It appears even huge, all-electric SUVs require testing at the Nurburgring, because that’s precisely where we’ve spotted Kia’s all-new EV9. We first saw the car in concept form at last year’s LA Motor Show and it looks like the production version will take plenty of design cues from that car.
The EV9 will act as a family-friendly flagship within Kia’s EV range and we expect it will hit UK markets in late 2023. There’s significantly less camouflage on this test car suggesting it is near to production-ready – a full reveal could happen as early as this year.
The Concept EV9’s boxy proportions – more inline with the funky Kia Soul EV than the curvy Kia EV6 – are likely to be carried over to the finished model. Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ design cues can clearly be seen and you can expect the grille to be completely filled-in due to the EV powertrain not needing a traditional radiator. There’s also a smaller grille underneath with thin vertical LED headlight strips to either side.
The side profile shows the EV9 is fairly toned-down in terms of the angular creases and boxiness seen in the concept. These changes will no doubt have been affected by the prioritisation of aerodynamics to maximise range. Even still, there are large wheel haunches and angular wing mirrors (not rear-facing cameras like on the concept) which should help the EV9 stand out in a sea of large SUVs.
Towards the rear we expect the concept’s upward flick of the windowline to the rear pillar to remain, as will the show car’s rear lights and roof spoiler. What you don’t get are the Concept EV9’s ‘triangular aero design’ 22-inch wheels. They’ve been swapped for a smaller set of rims.
We’ve not seen inside the EV9 yet, although we expect plenty more inspiration from the concept car. A 27-inch widescreen display would be one of the largest screens fitted to a production car (still smaller than the 31-inch unit in the new BMW 7 Series, however), and it’ll sit high up on the dash. We also expect a fairly minimalist cabin design, with few physical buttons but don’t think the concept’s one-spoke, oval steering wheel will come to market.
In the Concept EV9 the cabin can actually change its layout depending on which of its three settings is selected. There’s ‘Active Mode’ for a traditional driver-focused set-up, while ‘Pause Mode’ rotates the front and third-row seats around, turning the second row into a table to mimic a “first-class lounge”. ‘Enjoy Mode’ sees all three rows of seats face the tailgate, which opens to give occupants “the opportunity to connect with the outside environment”. While the EV9 will probably stop short of rotating the seats, we think there’ll be a selection of modes to alter the cabin’s feel.
At 4,930mm long, 2,055mm wide and 1,790mm tall, the Concept EV9 is larger than the Sorento SUV, the firm’s range-topping model in the UK and 1cm shorter than the North American-market Telluride. We don’t expect the EV9 will deviate too much in size from its concept. Unsurprisingly, it will sit above the EV6 in Kia’s electric SUV range, offering three-row seating to rival the likes of the Mercedes EQB and upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7.
Just like the Ioniq 7 that’s due in 2023, the EV9 will be based on the modular E-GMP platform. This means we could see the EV6’s 77.4kWh battery being made available for the EV9.
The EV6 has a maximum range of 328 miles, so expect a bit less in the EV9 due to its extra size and weight if this pack is carried over. Of course, Kia could enlarge the battery for this bigger, heavier and less aerodynamic model, with the larger wheelbase providing scope for this in future as well.
Just like the EV6, the EV9 should also offer single and dual-motor options, while its 800V electrical architecture will allow super fast charging speeds of up to 350kW.
The Concept EV9 is a core part of Kia’s plan to become a “Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider”. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the firm’s value chain by 2045 – through logistics, vehicle production, vehicle use and disposal.
Now read about Kia’s plans to launch seven new EVs by 2027…