Still, visibility is pretty decent, while there's a long list of technology fitted as standard to even the most affordable models - so it's not necessarily overwhelming to drive.
Steering is quite light, making it easier to manoeuvre this large car, and the suspension isn’t quite as stiff as on some of the brand's other vehicles, allowing the EV9 to glide better over uneven surfaces - although large portholes will still be noticeable.
This isn't a car that's designed to be flung through corners but, actually, it handles pretty well for what it is. A lot of the weight is low down (the chunky battery pack fitted under the floor), which helps lower the EV9's centre of gravity. As such, it feels surprisingly agile on the open road.
What motors and batteries are available in the Kia EV9?
The Kia EV9 is available in two motor options. The entry-level Air model offers up a single electric motor producing a maximum power of 149.5kW (203PS) with 350Nm of torque. The result is a top speed of 114mph and a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds.
Opt for the GT-Line or GT-Line S and you’ll get two electric motors for all-wheel drive. Max power output here is 282.6kW (384PS) with 700Nm of torque, plus a rather rapid-for-its-size 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds and a max speed of 124mph.
We’ve not driven the entry-level Air model, but behind the wheel of the GT-Line the EV9 certainly doesn’t feel sluggish. Move out of the ‘Eco’ drive mode into ‘Normal’ or ‘Sport’ and dab the accelerator to propel the car at a pleasing pace. There’s certainly enough poke here to move you swiftly away from a junction, and overtake on the motorway without breaking a sweat.
Maximum EV range in the Kia EV9
The RWD Kia EV9 Air has a quoted range of 348 miles, while the more powerful, AWD GT-Line and GT-Line S models have a maximum range of 313 miles.
During our time driving the EV9 GT-Line S, we managed an average efficiency of 2.8kWh from a mix of speeds and driving styles. This would give us a real-word range of roughly 280 miles - so not a huge amount off the 313 mile figure.
If you’re going to be keeping to city driving and slower roads, then you may well get closer to 300 miles per charge. Spend a long time on the motorway however, and the EV9 battery will drain much more quickly.
That’s actually a pleasing result for such a large, heavy vehicle and gives the Kia EV9 a better range than the Mercedes-Benz EQB and VW ID Buzz.
Refinement and noise levels
Sitting in the cabin of the Kia EV9 is a calming experience. There’s very little in the way or road noise, and wind noise is kept to a minimum thanks to the inclusion of laminated sound insulation glass in the front and second row side windows.
Tyre noise is also minimal as the EV9 rolls off the production line with tyres filled with sound absorbing foam, plus Kia has fitted sound absorbing carpet to the floor of the vehicle.
As there’s no combustion engine there’s no engine roar to speak of, but if you have the stereo off and listen carefully you may be able to hear the whir of the electric motor when you pull away - but it’s hardly a nuisance.
The suspension isn’t as stiff as on the Niro EV, for example, with the EV9 able to absorb road imperfections better than its smaller sibling, providing a more comfortable ride, which will certainly come in useful on Britain’s potholed roads.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Kia EV9?
The Kia EV9 is equipped with a wide suite of safety features as standard including navigation-based smart cruise control, Highway Driving Assist 2, front and rear parking sensors, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCCA) with Rear-Cross Traffic Assist (RCTA), blind-spot view monitor, 360-degree surround view monitor and no fewer than nine airbags.
Unsurprising, then, that the Kia EV9 has been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Like charging any other electric car, you'll pay more money to top up an EV9 at the most convenient public rapid chargers. That's why we'd recommending charging at home, if you can. Doing so will take around 14 hours (for a full charge), at a cost of around £30 (depending on your home electricity tariff).
Wanting to charge via a traditional three-pin socket? You can do so, but you'll be in for a long wait - around two full days should do it.
How reliable is a Kia EV9?
As the Kia EV9 is brand new to the market we can’t give an accurate idea of how reliable it is. Kia as a brand has a good reputation however, finishing in the top 10 of the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. Other Kia electric vehicles - including the Niro EV and EV6 - have proven to have excellent reliability records, while the EV9 comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Insurance groups and costs
Insurance groups are still to be set for the Kia EV9. Considering its size, complexity and performance, it might be worth shopping around for quotes.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Kia EV9?
Electric cars - including the Kia EV9 - are currently exempt from road tax, meaning you could save £180/year compared to a petrol or diesel car. That’s set to change from 2025, however, meaning you’ll pay the same VED as the driver of a petrol vehicle from then.
The entry-level Kia EV9 Air is as comprehensively equipped as you'd expect for a £64,995 SUV - standard equipment includes the 12.3-inch navigation system, heated and ventilated front seats and navigation-based smart cruise control.
The main reason to upgrade to the Kia EV9 GT-Line (which, at launch, starts from £73,245) is that it comes with the more powerful, dual-motor powertrain. We reckon this is probably the pick of the range for most buyers - unless things like twin sunroofs and a premium sound system are important to you. If they are, they're standard on the top-spec £75,995 Kia EV9 GT-Line S.
The Kia EV9 is still too new for it to hit the used market in any great numbers. We reckon high demand will keep prices strong for a while, although you might be able to skip the waiting list by searching for a pre-registered Kia EV9.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Kia EV9 range is made up of three trip levels: Air, GT-Line and GT-Line S.
Standard equipment on all Kia EV9 trim levels includes three-screen dashboard layout, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, wireless phone charger, Kia Connect telematics, heated and ventilated front seats and outer second-row seats, electric folding adjustable and heated door mirrors with integrated LED indicator lights, rain-sensing front wipers, electronic rear-view mirror, LED headlamps and rear lamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, rear privacy glass, second-row manual window blinds, dual-zone air conditioning, heated steering wheel, smart power tailgate, 60:40 split-folding second row, 50:50 split-fold third row, ambient lighting, six USB-C chargers, three-pin socket in boot, V2L system, navigation-based smart cruise control, Highway Driving Assist 2, front and rear parking sensors, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCCA) with Rear-Cross Traffic Assist (RCTA), blind-spot view monitor, 360-degree surround view monitor, nine airbags.
The entry-level Kia EV9 Air model features 19-inch alloy wheels, standard EV9 body styling, gloss black door mirrors and door trim, black side sill trim, low-profile roof rails, body-coloured flush door handles, manually adjustable tilt and telescope steering column, single-tone Bio PU seats (the cabin is 100% leather-free), power-adjustable front seats and an eight-speaker audio system.
Opt for the Kia EV9 GT-Line and you’ll get 21-inch alloy wheels, GT-Line exterior styling, two-tone ‘GT-Line’ Bio PU upholstery, LED headlamps with ‘small cube’ design and adaptive driving beam, ‘bridge-type’ roof rails, electric tilt and telescope adjustable steering column, driver power adjustable memory seat and front passenger power seat, driver and front passenger premium relaxation seats, driver massage seat, black headlining, aluminium pedals and remote Smart Park Assist 2.0 (RSPA 2.0).
The top-of-the-line Kia EV9 GT-Line S adds (in addition to the above) 21-inch alloy wheels, front sunroof with tilting and sliding functions, second row sunroof with sliding blind, head-up display and a 14-speaker Meridian Premium Sound System.
The GT-Line S is also available in either the standard seven-seat layout, or an exclusive six-seat interior, with second row swivel seats.
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