IT’S NOT SCIENCE FICTION: KIA OUT WITH
3-ROW, ALL-ELECTRIC CROSSOVER SUV
Its name may bring back memories of old 1950s era science fiction movies, but the Kia EV9 (Plan EV9 from Outer Space staring Vampira, Bela Lugosi, and Tor Johnson and directed by Ed Wood) is much more than just a badly stretched punch line.
It is available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and goes over 300 miles between charges when equipped with the long-range battery..
The 2024 Kia EV9 is offered in four trim levels starting with the base Light Short Range (230 miles) and Light Long Range trims. Wind and Land versions have standard all-wheel drive and a dual electric motor setup that increases horsepower to 379 from the 215 (Light Short Range) and 201 (Light Long Range trims).
This review is based on the top-of-the-line 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line trim that matches the 379 hp in Wind and Land trims and puts out 518 pound-feet of torque that Kia claims gives it a zero-to-60 mph clocking of under five seconds.
Th GT-Line also puts the price tag at a starting point of $73,900 before extras and freight charges are added on, which is a significant jump from the other trims and approaches 3-row electric exotic SUVs from Tesla and Rivian.
My test 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line came with standard AWD and the long-range battery giving it the plus-300 miles of driving range. (A charge up 87 percent gave me a 275 range.)
Seats are covered with Syntex synthetic fabric and the front seats are heated and ventilated with the driver getting leg support. The second-row captain’s chairs also are heated and ventilated and move back and forth at the touch of a button to provide more legroom for third-row occupants.
Other interior standard features include a wireless phone charger, a memory setting for the driver’s seat, and a 36-month trial of the Kia Connect system for access to remote features such as lock/unlock, climate control, Find My Car, Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.
Among standard safety stems are blind-spot and collision warning assist, rear-cross traffic alert, navigation-based Smart cruise control on main highways, parking distance warning, and the usual collection of side, knee, and side-curtain airbags.
Engaging the turn signal also activates Kia’s blind-spot monitor in the instrument panel to alert out to what may be coming up from behind you.
Exterior features start with dual sunroofs (though the second row is fixed), a power liftgate, a second-row retractable storage console, roof rails, rear spoiler, and rear privacy glass.
My test 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line had as options a Second-Row Relaxation Package (power seats with leg support), Ocean Blue paint, carpeted floor mats, and carpeted cargo floor protector that ran the final total to $78,430 including the $1,495 freight charge.
What I liked about the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD: The ride is smooth and, naturally, quiet. The cabin seats six comfortably and the third row doesn’t infringe that much on cargo space. It’s about the same size as the company’s full-size Telluride. Charging time is relatively quick, and the plus-300 mile range for the long range battery (standard in AWD models) is a plus. Tech features are plentiful and generally user-friendly except for the lack of knobs to tune the radio and a slow response to some touches.
Would buy the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD? No. I’m still waiting for the charging infrastructure to catch up to electric vehicles. As the top-of-the-line model, this one has the added burden of a high MSRP and the entry level model, though considerably cheaper, doesn’t have nearly as much range.