Sounds too good to be true, but it is.
EV9 is Kia’s latest and greatest wunderkind, an EV that seats seven and can travel more
than 500km on a single charge.
In the early days of the modern electric era, it was suggested that families would have two
cars: a compact battery-electric vehicle for city use and larger, hybrid SUV for inter-urban
A decade later they’ve had a rethink and EVs of different shapes and sizes are becoming
an increasingly common sight on our motorways, but we’ve still got a way to go.
It’s big, blunt and unapologetic.
EV9 shares a platform with the EV 5 and 6, as well as Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, 6 and 7 and the
It comes in three grades: Air, Earth and GT-Line (Earth, Wind and Fire might have been
more appropriate), priced from $97,000.
Air has a single electric motor and is rear-wheel drive, Earth and GT-Line have two motors
and are all-wheel drive – the latter two priced from $106,500 and $121,000 respectively.
There’s seven colours, with premium shades like the hero blue pictured adding $1100 to
Air and Earth ride on 19-inch wheels, GT-Line steps up to 21-inch wheels – they’re alloys
but fitted with plastic aerodynamic hubcaps.
All three grades are well equipped.
By the time you get to GT-Line there’s leather and three-zone climate air, power-adjust
seats with heating and cooling for first and second row, a heated power-adjust steering
wheel, ambient interior lighting, dual sunroofs and a power-operated tailgate.
There are also pop-out door handles, exterior lights are all LED, with auto high beam,
augmented reality head-up display, intelligent speed limit assist, a 360-degree camera
system, remote smart parking and the GT-Line features digital side mirrors which we’ll get
A panoramic dashboard combines a 12.3-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch instrument
cluster, separated by a 5.0-inch climate control centre.
Infotainment consists of Bluetooth with multi-connect, AM/FM and digital radio, satellite
navigation with 10 years of updates, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Kia’s
Sounds of Nature elevator music.
Once set up fingerprint authentication stores preferences and means the car cannot be
stolen, even with the key.
At the same time there’s wireless phone charging, six USB-C ports and two 12-volt outlets
and a V2L adaptor which allows external 240-volt devices to be powered.
Audio comes from a 14-speaker Meridian sound system, with five speakers, four tweeters,
four woofers and a subwoofer.
Kia Connect supports eCall, remote control, vehicle status monitoring and over-the-air
updates, and is complimentary for seven years.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Rear-drive Air is equipped with a single electric motor that produces 160kW of power and
350Nm of torque.
With two electric motors, one for each axle, all-wheel drive Earth and GT-Line deliver a
combined 283kW and 700Nm.
Most of the time, however, drive in all-wheel drive models is confined to the rear wheels.
Five-star safety includes multiple airbags, autonomous emergency braking (Car-to-Car,
Vulnerable Road User, Junction & Crossing and Head-On) as well as a lane support
system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane
keeping (ELK), and an advanced speed assistance system (SAS).
For such a big vehicle EV9 is surprisingly athletic.
With two motors and 700Nm of instantaneous torque the GT-Line hammers, especially in
But a word of warning, because driving the big feller in this way is guaranteed to eat
through your battery and that precious charge takes longer to get back than it does to
Only two other three-row EVs are currently offered in Australia, both of them by Mercedes
— the EQB and larger, more expensive EQS SUVs.
Rear-drive Air accelerates from rest to 100km/h in 8.2 second and has a WLTP-rated
range of 443km.
Earth dispatches the dash in 6.0 seconds and has a range of 512km, while the top of the
range GT-Line with larger 21-inch wheels and tyres can sprint to 100km/h in just 5.3
seconds, and has a range of 505km.
WLTP or the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure is the latest, more
stringent standard and the figure you should look for.
Multi-charging 800V architecture gives the EV9 ultra-fast-charge capability, making it
possible to add 232km of range in just 15 minutes.
A full charge from 10 to 80 percent can be completed in as little as 24 minutes in the case
Not quite sure when 70 per cent became a ‘full’ charge, but it certainly explains why times
Bear in mind too, that to preserve battery life, the charge rate slows after 80 per cent, and
the EV9 is no exception.
At more than 5.0 metres in length and weighing from 2960 to 3240kg depending on model,
EV9 is a big unit and needs to be, to deliver its seven-seat capacity and petrol-like range.
You don’t want to be stuck with the ‘fam’ by the side of the road out in the boonies
The batteries alone weigh 560kg.
Kia reckons range anxiety is a thing of the past with DC fast charging, reducing the time
taken to mere minutes.
But the larger the battery, the longer it takes to recharge and some like the battery in the
EV9 can take a very long time.
The battery in the single motor version is 76.1kW in size, while the unit in the dual motor
version is almost 100kW.
With the cable supplied and a standard single phase 10A power point, the 76.1kW battery
would take 31.42 hours to fully recharge.
The 99.8kW battery would take 41 hours and 35 minutes.
That’s according to the Green Vehicle Guide.
In reality, EV9 is probably the first EV that we’ve tested that cannot practically be
recharged at home without a Wallbox.
So, it becomes a question of whether you have access to a commercial charger, how
much it costs per kWh and most importantly how long it will take (and what you plan to do
while twiddling your thumbs).
We note the tendency of some reviewers to gloss over this aspect of EV ownership.
Before rushing out to buy the latest and greatest EV, spend some time considering how
you’re going to recharge your new car.
We know of one couple who actually traded back their EV after a couple of months
because the whole charging regime became too much for them.
At the end of the day, you’re not just buying a car, you’re buying into a lifestyle.
With all three rows in use EV9 provides 333 litres of cargo space or 828 litres with
the third row folded. With both rows folded – it’s 2318 litres.
Rear-drive Air has a braked towing capacity of 900kg while AWD models can tow up to
As well as Sport and Eco drive modes, Snow, Mud and Sand terrain modes are offered.
But with just 177mm of ground clearance, we wouldn’t be taking the EV9 off road anytime
In terms of power consumption, GT-Line is rated at 22.8 kWh/100km.
Our test vehicle was getting 20.0 kWh after close to 500km of city, suburban and country
In comparison a Tesla Model 3 uses 13.7 kWh; the MG ZS EV 18.5 kWh per 100km.
Of the three grades available, Earth is probably the smart choice, with plenty of power and
the greatest driving range.
We wouldn’t consider the GT-Line based purely on the silly digital mirrors?
Who the hell signed off on them?
Two cameras replace the exterior mirrors, with small video screens located inside each of
the doors. Obviously, they take a bit of getting used to, but apart from being new and cool,
what practical purpose do they serve?
Experience has shown that reversing cameras become dirty and fail to transmit a clear
view of the surroundings.
What’s to say the lenses of these cameras won’t become dirty too. In fact, the mirrors of
our test vehicle became clouded for several minutes one morning because of
condensation. At the very least it poses safety questions.
The mirrors can also cause motion sickness as my wife discovered.
Sorry, but tech for tech’s sake is a bad idea. Ditto the electronic interior mirror. It’s difficult
to bring into focus with multifocal glasses, but at least it can be switched off.
The ride quality is amazingly good for such a large heavy vehicle.
Like other Kias the Ev9 benefits from local tuning, with strut front suspension with
frequency selective dampers and multi-link rear suspension featuring self-levelling
dampers, and rack-mounted motor-driven power steering.
Active noise cancellation keeps background noise to a minimum.
Distracting, however, is the constant beeping from the overly-sensitive intelligent speed
assist system (when you exceed the speed limit).
It can be switched off, but you have to do so every time you re-start the vehicle.
Checking out the touchscreen we were surprised to find that Apple CarPlay and Android
Auto are offered in wired form only.
Seriously? This thing is supposed to be cutting edge (an over-the-air update is expected to
Below the touchscreen is a row of touch-sensitive buttons for quick access to different
features such as audio and navigation.
They can be difficult to operate on the move with no support to steady fingers and the
white labels are almost invisible in strong sunlight.
The 14-speaker Meridian audio system is a keeper however.
Electric vehicles are only as good as the infrastructure that supports them.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to two questions:
? Where can I charge it?
? How long is it going to take?
We’re told the EV9 GT-Line on test takes as little as 24 minutes to charge with the right
That charger needs to be a 350-watt DC fast charger, but finding one is the challenge. We
thought we’d hit pay dirt with a Tesla Supercharger on a weekend visit to Bathurst in
NSW’s central west.
Turns out it’s 120 watts and 24 minutes became more than 40 minutes – that was for only
a 30 per cent top up.
Therein lies the problem.
AT A GLANCE
Air RWD: $97,000
Earth AWD: $106,500
GT-Line AWD: $121,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS: (Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD seven-seat fully-electric wagon)
Maximum Power: 283 kW
Maximum Torque: 700 Nm
Electric Motor: Dual motors (front and rear)
Battery Capacity: 99.8 kWh
Energy consumption: 22.8 kWh
Drive Range (WLTP): 505 km
DRIVELINE: One-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5015 mm
Wheelbase: 3100 mm
Turning Circle: 12.4 m
Kerb Mass: 3240 kg
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
7 years / unlimited kilometres