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The Kia EV9 is a six or seven-seat fully electrified SUV that is very big on style, performance handling and practicality. With a choice of trim levels and the option of rear or all-wheel drive, this model will take the Korean carmaker to a whole new level.

Kia EV9 side
Kia EV9 rear
Kia EV9 interior

The good

Design, technology, practicality and performance

The bad

Expensive for a Kia (but less than rivals)

Tech Specs

Price from
Combined Fuel up to
Up to 349 miles range
0-62 from
5.3 seconds
max speed up to
co2 from

Test Drive

Kia EV9 – First Drive (2023)

Every once in a blue moon a car comes along that triggers real excitement by daring to move away from the norm. And the latest model to send a wave of anticipation through the industry comes from Kia.

It’s called the EV9 and is a six or seven-seat, fully electrified SUV that boasts an imposing design that wouldn’t look out of place as a concept car at a motor show.

Prices starting from £64,995 for the entry-level EV9 Air model, rising to £73,245 for the GT-Line specification and up to £75,995 for the range-topping GT-Line S. For an extra £1k the EV9 GT-Line S can be specified with six seats rather than seven.

All cars have a 99.8kWh long-range battery pack with heat pump, and while the EV9 Air is rear-wheel drive and has a driving range of 349 miles, the top two models are all-wheel drive with a range reduced slightly to 313 miles between charges.

We opted to test the EV9 in GT-Line S specification with the seven seats on a lengthy road route around the Scottish Highlands to see just how well it could cope with narrow lanes, pitted roads and the Scottish weather of course.

When viewed from any angle, there’s no denying the strong road presence of the EV9 which stretches more than five metres in length and almost two metres across.

It has quite a box-like design, but not in a bad way. For example the blocked off front end is flanked by slim L-shaped signature lights and the squared off rear end also boasts distinctive light clusters. There is GT-Line styling which brings extra cladding to the mix as well as roof rails, door handles that are flush to the body, privacy glass and 21-inch alloys wheels.

Moving inside, the interior is quality through and through featuring high-end fixtures and fittings with a nod to sustainability. Seventy plastic bottles have been used in each vehicle and the use of Bio PU upholstery and interior coverings has phased out the necessity for any leather.

The seats are powered and can be heated or ventilated and the steering wheel can also be warmed against the winter chill. Passengers in the second row also benefit from heated and cooled seats.

There is a three-screen layout that sees a 12.3-inch driver display, a 5.3-inch climate control touchscreen (with physical switches to adjust the temperature) and a 12.3-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Our range-topping GT-Line S test car had a 14-speaker Meridian premium sound system, head-up display, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a digital key, fingerprint recognition, ambient lighting and plenty more besides.

All controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use on the fly and the elevated driving position results in good all-round visibility apart from the numerous headrests slightly blocking the vision through the rear window.

While the EV9 Air has a single motor and develops 200bhp and 350Nm of torque for a 0-62mph sprint time of 9.4 second, the higher grades gain that extra motor for AWD and they boast 378bhp and a whopping 700Nm of torque. That sees the sprint time slashed to just 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 124mph. Not bad performance stats for a family SUV that weighs in at 2.6 tonnes.

On faster-moving dual carriageways, the EV9 is a confident cruiser effortless eating away at the miles. And in busy town centres the four levels of regenerative braking can be controlled via the steering wheel paddles to achieve single-pedal driving at the strongest setting. This is perfect for stop, start driving and the wealth of parking assist systems help make light work of squeezing into tight gaps.

But the real surprise is the EV9’s performance when faced with twisting country lanes. The acceleration through the single-speed automatic transmission is both smooth and responsive with a constant stream of power on tap for sharp bursts of pace to overtake.

It’s agility through tight corners really impressed with confident grip, minimal signs of body sway and well-weighted steering offering ample driver feedback. It actually handles like a normal family car rather than the large-than-life people mover that it is.

You will notice a real change to the throttle reaction as you shift through the drive modes called Eco, Normal, Sport and My Drive. And, in addition, there are modes to tackle more challenging terrain aptly named Snow, Mud and Sand.

So the EV9 looks the business and has the dynamic handling to match. But what about covering practicality basis for an active family? Once again, this car ticks all the right boxes. Our seven-seat model featured a trio of second row seats that can slide on rails and tilt forward at the press of a button to offer easy access to the rear seats.

Alternatively, you can opt for a six-seater that has two individual second row seats. These can be rotated 90 degrees to face outwards which would be ideal if carrying young children in a child seat. They can also be swivelled a full 180 degrees to face the rear seats.

With all seats occupied, there is still space for 333 litres of luggage in the boot, which is accessed via a powered tailgate. And there is space for an extra 52 litres of goodies beneath the bonnet, which is an ideal area to store the charging cables.

In addition, throughout the cabin are numerous practical compartments to store bits and pieces, including wide door bins, a huge glovebox, a central cubby box, cup holders for all occupants, trays, seat back pockets, along with a large storage area between the front seats.

Six USB ports (two in each row) along with a wireless charging pad up front mean smartphones and the likes can stay charged and second row passengers also benefit from window blinds.

When it comes to charging the 99.8kWh battery, it can be boosted from 10 to 80 per cent in 1 hour, 23 minutes if using a 50kW charger or in just 24 minutes via a 350kW unit.

Safety features are plentiful and helped the EV9 secure a maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating. Systems include the likes of blind sport collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, dynamic brake control, trailer stability assist, forward collision avoidance assist, parking collision avoidance and a list that seems almost never ending.

And with family breaks in mind, the Kia EV9 can tow a caravan or trailer weighing up to 2.5 tonnes with the added reassurance that AWD brings to the mix on the top two trim levels.

All in all, the Kia EV9 is a real statement from the Korean carmaker. It’s a flagship model that oozes character when others have become quite bland and it is packed with all the latest technology. It’s practical, fun to drive, has an excellent range between charges and takes what was once a budget brand to a whole new level entirely.

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