Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
1:00 AM 16th March 2024

Kia’s Range-Topping EV9 On Test

The number of new electric cars on sale in the UK continues to grow almost daily and at the forefront of the march to greener motoring is Korean manufacturer Kia. It’s Niro, Soul and EV6 models have found a dedicated audience, and each one has been easy to recommend. How so you may ask? A combination of relative affordability, coupled with a large and achievable range ticks all the right boxes and then there’s the reassurance of that seven-year warranty for peace of mind.

A raft of new models is expected over the coming years and signalling the new design direction is the recently launched EV9, the company’s most expensive and biggest model to date. Capable of seating up to seven adults in comfort, the bold new look is undoubtedly distinctive. It certainly turns heads.

I attended the UK Media launch but have recently had a week behind the wheel to get to know Kia’s range-topper better. Prices start at a smidgen over £65,000, though my AWD test car weighed in at a smidgen over £73,000. Is it good enough to tempt savvy UK buyers away from their prestige offering from the likes of Land Rover, Audi, and BMW?

The boxy design maximises interior space and there is a choice of six or seven-seater configurations. Choose the former, and you get two rather swish swivelling middle row seats. Luggage space has not been forgotten so even with all chairs occupied, there is still over 300 litres of space available for chattels. Fold all the rear seats away and there’s 2,300 litres of space available. Flexibility is the name of the game, and not only will large families love the space, but I can also see the EV9 being put into service for taxi/chauffeuring services.

In order to move this large and rather heavy car around, all models are fitted with a 99.8kWh battery, though there are two electric motor options. The test car had the dual motor all-wheel drive system and for those who like figures, power is a heady 378bhp and torque 516lb ft. The quoted range is 313 miles in ideal conditions. The single motor variant boasts 201bhp and sends power to the rear wheels only and can travel up to 349 miles between charges. Fully charged, my EV9 display was reading 275 miles of usable range and this seemed to be quite achievable in mixed driving.

The EV9 can be charged speedily, so find a 350kW charger, rare in my part of the world, and a 10 to 80% charge may take as little as 24 minutes, time enough for a comfort break and a cup of coffee.

Most are likely to charge overnight on a 7kW home wall box and take advantage of the many cheaper EV tariffs now available for electric car owners. Expect a long wait if you need to replenish a fully empty battery.

Electric cars have the ability to startle when it comes to acceleration and the EV9 is no exception. Give the accelerator a firm prod, and 60mph will appear on the speedometer in around 5 seconds, impressive considering the EV9’s weight of over 2,600kg. Not only that, but body roll is well contained, so the big Kia can be hustled along the country lanes at a fair old lick.

Ride comfort, clearly more important in this type of car, impressed and of course the absence of a combustion engine ensured the cabin remained a haven of peace and calm, even at higher speeds. A little wind rustle from around the mirrors perhaps. The commanding driving position ensured that the EV9 was easy to place accurately on some of the narrower lanes and the light steering made low speed manoeuvring a doddle.

With the roads decidedly greasy for most of the test period, the all-wheel drive system ensured that the power could be safely deployed, and traction always remained excellent. There is a choice of Eco, Normal and Sport modes and it will come as no surprise that I chose the latter. There is also the option of Mud, Sand and Snow modes, which I did not get the opportunity to try.

All Kias are generously equipped these days and the EV9 is no exception. The list is quite exhausting but expect to find LED lighting all round, a 360-degree camera, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control and heated and cooled seats.

A three-screen dash layout is simple enough to use, with a 12.3-inch configurable screen sitting ahead of the driver. A similar size unit is fitted for the infotainment system and the climate control is operated from a smaller 5.3-inch screen.

The quality of materials used is good, with some being recycled and comfort in all seats guaranteed. Large adults will fit in the rearmost seats – I know as I clambered in to test. Middle seats slide, so space can be allocated to the row with most need. With plenty of glass, the cabin is light and airy and the view out excellent. I suspect most buyers will opt for seven seats to maximise the car’s usability.

The EV9 certainly has the ability to impress, both as a conveyor of people and as a capable electric car. The bold design and good driving characteristics should appeal.

Fast Facts
Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD
Price £73,275
0-62mph in 5.3 seconds
Top speed 124mph
Combined range 313 miles
Charging efficiency 2.7kWh
DC Charging 10-80% @350kW – 24 mins
Towing capacity 2,500kg (braked)