Kia has unveiled the electric EV9 and it features a bold design as well as second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees
March 14, 2023 at 17:00
by Michael Gauthier
Electric crossovers have been growing in popularity, but most have one thing in common: two-rows of seats. While there are a few exceptions, including the Rivian R1S and Tesla Model X, three-row EVs have been rare and relatively expensive. Enter Kia, which has taken the wraps off the all-new EV9.
Billed as the brand’s flagship SUV, the EV9 was previewed by a concept in 2021 and the production model is pretty faithful to the original. It features a bold, upscale look that embraces an Opposites United design philosophy and resembles an electric Telluride.
The front end sports a “digital tiger face” with vertical headlights and flowing daytime running lights. They’re joined by a sculpted hood, a faux skid plate, and a wide lower intake.
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The EV9’s profile is arguably its best angle as there’s an attractive mix of soft curves and sharp lines. The edgy fenders and wheel arches immediately draw attention, but then you notice smaller details such as flush-mounted door handles, blacked out pillars, and a ‘floating’ roof.
They’re joined by four-spoke wheels that have an aerodynamic design as well as a two-tone appearance. Designers also gave the crossover a dynamic beltline, which kicks up past the C-pillar and features expanding chrome trim.
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The eye-catching design continues out back with flowing taillights and a sizable spoiler. Below, gloss black cladding contrasts with a silver bumper designed to recall a skid plate.
An Airy Interior With Second-Row Seats That Swivel
While the third-row is the star of the show, it’s a little camera shy as we only get a few glimpses of it. However, Kia said the crossover will be offered in six and seven seat configurations that offer “generous space for all occupants to connect and relax” in “lounge-style comfort.”
The second-row seats are notable as they can swivel 180 degrees, so occupants can interact with those sitting in the third-row. This doesn’t appear to leave much legroom, but Kia noted third-row passengers will find cup holders and charging ports to help them stay connected and comfortable.
Putting the seats aside, the EV9 has a “floating panoramic dashboard” that houses a widescreen display. The latter consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment system, and a 5-inch display that promises to “improve the digital experience.” Kia didn’t say much about it, but the small screen appears to be dedicated to climate controls.
Further below, we can see grey trim with an array of ‘digital buttons’ for the infotainment system. They’re joined by minimalist climate controls and a BMW-esque volume roller.
Other highlights include ambient lighting, a distinctive center console, and an airy two-tone design. They’re joined by a column-mounted shifter, metallic accents, and speaker grilles that feature a geometric pattern.
Kia is keeping specifications under wraps, but the model rides on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and the digital instrument cluster suggests we can expect a range in excess of 298 miles (480 km). Production is expected to kick off this fall and while no prices were announced, a leaked customer survey suggested that it could start from around $56,000 for the base model topping at over $70,000 for the flagship trim. We’ll learn more details later this month, but Kia told us the EV9 won’t be limited to America as it will also be sold in Europe with U.K. sales starting late this year.