Kia’s new flagship will launch with a 336-mile range, a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds and optional Boost mode – but there’s more to come.
The hot new Kia EV9 GT variant of the company’s flagship SUV is “just around the corner”, with the company saying it will focus on how performance will be the main focus of its future range.
The large SUV will be launched later this year with an air optionan all-wheel drive training with 200bhp and 258lb ft of torque that goes from 0 to 62mph in 9.4 seconds; and the twin engine version delivering 378bhp and 442lb ft along with a quick 6.0 second 0-100 km/h time.
When the ‘daring’ GT-Line is complete, marked by distinctive bumpers, wheels and roof rails, as well as dynamic LED patterns on the front ‘grill’ panel, it will form part of the launch range, a full GT version to follow later. Although exact details are yet to be confirmed, it is expected to surpass the Kia EV6 GT in horsepower and receive various chassis changes.
The EV9 will be the second in Kia’s lineup of mainstream electric vehicles and will be followed by a series of vehicles including the recently launched. Kia’s new electric SUV EV5. At its first European Business Summit, Kia confirmed that it will launch 15 EVs worldwide by 2027 – and plans a 28.5% growth in EV sales in Europe over the next seven years.
Kia outlined ‘four key product attributes’ that it will focus on in future models to ‘lead the mobility market of the future and develop sustainable products’. In addition to performance, it includes design, connectivity services and autonomous technology. The EV9 is the first Kia to receive over-the-air software updates, features advanced driver assistance systems and has 34kg of environmentally friendly materials.
Kia previously revealed the technical details and specifications of the EV9. Measuring 5,010 mm long and with a 3,100 mm wheelbase (longer than the US-market Kia Telluride), the company’s new flagship will come as standard in the UK with a 99.8 kWh, 800 V battery, with a range of up to 336 miles of cost and the ability to get a distance of 148 miles in just 15 minutes.
The downloadable Boost function, available for installation after purchase, will increase torque to 516 lb ft and reduce acceleration by 0.7sec. An entry-level car with a 76.1kWh battery will be offered in other markets.
The EV9 will also be available at launch in select markets with a new ‘highway test drive’ system that uses 15 sensors (including two Lidar devices) to provide a third level of autonomous driving “where conditions permit”.
Arriving to enter the flex segment with the Let’s Go EV6 on sale from late 2023, the EV9 heralds the start of a new era of bold design for Kia as it moves forward with its ‘Plan S’ to launch 13 more Special EVs by 2027.
Its role is very important in this regard, according to Kia Chief Brand Officer Artur Martens, who said the EV9 “will help us continue to reshape the consumer image of our brand” – a plan supported by numerous safety measures. evolution and expansion of the dealer. in a new section.
The three-row EV will be Kia’s most expensive model yet, as well as one of its largest. Full pricing details will come closer to the Q3 2023 release, but a list price in the mid-£80,000s is feasible, with base variants pushing prices closer to the £60,000 mark.
It is the first all-new Kia designed under the direction of former BMW stylist Karim Habib, who explained that all future models will definitely be visually integrated, without the brand going for a ‘Russian doll’ approach to its range.
As far as its looks and direct design cues go, the EV9 special edition stays true to the aggressive concept Kia showed in Los Angeles in 2021, but it’s closer to the ground — courtesy of a thicker battery and 21-inch wheels. place. of the concept 23s (19-inch and 20-inch versions will be available) – and softened some of the sharp edges of the show car. Kia calls its design approach for this new EV family ‘opposites unite’ and says the EV9 embodies it with “a unique combination of sleek, sculptural design and confident, assertive geometry.”
But in the end, the EV9 is more recognizable as a dedicated SUV than the stylish, understated EV6. “This is an SUV and we wanted the typology to be very clear,” explained Habib, pointing to the black cloth (available in gloss or matte) and the clearly defined two-box sedan, highlighting some of the unusual features that make the head nod. based on the electric EV9.
“It’s very upright and has what we think is a real SUV typology,” he said, and when asked by Autocar why the designers weren’t tempted to go for an unusual silhouette, he added: “real SUVs, honest and square. When you look at a Land Rover Defender today – old or new – you know there’s still something good about it.”
He also suggested that he was inspired by the fact that traditional rugged 4x4s only used curved body panels instead of stamped ones, which affected the EV9’s straight and minimalistic profile.
Some of the car’s distinguishing features that will influence future models include the trapezoidal slits at the rear, its seemingly stretched exhaust (enabled by the lack of an engine), the curved rear window line, a selection of new wheel designs, and – most notably – its ‘star map’ LED light signatures front and rear.
The latest version of Kia’s tiger-faced ‘grille’ also makes an appearance here, though without any need for engine cooling, it now takes the form of a very wide dashboard that can be adorned with customizable LED lighting systems. shining from behind – as it were by concept.
The headlights and brake lights also play an important role in the design, being oriented vertically and positioned at the corners of the bodywork to make the EV9 appear as wide as possible.
Habib gave an insight into how Kia will look to create future mass-market models with the same distinctive features while maintaining popular appeal: “We want to take risks, and that’s the challenge we have, obviously, to design things that should sell millions of dollars. .
“We want our products to feel, even for us in the process, at first a little unfamiliar, uncomfortable. And as we go through this, we believe we feel better and better, and more and more improved or inspired by these products, and we want that journey to be what the customers ours feel it too.
But Kia also wants to highlight the pioneering interior of the EV9, which breaks new ground for the brand by introducing a wealth of modern technology, an array of durable luxury materials and unique packaging solutions in recognition of the fact that the car becomes “more. than a car to get people from A to B,” according to Kia.
The new-look dashboard is dominated by a wide digital dashboard that features three screens for driver and passenger use (with the most comprehensive array of connectivity functions to date) – and a pair of rear-view mirrors. digital which will be available voluntarily in the UK.
Head of interior design Jochen Paesen said that although Kia does not want “screens and digital content to dominate, it is an important part of what our cars have today, especially with air conditioning, especially with the features that are needed. It will grow and the amount of possibilities will grow . But we think it needs to be balanced, it shouldn’t take the place of the screen. The screen shouldn’t suddenly become the main part of the car.
At the same time, the flat floor of the EV allows not only more space on the upper level, but also new methods of installation and improved modularity. The EV9’s rotating center console (available on six-seaters only) allows the four rear passengers to see each other in motion – a feature unique to this segment and one that gives the EV9 even more appeal outside the mainstream car market.
Reinforcing its key credentials are trays in the front seats, a digital climate control panel for the rear passengers and an ‘Auto Mode’ enabling the highest level of power steering available in any Kia to date.
Details on what will come next for the EV9 have yet to be revealed, but of the 13 special Kia EVs expected to arrive over the next three years, eight will come to the UK – and are expected to serve as electric alternatives or successors to the combustion models that follow.Kia is currently on sale. .