- These are the first photos and videos of the production 2024 Kia EV9, an electric three-row SUV.
- Its bluff and wavy appearance remains with the EV9 concept from 2021.
- While we’ve sat in each of the spacious EV9’s three rows, Kia has yet to confirm any details about its powertrain, battery pack, range or even its dimensions. We expect those details to be announced at the EV9’s official debut in early April.
In both size and mission, you can think of the 2024 Kia EV9 as an electric Telluride, and we’re sure Kia will love its latest EV to follow up on the gas-powered SUV’s impressive feat. The EV9’s debut is a big deal, as it’s the first electric entry in the popular mid-size three-row SUV segment, where vehicles like the Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and, of course, the Kia Telluride sell by the hundreds of thousands a year. in the US Of course, there are some three-row EVs available, such as the Rivian R1S or the Tesla Model X, but both are much more expensive. And the Model Y is available with an optional third row, but it’s small.
The first pictures of this production EV9, one of 15 EVs that Kia has promised by 2027, show that it closely adheres to the concept shown at the Los Angeles show in 2021. Kia’s design team, led by Karim Habib, describes the exterior of the EV9 as ” subtle box”, a combination of sharp edges—like the triangular shape jutting out of the back door, a less dramatic version than the concept—but also lots of rounded shapes. It has presence, with high shoulders but a low belt for good visibility. Expect to see this vertical head and taillight design on future Kias. This early build prototype wears 21-inch wheels, but 19 and 20 will also be offered. The wheel inserts are also very sharp, with square and triangular options on display at the event we attended in Seoul to get up close to the EV9.
All Big but Frunk
Kia has yet to confirm the EV9’s power, battery capacity, range or even dimensions, but we can say from standing next to it that it conforms closely to the dimensions of the EV9 concept, which is similar to the Telluride but with an eight-inch wheelbase stretch. This is no teardrop-shaped EV, and the high, flat roofline makes for excellent headroom in the second and third rows, even for very tall adults. The only minor thing about the EV9 is its small trunk. But of course aerodynamics are paramount on an EV, and small details like the rear spoiler that extends from the roofline alone are responsible for a significant increase—0.006 to 0.007 according to Habib—to the EV9’s drag coefficient.
Again, Kia hasn’t talked about dimensions, but compared to the Telluride, the second row is at least as spacious—with extensive front-rear adjustability—and the third row has more legroom and especially headroom. The second-row seats also swivel to face rearward—remember Chrysler’s Swivel ‘n Go launched on its 2008 minivan?—but the space left between them in this configuration is tight. The EV9 will come in either a six- or seven-passenger variant, depending on whether the second row has buckets or benches. In top-level models, the third row is a power fold.
A Spacious Interior With Details That Make It Feel Better
In addition to the actual spaciousness, Jochen Paesen, VP of interior design, explains the deliberate choice to make the interior of the EV9 feel more spacious than before. For example, they choose not to create a dash design that wraps around the door, as it can lead to the effect of feeling closed. For the same reason, the headrests in the front seats are slanted so that rear passengers can see past them. . The dash is flat and minimalistic, and what looks like one giant screen protruding from it are two 12.3-inch screens—one for the gauge cluster and the other for infotainment—with dedicated HVAC readouts in between. Physical knobs and buttons are pared down compared to Kia’s current lineup, with only a few main HVAC controls and volume knobs remaining, along with touch-sensitive controls embedded in the dash to jump to different menus. This is a new generation of infotainment, but Kia has yet to talk about the details or features of this new system.
Based on information from a survey Kia conducted, we expect the EV9 to come with either a single rear motor or one on each axle for all-wheel drive and cost in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $70,000. The EV9 concept claims a range of 300 miles, and that’s the reading in this early prototype display, which shows a 91 percent battery and 436 km (271 miles) empty. The concept also promises faster charging than the EV6, which is one of the fastest we’ve tested.
We expect many of these questions to be answered soon at the EV9’s official debut in late March, and Kia says it will go on sale in late 2023 or early 2024.
Director, Vehicle Testing
Dave VanderWerp has spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry, in a variety of roles from engineering to product consulting, and currently leads Car and Drivervehicle testing efforts. Dave got his very lucky start at C/D by accidentally submitting an unsolicited resume just in time to land a part-time job as a street fighter while he was a student at the University of Michigan, where he immediately became fascinated with the world of automotive journalism.