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Kia EV9 revealed with up to 541km of range, Australian release date confirmed for electric seven-seat SUV


Featuring a huge battery and big space, the EV9 is poised to become the first mainstream three-row EV offered in Australia

Kia has officially unveiled its EV9 large SUV, with the flagship fully electric model set to target over 541km of range and a high-performance GT version is on the way.

Expected to go on sale in Australia in either September or October this year, the EV9 will become one of only a handful of three-row electric SUVs on sale, with only upmarket options such as the Mercedes-Benz EQB and EQS SUV for company. 

Kia EV9 2023 front 3/4 driving
Kia has fully unveiled the EV9

The EV9 will be offered in a traditional seven-seat format as well as a six-seater option, with the latter available with a set of swivel chairs in the second row that turn around to face the third row.

However, Kia Australia has confirmed to Chasing Cars that Australia will only be offered the seven-seat option due to complications with the seat belt reminder system and local Australian Design Rules. 

Measuring 5010mm long, 1980mm wide, 1755mm tall and sitting on a 3100mm wheelbase, the EV9 is significantly larger than the Sorento, with the greater size and the packaging benefits of an EV said to yield a large volume of interior space.

GT-Line grade revealed with Level 3 autonomous driving

By now, most readers will be quite familiar with the design of the EV9 and its concept forms, with Kia being open about the fact that the exterior and interior appearances target early EV adopters.

Kia has shown off the GT-Line variant, which wears all of the EV9’s features including the L-shaped LED headlights paired with a cluster of small lights on each side that shine through the body panel to form a digital pattern.

Kia EV9 2023 pair
The GT-Line, shown in blue, will be the flagship in the range until the GT arrives

While local specs are yet to be locked in, globally the EV9 will be offered with 19-, 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels featuring an aerodynamic design.

The EV9 will also become the latest EV to offer digital mirrors on the GT-Line grade, though conventional mirrors are likely to be offered across the range, at least as an option.

Kia’s flagship EV9 grade will also benefit from Level 3 autonomous driving technology, allowing the driver to put more faith in the vehicle when using adaptive cruise control, though the system requires that attention to the road must still be maintained at all times. 

EV9 first Kia to phase out leather

Kia says the EV9 will not be offered with a leather interior option globally as the brand pursues more sustainable material options, though the specifics surrounding this issue are still unclear.

Kia EV9 2023 interior
The interior features a huge screen arrangement across the dash

When asked if Australia would miss out on a leather option in the local EV9, a spokesperson for Kia Australia said the importer is unable to confirm until the local specification was released.

Elsewhere in the interior, the overall design is more toned down than the concept (as expected), with either one large screen or two smaller screens placed in front of the driver, who also nets a steering wheel with a design new to Kia.

Battery sizes of almost 100kWh available

In order to meet the demands of a large SUV, Kia has introduced a massive 99.8kWh battery as the largest option, which can be paired with either a rear-wheel-drive single-motor or an all-wheel-drive dual-motor setup.

A smaller 76.1kWh battery is also available globally, paired exclusively with a RWD setup.

Kia EV9 2023 front 3/4
A nearly 100kWh battery would be a welcome option in Australia

Kia says that in RWD Long Range configuration on 19-inch wheels, the EV9 targets a driving range of 541km, when tested according to the WLTP standard.

Given that the EV9 sits on Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform, the large SUV features an 800-volt charging system with the capability to charge at up to 350kW when using a DC charger. Kia says this can see 239km added to the ‘tank’ in 15 minutes.

0-100km/h times revealed, 100Nm of torque available to download

Kia says that the 160kW/350Nm short-range RWD, 150kW/350Nm long-range RWD and 283kW/600Nm long-range AWD models can complete a 0-100km/h sprint in 8.2, 9.4 and 6.0 seconds respectively. However, more grunt will soon be available.

Offered for purchase online, the long-range dual-motor EV9 can optionally gain a 100Nm torque boost to 700Nm, which will slice the 0-100km/h time by 0.7sec to 5.3 seconds.

Kia EV9 2023 front
A GT version is coming, too

However, for those after even more performance, Kia’s president and CEO Ho Sung Song confirmed that a high-performance GT model was in the works.

“We are happy to announce that we are currently developing a high-performance version of the EV9, which aims to redefine what performance means in an electric SUV. We plan to release the GT version of an EV9 in early 2025,” he said. 

EV9 to debut Kia’s subscription services

One potentially unpopular development that arose from the launch of the EV9 is the news that Kia will offer the ability to purchase features through subscription services.

Known as the Kia Connect Store, buyers will be able to purchase upgrades such as the aforementioned torque boost and light pattern designs for the headlights via the smartphone app. 

Kia EV9 2023 side
The EV9 has already begun local testing on Australian roads

However, Kia head of global business planning subdivision Sang Un Cho, clarified that buyers would also be given the option of making this purchase as a one-time payment, as recently seen from other car brands such as Polestar.

Kia Australia was unable to clarify to Chasing Cars if subscription services would be coming to Australia with the arrival of the EV9.

Fans keen to see the EV9 on Australian roads should note that Kia Australia has already begun its local ride and handling assessment on the EV9, so keep an eye out.

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