Kia EV9 Review & Prices
The Kia EV9 is an imposing seven-seat SUV with excellent practicality, but it’s not quite posh enough to justify its price tag
Find out more about the Kia EV9
Is bigger always better? When it comes to bank balances and widescreen TVs, the answer is yes. Does the same apply to electric cars? The humongous Kia EV9 certainly makes a compelling case – as an electric seven-seater it’s in rarefied air. The Volvo EX90 is the only other one on the horizon, though you can also buy the left-hand drive-only Tesla Model X if you’re not picky about speccing it. If you just want a big, posh electric SUV without the seven seats, you could also consider the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX.
The big Kia certainly dwarves its little sibling, the EV6 – if that car is a small island-hopping aeroplane the EV9 feels more like a jumbo jet. And with a spacious, well-appointed interior, it’s like sitting in business class.
The cabin looks suitably luxurious and high-tech. Twin-screen dashboards are pretty common these days, but the EV9 goes one better with a three-screen layout. You get the usual big displays for the driver and infotainment, as well as a smaller one between them for the climate controls.
It's poorly positioned, though, because the steering wheel blocks your view, but at least you can also control it through chunky dashboard-mounted buttons that are easy to get to. And while the EV9 looks posh inside, and certainly most of the stuff you touch regularly feels suitably upmarket, it’s not hard to find some less satisfying plastics around the dashboard. A similarly priced BMW iX feels fancier inside.
The seats are delightfully comfy though, and top-spec GT-Line models have fancy reclining chairs with footrests, even in the front, for maximum relaxation while charging. There’s also a six-seat option, which gives you second-row seats that can swivel 180 degrees when you’re stopped so you can chat to those in the back seats. It’s a bit clunky and cramped if you do so, but a cool idea nonetheless.
Less cramped is the boot. Even with all seven seats in place, there’s enough space for a few carry-on bags. Fold the rear-most seats down and the boot is cavernous, while you also get a small front boot, too. The Tesla Model X has a bigger capacity for both, but few will actually need the extra space...
The Kia EV9 proves big family cars can be cool, without forgetting to be practical too
All EV9 models get the same big battery, which delivers a range of up to 349 miles if you choose the long range single-motor model, or 313 miles if you go for the higher-performance dual-motor version. The faster model sprints to 62mph in 5.3 seconds – quick, but easily beaten by the warp-factor acceleration of a Tesla Model X, which also has the edge for range.
If the Kia’s batteries do run low, you can quickly top up thanks to the EV9’s maximum charging rate of 210kW. There aren’t many super-powerful public chargers that can reach this, but if you do find one Kia claims a 10-80% recharge in as little as 24 minutes.
One thing to note is that the motors are tied to the trim levels, so you can’t get a top-spec model with less power and more range, for example.
Out on the road the Kia EV9 is easy to drive. Because the cabin is so spacious it feels almost intimidatingly huge at first, but the steering is light and the electric motors are powerful so it’s not at all cumbersome.
The suspension is smoother at higher speeds, but sharp, low-speed impacts such as potholes give a noticeable thud, and tyre roar is fairly prominent with the top-spec model’s massive alloy wheels. Country road undulations can induce some side-to-side wobble, too.
That being said, it’s generally a relaxing way to pile on the miles and handles corners surprisingly well for such a big, heavy SUV. Some light off-roading did rather flummox the on-board software though, so it’s probably best not to test the ‘mud’ drive mode too much…
The prospect of paying £65k-plus for a Kia might have seemed crazy even a few years ago, but the EV9 makes a strong case for itself thanks to its seven- or six-seat layout and comfortable, spacious interior. It doesn’t quite feel as posh as some German alternatives at this price but it’s close enough to be a compelling option if you want something less obvious. It looks absolutely brilliant, too. This is essentially an MPV, but wearing the clothes of a chunky SUV people will actually buy.
Fancy one? Check out the latest Kia EV9 deals on Carwow to see how much you could save. You can also browse used Kia models from our network of trusted dealers, and when it’s time to sell your current car, Carwow can help with that, too.
The Kia EV9 has a RRP range of £65,025 to £77,025. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,000. Prices start at £64,025 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £724.
Our most popular versions of the Kia EV9 are:
|carwow price from
|149kW Air 99.8kWh 5dr Auto
The EV9 is Kia’s top model, so it’s no bargain, but it’s considerably less expensive than the Volvo EX90 and Tesla Model X. At this price you could also shop for the likes of the BMW iX and Audi Q8 e-tron – they are not seven-seaters, but do feel a bit more special inside.
Having said that, looking at the overall space and technology on offer compared with similar cars at this price, a £65,000 starting price actually feels pretty reasonable. Imagine saying that about a Kia just a decade ago.
There are three trim levels, with the entry-level Air model starting around £65,000 and only being available with the single-motor setup. Upgrade to GT-Line for about £10,000 extra and you get more kit and the more powerful dual-motor system, while top-spec GT-Line S models cost around another £3,000. This GT-Line S trim is the only one offered in the six-seat layout.
The Kia EV9 is generally pretty comfortable, but it’s not the quietest electric car at speed
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Kia EV9 is a massive car, and when you’re sat in the driver’s seat the corners of the bonnet look miles away. Fortunately you get 360-degree cameras as standard, making it easier to navigate tight spots like inner-city width restrictors.
Where you might get caught out is the wide turning circle, which makes U-turns or tight junctions a bit trickier than they might otherwise be.
The light steering makes the EV9 easy to drive in town, though, and it’s generally pretty comfortable, but the odd pothole can send a bit of a thud through the cabin so it’s not quite as refined as you might hope.
One cool feature is the 'auto' brake regeneration setting. This uses sensors to judge your distance to the car in front, applying more braking as you get closer to the car ahead to bring you to a steady stop. It's also useful on the motorway, where it's more efficient to coast when you lift off, something the car will do automatically in this setting.
On the motorway
The suspension smooths out much more at higher speeds, and coupled with the comfy armchair-like seats, makes for a relaxing place to spend hours behind the wheel. The only complaint is that the big alloy wheels send quite a bit of tyre roar through the cabin, but it’s not enough to be annoying. In fact you’re so well-cocooned from wind buffeting outside that it feels like you’re going slower than you really are.
With so much power, the all-wheel drive version picks up and shifts the EV9’s considerable heft without so much as a hint of hesitation. It’s deeply impressive and wholly unnecessary, but great fun regardless. Accelerating up to speed on a slip road or pulling off a swift overtake takes little thought.
On a twisty road
Much like you’re always aware that the Kia EV9 is a big old beast in town, it also remains at the front of your mind out in the countryside. On narrow roads, with trucks bearing down on you, it can be a touch unnerving, particularly if you still have the lane-keeping assistance on, as it’s constantly nudging the wheel to keep you out of the verge. You will want to turn this off, though it’s an annoying few button presses that’s not easy on the move.
But when the road opens up and you get to enjoy a few corners, the EV9 actually defies its size and weight to become pretty good fun. Sure, the steering is as numb as we’ve come to expect from electric SUVs, but there’s decent grip and big power to put a smile on your face.
On particularly undulating country roads the soft suspension can make the car wobble from side to side though, so your passengers might be reaching for the sick bags if you’re being too enthusiastic…
The EV9 is a big SUV with plenty of cubby holes, but some of the storage that’s close to hand could be bigger
A long run of touchscreen that is actually a trio of displays dominates the cabin, and given the size of the EV9 it’s no surprise to find that there’s plenty of space for both people and stuff across the interior.
The driving position is good as you sit high and have a great view of the road ahead, but if you have long legs you might find yourself wishing the wheel could come a bit closer.
The centre stowage area features a pair of good-sized cupholders that swivel away when not needed to create a larger stowage spot, and there’s a huge bin at floor level between the front seats. The glove box is also a very good size, although the door bins aren’t quite so handy but will take a big bottle. Plus they’re not lined so anything small in there will noisily rattle around when on the move. The under-armrest storage is also fairly shallow.
Once you’ve got comfortable in the big front seats, which isn’t a tricky task, you’ll spot a pair of USB-C chargers and a 12V socket in the front. The seats are powered across all specification levels, although the steering column is manually adjusted on the entry-level Air trim, above which point you also find memory front seats as standard.
Space in the back seats
The middle-row experience is very different depending on whether you go for the six-seat or more popular seven-seat layout.
If you go with the six-seater – only offered on the GT-Line S top-spec car for about £1,000 more than the seven-seater – you are slightly limiting your people-carrying options, but there are some upsides. Not only can you walk between the middle two seats to get into the back row, rather than climbing through, but you also get clever swivel seats that rotate.
That means you can swing them 90 degrees for easy baby seat loading access, and swivel them 180 degrees for a conference-style arrangement of four people looking at each other in the back. But there’s not a great amount of knee room when you do that, and it is a bit of a faff creating enough of a gap to the front seats to actually swing them round. Basically, it’s no Mercedes V-Class when it comes to premium luxury transport, but it’s still a neat party trick.
Go for the seven-seater, and you get, obviously, an extra seat. The rear bench is split 60:40 and slides on rails to give you the choice of how much legroom to offer second and third row passengers, and flicks down easily at the touch of a button to let people into the third row. The central middle passenger gets the least-good spot in the house; the seat is slightly harder, narrower and raised a little compared with those either side, though at least the flat floor means there’s no problem finding space for three pairs of feet back there. The outer passengers will easily get their feet under the front seats, so it’s a pretty comfortable place to be. When there’s no-one in the middle seat, the armrest is on a ratchet so you can choose what height to position it, and it has a pair of cupholders.
Both the front seats have USB-C charging points in the back of them for middle-row passengers, but the rear door bins are small so it's useful you have access to two cup holders between the front seats. Top-spec models get a glass roof that makes the rear feel light and airy, but it's a shame this isn't at least an option on the lower trim.
Kia hasn’t forgotten third-row passengers, where there are another two USB-C chargers and a cupholder each, although it does feel more spacious in the third row of the six-seater versus the seven, thanks to the gap between the seats in front. That said, you can fit three six-footers one behind the other in both versions fairly comfortably.
Access to both rows is aided by the huge and wide-opening rear doors, which also helps make it easier to fit a child seat (even if you have the seven-seater and can't spin the second row seats). What's more, you also have ISOFIX mounting points in the third row for extra child seat carrying ability.
The Kia EV9 has 333 litres of space even with all three rows of seats in place, which is a touch more than the Volvo EX90, although Tesla’s Model X is bigger at 425 litres.
Fold the third row of seats and you get a massive 828 litres of space, so even if you don’t need the extra seats the EV9 is tempting for the sheer practicality it offers. That’s way more than the 650 litres you get in the EX90, while the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX offer 569 litres and 500 litres respectively. The Tesla is bigger again, though, at 987 litres.
It's handy that the parcel shelf can be stashed under the boot floor when you’ve got all seven seats in place, but it’s a shame there’s not really anywhere in the back for storing the charging cables. They need to go into the front luggage area under the bonnet if you don't want them in with your luggage. This is 90 litres in Air models and 50 litres in GT-Line versions but, you guessed, the Model X wins again with its massive 180-litre front boot.
The middle row of seats can be folded with the press of a button in the boot, and it’s a huge area when everything’s down. There’s also a three-pin socket in the boot that allows for charging or powering external devices when you’re parked.
There are some nice touches in terms of both look and feel of the cabin, but the quality is a bit of a mixed bag, considering the price
The cabin looks good at first glance, with the big displays stretching across the interior space made up of 12.3-inch screens for the instrument displays and infotainment, separated by a 5.3-inch display for the climate settings.
The whole climate control screen design is rather baffling though, because the display is relegated to a screen that’s hidden by the steering wheel. But then you also get chunky physical buttons to change the temperature, so it’s like Kia committed to neither layout and ended up with a messy solution.
This aside, the larger screens are clear and easy to use, and you get a nice haptic click feeling to let you know you’ve hit the icon you were aiming for – handy when you don’t want to take your eyes off the road to hit a button.
Quality is a little bit of a mixed bag; the roof lining is soft and plush and the top and middle of the dash are soft to the touch, but the Kia EV9 doesn’t have a premium feel across the whole cabin. There are cheaper feeling plastics lower in the cabin that mean the BMW iX is more upmarket inside.
All models get some welcome standard equipment including heated and ventilated seats in the front and the outer middle row, along with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity you probably expect these days.
Rear privacy glass, dual-zone air conditioning and second-row window blinds are all fitted as standard to every EV9, while stepping up to the mid-spec GT-Line adds seats that go into full reclining ‘cat-nap’ mode; handy for when you’re waiting for the car to finish charging mid-journey.
There are two motor options available with the Kia EV9, both of which come with a huge 99.8kWh battery. Also worthy of note is that every car comes with a heat pump fitted as standard, a feature which improves EV efficiency.
The first option is a 203hp single-motor model that powers the rear wheels. It’s the least powerful of the two by some way, but the result is that it has the longest range at 349 miles with efficiency of 3.1miles/kWh. If you want more oomph you will want the dual-motor all-wheel drive model, which has a headier 378hp yet still respectable 313 miles of range.
That might be tricky to achieve, though, as we saw just 2.3mi/kWh during our test. That’s some way off the official 2.7mi/kWh figure, and would result in a range of around 230 miles, though 250 miles should be reasonably achievable in warmer conditions.
Alternatives will do similar mileage from their big battery versions, with the Volvo EX90 and BMW iX promising around 370 miles and the Audi Q8 e-tron seeing 333 miles in official tests.
Whichever you go for you get Kia’s super-fast charging speeds of up to 210kW, which means you can top up from 10-80% in about 24 minutes. Just enough time to stretch your legs and grab a coffee and pastry while you wait.
The Kia EV9 got the full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, scoring over 80% on all but the vulnerable road users section.
Safety kit is pretty good, as you would expect for an expensive, upmarket electric SUV. Standard equipment includes a 360-degree camera to make squeezing into tight spots easier, adaptive cruise control with lane-centring tech, front and rear parking sensors and an automatic parking system. Top-spec models also get a head-up display to help keep your eyes on the road.
Kia has a great reputation for reliability so despite the fact this is a new model, you shouldn’t have to worry about things going wrong. It shares some mechanical bits with the smaller EV6, which appears to be a reliable thing, which should offer further reassurance.
What’s more, you benefit from one of the best warranties in the business at seven years/100,000 miles, whichever comes first – and this covers the battery if it drops below 70% capacity in that time. It’s only beaten by Lexus’s 10-year offering and helps make any Kia a tempting used by, as the warranty transfers between owners.
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