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2024 Kia EV9 Land AWD review: Three-for-all

If you’re shopping for a three-row EV and you don’t have trust fund-levels of cash, your vehicular options are regrettably minimal. One of the precious few mainstream electrics with room for the whole family is Kia’s new EV9, the K-backwards-N brand’s latest smash hit.

Filling this cavernous marketplace gap, the spacious and capable EV9 is roughly the same size as Kia’s combustion-powered Telluride. Even though this SUV’s 122-inch wheelbase is nearly 8 inches longer than the Telluride’s hub-to-hub measurement, the overall length is nearly identical at a whisker more than 197 inches.

Pushing the axles out to the far ends of the body provides a planted stance, short front and rear overhangs for attractive proportions and more interior space. The EV9 wears a Tiger Face front end that’s a bit blocky and busy, but it fits in nicely with the broader Kia lineup. Certain models can also be fitted with a Star Map illuminated fascia; this includes an array of LEDs in the grille panel.

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The EV9’s front end is busy but attractive. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

The EV9 is available with wheels spanning 19 to 21 inches. This example is fitted with 20s that feature a unique triangular design that’s distinctive, though I’m not sure I love them. Retractable door handles – like you get on many other EVs – provide a clean look and help improve aerodynamics, if only slightly. This Kia is also available with non-gloss paint; the color seen here is called Ivory Silver Matte, a beautiful hue that only costs $995 extra.

The EV9’s backside dovetails nicely with its front, and is framed by a pair of elongated, almost Volvo-like taillights. Open the power-operated hatch and you get more than 20 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat. Drop the backrests and that figure grows to nearly 44. Stow this model’s second-row buckets and the EV9 offers just shy of 82 cubes’ worth of hauling room. There’s also a separate power outlet in the cargo hold, and this model comes with Kia’s V2L adapter, which allows you to easily power electrical appliances from the exterior charging port.

With three rows of seats, the EV9 has room for six or seven people, depending on configuration. The third row is easy to access because the second-row buckets tip and slide forward at the push of a button, leaving a decently wide pathway to the back. Once seated there, the EV9 offers decent amounts of legroom, a skosh more would be nice, but the headroom is great and the cushions very comfortable.

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Adults can ride comfortably in this SUV’s third-row seat. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Naturally, the second-row chairs are even nicer. These buckets adjust in several ways, feature ratcheting armrests, and even offer heating and ventilation. How can you argue with any of that? There are ceiling-mounted HVAC controls, too, and passengers even have access to a pair of USB type-C ports.

Up front, the EV9’s dashboard is well laid out and futuristic, if a bit busy. The materials employed are of high quality and many are ecologically responsible. Glossy, painted trim adds some visual interest but will likely scratch over time. Of course, this SUV’s front seats are firm and supportive, plus they offer heating and ventilation for optimal comfort every season of the year.

Like other Hyundai and Kia vehicles, this one is chockablock with high-quality controls. The physical switches are sensibly laid out and feel great, especially the gear selector, which sprouts out from the steering column just below the wiper stalk. The persistent, quick-access climate control panel is one exception. Part of the 12.3-inch touchscreen, this feature looks completely out of place, is partially blocked by the steering wheel rim and is completely redundant because there are physical switches and a much larger climate control panel that can be brought up on screen at the push of a button.

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Kia did a great job with the EV9’s interior. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

That central touch panel runs an easy-to-use infotainment system that’s extremely responsive and supports both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Additionally, the EV9 features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that, unfortunately, isn’t very attractive. The layout of the various meters is unusual and unnecessarily avant-garde. Other tech includes an ever-useful color head-up display, you can get a 360-degree camera system to take the stress out of parking and there’s even a digital rearview mirror that greatly enhances your field of view.

Underneath the body, this Kia is available with two different battery sizes: a 76.1-kilowatt-hour pack and a larger 99.8-kWh unit. You can also get this SUV with rear- or all-wheel drive.

Our EV9 Land test model features the large battery and two electric motors that crank out 379 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough kibbles and bits to get you to 60 mph in around 5.7 seconds, that is, plenty of performance. The top-shelf GT-Line trim has even more torque, a staggering 516 lb-ft, an increase that drops the 0-to-60 sprint to just 5.0 seconds.

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All-wheel-drive models deliver strong performance. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

As for range, this EV9 is rated at 280 miles on a charge, which is quite impressive for such a sizable vehicle. The Light Long Range trim has the most of any EV9, topping out at 304 miles, though this model makes do with only 201 hp, which is probably a bit overmatched in such a large vehicle.

Like other Kia and Hyundai EVs, the EV9 DC fast charges extremely well, with the 99.8-kWh battery topping out at 210 kW, enough to get you from 10 to 80% in 25 minutes. The smaller battery charges a touch quicker, peaking at 235 kW, just like other E-GMP-based vehicles including the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60.

Putting all this in motion, the EV9 is pleasant to drive. The ride is settled and smooth, the steering has good weight to it and the cabin always remains quiet. This Kia feels smaller than it actually is, though the ride is heavy, with a certain density io it, which is no surprise since this machine weighs nearly 5,800 pounds.

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DC fast charging is one of the EV9’s most important strengths. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Helping keep things on an even keel, this EV9 is also fitted with the optional $1,500 towing package, an options group that includes a hitch and a self-leveling rear suspension system.

Like other modern vehicles, this Kia comes with loads of driver aids. There’s adaptive cruise control with lane centering, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams and much more. The lane-centering system works well on highways, but curiously, when engaged on two-lane secondary roads it randomly tugs at the steering wheel, which is very disconcerting – and unusual. Implemented in other vehicles, Kia’s lane-centering system works flawlessly, regardless of the road you’re driving on.

There are plenty of great reasons to consider an EV9, and not just because it has three rows of seats, though that is pretty significant. This SUV DC fast charges well, offers a spacious and nicely trimmed interior, is pleasant to drive and has a very good EPA-estimated range. Sure, the climate controls and digital instrument cluster could be improved, and a touch more space in the third-row seat would be nice, but none of these downsides are dealbreakers.

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The 2024 Kia EV9 may be the best mainstream EV with three rows of seats. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

This Kia was built in Gwangmyeong, South Korea, so, unfortunately, it’s not eligible for any federal tax credits. EV9s will, however, be assembled in West Point, Georgia starting later in the year, so this situation could change.

As for pricing, this high-end all-wheel-drive EV9 Land model checks out for $74,230 including $1,495 in delivery fees and a few options like the towing package, matte paint job and carpeted floor mats. In the world of modern EVs, that figure is by no means outrageous, but it’s still far out of reach for many drivers. Fortunately, the base, rear-drive Light model is much more affordable, starting at roughly $56,000, which is not too bad for an outstanding electric SUV with three rows of seats.

At a glance

  • Year: 2024
  • Make: Kia
  • Model: EV9
  • Trim: Land AWD
  • Type: Three-row electric SUV
  • Horsepower: 379
  • Torque: 443 lb-ft
  • MPGe ratings (city/highway/combined): 91/75/83
  • Range: 280 miles
  • Pros: Three rows of seats, good performance, speedy DC fast charging, spacious and comfortable interior
  • Cons: Odd climate controls, weird digital instrument cluster, wonky lane centering on secondary roads
  • Estimated Base price: $56,395
  • As-tested price: $74,230 including $1,495 in destination fees

Written by Craig Cole

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