Kia EV9 Review: A Big, Heavy Electric Car That Actually Makes Sense

Kia's new electric range-topper has landed in the UK. We get behind the wheel of the behemoth
Kia EV9, front 3/4, driving
Kia EV9, front 3/4, driving


Very spacious inside
Exceptionally comfortable to drive


Poor energy efficiency
Motor options are tied to trim levels

It’s not quite every day you read the spec sheet of a seven-seat Kia and see a starting price of £65,025, nor a 2.6-tonne kerb weight. But here we are, and though immediately that combination may stir up a red flag, there’s a level of intrigue about the Kia EV9.

You see, while manufacturers have been so keen to push big, heavy electric SUVs to both meet legislation and convince consumers that we all want high-riding mammoths, it seems most have neglected the good old multi-purpose vehicle.

Combine that with the arguable point that Kia (and the wider Hyundai Motor Group) have been one of the biggest successes in the electric revolution, and the EV9 presents itself as an intriguing prospect.

Kia EV9, front 3/4, static
Kia EV9, front 3/4, static

Having had a little rant about SUVs there, the EV9 isn’t all too distant from the formula. Sure, it’s got seven seats and has a huge, boxy form factor, but it’s certainly designed as something of a midway point between the two segments.

I think it’s quite a stylish thing. Its piano black plastic cladding balances the box-ticking rugged look without completely contradicting the angular, quite futuristic design of the rest of the car. It does look best in GT-Line S trim with 21-inch wheels admittedly, but given the choice, the 19-inch wheels on lower-spec cars add a nice layer of comfort.

The cabin layout is pretty typical of Kia/Hyundai EVs. That’s to say nicely laid out and with a nice amount of space thanks to the high-raised centre console, if a little uninteresting. Top marks for build quality though, and you can opt for a white artificial leather which does wonders for its fashion points.

Kia EV9, interior
Kia EV9, interior

All versions of the EV9 come equipped with a dual-screen setup consisting of two 12.3-inch displays built into one housing, one for the infotainment and one acting as an instrument cluster. The base software is dead easy to use and nicely laid out, although if you’d prefer you can link your phone up wirelessly through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both seem to function just as smoothly as Kia’s own operating system.

Middle seat space on seven-seat versions of the EV9 is pretty impressive. You’d be quite happy to travel along as a fully-grown adult over distance back here, and both outer seats (and the two in the back, for that matter) come with Isofix. About as exciting for parents as a sub-three-second 0-62mph sprint for a sports car, I would assume.

You can go for the Kia EV9 as a six-seater if you’d so prefer, although that’s limited to top-spec GT-Line S cars which start from £77,750. Do so, though, and your passengers in the back will appreciate the extra room for sure, and the fact it makes getting in the rear row dead easy - giving you the option to just walk in between the middle two seats rather than sliding them forward as on the seven-seater.

Kia EV9, rear 3/4, static
Kia EV9, rear 3/4, static

That third row naturally feels a little roomier when you’ve only got two seats instead of three in front of you, but handily either way it’s pretty comfortable. Your kids won’t have any complaints, that’s for sure. Nor will the dog, with 333 litres of boot space even in max passenger mode.

Such a massive electric car needs a massive battery, though, which the EV9 has. All versions, be it single- or dual-motor, draw power from a 99.8kWh pack of cells with the former motor option quoted as offering 349 miles and the latter 313 miles.

As you can probably decipher, efficiency isn’t fantastic - not that it would be for a 2.6-tonne behemoth. A couple of hours of mixed route driving the single motor car returned 2.2mi/kWh, which would equate to 220 miles. Admittedly, that’s with road tester lead foot on a variety of roads - average that out with a more regular commute and the odd motorway and that will surely be much closer to 300 miles. Still, not fantastic efficiency and that’s an often overlooked narrative with EVs.

Kia EV9, side, driving
Kia EV9, side, driving

Driving the Kia EV9 around is an appropriately mundane affair, in all honesty. It’s nice enough around town, steering is well-judged and it rides smoothly - although there’s no masking the sheer size of the thing so be mindful of that if you’re a particularly anxious driver. That does help isolate you out on the motorway though, which is handy for some serene long-distance travelling.

Thrashing it down a back road isn’t all that exciting. Shock, I know. It’s quite capable though considering the sheer mass of it, something that’s helped by the gigantic battery stored under the floor aiding its centre of gravity. Dual-motor versions do offer a tantalising amount of power on paper, offering 378bhp compared with 200bhp in the single-motor car, but beyond the static to 30mph sprint it’s an overkill offering.

I’d say stick with the lower-powered car but they’re tied to trim levels, so if you want the looks and the kit of a GT Line S you’ll need to take the hit in efficiency too.

Kia EV9, rear 3/4, driving
Kia EV9, rear 3/4, driving

Otherwise, though, the Kia EV9 is a very sensible car that both manages to justify being so expensive and so heavy. Sure, better efficiency would be great but at least that’s coming at the cost of function over form.


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