Best Vehicle Ever? We test the 2024 Kia EV9

Who am I to argue? The Kia EV9 might just be the most universally recognized ‘best’ vehicle ever.

  • Named the 2024 World Car of the Year and 2024 World Electric Vehicle of the Year by a jury of 100 journalists from 29 countries.
  • Fifty print and broadcast journalists from Canada and the US named it the 2024 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
  • The Women’s Worldwide Car of the Year council of 75 writers from 52 countries named it for World’s Best Car for 2024, out of a field of 63 contenders.
  • Popular Science called it one of the greatest 50 innovations of 2023.

To top it off, J D Power says Kia is the highest-ranked mass market brand in initial quality.

I would agree.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Kia sets the bar for electric vehicles with the 2024 EV9

The EV9 sets the bar for the emerging field of pure electric vehicles by combining the everyday versatility of a three-row vehicle with the obvious benefits to your wallet and the environment of avoiding the use of fossil fuels.

But what about range you ask? How far or how long before you have to plug the darn thing in?

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The EV9 aces this one as well – the test vehicle was capable of going almost 600 km before needing a plug. That range between ‘fill-ups’ drops in cold weather, when heavily loaded, in hilly terrain or when driven aggressively – just like a conventional gas-powered vehicle.

 

What range anxiety?

When you do have to plug it in, the EV9’s 800-volt electric architecture allows it to be charged from 10% – 80% in 20 minutes from a 350-kW fast charger.

But here in lies the big negative about the EV9.

Like every electric vehicle it relies on a reliable network of fast charging stations. In this neck of the woods – east of the St. Lawrence River – the charging network is neither fast nor reliable. There are a few 150-kW stations, but the majority are 50 kW units, and a great many may not work. That situation is improving each month with the arrival of new stations.

The solution is overnight charging from a Level 2 charging station at home, and the ability to access Tesla’s reliable 250 kW Superchargers, scattered throughout the region.

 

The Kia EV9: variety is the spice of life

The EV9 is available in a variety of trim/power levels starting with a 76.1 kWh battery and 215-horsepower/259 lb-ft of torque motor driving the rear wheels. It is rated for a range of 600 kilometres. Charging from 10-80% on a Level 2 charger takes about six hours and 45 minutes.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Other EV9s come with a larger 99.8 kWh battery. The rear-drive version has a single motor and a range of 490 km. Level 2 charging from 10%-80% takes about eight hours and 45 minutes.

The all-wheel-drive models, like the top-trim GT-Line test vehicle, use two motors, one at each end. Using the same 99.8 kWh battery pack, they produce a combination of 379-horsepower and a thumping 516-lb.ft of torque! The projected driving range of this setup is 435 km.

 

The result is a VERY FAST minivan!

It will scoot from rest to 100 km/hr in little more than five seconds, compared to almost 10 seconds for the single motor EV9.

Kia refers to the EV9 as an SUV. I think of it as a minivan, a close cousin to Kia’s exceptional Carnival. This three-row vehicle is large, the biggest vehicle in the Kia lineup. It is longer than the company’s Telluride utility vehicle.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

It is also heavy – tipping the scales at almost 5,000 pounds thanks to those big batteries. That weight makes the performance even more impressive.

 

From the headlights, composed of 24 LED cubes, to the almost vertical tailgate, the EV9 stands out.

The interior is luxurious, with exceptional levels of fit and finish.

The driver faces one of two 31-cm screens lying beneath a single pane of glass. This one includes Kia’s slick blind spot assist system. Flick the turn signal, and a camera built into the rear-view mirror on that side provides a crystal-clear picture of what lies there on the instrument cluster.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The remaining range readout is accurate, unlike many other EVs I have tested.

There is a family-friendly array of storage spots, fast-charging USB outlets and spacious seating for six or seven, depending on the choice of second-row seating. The added length between front and rear wheels necessary for battery storage pays off in stretch-out legroom for second row passengers.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Third row seats are more accommodating than most, as is the cargo area. Everything from heated and cooled power front seats to the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle from your smartphone shows forward thinking.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The award-winning flagship of the Kia lineup bristles with new-age technology from useful to fanciful.

A fingerprint module allows the driver to customize his or her settings and the emblem on the steering wheel is backlit.

Connected car technology allows over-the-air updates and a wireless download that lets you parallels or perpendicular park the EV9 using the key fob from outside the vehicle.

 

 

The Kia EV9 allows those needing a three-row vehicle to get into an electric vehicle without most of the compromises that entails. If they have a 240-volt level 2 charger installed at home, even those shortcomings all but disappear.

 

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Garry Sowerby

 

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2024 Kia EV9 Land AWD with GT-Line package

 

PRICE

Base: $64,995

As tested: $81,495 including freight

 

INFOTAINMENT

31-cm multimedia interface with navigation, HD and satellite radio, 14-speaker Meridian premium audio system

 

SAFETY

LED headlights with automatic high beams, surround and side view monitors, forward collision avoidance assist with vehicle, cyclist, pedestrian and intersection recognition, blind spot collision warning, lane keep and follow assist, rear cross traffic warning and collision assist, surround view monitor

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

21-in alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats with memory, heated and ventilated 2nd row captain’s chairs with powered leg rests, suede headliner, pillars and sun visors, heads up display, heated steering wheel, heated, auto-dimming and power folding mirrors, remote smart parking assist, power liftgate, privacy rear and cargo area windows, eight-way power front seats, smart key with push button start, wireless phone charger, dual sunroofs, electric tilt & telescope steering wheel, self-levelling rear suspension, power fold/unfold third row seat

 

OPTIONS

None

 

MECHANICAL

Dual motors, each with 189.5 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque, combined output – 379-horsepower, 516 lb. ft. of torque, liquid-cooled 99.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, AWD, direct drive transmission

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 5,015-mm; wheelbase, 3,100-mm, width, 1,980-mm; weight, 2,666-kg

 

COMPETITION

Honda Prologue, Mustang Mach E

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