Meet the Kia EV9 – a 7-seat SUV with Level 3 autonomy and 336 miles of range

Kia’s new flagship electric car also has access to an online store for downloading upgrades

Kia EV9
(Image credit: Kia)

Kia has revealed the EV9, a flagship electric SUV with seven seats, lidar technology for Level 3 autonomous driving and a claimed 336 miles of range.

The car will be available to order in Kia’s home market of South Korea in the second quarter of 2023, before coming to other markets in the second half of the year. It is the largest car yet to make use of E-GMP, the modular electric vehicle platform used by the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60.

The EV9 will be offered with battery pack sizes of 76.1 kWh and 99.8 kWh, with the former fitted only to a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive variant, and the latter available with single- or dual-motor drivetrains.

Kia says the EV9 has a range of over 336 miles (when the single-motor variant is equipped with the larger battery and 19in wheels), and that its 800v system means up to 148 miles of range can be added to the battery in 15 minutes, when using an ultra-fast charger.

Kia EV9

(Image credit: Kia)

Another headline feature of the Kia EV9 is Level 3 autonomous driving. The car uses a system called Highway Driving Pilot, which Kia says will enable “conditional Level 3 autonomous driving in selected markets,” but hasn’t expanded on exactly what that means. 

SAE International, the global standards association that defines the five levels of autonomous driving, says level three technology “can drive the vehicle under limited conditions and will not operate unless all required conditions are met”.

Kia says the system will enable “the driver to temporarily take a break from controlling the vehicle.” It is likely that Kia’s system will take control on highways with clear lane markings and only at certain speeds. The EV9 is fitted with 15 sensors, Kia says, including two lidars that enable it to scan its surroundings and detect objects in a full 360-degree field-of-view. 

There’s also a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems and an automatic parking function, plus UWB (ultra-wideband) technology that will let drivers open and start their EV9 using a smartphone.

Kia EV9 interior

(Image credit: Kia)

Also new for the Kia EV9 is the Kia Connect Store, which the company says will let customers “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 updates at any time.”

We’re interested to see how this plays out, and if Kia has learnt from the criticism leveled at BMW when it suggested drivers would have to pay to activate the heated seats already fitted to their car.

At 5,010mm long, 1,980mm wide and 1,755mm the EV9 is larger than the seven-seat Kia Sorento SUV, and not that far behind a full-size Range Rover. The latter is 5,052mm long, 2,047mm wide and 1,870mm tall.

As well as being a practical seven-seater with a two-three-two configuration, the Kia EV9 will also be available with four different specifications of second row. There are options for a pair of individual reclining seats, as well as seats that swivel 180 degrees so passengers in the second and third rows can face each other while the car is parked. Kia says the reclining seat option means four occupants across the first and second row can recline their seats for a rest while the car charges.

Kia EV9

(Image credit: Kia)

Under the bulky body – which despite its shape has a claimed drag coefficient of 0.28 – there are several battery size and motor options. The long-range, rear-wheel-drive EV9 has a single motor producing 150 kW (199 bhp) of power and 350 Nm (258 ft-lbs) of torque, accelerating the car to 62 mph in 9.4 seconds. Equipped with the smaller battery and a slightly more powerful 160kW motor, the standard-range, rear-wheel-drive EV9 reaches 62 mph in a more sprightly 8.2 seconds.

All-wheel-drive versions of the EV9 produce 283 kW (375 bhp) and 600 Nm (443 ft-lbs) of torque, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of 6.0 seconds. Lastly, the optional Boost function (available to purchase after delivery from the Kia Connect Store) increases torque to 700 Nm (516 ft-lbs). The Boost function, which doesn’t yet have a price, lowers the 0-62 mph time to a sports car-like 5.3 seconds.

Other features of the EV9 include V2L (vehicle-to-load) technology, where the car and its battery pack can be used to feed up to 3.68 kW of power to things like laptops, televisions and camping equipment.

Kia hasn't yet said how much the EV9 will cost. But with a high-spec EV6 crossing the £50,000 barrier, we expect the seven-seater to start somewhere north of £60,000.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.