Kia ev9

15 min read

By venturing into luxury SUVs, has Kia bitten off more than it can chew?

PHOTOGRAPHY MAX EDLESTON

Few new model introductions better illustrate the sheer scale of ambition harboured by up-and-coming car brand Kia than the full-sized, unashamedly eye-catching EV9 all-electric SUV.

Becoming the Korean firm’s fourth zero-emissions passenger car, it is by some way its largest and most luxurious yet. It takes Kia into market territory where it has never dared venture before and allows it to square up to European premium brands on closer terms – and with the unmistakable confidence that it has been building since the launch of the Stinger executive GT in 2017.

Kia’s familiar design appeal is at the heart of this car’s positioning – but so is space, versatility, usability and relative value. As one of the few electrically powered seven-seat family cars, it’s here to undercut the Tesla Model X and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV; to outwork, with its sheer space and usefulness, the likes of the Audi Q8 E-tron and BMW iX; to outshine the forthcoming seven-seat version of the Volkswagen ID Buzz, and the Mercedes EQB; and perhaps simply to beat the upcoming Volvo EX90 to the punch.

The EV9 lacks some of the drivetrain and suspension technologies commonly used on big SUVs like this by the premium brands. But, for the money Kia is asking, it does not seem short on power, range or equipment. Read on, then, to find out how its finer details rise to the challenge of life in the full-size premium SUV class.

DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

AAAAC

The conventional layout of the electric car is now often bemoaned by designers, but where large SUVs are concerned, it may be considered a fine departure point. Because while a long wheelbase, big wheels, a swollen floorpan and an upwardly displaced roofline aren’t desirable for a sports car or compact saloon, the EV9 fully embraces all of them.

Stretching just longer than five metres, this car is almost exactly the same length as a Land Rover Defender 110. But while its roofline is more than six inches lower, its wheelbase is over three inches longer than the Land Rover’s. So the EV9’s proportions, while clearly very substantial, are also that little bit fresh and unusual.

The car’s general appearance is defined by a bold take on Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy. This was blooded on the EV6 and developed on the Sportage but has now gained extra sophistication, turning out a full-size SUV that has remarkable visual

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