• Kia plans to introduce conditional Level-3 Autonomy via Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) in GT-line (not confirmed yet for New Zealand)
  • All-electric WLTP target range over 541 km on a single charge; 239 km range with 15 minutes ultra-fast 800-volt charging time
  • Kia Connect Store enables customers to update features of their EV9 Over-the-Air (OTA), anytime, anywhere

DriveLife was invited to the global launch of the EV9, Kia’s first three-row seat electric flagship SUV that they say brings fresh thinking, design, and technology to the sector and spearheads the brand’s rapid transformation to a sustainable mobility solutions provider in the era of electrification.

The model launched showed some ‘firsts’ in the EV9, such as their first 7-seat EV SUV, and the first model to offer Level 3 driving autonomy. The launch of the EV9 means Kia are on track for 15 models in their EV line-up by 2027.

The launch included phrases such as, “it will allow you to rediscover inspirational driving”. Some big words, and we’re hoping the EV9 will deliver on that promise.

Based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that we first saw in the EV6, the EV9 has an all-electric range over 541 km, according to the World Harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP). Ultra-fast 800-volt charging capability enables the EV9 battery pack to be replenished with sufficient charge to power the vehicle for 239 km in approximately 15 minutes, says Kia.

Numerous technological breakthroughs include the Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system, available in the Kia EV9 GT-line in the future, enabling conditional Level 3 autonomous driving in selected markets – although it is not known yet if this includes New Zealand.

It also introduces the Kia Connect Store, which enables customers to purchase digital features and services on demand, giving them the flexibility to choose the features they want and continuously upgrade the capability of the EV9 with Over the Air (OTA) updates at any time.

Ho Sung Song, President and CEO, said: “The Kia EV9 transcends all aspects of traditional SUV thinking and represents the pinnacle of Kia’s design and engineering capabilities. Created to meet the needs of all family members, the EV9 also spearheads Kia’s rapid transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider, not just by its advanced EV architecture, but also through the numerous recycled and sustainable materials used in its creation.”

The Kia EV9 will go on sale in selected global markets from the second half of the year.

2023 Kia EV9 – Design: “reshaping the SUV user experience for millennial families”

Guided by the brand’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy, Kia claims the EV9 re-envisions the all-electric SUV with a unique balance of natural and modern elements. The ‘Bold for Nature’ design pillar, which inspires the combination of elements from the natural and material worlds, has played a pivotal role in forming the design of the EV9.

The vehicle features a 3,100-mm wheelbase, supported by a choice of 21-inch, 20-inch or 19-inch wheels. With an overall length of 5,010 mm, it stands at 1,980-mm wide and 1,755-mm tall. It is certainly bold, with sharp, crisp lines and a vertical front face.

The SUV’s signature ‘Digital Tiger Face’ showcases its unique identity, which is accentuated by the ‘Digital Pattern Lighting Grille’ and vertical headlamps, giving the EV9 a futuristic look. The Digital Tiger Face also features two clusters of small cube lamps adjacent to each headlamp. The EV9’s ‘Star Map’ LED daytime running lights (DRL) create an animated lighting pattern that will signify Kia’s Digital Tiger Face for future EV models, while providing a new illumination experience, they say.

Beyond its exterior, the EV9 also delivers on performance with an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.28. This has been achieved through the implementation of several advanced features. These include Kia’s first-ever 3D-sculpted underbody cover, which features a convex shape at the front and a concave shape at the rear, along with aerodynamic wheels, and air curtains integrated into the front bumper.

The Kia EV9 offers seven-seater and six-seater configurations and a variety of second-row seat options, totaling to four, suitable for different situations such as moving, charging, and resting. The first-row features relaxation seats that ensure a comfortable resting posture. The second row, for the first time among global EV models, offers four seating options, including 3-seater bench seats, basic-type, relaxation-type, and swivel-type two-seater independent seats, providing customers with a variety of usage methods to choose from.

When equipped with the second-row relaxation seats, the EV9 allows first and second-row occupants to recline together while the SUV is charging. With the swivel seat option, the second-row seats swivel 180 degrees to enable conversations with those seated in the third row. Occupants in the third row are provided with charging points and cup holders.

2023 Kia EV9 – Sustainability: setting new standards for responsible mobility

Kia’s strategic commitment to become a leader in sustainable mobility, and its declared roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, extend beyond the provision of zero-emission EV drivetrains.

The Kia EV9 is the first model to embrace the brand’s three-step Design Sustainability Strategy, initiated to phase out the use of leather, apply ten ‘must-have’ sustainable items to all new Kia models and continuously increase the use of bio-based materials such as corn, sugar cane, and natural oils. Every EV9 includes materials based on 70 recycled PET plastic bottles as well as recycled fishing nets in the floor.

Kia’s target is to increase the proportion of recycled plastics it uses to 20 per cent by 2030.

2023 Kia EV9 – Electric drivetrain: full range of multiple zero-emission mobility solutions

The EV9 features a choice of electric powertrain configurations based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and utilising Kia’s fourth-generation battery technology. A 76.1-kWh battery is offered exclusively with the Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Standard model, while a 99.8-kWh battery is fitted in both the RWD Long Range and All Wheel Drive (AWD) variants.

The RWD Long Range model utilizes a 150 kW / 350 Nm electric motor, enabling the SUV to accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in 9.4 seconds. Also powered by a single electric motor, albeit a more powerful 160 kW / 350 Nm variant, the Standard RWD EV9 can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds.

The AWD variant is equipped with two electric motors that together have a total power output of 283 kW and a combined torque of 600 Nm. This combination enables the SUV to surge from 0-to-100 km/h in just 6.0 seconds. Greater levels of performance are available with an optional Boost feature, available for later purchase at the Kia Connect Store. The combined torque is increased to 700 Nm, enabling the EV9 to accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds.

The EV9 comes with Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality through its Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU), enabling the discharging of energy from the vehicle battery. Families can use up to 3.68kW of power for laptops or camping equipment.

The EV9 is rated to tow 2,500Kg.

2023 Kia EV9 – Highway Driving Pilot: unlocking conditional Level 3 autonomy

Kia claims the EV9 will take a significant step towards full autonomy. Key to achieving this is Kia’s Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system, which will provide the EV9 with conditional Level 3 autonomous driving. Fifteen sensors, including two lidars, enable it to scan for and detect objects in a full 360-degree field of view, enabling it to detect and react to the road and other users to prevent potential collisions.

By providing intelligent, proactive, real-time assistance across a wide range of conditions, Kia’s Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) system will meet the criteria required to deliver Level 3 autonomy in certain areas of the world. The car will be capable of conditional driving automation where conditions permit, enabling the driver to temporarily take a break from controlling the vehicle.

Kia is planning to offer the HDP in the EV9 GT-line model in the future. Further details on the HDP will be disclosed nearer its market availability.

2023 Kia EV9 – Kia Connect Store: update your EV9 anytime anywhere

Kia’s fresh thinking as to what a family SUV should be extends to how customers can select the equipment specification of their EV9. Beyond the standard features of the EV9, the Kia Connect Store offers a wide array of options. This enables customers to keep their EV9 constantly updated by upgrading the SUV’s digital features and services without any need to take the vehicle to a dealership. The EV9’s ‘Digital Pattern Lighting Grille’ technology can be further enhanced with the addition of the ‘Lighting Pattern’ feature. Customers can also specify additional performance for the AWD EV9 with an optional Boost feature unlocks an extra 100 Nm of torque for the electric motor for a more thrilling and dynamic driving experience.

Kia’s Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 (RSPA 2) is also offered as a digital feature, as is content streaming for occupants to enjoy through the vehicle’s Audio Visual, Navigation and Telematics (AVNT) system.

During the launch, it was clarified that purchasing upgrades from the Kia Connect Store is either by a one-off cost or by subscription.

2023 Kia EV9 – Kia’s global campaign for the EV9: ‘Here to reshape the way we move’

Kia says is set to embark on a series of global campaign activities, encapsulated in the statement ‘Here to reshape the way we move’. This statement speaks to the company’s commitment to innovation and its vision for a future that is more sustainable, efficient, and convenient.

The EV9 is set to make its inaugural physical debut at the Seoul Mobility Show 2023 later this month. It will then be showcased at this year’s New York International Auto Show in early April.  The car is built in Korea, however global production plans will be announced at a later date.

Needless to say, the EV9 is Kia’s flagship model, and we look forward to reviewing the car later this year. Pricing is TBA.

Previous article2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Plus | Electric Car Review
Next article2022 Opel Corsa SRi | Car Review
Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.