It is no longer the case that basic equipment means a bare-bones apartment with jump ropes, stoves and no air conditioning. Especially for electric cars, where the price is high because of the batteries, manufacturers install a number of equipment elements that would be easily available at an additional cost for equivalent combustion models. After all, car manufacturers have to somehow justify the higher price.
Well, yes, but what if the price tag is really high, like for example the Kia EV9 model, which costs almost two million crowns? Can this family SUV live up to its base price? We were looking into it.
When we first saw the Kia EV9 in photos, it was, to be honest, pretty scary. A big boxy SUV, from a mainstream car maker too, complete with a very ambitious price tag. But appearances are sometimes deceiving, that’s why only a real encounter with the car, i.e. stopping next to a large German SUV, made it clear how huge the EV9 is.
The car is over five meters long, almost two meters wide and less than eighty meters high. It’s a decent piece of car with an operating weight of around 2.5 tons, so we won’t be far from the truth if we call it a small Korean fortress for batteries up to 3.5 tons.
No less interesting is the design, which can be described as bold, even exotic, which is probably what the wider public thinks too, because during our travels including the Hradec Králové – Poprad route, we counted countless glances and turns from others. And the expression on the face of the majority spoke clearly: “What, KIA?!”
The front storage space offers 90 liters, so you can put charging cables, mandatory equipment inside and still have some space left over. The fifth door itself covers a funny trunk with a volume of 308 liters in a seven-seater configuration, so if you go somewhere at seven, don’t pack too many things. On the other hand, just fold down the third row and suddenly you have more than a solid luggage compartment with a volume of around 800 liters.
We have another insight into the lights, as you would expect matrix lamps in the base, but the standard will only offer classic leds with automatic switching of the main beam. Adaptive LED headlights are only available in higher equipment and do not even cost extra for the basic one. Thumbs down for that.
And we would almost forget about the bikes. Specifically, on serial aluminum 19-inch wheels in a full non-traditional design with comfortable 255/60 R19 tires. They really suit the car and support its exotic appearance.
The cabin finally delivers what automakers have been promising for a long time – airiness. Even if you’re two meters tall, you can easily fit in the front and in the middle, and adults (not full-grown adults) can also fit comfortably in the back, especially thanks to the sliding middle row. The seats can also be folded and straightened comfortably.
There’s room above your head, there’s room next to you, there’s room for your feet, there’s room everywhere. This is one of the advantages of electric cars with a flat skateboard platform. Even if Kia came up with a package for sleeping, that would be something. Although you can actually adjust the relaxing position of the seat inside with one push…
Anyway, back to the driver’s seat, where the main features are the combined instrument and multimedia screen plus an electrically adjustable four-spoke steering wheel. The shift selector is under the steering wheel, so it does not take up space elsewhere.
On the dashboard itself, made of sustainable materials (that’s why it looks like recycled), there are backlit function controls that just need to be pressed. Well, we understand the mission of sustainability, but making a little more hi-tech panel here would perhaps suit the car better.
In any case, we appreciate that the manufacturer kept the climate control using physical controls, and there is no need to climb into the info system to increase or decrease the temperature. This is also related to the main ventilation touch panel, where the heating of the rear glass and mirrors is also activated. Here we observed that, for example, people of smaller stature have the controls partially shielded. Nevertheless, as part of the fact that it is a touch screen, this system suited us, because we only switched on the heating there.
A few words about the instrument panel, where we lacked more graphic displays. In short, the car offers only three and you don’t send the map in front of your eyes either, which should just be fine. The info system is a classic tablet, where each box has its own setting function, which is a trend among car manufacturers today.
However, the online navigation deserves praise, namely for decently usable map materials, information about traffic and also for important information about chargers, when the car calculates charging as part of the navigation, so it preheats the battery before the station so that the “juice” flows into it faster.
As with the Ioniq 6, there is also the annoying (mandatory) speed assistant that turns on after every start. And again, you can’t turn it off with one press, like with a Tesla, a Bavarian 5er or a Mercedes E-class, but you have to press the button on the steering wheel for a long time to go to the touch menu and then turn it off gradually.
We should also mention the comfortable central armrest with covered drink holders, which can also fit a medium bottle. We also consider the side control panel for massage, heating and ventilation of the very comfortable seats to be a plus. With them, it’s really comfortable on long routes, expressed in young language. And you probably don’t even realize that the leather used inside the car is actually artificial.
And lest we forget, the passengers in the back also have their own climate control panel, which will not spoil your view to the rear, as the rearview mirror will be provided by a camera on request. Inside, there is also a 250V 16A socket for basic electrical appliances, smartly placed USB-C ports and also a classic blind spot camera controller projecting the image from the side cameras onto the instrument panel. In short, we like this gadget, which the current Tesla Model 3 also has.
The magic of frugal travel
What we like about basic electric cars is that they usually have only one driven axle, usually the rear, which is both for weight distribution and for the steering itself. And the Kia EV9 is no exception, as its rear wheels spin an electric motor tuned to 204 hp and 350 Nm.
Those aren’t dazzling numbers for a 2.5-tonne car, and it’s also reflected in hard acceleration, where nothing slams you into the seat, but this box lurches forward with relatively satisfying agility. So you don’t have to worry about overtaking or taking advantage of the electric drive, but keep in mind that the EV9 is not a Tesla Model X Plaid. The organs in your body simply do not fold during acceleration, this basic South Korean SUV.
Acceleration from zero to hundred in 9.4 seconds also corresponds to this, which is also not quite a hit number. Maximum? The highest 185 km/h is enough, with that you will overtake every new Volvo limited to 180 km/h, and it doesn’t make much sense to drive fast with a car, because then the consumption doesn’t make sense.
And that brings us to the magic of the base drive that made us love it. In other words, if you belong to the calmer, more balanced and defensive drivers who are satisfied with legal speeds, then this volt-charged box with a comfortable chassis will reward you with decent fuel consumption for its class.
In December, on winter 19-inch wheels with a greater share of highways and a defensive driving style, we kept the consumption at 23.9 kWh per hundred, which, among other things, is similar to the consumption for which the similarly sized Tesla Model X also drives.
Given that the Kia EV9 carries a battery with a capacity of 99.8 kWh (itself weighs 566.5 kg), it will offer a maximum winter range of around 400 km per charge, in the summer we will attack the limit of 500 km per charge. And that makes this electric car a realistically usable car for regular traffic, including long-distance routes.
This is also helped by fast charging with a maximum output of 210 kW, although this will only happen under optimal conditions and with a suitable charger. However, the ultra-fast chargers available in our country can pour a little over 200 kW into the car for a short time, while after the decrease the charging power remains in higher numbers. In short, when the battery is preheated, current flows into it as quickly as gasoline into an old North American gasoline eight-cylinder.
Perhaps only three-phase AC charging of 11 kW could be upgraded to 22 kW today, albeit as an option, which is already offered by some other electric vehicles in a similar and lower price range. Furthermore, after examining the technical data, we were a little scared about the towing capacity item. After all, only 450 kg for an unbraked and 900 kg for a braked trailer is simply not enough even for the basic model.
Those who need to tow must still reach for a four-wheeler, which has 750/2,500 kg, but by nature it will not be as economical as a rear-wheel drive – perhaps except for traveling in mountain twists and turns.
Two price previews
The Kia EV9 is actually a revelation that, at least in the Czech Republic, will not target the masses, but rather dozens of customers a year who want a large electric SUV. We recommend choosing a basic rear drive to everyone who is no longer in a hurry on the road and likes comfort, silence, peace and a long range. This is exactly what the default Kia EV9 offers, but at a price of less than two million crowns, which has two aspects.
From the point of view of an ordinary Kia customer, this is a crazy and unacceptable price. However, from the point of view of competing cars, it is a good price, because the similarly sized Tesla Model X costs half a million more, and the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV even costs 1.3 million crowns more. The slightly smaller BMW iX is also almost 200,000 more expensive, while the Audi Q8 e-tron is about 300,000 more expensive, however, the named cars are premium, Tesla simply its own and Kia as such mainstream, i.e. aimed at the masses.
So it means that Kia will not have an easy time with the EV9, it will have to face the needs/demands of new/other clients who would normally be looking for an electric premium car, but suddenly have the opportunity to buy a giant, comfortable, solid-driving SUV with an airy interior , fast charging and decent consumption. So it won’t be a repre car for the golf model EV9, but for life as such? It’s a different song there, expensive of course, but justifiable thanks to everything the car has, can do and offers.
So, in our opinion, the Kia EV9 justified its basic price tag of CZK 1,949,980, however, if you need a four-wheeler with 384 horsepower, 700 Nm of power and higher consumption, then prepare at least CZK 2,099,980. You also get a 7-year factory warranty limited to 150,000 km on the car, or other benefits as part of various promotions.
|Kia EV9 RWD Earth
|synchronous electric motor
|150 kW/204 hp
|permanent reduction gear
|2 426–2 492 kg
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h
|up to 563 km
|usable 99.8 kWh
|AC 11 kW, DC 210 kW
|Wheels and tires
|5 010/1 980/1 750 mm
|3 100 mm
|Volume of the luggage compartment
|308–2 318 l
|Front luggage compartment