Here’s how Kia is redefining its brand with the flagship EV9 three-row electric SUV

When you come across a Kia vehicle, the word luxury typically isn’t the first word that comes to mind. The South Korean automaker is out to change that with its first three-row electric SUV, the Kia EV9, which is destined to deliver new standards from the brand.

Since officially unveiling the EV9 in March, the electric SUV has gained the attention of buyers and auto journalists alike as Kia’s largest, most advanced EV model yet.

The EV9 is Kia’s second dedicated EV, following the smaller EV6 crossover. Like the electric crossover, the EV9 rides on the Hyundai Motor Group’s 800V E-GMP platform (also used for the IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6).

Kia says the EV9 offers “true SUV capabilities” with up to almost 82 cubic feet of cargo space in the back, 7.8 inches of ground clearance, available AWD, and up to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

At up to 197.4 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 70.1 inches tall, Kia’s three-row electric SUV is massive, about 200 millimeters longer than the Kia Telluride and slightly smaller than Ford’s Explorer. With the larger 99.8 kWh battery, the EV9 can travel up to 336 miles in range (541 kilometers).

However, as Kia explains, its engineers developed the vehicle to be more than one that gets you from point A to point B.

Kia redefines the brand with its EV9 electric SUV

Kia wants its new flagship electric SUV to evolve its brand perception while attracting customers away from rivals, in some cases premium buyers.

After launching deliveries in its home market of South Korea last week, the EV9 gathered 13,000 preorders within the first eight days. More importantly, over half the orders were from customers new to the brand.

Kia is pushing for the same results in the US, its largest market, with the EV9 expected to go on sale before the end of the year. Starting next summer, Kia will begin EV9 production at its West Point, Georgia plant, where it will be its first EV built in the US.

The automaker says the EV9 “not only opens up new levels of comfort but also versatility and flexibility.”

As such, the EV9 features a “luxe living room on wheels” concept that includes second-row swivel seats (that can turn a full 180 degrees), abundant charging points, cup holders, reading lights, and a panoramic sunroof.

The EV9 acts as a mobile power bank with Vehicle-to-Load capabilities, allowing you to use up to 3.68 kW of power to charge a laptop, camping equipment, or larger items like an electric grill or outdoor projector with the electric SUV’s powerful battery.

Kia says the EV9 will be the Hyundai Motor Group’s first model to offer on-demand features and OTA updates in a new software-driven era for the brand.

With the most advanced version of Kia’s Highway Driving Pilot, the EV9 supports “conditional SAE Level 3 autonomous driving,” according to the company.

And to get you back on the road quickly, the EV9 features ultrafast charging. Thanks to Hyundai’s 800V E-GMP platform, the EV9 can provide 148 miles (239 kilometers) of driving range with 15 minutes of charging time.

The electric SUV will be offered in two battery options – a standard 76.1 kWh version and a larger 99.8 kWh model. A third high-performance GT version is expected to debut as early as 2025. Kia has yet to release US prices for the EV9, but thanks to a Belgian price list, we can estimate it will be around $67.5K (at current exchange rates) for the larger battery and around $60K for the standard model.

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