Kia is gearing up to launch a brand new model called the EV9 in 2023. It’s an electric SUV with three rows of seats, and could become the most expensive yet desirable model it’s ever produced.
The new Kia flagship was actually previewed by the Concept EV9 at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. However, the production model will not be identical, which is to be expected.
Last week, Kia showed the EV9 SUV, still covered in camouflage, while undergoing what looked like suspension testing (see photos below). Kia and Hyundai usually stick to the design of their concepts, and that’s largely the case here, but some changes were made, most likely for the sake of affordability.
Kolesa decided to digitally remove that camouflage and give us a preview of the 2023 Kia EV9 way ahead of the debut. Basically, what they’ve done is combine 2021’s concept with the new lights and wheels seen during testing.
The EV9 doesn’t look anything like its little brother, the EV6. Instead, it’s very upright and boxy, like an EV version of the Kia Mohave or a Toyota Land Cruiser from the 1980s. It’s as if the vehicle is screaming “I’m a real SUV” with its significant ground clearance, and that’s a good thing. The most famous 3-row EV, the Tesla Model X, often gets criticized for not having enough SUV traits.
There are modern touches too, of course. Both sets of lines describe sharp geometric lines, matching the angular creases down the sides. And the rendering shows flush-fitting door handles. The production model also sports true door mirrors as opposed to side-mounted cameras.
EV9 specs: what we know
Even though this is a flagship, you shouldn’t expect a Hummer-sized vehicle. The concept is a good reference point, measuring 194 inches long (4,930mm), which makes it 2.8 inches shorter than a Telluride (70mm). But the EV9 should be about 81 inches (2,055mm) wide with a 122 in (3,100mm) wheelbase, so there’s enough space for those three rows of seats.
Powertrain-wise, we expect dual motors to be offered as standard. The smaller EV6 GT-Line offers 320 horsepower and seems decent enough for a normal EV9. There’s also a crazy 576 horsepower setup in the EV6 GT, and that could be offered as well. In 2021, Kia promised a range of around 300 miles and rapid charging. Presumably, that means a slightly bigger battery pack than the 77.4 kWh one which is the maximum offered by Kia right now.
The market will become increasingly competitive after the EV9’s debut in 2023. We’re getting large electric SUVs from General Motors, like the Traverse EV, possibly something similar from Honda, a big Volkswagen, and the Volvo EXC90, to name but a few.
And became of new regulations, Kia will most likely have to assemble the EV9 in Georgia, otherwise, they won’t be eligible for tax credits.