Kia just dropped a whole bunch of details on its hotly-anticipated U.S.-spec EV9 electric three-row crossover and it should offer consumers a lot of choice. Between three powertrain options, five trim levels, and multiple wheel choices, there should be something here for every EV-savvy family to enjoy. However, deep in the headline figures are some intriguing details about range, drag, weight, and even acceleration. Shall we dig in?
The base Light model gets a 76.1 kWh battery pack, which sounds capacious until you realize that Kia estimates a range of just 223 miles. That’s not phenomenal, but at least it shouldn’t take forever to juice up the base pack given it’ll accept a peak charging power of 236 kW. If you buy any trim from the Light Long Range up, you get a massive 99.8 kWh battery pack which Kia claims is good for up to 300 miles when paired with rear-wheel-drive. Now that’s more like it. Intriguingly, other than in range, the rear-wheel-drive model with the long range battery pack seems like a performance downgrade over the rear-wheel-drive model with the standard range battery pack, with a slightly slower peak charging speed of 215 kW, a 1.1-second long zero-to-60 mph time of 8.8 seconds, and an extra 220 pounds of curb weight. Priorities, right?
However, should you pop for the Wind, Land, or GT-Line trim, you’ll get all-wheel-drive paired with the long range battery pack, which brings performance to what many shoppers might call a happy medium. Range stands at 270 miles on 19-inch wheels, 253 miles on 20-inch wheels, and 243 miles on the GT-Line’s 21-inch wheels, but the zero-to-60 time drops to five seconds flat, and towing capacity increases from 2,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
Other than powertrain details and the option of self-levelling rear suspension, all EV9s are basically identical beneath. They all share the same 16.02:1 steering ratio, ventilated 14.2-inch front discs and solid 13.6-inch rear discs, five-link rear suspension, and MacPherson Strut front suspension with divorced lower control arms. While the suspension setup shouldn’t be terribly surprising to anyone familiar with Hyundai and Kia’s E-GMP platform, the steering is notably slower than the 14.25:1 rack in the Kia EV6. Even in context with other three-row crossovers, the EV9’s steering ratio is on the slower side, which should benefit freeway cruising ease but require a little more input when, say, parking. Speaking of parking, Kia claims a turning radius of 20.3 feet, which means a complete turning circle of 40.6 feet. That’s pretty huge, but then again, the EV9 is a huge car.
Clocking in at 197.2 inches long and 77.9 inches wide, the EV9 is slightly narrower and slightly longer than Kia’s Telluride three-row crossover. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the EV9 is even heavier than that traditional three-row family hauler. Curb weight starts at 5,093 pounds and goes all the way up to 5,886 pounds, Lincoln Navigator levels of heft. Add in a decent but not outstanding drag coefficient of 0.28 [Ed Note: Thats actually not bad for a large SUV that doesn’t look like a suppository. -DT], and it’s easy to understand why this flying brick has only one spec that can hit 300 miles of range.
Anyway, mechanical bits over, let’s talk a little bit more about the equipment you get on various trim levels of the Kia EV9. The Light and Light Long Range models are identically-equipped aside from the larger battery pack and the addition of HomeLink on the latter version, but they both still come well-equipped with LED headlights, dual 12.3-inch gauge and infotainment screens, a five-inch climate control display, wireless phone charging, rain-sensing wipers, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Step on up to the Wind trim level, and things get a bit more luxurious. We’re talking about such niceties as a panoramic moonroof, a heated steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, and a heat pump. You can also option 20-inch wheels, but keep the aforementioned 17-mile range cut in mind. Speaking of things that likely cut range, the Wind trim also gets a boost mode to unlock maximum acceleration, whacking combined torque up from 443 lb.-ft. to 516 lb.-ft., increasing rear motor output, and expanding the front motor’s peak power band. Not a bad party trick, right?
The Earth trim level basically throws all the luxury toys imaginable at the EV9. A revised front lighting setup features slimmer headlight elements and an illuminated grille, while 20-inch wheels come standard with range-saving 19-inch units available as an option. The stereo gets bumped up to a 14-speaker 708-watt Meridian sound system, and the side mirrors are auto-dimming, a lifesaver for night driving. Inside, the second row gains the option of what Kia calls “Relaxation” seats with power-operated footrests, a bit like you’d find on a flagship luxury sedan.
Finally, the GT-Line trim takes everything on the Earth trim and amps up the visual appeal with 21-inch wheels, sporty suede interior trim, black exterior accents, and unique bumpers. This top-flight model also gets the full banana of 516 lb.-ft. of torque unlocked as the default output. Pretty nice, right?
Pricing for the 2024 Kia EV9 hasn’t been revealed yet, but Kia says to expect more details closer to the electric crossover’s on-sale date in the third quarter of this year. Speaking of on-sale, Kia will be launching a reservation system, much like we’ve seen from Ford for its new models. As a bonus, there’s a chance the EV9 will qualify for federal EV tax credits due to assembly in Georgia. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where base pricing lands.
(Photo credits: Kia)
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