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First look at the Kia EV9: one of the most important electric SUVs of 2023 ft

After ushering in a new generation of electrification with the EV6, this week at the New York Auto Show we got a chance to check out Kia’s next flagship electric SUV in the Kia EV9. And while we haven’t been allowed to drive it yet, after a closer look, it could be one of the biggest EVs of the year.

Like the EV6 and recent Hyundai EVs including the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, the EV9 is based on the E-GMP platform supporting 800 volt architecture and charging up to 350 kW which Kia says , you can recharge the battery from 10 to 80 percent. in 25 minutes Range-wise, the EV9 will be available in a few different configurations, starting with the base model that features a single motor paired with a 76.1 kWh battery, while the long-range version will come with a package of larger energy than 99.8 kWh. And while Kia hasn’t gotten official EPA numbers yet, expect the long-range model to deliver around 300 miles on a charge, with the standard range spec coming in at a bit less (probably around 260 miles or so). ).

Unfortunately, both models won’t be especially fast, with an expected 0-60 time of around 8.2 seconds for the base model, which actually drops to 9.4 seconds for the long-range model due to its longer battery life. big and heavy. Fortunately, if you want something a little quicker, there’s also the GT lineup that has the same long-range battery but with a more powerful dual-motor AWD setup, promising a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds. Though if that’s not enough, Kia president Ho-Sung Song has said there will also be a full GT version of the EV9, though it won’t be available until sometime in 2025.

Meanwhile, when it comes to design, while the EV9 features Telluride-like proportions, at 197 inches, it’s slightly longer than Kia’s gas-powered SUV. But the real difference is its styling, which is bold and modern, with a blocky silhouette softened by enough curves and sweeping body lines to keep it from looking too sci-fi, like Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 7.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Up front, Kia offers what it calls its digital tiger nose grille, which features hidden lights that can even be customized with a selection of animations. On top of that, because the EV9 will be the first Kia car to support over-the-air updates, you’ll be able to download new software including things like additional lighting patterns after launch. The car also has 15 exterior sensors, including two LiDAR arrays in the front that use object detection to help the driver spot potential obstacles.

You also get flush door handles for a sleeker look and improved aerodynamics. And while your taste may differ, I also want to mention the EV9’s wheels. The base model features stock triangular wheels with a bit of aerodynamic aerodynamics, while the GT line has 21-inch alloy wheels with a fancy crosshair design that reminds me of a D-pad on a gaming controller and looks like a direct nod towards attracting younger buyers.

And in a way, that’s a theme for the EV9 as a whole, because like the latest Tesla models, Kia is jumping on the chrome removal trend by using a very limited amount of shiny metal and completely removing the use of high gloss. finishes (such as piano black) throughout the interior of the vehicle.

Instead of a traditional front fascia, on the EV9, Kia installed what it calls its digital tiger nose grille that features customizable lighting.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Inside, the EV9’s design focuses on the idea of ​​”reductionism” and “tech for life,” which can be seen in things like hidden haptic switches in the dash that are only visible when the car is on, and a smart two-tier center console. offering plenty of storage space for passengers in both the front and second-row seats. Kia even included little design touches like mesh headrests in the front, which are meant to give parents an easier way to control kids in the rear. The downside is that due to US safety regulations, the EV9’s optional second-row swivel seats will only be available in Korea.

The real star for families, though, is that third row of seats. Even for me at six feet tall, I had no problem getting in the back. Sure, it’s a bit cramped, and if the second row of seats is pushed all the way back, there’s not much room for my legs. But if you don’t mind pushing the seats up a few inches, that third row has more than enough room to accommodate adults on short trips.

Gallery: Kia EV9 hands-on photos | 8 Photos

Gallery: Kia EV9 hands-on photos | 8 Photos

Finally, when it comes to technology, the EV9 should be pretty well equipped. The car will come with a digital car key that works with NFC and UWB connectivity. There’s also a full-color driver’s head-up display integrated into the dash along with an optional rear-view camera system instead of a traditional mirror. I also appreciate the EV9’s rather minimalist infotainment system that splits its long, thin screen into two sections: one that stretches behind the wheel for the driver, while the other half is reserved for general things like music, navigation, and more. . I also think Kia has struck a good balance between on-screen touch controls and dedicated physical buttons for things like heating and air conditioning. And like any good car these days, the EV9 has a built-in wireless charger and plenty of USB-C ports (two for each row of seats), plus a home-style power outlet in the trunk.

So after taking a close look at the EV9, I think it looks great, it’s surprisingly roomy for a midsize SUV, and its tech looks solid too. But more importantly, I think Kia may have succeeded in trying to make an affordable three-row all-purpose electric SUV. That’s because while Kia is still waiting to announce official pricing, we expect the EV to cost around $56,000, making it a rarity in today’s EV market.

At the rear, the EV9 features a minimalist design highlighted by its three-arm LED taillamps.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The potential price of the EV9 presents a deep discount compared to almost every other three-row EV SUV on the market, such as the Tesla Model X, Volvo EX90 and the Mercedes EQS SUV, the cheapest of which start at around $ 80K. And when you look at the EV9 alongside similarly priced rivals like the Model Y or the EQB, while those cars have optional third rows, they’re even more cramped and unfit for anyone but kids or pets. And then there are others like the BMW iX, Cadillac Lyriq, the Polestar 3 we looked at last week, that are either significantly more expensive or don’t even have three rows of seats (or both).

So while a lot will depend on the EV9’s final price, for people looking for a large but still relatively affordable electric family car, Kia’s new flagship EV SUV looks like a great contender when it finally goes on sale later this year.



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