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The Kia EV9 is a big deal. Look past the concept car styling and second-row seating to see just how big it is. It’s huge — literally. It’s also set to be the first three-row crossover to go on sale anywhere, filling a massive electric vehicle sales void.
Back in 2021, Kia brought a new concept car to the LA Auto Show. It was called the EV9 and it was big, bold, and blocky. The concept previewed a new generation of styling for electric Kias. It offered seating for four passengers despite being as big as a Telluride, and it had rear-hinged back doors.
It looked straight out of a sci-fi movie, and we all thought there was no way Kia could build it.
That is, until now.
Kia EV9: Full-Size Electric SUV
Kia has just revealed the production version of the EV9, and, well, it’s even better than the concept.
The automaker calls the design language, “opposites united.” That means it, “harnesses the creative tension generated by the divergent values of nature and modernity to deliver a harmonious whole,” according to Kia
In short, the design combines sleek sculptural shapes with assertive geometric lines. Curves and sharp edges working together to look like it comes from the future without the cold cruelty of brutalist design.
The front end is one of the coolest parts of the new design. Kia labels it “Digital Tiger Face,” a reference to the “Tiger Nose” on its existing gas models.
The star map LED running lights and clusters of cube lamps inside the bodywork will work together to create a new, welcome animation. This animated lighting pattern will be the signature of Kia’s next EVs.
Longer Wheelbase Than Telluride
Unlike the EV9 concept, the production Kia will seat six or seven passengers, depending on how you order yours. Kia didn’t give exact dimensions, but the EV9 is just a few inches shorter than the Telluride, and rides on a much longer wheelbase. It’s also a few inches wider than the Telluride.
So, it should have plenty of room for both cargo and passengers. The longer wheelbase should mean much more legroom, while the extra width gives everyone some elbow space.
EV9 Lacks Cabin Flair
After letting Kia’s exterior design soak in for a few minutes, the interior seems, well, dull. Instead of futuristic flair, it is all rather more practical.
The EV9 is still a sleek design inside, much like the rest of Kia’s current lineup. The two 12.3-inch screens that make up the dash and infotainment system are integrated into one long panel, and there are some digital buttons and switches below.
While the concept had a strange rectangular steering wheel, the real thing is much more conventional.
Conventional is probably good, though. Attempts to reinvent the wheel from both Tesla and Lexus haven’t exactly been hugely popular. The wide dashboard is also a great way to make the big interior feel even bigger. Kia says it has used that space for plenty of center console and door panel storage, too.
Also conventional are the rear doors. They open forward, which is less cool but much more practical in a parking lot. Open those doors, though, and the EV9 does have a trick awaiting you.
Swiveling Second Seats
The second-row seats can flip. Swiveling 180 degrees, the second row can be positioned for better conversations with passengers in the third row.
The seats can also be pivoted just 90 degrees, which should make hopping in and out easier — especially if you’re putting smaller passengers into child seats.
You’ve probably noticed I haven’t said anything about the powertrain yet. Yes, that’s a key part of any EV, but Kia hasn’t shared that information just yet.
Instead, the automaker is holding back the details on the bits underneath. All Kia has said is that this will ride on the same modular E-GMP bones as the EV6 as well as the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
There should be more details soon, though. Kia says it plans to share that later in March, likely just ahead of the New York International Auto Show, which is set to start on April 5.