The 2024 Kia EV9 three-row electric crossover SUV’s photos were unveiled by Kia on Tuesday, paving the way for a new flagship that will be an exact replica of the concept that made its debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show two years prior.
The Kia Telluride’s attractive appearance is carried into the future by the tall, boxy crossover SUV. The brand’s dogbone grille is reinterpreted on the vertical ends, defying aerodynamics. Daytime running lights strike the fender like a lightning bolt from the bumper into the fender. The new LED headlights look like an ice tray of light and have two stacks of tiny cubes. With taillights that ascend the tailgate to the built-in rear roof spoiler, the graduated design is repeated in the rear. Kia skips the light bars bracing the front and back of many other EVs, especially in the luxury segment.
Boxy wheel arches house large wheels with a decidedly square design. It’s a dissonant yet alluring look, but Kia did not reveal wheel sizes, standard features, or any other specs. The squat greenhouse wears the roof like a cap, and a kink at the quarter window cuts a sharp line up to the roof spoiler. It looks simultaneously athletic and trucklike, suggesting some off-road prowess.
The automaker confirmed in the past that the EV9 will have a range of up to 300 miles.
The interior reaches even further forward than any other Kia vehicle, and most other production EVs. There’s some familiarity to the cockpit, with twin 12.3-inch screens split by a 5.0-inch display under a single pane of glass. The blocky dash stretches horizontally, like the exterior, but under the vents Kia places some key climate control buttons instead of the haptic panel on current Kia models. A hidden panel that looks like part of the dash trim holds other climate functions, similar to that of the 2023 Nissan Ariya. A shift lever attaches to the steering column, yet the open top half of the steering wheel looks like that the Kia EV6, but different as well.
From the dashboard back is where the 2024 Kia EV9 compels the most, in six- or seven-seat configurations. A floating center console leaves the floor open, but appears to have several storage areas. The front and second-row seats recline so occupants can “relax and rest when the EV is charging,” Kia said.
True to the concept, the second-row seats can swivel 180 degrees to face the third row seats for a game of Euchre, or for tweens to complain about whose knees should get what space. The second-row captain’s chairs can also rotate 90 degrees for easier ingress and egress, as well as better access to the third row. The Kia Carnival minivan debuted reclining second-row seats with built-in ottomans, but they were only practical for smaller passengers with no passengers behind them.
The EV9 will be the largest vehicle yet to be designed and built on the E-GMP dedicated electric-vehicle platform shared by Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, although the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7 could rival it.
In 2022, Kia said that the EV9 “will become the brand’s flagship model and will revolutionize the large electric SUV segment.” It appears like the EV9 could take Kia into the luxury realm.
For now, there are only a few three-row electric SUVs headlining the luxury class and commanding luxury prices. The Tesla Model X arrived first in the three-row electric class, and it just got a price cut of $10,000 to lower the starting price to $101,380 for five seats; an extra row costs $3,500 more. That’s a tad cheaper than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV that costs at least $105,000 and tops out above $130,000. The 2023 Rivian R1S starts at about $80,000.
Technical specs of the 2024 Kia EV9 are expected at the end of March, and pricing will follow closer to the on-sale date later this year.