Kia EV9 AWD GT-Line S first drive

Kia EV9 AWD GT-Line S first drive

Kia is riding the crest of a new wave with its range-topping luxury EV9 SUV this spring.

The Kia EV9 achieved a remarkable dual victory at the 2024 World Car Awards at the New York International Auto Show in March, being voted World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle., taking KIA to five titles in the prestigious awards.

Kia has given a strong incentive to buy an EV 9 which is now available with a 4.9 per cent APR on finance with no minimum customer deposit, existing Kia finance takers can also get a further £500 discount and an enhanced Kia charge plus voucher for 12 months.

The EV9 was launched this spring in Britain in three trim levels and an additional range-topping six-seat option from £65,025 to £78,775 with rear wheel drive or all-wheel-drive transmission.

We briefly tested the stablemate rear wheel drive Air version a few weeks before and that was £12,000 cheaper than this GT-Line S with its additional front wheels’ motor drive so may be more attractive unless you want the extra urge, grip and compelling features of the top model.

The EV9 models take Kia into a new price category for SUVs but they are still cheaper than traditional luxury SUVs with British or German badges on their bonnets.

The size of the EV9 immediately impresses, very closely matching a Land Rover Discovery, but the designers have wisely chosen to create a lot of space inside and then pack an immense amount of technology around the occupants.

They also pamper the driver with all manner of driving and safety aids including a reversing camera built into the rear mirror, side camera on the door mirrors and one of the best intelligent cruise control systems I have ever used.

The twin motors drive give the EV9 a lot of get up and go so its quicker and faster than the Air version and the independent suspension is more akin a sports car than an SUV but the steering does not match this. The turning circle is big and parking can become a chore as a result and not just because it has a large footprint on the road.

The sophisticated regeneration system allows the user to select the degree of mechanical braking to slow it down and boost the energy into the battery as a result while the electric parking brake securely worked on our chosen test slope.

The motors produced little noise even when heading towards max revolutions but road rumbles from tyres and suspension and low wind noise did become noticeable.

Using the adjustable braking and a modest but not excessive throttle meant we saw a range of about 284 miles from a charge, slightly further than the 272 recorded with the Air, which was lighter as well. Both of these were shorter than the suggested Kia WLTP figures, but of course this is all down to driving style as it is with a petrol or diesel model. The EV9’s heat pump is good too.

The room in the EV9 is exceptionally good with easy access through the side doors for the first two rows of seats but a bit more fiddly to climb into the rearmost pair of our six-seater layout. The middle pair of seat actually swivel and slide to suit passengers access preference and are a good feature.

The nominal boot space is good for shopping or a few cases but quickly dropping the rear seats does immediately create a lot more space for four.

Not only is there a lot of luggage space available but the oddments room is ideal for a family or business service and there are multiple chargers throughout.

The driver and front passenger have a very large infotainment display beside a packed driver’s display which takes some getting use to but all were very clear and quickly changed settings as desired. Our test car had the useful head-up display which was less distracting than glancing down to the packed fascia.

The big Kia’s heating and ventilation system worked hard to keep a desired temperature throughout backed up by powered windows all-round and an opening front sunroof with another behind.

Excellent wipers and lights which also automatically dipped gave good vision in poor conditions and the cameras and sensors provided a clear 360-deg view when parking if you did not wish to use the automatic system to ease into gaps.

The Kia EV9 had very large and supportive seats with a lot of adjustment room, excellent suspension absorption and little body roll or wallowing when cornering even over bad surfaces.

It looked and felt very well made and with the technology at the fingertips it really stands up to the traditional luxury brands very well and is a good rival which handsomely beats them on price as well.

The Kia EV9 is arguably one of the most significant new cars of the decade.



Kia EV9 GT-Line S six seats

Price: £77,025

Mechanical: 378bhp & 700Nm motor, 99.8kWh battery, AWD

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 5.3 secs

Range: 284 miles

Insurance Group: 50

CO2 emissions: Zero

Bik rating: 2%, VED £ZeroFY, £ZeroSR

Warranty: 7yrs mechanical 8yrs battery/ 100,000 miles

Size: L5.01m, W1.98m, H1.76m

Bootspace: 333 to 2445 litres (inc.front boot)

Kerbweight: 2648kg

For: Very roomy, highly equipped, extremely comfortable, refined, long range and warranty, strongly priced against large SUV rivals

Against: Large tyres produced intrusive road noise, big to park, packed instruments & features display, expensive to insure. By Robin Roberts Miles Better News Agency

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