Kia EV9 ‘Air’ redefines eco-friendly luxury

In Electric cars, Kia, SUV by Robin Roberts

KIA has turned the corner into a new market segment with its EV9 pure electric model

Car Reviewed: Kia EV9 ‘Air’ Rwd 7-seats

The EV9 seven-seater launches in three trim levels and an additional range-topping six-seat option from £65,025 to £78,775 in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive configurations depending on trim with 200bhp single or 378bhp twin motors.

That puts it squarely into Mercedes and BMW electric model territory alongside the latest VW ID.Buzz or Tesla Models X and Y.

We wanted to see how the entry-level EV9 Air measured up as the brand turned a corner. It’s an impressive addition to the luxury BEV sector for big families or businesses such as chauffeur services.

Striking exterior styling is matched with eye-pleasing interior detailing and practical modern control, comfort and communications features.

It has the highest level of automated driving assistance, so it can be guided to a location within signed speed limits, through traffic and even park itself while the user steers and monitors junctions and surroundings for unexpected events. Cameras and sensors around the EV9 keep everything flowing to the driver’s eyes and ears.

Our test car had only one motor under the floor, driving the rear wheels; the AWD versions have another upfront. It coped well with two people aboard. Performance was reasonable, not remarkable, over a mixture of A and B-class roads, including country lanes but no motorway sections. 

We saw an indicated maximum range of over 270 miles between charges. That’s a good practical range for most users, considering the average commute is about 24 miles round-trip a day.

Fortunately, if you have to travel longer distances, the EV9 has been designed to take the maximum power generally available. It would take under 30 minutes to fully charge, enough time for a refreshment break before it set off for another 270+ miles.

KIA engineers have carefully refined the front struts and rear multi-link suspension to give the heavy EV9 a stable, comfortable ride with strong brakes and fairly good steering feedback for a large MPV. However, it is considerable to park in most bays or older multi-storey car parks.

Where size matters, the EV9 delivers the goods. The total loadspace is massive, with usefully folding flat second and third-row seats. Occupants can easily climb into the front or middle seats, but it would be more of an adventure for children to use the rearmost pair of seats, and then legroom might be tight for some. The EV9 has a remarkable amount of oddments space throughout the cabin and passengers can select their own air conditioning zones and temperatures.

Drivers have a massive triple-screen display in front of them, with essential, desirable and practical instruments behind a wide display that looks like one unit. Column stalks operate wipers, and there is a stubby stalk for the power and direction controls.

For a big vehicle, the Kia EV9 handled well and soaked up potholes and bumps with its 21-inch tyres and long travel suspension.

The arrival of the EV9 shows the road that KIA is taking and I expect many features will find their way into smaller models in future and that’s still more bad news for rivals who are languishing behind them in the sales showrooms. 

Author Rating 4.2/5

For: Excellent build quality, refinement and equipment, good range, low ownership costs, reassuring warranty, very comfortable

Against: Modest performance, road noises, needs ample parking space, very packed instruments & features display.

© WheelsWithinWales

Car reviewed: KIA EV9 ‘Air’ RWD 7seats

on the road price as tested £65,025

  • 0-62mph 9.4secs
  • Top speed 114mph
  • Engine Single electric motor, 99.8kWh battery
  • EV Range 272 miles
  • Max Power 200bhp
  • Torque 350Nm
  • Dimensions MM 5010 L/1980 W/1760 H
  • CO2 emissions Zero
  • Transmission Single-speed automatic RWD
  • Bootspace 333 / 2318 1itres (seats folded)

Robin Roberts

Motoring Journalist

Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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