Driving report: Kia EV9 GT: Called to higher things

Nobody at Kia wants to say it - also because the chic Hyundai subsidiary still has the luxury Genesis in-house.

Driving report: Kia EV9 GT: Called to higher things

Nobody at Kia wants to say it - also because the chic Hyundai subsidiary still has the luxury Genesis in-house. But you don't have to have driven the Kia EV9 for long to feel that it is knocking loudly on the garage doors to the premium league. Its styling is robust, angular, self-confident and also a bit playful - this should not only be popular in Asia and the USA, but especially in Europe. The Kia EV9 is on the Electric Global Modular Platform, which is also home to sister models such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and the Genesis GV70. The EV9 fits into the times across continents because it is elegant and chic without drifting too hard into the luxury league and with a length of five meters it does not squeeze into the new luxury league above the 5.20 meter class and has enough distance from the confusing ones Melange of the 4.70 meter SUV with and without electric drive.

Without question, exactly the right vehicle at the right time with an eye-catching but not intrusive design from chief designer Karim Habib, who gave Kia the long-overdue new touch. Even if the 5.01 meter long Kia EV9 is not in the luxury league of SUVs - it can be very luxurious. The best choice is the elegant six-seater all-wheel drive at prices starting at 83,370 euros with comfortable individual chairs in the first and second row. These are not only electrically adjustable, can be heated or cooled at the front and rear, but can also be rotated in the rear. Particularly practical if you want to place small children in the seat or if older people can get in and out of the seat much more easily. Depending on equipment, first and second row occupants can also recline their seats to a slight reclining position to relax and rest - for example, while the Kia EV9 is charging. Just like in the front or rear, the third row seats offer cup holders and charging ports for mobile devices are everywhere you look. Depending on the seating configuration, the loading space is between 333 and almost 2,400 liters. The seats in the second and third rows can be folded forward electrically using a button in the cargo area.

Inside there are two 12.3-inch displays connected by a small five-inch screen that displays information about the climate control. Somewhat surprisingly, the electric brother of the Kia Telluride does not have a display for the front passenger. Kia is sticking to its system of adding haptic buttons to the touch screens. In addition to changing sensor surfaces below the navigation screen, there are direct buttons for temperature, ventilation, hazard lights and driving mode. Additional switches on the spacious center armrest control functions such as hill descent or parking assistance. The optional digital exterior mirrors with their large interior displays in the doors are extremely unnecessary. This looks anything but consistent and the added value is manageable, especially when driving at night and in bad weather. So just stick with the normal exterior mirrors.

There are two versions of the drive available at the market launch and the decision was made in advance given the dimensions and the generous weight, because 150 kW / 204 HP and rear-wheel drive are clearly not enough in this Laga. Until a real sports version arrives at the beginning of 2025, the electric all-wheel drive with 283 kW / 385 hp and 600 Nm maximum torque is exactly the right choice, because with the appropriate motor, the all-wheel drive, which weighs over 2.6 tons, travels very well. From a standstill it goes to 100 km/h in 6.0 seconds and at 200 km/h it doesn't slow down too early. With the optional boost option, up to 700 Nm and a faster sprint are available - hardly any customer needs this gimmick. Also because the overall package of the Kia EV9 AWD is anything but sporty. The chassis is comfortable and the South Korean colossus cannot overplay its weight in fast corners despite its impressive performance. A technically complex roll compensation would provide a pleasant remedy here - perhaps this will be the case with the top model, which probably has over 550 hp. The steering is light and precise - a little more feedback would be appreciated by more than just sporty drivers, especially at higher speeds.

In contrast to its later smaller brother, the Kia EV5, the EV9 is equipped with an 800-volt electrical system that allows the battery to be recharged up to around 240 kilowatts. A real advantage over many competitors. In less than 20 minutes, the 99.8 kWh battery pack in the underbody reaches up to 80 percent of its performance. You can travel up to 500 kilometers on one battery charge. Practical for camping and the like: the Kia EV9 has bidirectional charging capability that offers up to 3.6 kW charging power and can therefore supply various external electrical devices with power. The price of at least 83,370 euros for the six-seater is no bargain; But the standard equipment leaves little to be desired with air-conditioned leather seats, electric seat adjustment and numerous comfort details - almost only the optional panoramic roof remains. This is also a reason why the international competition can warm up to the Kia EV9, because equipped with this it even scratches models like a BMW iX, Mercedes EQE SUV and others. Not entirely unimportant: there is also a seven-year guarantee.