– Kia took a big step forward on its electrification path when it unveiled the 2024 EV9 at the New York International Auto Show last week, marking the vehicle’s North American debut.
Arriving in Canada near the end of the year, the three-row, fully electric EV9 SUV ushers in a host of technologies and breaks new ground for the company on several fronts including design, interfacing, material usage, and safety.
On the design front, the EV9 is the first Kia to express the company’s “Opposites United” design language, which, “masters the creative tension generated by the divergent values of nature and modernity to create a harmonious whole,” according to a statement.
Key highlights include the reimagined Tiger Nose which, on the EV9, is referred to as the Tiger Face, and incorporates slim LED headlights and available smaller Star Map LEDs that form an animated Digital Pattern Lighting Grille that can be customized. For more on the EV9 design go here
The EV9 sports a boxy and triangular shape with a large greenhouse, and a long, flat roof that highlights the car’s blocky visuals. In terms of size, it is the biggest Kia SUV, with a footprint that is slightly longer than that of the Telluride
. The EV9 is 5,010 mm long, 1,980 mm wide, 1,755 mm tall, and rides on a 3,100 mm wheelbase.
On the utility front, the EV9 has 521 litres of cargo volume behind the third row and 2,320 litres with second and third-row seats folded down. Maximum towing is rated at 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), with 7.8 inches (198 mm) of ground clearance.
As for the powertrain, the EV9 is built on the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP (electric global modular platform) architecture and will utilize fourth-generation battery tech. Canadian models will be powered by a 99.8 kWh battery, with either single or dual electric motors.
Projected range for the single motor has been pegged at 480 km, but Kia has yet to reveal a number for the dual motor. Power output for the latter is rated at 379 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. Single motor output figures are pending. Dual motor models will also feature torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.
In terms of charging, the EV9 uses an 800-volt charging infrastructure and can support a maximum speed of 230 kW on a DC fast charger. Kia projects a 10 – 80 percent state of charge will take less than 25 minutes with a fast charger capable of that output. An 11 kW onboard charger aids with level 2 charging.
For the passenger experience, Kia is creating a “modern sanctuary” in the EV9 cabin, with new approaches for the Human Machine Interface (HMI), which refers to the way passengers interact with a car’s systems, such as multimedia, and CMF (colour, materials, and finish), which covers trim materials and their sourcing.
For HMI, the EV9 uses haptic switches located in the dash panel for some multimedia functions that remain hidden until lit and are only visible when the car is turned on. Some physical buttons remain for climate controls, which are neatly located below air vents in the centre dash.
With respect to CMF, the EV9 uses sustainable materials such as non-leather (polyurethane) seating surfaces, some BTX-free (benzene, toluene, and xylene isomers) trim panels and some carpeting that is made from partially recycled materials such as plastic bottles.
The EV9 also pushes the ball forward on the tech front, with items like dual-display digital cockpit screens, multiple cameras for a 360-degree view, Digital Key, and, in a first for Kia, vehicle system updates that will be pushed out over-the-air, similar to smartphones. Kia mentioned the latter as a “strategic move towards software-defined vehicles,” in a statement, so the feature appears to be a sign of things to come for the brand.
Another noteworthy interior feature involves seating where every EV9 seat is considered “executive class”. First and second-row seats have an available Relaxation Mode, which includes power-operated leg rests. Second row seats are also 8-way power adjustable, heated and cooled, and can be rotated to face the third row. Six and seven-passenger configurations will be available at launch.
Kia is also raising the bar on the safety front with the EV9. In addition to a long list of active and passive safety gear found on many new cars, the EV9 will be the first Kia in North America to receive Advanced Highway Driving Assist (AHDA) and Lane Following Assist 2 (LFA-2). AHDA uses lidar-based technology, while LFA-2 helps keep the vehicle centred in its lane.
Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA-2) comes standard, and it helps to maintain a set distance from the car in front, along with keeping it within lane markers on highways and assist with lane changes when specific conditions are met.
Kia Canada didn’t release pricing or specific trim details in New York, but expect those to be rolled out closer to launch.