Kia EV9: £75k electric Kia is worth every penny

Kia EV9 (Kia/Kia)

WE are big Kia fans here at Drive, and the fully electric EV9 is its most ambitious car yet. It’s also its most expensive, with a price tag of up to £80,000, and the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 are firmly in its sights.

Like the lauded EV6, the EV9 is built around a bespoke electric car platform, which gives greater flexibility regarding technology, design and interior space. It’s that latter point that has been fully utilised, with this being one of the first proper ‘full-size’ electric seven-seat SUVs available and is well ahead of Audi and BMW for this.

The 99.8kWh battery isn’t just the largest fitted to a Kia to date, but also one of the largest of any production car, with Kia claiming up to 349 miles in the most efficient configuration – an impressive figure considering the EV9 weighs more than 2.6 tonnes.

Two powertrains will be offered, each using that jumbo battery and coming with 800-volt charging architecture. A rear-wheel-drive version producing 200bhp kicks things off, with this being capable of the headline range figure. Above it is an all-wheel-drive version, with two electric motors generating a healthy 378bhp and 700Nm of torque, allowing for a 0-60mph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 124mph.

Kia EV9 (Kia/Kia)

There’s no hiding the sheer size of the EV9, which at more than five metres long, isn’t much shorter than a Range Rover. It’s easier to manoeuvre and drive than you might expect, though.

With its radical design, vast interior space and upmarket feel, this is a worthy challenger for the premium German brands. The EV9 might be a £75,000 Kia, but it feels worth every penny

On the road, the EV9 is impressive. Wind and road noise is hardly noticeable, and considering its size, the EV9 is more agile than you might expect and doesn’t feel anywhere near as heavy as it actually is through the corners.

A slightly choppy ride is the only complaint, not being helped by the huge 21-inch alloy wheels car. When a car is as heavy and large as this, a softer air suspension setup – favoured by other premium electric SUVs – would likely be a better fit.

Inside there is a great balance of modern screens and physical buttons, where needed, such as for the climate control and heated seats. It’s all built from high-grade materials, too.

Kia EV9 Interior (Kia/Kia)

The space on offer is vast. If you’re in the front seat and take a look over your shoulder, the car just seems to keep going and going. Seven seats are standard, and with each row placed right, seven adults can fit in the EV9, while still having enough room for a couple of suitcases in the boot. You can choose to have it with six seats, with two middle independent chairs able to swivel to face rear passengers.

Three trims are available on the EV9, though even the standard ‘Air’ version – which is only available in the 200bhp rear-driven configuration – gets just about everything you could need, such as three-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a 360-degree camera system and a full suite of driver assists.

A GT-Line grade brings the more powerful all-wheel-drive setup, along with 21-inch alloy wheels, an electric steering column and sportier looks, while the flagship GT-Line S, adds a superb 14-speaker Meridian sound system, twin sunroofs and an option for six seats.

Kia EV9 (Kia/Kia)

While the EV9 does justify its price, there’s no getting away from the fact it’s a lot of money for a Kia. It starts from £64,995, but if you want a top-spec version with six seats and a nice colour, it’s almost £80,000.

But compare it to the only other up-and-coming full seven-seat electric SUV – the Volvo EX90 – which is expected to start from around £100,000, and this Kia suddenly doesn’t seem anywhere near as expensive.

Kia set out to create a halo car with the EV9, and it’s achieved that with ease. With its radical design, vast interior space and upmarket feel, this is a worthy challenger for the premium German brands. The EV9 might be a £75,000 Kia, but it feels worth every penny.