Kia’s list of awards includes: Kelley Blue Book’s 3-Row EV Best Buy of 2024, Car and Driver’s 10 Best Trucks and SUVs list, and TopGear.com’s Family Car of the Year among several other European market awards as well. Undoubtedly, this slew of awards is marketing gold for Kia and I expect it will mean a growing queue of orders for Kia to get through in the coming months, or even years, as Kia must supply the entire world demand for the vehicle from a single factory in South Korea until sometime late next year when the EV9 will begin to be built in the US too (at its new, state of the art plant in Georgia). This raises a few questions for me, including: how many can Kia make in 2024 and what might the global demand be for a vehicle like the EV9?
We won’t have to wait too long to learn how many EV9s Kia will sell in 2023. Early next month Kia should release some figures for calendar year 2023, but it is important to keep in mind that Kia only began offering the vehicle for sale in June this year, in its home market of South Korea, so this year’s figures will only represent half a year of volume, and that half also being subject to the normal ramp up we might expect for any new vehicle. My guess though is that Kia’s ability to supply all its intended markets for the better part of the next 12 months will be somewhat limited. I would expect in fact for Kia to sell fewer than they did of the EV6 during its first 12-18 months on sale, first because the EV9 is a more expensive vehicle with a potentially smaller market (due to its size specifically), and second because of limited capacity to build the battery packs that power the vehicle (Kia has two sizes of pack, 76.1 kWh and 99.8 kWh). As soon as Kia releases figures, I’ll revisit this to see if my hunch is accurate.
Otherwise, highlights from the sources giving Kia accolades are particularly praiseful of its roominess, handling, quiet luxury and comfort, performance (in the higher end trims anyway), safety and convenience features, how fast it recharges (it is capable of charging at a higher rate than most other EVs on the road), and visibility. It seems like in almost every category to be a particularly impressive vehicle, though Car & Driver did gently critique the EV( for some “head toss” over rough roads at higher speeds, which seems like a minor complaint if ever I heard one. As I have stated before, Tesla may want to consider lowering the price of its Model X again, not because it is uncompetitive otherwise (it still holds that advantage) but because, for the money, most shoppers may prefer the EV9 over the Model X. That is purely a subjective thing for me to say and it is just my opinion, but many people find the X’s falcon wings to be gimmicky (though they certainly do have an element of practicality that the EV9’s doors do not have) and while the X will outperform the EV9 on the dragstrip, that simply isn’t something most people buying 3 row SUVs care about (though to a point it would matter, for example when accelerating on to the freeway).
Are you interested in the EV9? What about the vehicle is particularly appealing to you? Would you be willing to wait a long time to get one if production can’t keep up with demand, or perhaps pay a premium to get one? Please leave your comments and questions below.
Images courtesy of Kia.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Torque News Kia or X for regular electric and hybrid news coverage.