Test Kia EV9 – Kia picks up what Renault leaves behind with the Espace

A full-fledged seven-seater with a mature electric drivetrain.

With the Kia EV9, the South Koreans are now part of the select group that has a full-fledged 7-seater.

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Kia EV9

With the EV9, Kia is now one of the select group of car manufacturers that builds an electric seven-seater. Its electrical performance is excellent and you can also sit comfortably as an adult in seats six and seven. But is that enough?

What kind of car is the Kia EV9?

The electric EV9 is the largest car that the South Korean brand has built to date. The Tonka-like appearance is available with a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The starting point is the E-GMP, the Electric Global Modular Platform from Hyundai and Kia, which is also the basis for the Kia EV6 and the EV5 yet to be introduced to us. By making maximum use of the possibilities that the E-GMP has to offer, the EV9 has become a seven-seater, over five meters long. Kia itself talks about an SUV, actually it is more of a car at the intersection of SUV and MPV.

Kia EV9 exterior

With a length of 5.01 meters, the Kia EV9 is a big guy.

What is the big EV9 like inside?

The interior design is sleek and businesslike with materials that feel pleasant. These materials are all ‘vegan’, there is no leather upholstery. However, plastics such as bio-polyurethane are used, based on corn and recycled PET bottles. Vegetable or not, the whole thing leaves a neat impression.

Operating the car requires little getting used to. A lot of functionality is hidden in the easy-to-understand multimedia system. In addition, there are enough physical buttons so that not all your attention is focused on swiping and scrolling. Only the shortcut keys of the multimedia system require a little more refinement. These are so-called haptic keys. With these types of buttons it is always questionable whether you have touched them at all and whether you have pressed them hard enough, because the screen does not always respond quickly, which creates a small doubt.

Kia EV9 interior

The interior is made of vegan materials that feel great.

What about the use of space?

Remarkably, it also takes some effort to find the right seat setting. The seat seats are on the short side and the headrest protrudes just a little too far forward. Furthermore, the axial adjustment of the steering wheel is too limited, so that – if you have moved the seat back because you are a little taller – you sit with your arms outstretched or if you slide the seat forward a little as a compromise, you have to bend your knees just a little too much. bow. There is certainly no shortage of space, both in the front, on the back seat and at the very back of the third row of seats. Often seats six and seven are at most suitable for a group of toddlers, but the EV9 also fits two adults comfortably. There is plenty of legroom for everyone thanks to the long wheelbase of 3.1 meters, partly thanks to the flat floor. The three-seater rear seat can also be optionally replaced by two comfortable seats. There are more than enough storage compartments for small items (rear passengers can pull out a storage drawer from the center console) and even in the third row of seats you have cup holders. When all seats are in use, you have a luggage space of 333 liters, which is nice, something you sometimes see less in seven-seaters. If you fold the backrests of the rear seats down at the touch of a button, you create a loading space of no less than 828 liters. In addition, there is a frunk at the front of the car, which is 52 liters in the four-wheel drive version and even 90 liters in the rear-wheel drive version (as a result of the removal of the front engine).

Kia EV9 interior

Adults can comfortably sit in all three rows of seats.

What drive variants are there?

With just the rear engine you have 204 hp and 350 Nm, but we still owe you information about whether that is enough. We have the first introduction to the four-wheel drive with 384 hp and 700 Nm. This allows the car to keep up with traffic above average. At the touch of a button on the Drive Mode button (directly within reach on the steering wheel), the engines respond even more eagerly in sport mode. With the paddles behind the steering wheel you determine the degree of brake regeneration when you release the accelerator pedal. It is not one-pedal driving, and that is not necessary at all, the brakes can be controlled easily with the brake pedal and the transition from regenerative to mechanical braking is seamless. To keep losses to an absolute minimum, the car only works as a rear-wheel drive in Eco mode and the front engine is also physically disconnected, so as a driver you will not notice this.

Regardless of the chosen drive configuration, you always receive a 99.8 kWh battery pack. Fully charged, you should be able to travel 563 kilometers with the rear-wheel drive according to WLTP and still a neat 505 kilometers with the four-wheel drive. The charging capacity is also excellent, the DC fast charger can charge up to 240 kW. That’s coming along nicely.

Kia EV9 exterior

The EV9 is available with a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

How does the Kia EV9 drive?

The battery pack weighs 566 kg, which makes the four-wheel drive more than 2.5 tons heavy. Despite its considerable mass, the car does not appear overly heavy. The car is very stable on the road, and thanks to the low-mounted battery pack, the car leans little in the bends. And the tuning of the springs and dampers is firm but certainly focused on comfort, it never becomes wobbly or floaty. The controls fit in nicely with this; without being overly communicative, the car neatly follows the set course. The various driving assistance systems also work well and appear to be well calibrated, the active cruise control and lane keeping assistant manage to relieve you of all your worries. That inspires confidence. Wearing summer tires, we have not explored the limits off the beaten track, but in keeping with the car’s sturdy appearance, in addition to the Drive Mode button, there is also a Terrain Mode button for snow, sand and mud modes. The operation of the ESP is adapted to the circumstances and this goes well with the individually driven front and rear axle.

Kia EV9 exterior

The base is comfortable without being too soft.

What else does the Kia EV9 offer?

Kia is working on V2G (Vehicle to Grid) where the car can charge bidirectionally so that you can, for example, store electricity from your solar panels in your Kia during the day and use it later for domestic use. This is already possible on a smaller scale: the car is not only full of USB-C connections from front to back, but also has a 230-volt socket in the trunk (V2L, Vehicle to Load) on which you can, for example, plug in at the campsite. you can connect an espresso machine or work with power tools on location. In any case, it underlines the multifunctionality of the car. The price list starts at €67,995, and for that money you get an extremely mature electric seven-seater with little to complain about. In fact, it is a car with which Kia takes a serious step up and continues where Renault has miserably left it behind with the Espace.

Kia EV9 interior

The large Kia can be provided with extra functionality over-the-air.

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