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KIA's EV Investment Pays Off As The 2024 EV9 Surpasses The Telluride

Kia's big bet on electric vehicles looks like a winner. Having driven both, I can tell you the all-new 2024 EV9 rockets past the Telluride in every way.

Kia's new all-electric family vehicle has been long awaited, and now it's here with us as I test-drove it for a week and share here my review notes with our Torque News readers. You know, the Kia EV9 positions itself in the still very-limited world of three-row electric SUVs. This electric SUV with dimensions worthy of the leaders in the field has imposing dimensions and leapfrogs the Telluride, which I also test-drove and reviewed in 2023.

Kia EV9 is a spacious electric SUV redefining family hauling.

Kia steps into the electric SUV game with the impressive EV9. This three-row powerhouse rivals the Telluride in size but offers future-forward electric driving and a surprising amount of muscle. Choose between rear-wheel drive for efficiency or all-wheel drive for added performance, with a range stretching up to 304 miles on a single charge. With ample cargo space and a usable third row, the EV9 is a compelling option for eco-conscious families who need all the space a traditional SUV provides. Plus, a 5,000-pound towing capacity makes it as versatile as it is innovative.

The EV9 is a new vehicle for the Kia Brand and comes in five trims: Light RWD, Light Long Range RWD, Wind e-AWD, Land e-AWD and the GT-Line e-AWD. These past seven days I was testing the top GT-Line AWD EV9, which is Kia EV9's long range version coming with the $78,430 MSRP. The 2024 EV9's starting price is $56,395. These prices may change of course, as market conditions change.

What is the advantage of the 2024 EV9 GT-Line AWD trim over the other trims?

If you like a sportier driving experience and cutting-edge tech features in your electric SUV, the 2024 EV9 GT-Line AWD is the trim for you, but as I wrote above, it comes with a hearty $78,430 price tag. Yet, it offers a unique, more aggressive exterior design compared to other trims. Inside, you'll find premium touches like GT-Line specific seats and a suede cloth headliner.

But the real advantage of the GT-Line AWD EV9 over the lower trims lies in the performance upgrades. The GT-Line offers all-wheel drive as standard, giving you better handling and confidence in all weather conditions. It also gets a bump in range compared to the base rear-wheel drive variant, offering an estimated 270 miles on a single charge. This trim also throws in some driver-centric features like a self-leveling suspension and a head-up display, making every drive feel that much more exciting.

2024 Kia EV9 side view exterior design

But other reviewers like the Car and Driver, say that the 2024 Kia EV9's midrange Wind trim appears to offer the most value, by unlocking the more powerful all-wheel-drive powertrain for 379 horsepower as it also comes with desirable standard features.

How much horsepower does the Kia EV9 have?

The horsepower of the 2024 Kia EV9 depends on the trim you choose:

  • Light and Light Long Range (rear-wheel drive) trims offer a single electric motor with varying horsepower. The Light trim boasts 215 hp, while the Light Long Range prioritizes range over power, offering 201 hp.
  • All-wheel-drive trims pack a serious punch with a dual-motor setup, cranking out a combined 379 horsepower. This is a significant jump from the rear-wheel-drive options.

On top of that, all-wheel-drive trims with the available Boost mode can unleash even more power for quicker acceleration. But let's discuss the Kia EV9's acceleration below.

So what is the acceleration of the Kia EV9?

The all-wheel-drive Kia EV9 lives up to the instant acceleration expected from electric vehicles. Depending on your driving conditions the Kia EV9's acceleration can reach to 0-60 mph between 4.5 to 5.5 seconds. But other reviewers, like the guys at CarsGuide, who reviewed the RWD versions of the Kia EV9, write that they recorded an acceleration of of 8.2 seconds. GT-Line trim's acceleration is a significant advantage over the gas-powered Telluride, which takes a whole two seconds longer to reach the same speed.

Beyond its impressive speed, the EV9 offers a smooth and enjoyable ride. Highway cruising is a pleasure thanks to the comfortable suspension, and the one-pedal driving mode allows for easy control and complete stops.

What is the real range of the Kia EV9, charging time, and battery size?

The Kia EV9 offers a range that varies depending on the trim level you choose and how you drive it. Here's a breakdown of the battery size, the range, and the charging time.

The 2024 Kia EV9 has two battery options: the Standard Battery (76.1 kWh) and the Long Range Battery (99.8 kWh).

The Standard 76.1 kWh battery comes with the base Light trim and offers an EPA-estimated range of 230 miles. The Long Range 99.8 kWh battery is standard on Light Long Range, Wind e-AWD, and Land e-AWD trims. It boasts a significantly higher EPA-estimated range of 304 miles for the Light Long Range and 280 miles for the AWD trims. The top-of-the-line GT-Line trim sacrifices some range for performance, offering an EPA estimate of 270 miles.

The real-world range of the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line can be between 240 to 270 miles. The 270 miles is the EPA estimate. Your range will depend on your geography and driving conditions. Keep in mind that factors like driving style, weather, and cargo weight can all affect the actual range you'll experience. The EPA estimates that the EV9 is capable of 80 to 89 MPGe depending on which drivetrain it uses. 

Charging Time: The good news is that every EV9 supports Kia's 800-volt architecture, allowing for super-fast DC fast charging. With a compatible charger, the EV9 can add 100 miles of range in just 13 minutes! Even using a standard DC fast charger, the average charging speed between 10% and 90% is an impressive 139 kW. While the on-board charger (11 kW) is average for home charging, the DC fast-charging capabilities make the EV9 a compelling option for long trips.

Let's discuss Kia EV9's Interior, body type, and frunk.

The body type of the Kia EV9 is a 5-door SUV. The 2024 EV9 has a very convenient Frunk, which is Kia's front trunk and it offers 52 liters of additional storage in the AWD or 90 liters in RWD trims.

When it comes to cargo capacity, the EV9 holds its own against gas-powered rivals like the Telluride. Behind the third row, you'll find 20 cubic feet of storage space, which is quite usable for everyday errands. Fold down both the second and third rows and the space expands to a whopping 82 cubic feet, making it a great choice for hauling larger items or gear for extended adventures.

2024 Kia EV9 second row seats

Also, the Kisa EV9 offers flexibility when it comes to passenger and cargo space. You can choose a 6-seater configuration with second-row captain's chairs for a more luxurious feel, or opt for a 7-seater layout with a bench seat for maximum passenger capacity. The third row, available on upper trims, even folds electronically for added convenience.

2024 Kia EV9 third row seats

While our experience with a prototype hinted at potentially firmer-than-desired front seats and a less premium feel to some materials, hopefully, this will be addressed in production models for the US market. The good news is, that the second-row captain's chairs offer a significant upgrade, mirroring the comfort and features of the front seats, including heating, ventilation, and even a massage function. The third row offers surprising adult-friendly space, but achieving maximum comfort might require some legroom adjustments from second-row passengers.

Kia EV9 Infotainment Review

Kia has taken a bold approach to the EV9's infotainment system, completely revamping it for a sleek and modern look. Dominating the dashboard is a pair of large 12.3-inch screens. One acts as your digital gauge cluster, displaying essential driving information, while the other serves as the central hub for infotainment, navigation, and climate controls. Sandwiched between these two screens is a dedicated display for the HVAC system, providing quick access to temperature adjustments.

2024 Kia EV9 infotainment system and front interior view

Unlike some of its Kia siblings, the EV9 eschews a cluttered button layout. Physical controls are minimized, with just a few essential buttons for volume and key climate functions remaining. Additional features are accessed through touch-sensitive controls embedded directly in the dashboard. While specific details about the infotainment system's functionality are still under wraps, Kia promises an entirely new generation of user experience, likely focused on a clean interface and intuitive touch controls.

How is the Kia EV9 different from the Telluride?

The Kia EV9 carves a distinct path compared to the Telluride, Kia's popular gas-powered SUV. The most significant difference lies under the hood – the EV9 is a fully electric vehicle, offering zero emissions and the instant torque characteristic of EVs. This translates to a thrilling driving experience, with the all-wheel-drive EV9 rocketing from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, a feat the Telluride simply can't match. Technology is another key differentiator. The EV9 boasts a next-generation infotainment system with a focus on clean aesthetics and touch controls. Dual 12.3-inch screens dominate the dashboard, while physical buttons are minimized in favor of a sleek, modern look. The Telluride offers a more traditional button layout for its infotainment system.

2024 Kia EV9 Rear view

Beyond these headline differences, the two SUVs share some common ground. Both offer spacious interiors with available seating for seven and impressive cargo capacity. The Telluride might even have a slight edge in terms of third-row legroom, but the EV9's fully electric powertrain and innovative tech features make it a compelling option for environmentally conscious families seeking a future-proof and exciting driving experience.

What are the closest competitors of the Kia EV9?

Based on the information we have discussed, the Kia EV9 has a few key competitors in the electric SUV market:

Volvo EX90: This upcoming electric SUV from Volvo is expected to be a close rival to the EV9 in terms of size, performance, and price point. Both offer third-row seating and spacious interiors, catering to families. While details are still emerging, the EX90 is likely to boast a luxurious interior and potentially a longer range than the base EV9 trim.

Tesla Model X: This established player in the electric SUV segment offers a more unconventional design and a focus on performance. While the Model X might have a slight edge in terms of horsepower in some trims, the EV9 is likely to be more competitively priced. Additionally, the Model X has been criticized for its aging interior design compared to newer offerings.

Rivian R1S: Another strong contender, the Rivian R1S, offers impressive off-road capability and a focus on adventure. However, the R1S is currently more expensive than the EV9 and may not be as readily available.

Upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7: Sharing the same platform as the EV9, the Hyundai Ioniq 7 will likely be a close competitor. It's expected to offer a similar driving experience and range, but potentially with a slightly different design and feature set.

Ultimately, the "closest" competitor will depend on your specific priorities. If you prioritize luxury and a potentially longer range, the Volvo EX90 is worth considering. If you crave performance and a unique design, the Tesla Model X might be a better fit. However, for a balance of features, price, and practicality, the Kia EV9 appears to be a compelling option in the growing electric SUV market. Torque News Kia reporter Justin Hart thinks the Kia EV9 will outsell its EV6 in the USA as long as carbuyers don't have cheaper options.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News TwitterFacebookLinkedin, and Youtube. He has more than a decade of expertise in the automotive industry with a special interest in Tesla and electric vehicles.