Kia EV9 electric SUV spied testing


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Kia will follow up on the Concept EV9 with a production version.

The largest model in Kia’s car portfolio is about to launch, called the EV9. As you can tell from the ‘EV’ moniker, it’ll sit in the firm’s growing all-electric lineup as a seven-seat, family-friendly SUV.

These new spy images show us that the production car will carry over plenty of the design details seen on the Concept EV9 – unveiled at last year’s LA Motor Show. The overall boxy proportions will remain, more in keeping with the Kia Soul EV’s profile than the Kia EV6’s curvy look.

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At the front we see a rather bluff nose, with vertical headlights just like the concept. Underneath the camouflage there’ll be a blanked-off front grille. A clamshell bonnet also features, which could allow for generous front storage.

From the side we see a set of roof rails which could potentially feature the same retractability feature as the concept to improve aerodynamic efficiency. Unlike the Concept EV9, the wing mirrors aren’t digital cameras, but they are quite angular. The rear pillar is covered by camouflage, but we expect to see the same upswept shoulder line. The Concept EV9’s ‘triangular aero design’ 22-inch wheels have been swapped for a smaller set of rims.

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The rear overhang is very short, as is the one at the front, which should aid off-road ability. The extra length of the wheelbase will allow more space for the battery to be incorporated and the positioning of the camouflage suggests a similar rear LED light design to the concept’s will feature on the production car.

We’ve not seen inside the EV9 yet, although we expect plenty more inspiration from the concept car. A 27-inch widescreen display would be one of the largest screens fitted to a production car (still smaller than the 31-inch unit in the new BMW 7 Series, however), and it’ll sit high up on the dash. We also expect a fairly minimalist cabin design, with few physical buttons but don’t think the concept’s one-spoke, oval steering wheel will come to market.

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In the Concept EV9 the cabin can actually change its layout depending on which of its three settings is selected. There’s ‘Active Mode’ for a traditional driver-focused set-up, while ‘Pause Mode’ rotates the front and third-row seats around, turning the second row into a table to mimic a “first-class lounge”. ‘Enjoy Mode’ sees all three rows of seats face the tailgate, which opens to give occupants “the opportunity to connect with the outside environment”. While the EV9 will probably stop short of rotating the seats, we think there’ll be a selection of modes to alter the cabin’s feel.

At 4930mm long, 2055mm wide and 1790mm tall, the Concept EV9 is larger than the Sorento SUV. We don’t expect the EV9 will deviate too much in size from its concept. Unsurprisingly, it will sit above the EV6 in Kia’s electric SUV range, offering three-row seating to rival the likes of the Mercedes EQB and upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 7.

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Just like the Ioniq 7 that’s due in 2023, the EV9 will be based on the modular E-GMP platform. This means we could see the EV6’s 77.4kWh battery being made available for the EV9.

The EV6 has a maximum range of 528km, so expect a bit less in the EV9 due to its extra size and weight if this pack is carried over. Of course, Kia could enlarge the battery for this bigger, heavier and less aerodynamic model, with the larger wheelbase providing scope for this in future as well.

Just like the EV6, the EV9 should also offer single and dual-motor options, while its 800V electrical architecture will allow super fast charging speeds of up to 350kW.

The Concept EV9 is a core part of Kia’s plan to become a “Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider”. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the firm’s value chain by 2045 – through logistics, vehicle production, vehicle use and disposal.

Alastair Crooks

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