Kia EV9 GT-Line
On the road

0-100: Plus-sized model

Kia keeps up the pressure on stablemate Hyundai by being first to market with an electrifying new seven-seat family SUV.

Kia has driven straight into the space vacated by the Tesla Model X, lobbing its plus-sized seven-seat EV9 into a family SUV fray that has few contenders, and even fewer that can match its compelling combination of space, pace and value.

Readers who still think of the Korean car maker as a purveyor of cheap and cheerful buzz boxes will likely do a double take at the entry-level EV9’s circa $100k price tag, then fall right off their bar stool at the top-of-the range GT-Line’s $121,800 sticker.

But step inside the roomy and high-tech cabin and any lingering notions about the ‘old Kia’ are immediately blown away by the richly appointed interior trims, generous accommodation and premium finishes.

A panoramic widescreen digital display stretches across the EV9’s dash, with twin 12.3-inch screens: one for the main instrument cluster, the other for the infotainment system. With slick graphics, fast processing speed and a user-friendly interface, the system includes Over-the-Air (OTA) software update capability, just like EV rival Tesla.

Other high-tech features of the EV9 GT-Line include fingerprint recognition for start and driver profile selection, digital side mirrors, a digital centre mirror, wireless Qi phone charging pad, augmented reality head-up display, remote parking assistance, 14-speaker Meridian sound system, and the latest version of Kia’s advanced driver assistance system.

Few contenders can match the EV9's space, pace and value

Credit: Qube Productions

The roomy and high-tech cabin throws shade to 'old Kia' notions

Credit: Qube Productions

The digital side mirrors use cameras plus dual 7.0-inch monitors mounted inside the doors to add additional wow factor to an interior already brimming with it. This includes sporty electric front seats clad in synthetic leather with heating, cooling and massage modes, plus a powered leg rest and full-flat recline mode.

Passengers in the second and third rows are well catered for too, thanks to the EV9’s generous wheelbase, low beltline and the absence of a transmission-tunnel due to its dedicated EV underpinnings. Additional amenities include window sun blinds, heated and cooled outer row seats, overhead vents, temperature controls and handy USB-C ports.

The line-up starts with the rear-wheel drive single-motor Air, costing $97,000 (MLP) with outputs of 160kW/350Nm and a range of 443km (WLTP) from its 76.1kWh battery. Next up is the AWD Earth, priced at $106,500 but equipped with a larger 99.8kWh battery for a range of 512km (WLTP), and dual motors delivering a muscular 283kW/700Nm.

The top-grade GT-Line gets the same battery, dual-motor AWD system and outputs as the Earth, but more kit for its $121,800 sticker. This includes bigger 21-inch wheels, which reduces its claimed range to 505km (WLTP), but the GT-Line makes up for this minor disadvantage with its unique electric motor boost function, which shaves seven-tenths off the Earth’s 0-100km/h sprint, stopping the clocks in a searing 5.3 seconds.

As quick as it is, the GT-Line’s LandCruiser-like 2636kg kerb weight means it can’t be hustled through corners like a hot hatch, but its all-wheel-drive grip, disciplined suspension and instant acceleration still make for an impressively rapid, quiet and comfortable point-to-point family tourer.

The specs

Make/model: Kia EV9 GT-Line

Body style: Five-door large SUV

Retail price: $121,000 (MRLP)

Seating: 7 seats

Energy consumption: 22.8kWh/100km

Safety rating: 5 Star ANCAP Rating (2023)

Motor: Dual electric motor (282.6kW/700Nm combined)

Battery: 99.8kWh

Range: 505km (WLTP)

Transmission: Single speed reduction gear

Drive type: All-wheel drive

0-100km/h: 5.3 secs (estimate)

Visit the Kia website for more.