The 2024 Kia EV9 is a brand new seven-seat fully electric family SUV.
With only a few fully electric seven-seat SUVs currently available in Australia, I'm excited to see how it stacks up as I get to check it out for BabyDrive…
The launch drive of the 2024 Kia EV9 is from Sydney to Bowral in the Southern Highlands of NSW, allowing me to test the drive of the EV9 in morning city traffic as well as out on beautiful open coastal roads and stretches of highway.
The 2024 Kia EV9 fully electric seven-seat SUV is available in three variants. The bottom spec Air starts at $97,000 and has a 443km battery range and rear-wheel drive single motor. The mid-spec- Earth costs $106,500, it has all-wheel drive, dual motors and a 512km battery range. This top-spec GT-Line also has all-wheel drive and dual motors, a 505km battery range and costs $121,000 (these prices exclude on-road costs).
Kia has said you can charge the batteries from 10% to 80% in just 20 minutes at a 350kW super-fast charger, this would make family road trips possible as this is an achievable distance between charging stops.
I was eyeing up the very good-looking top-spec GT-Line in ‘ocean blue' matte paint and was VERY happy when that's the one I got to drive!
I'm the driver of the top-spec GT-Line for half the morning's journey and then we swap so I am the passenger for the second half of the morning until stopping for lunch just past Wollongong. This is a great test of how the EV9 drives as I negotiate Sydney morning traffic using the EV9's camera side mirrors.
Although it's not my first time driving with these digital mirrors (I've used them in the Audi E-Tron and Genesis GV60 before, they do take a bit of getting used to and I am glad of the indicator cameras for a second source of reference when changing lanes.
In fact, the top-spec GT-Line also has a rear-view digital mirror…
…and a rear camera you can switch on with a button down in the central console that comes up in the media screen so you can see easily behind you while driving. This is great, especially for large families using all three rows of seats when heads and child seats can block your view through conventional mirrors.
Another thing I notice negotiating rush hour traffic is the size of the Kia EV9. Although from the exterior it looks large and chunky it doesn't feel it into drive and feels surprisingly smaller than expected while driving. You don't feel like you are filling your lane and can negotiate tight turns and lanes easily. Which should bode well for school drop-offs when I trial it later.
The EV9 has a nice tight turning circle too; it doesn't feel quite as impressive as in Kia Carnival but still pretty impressive for a big seven-seat SUV!
The 2024 Kia EV9 has ISOFix in four of the five rear seats. The second-row central seat is the only one without ISOFix. They are not within plastic guides but are nice and easy to connect to.
There are top tether anchorages in all five rear seats, on the back of the seat backs and easy to connect to.
In theory, you can install five Infasecure child seats in the back of the 2024 Kia EV9, or at least in all five positions. I have the Infasecure Attain More and Infasecure Momentum More child seats with me and install them in the second-row seat and third-row seat, where they are nice and easy to install.
I will test the 2024 Kia EV9 with my full range of Infasecure child seats when I have the EV9 to test with my family.
The second-row seats are split 60:40 and the single seat has the third-row access mechanism from the old Carnival seat. This makes third-row access fantastic on the driver's side only as you can leave a child seat installed either forward or rear-facing (using ISOFix and the top tether strap) and press the button on the seat shoulder and it will tilt forward to provide great third-row access. This is great for larger families needing to use all three rows of seats and gives smaller families the choice and flexibility of where child seats are positioned and ease of access.
Rear passengers are kept very comfortable in the top-spec GT-Line model EV9, with built-in window blinds in the rear doors to keep them sheltered from the sun while driving.
There are also air conditioning vents in the ceiling of both rear rows of seats to keep rear passengers comfortable while driving along.
There are controls in the second-row ceiling…
… as well as in the front dash and ultimately adults in the front can control the rear air conditioning for their children.
I am pretty sure the back of the front headrests will double as iPad holders like they do in the EV6 so second-row passengers can easily watch devices while travelling too and will test this when I do my full BabyDrive testing.
Rear passengers in all three rows of seats are looked after by the nine airbags in the EV9 that extend to the third row of seats.
The EV9 GT-Line also has a full safety suite of technology including rear child locks that you can turn on easily with a button in the driver's door. This also will not release the rear doors if the car senses a car coming alongside the EV9 no matter how many times you press it until it senses it is safe to do so.
Driving the 2024 Kia EV9, the driver assist safety features are a bit vocal. There is constant donging and chiming which would get a bit much when you have the kids on board and you are trying to concentrate. You can turn these functions off in the media screen but you have to do it every journey. Thankfully you can customise your media screen so there is a shortcut to this making it a little faster each time.
This aside the EV9 GT-Line feels solid on the road and the drive is nice and smooth and quiet. It feels great on the twisty windy roads and is enjoyable to drive.
As we hit 110km/h on the highway sections, we noticed the wind noise around the top sides of the windscreen which isn't surprising for a boxy-shaped vehicle like this.
In the sections where I was being driven by another person I did not experience any travel sickness, which is testament to the drive of the EV9 GT-Line AWD as I often do get queasy as a passenger and volunteer to drive all the time because of this reason.
After lunch, we swapped to the base model EV9 Air which is rear-wheel drive and we found it drove differently. The lane-keep assist technologies made it sway in its lane and once we had turned them off, it was the same enjoyable ride as the top-spec GT-Line we'd tried in the morning.
The dashboard of the new Kia EV9 has a 12.3-inch media touch screen and a 12.3-inch digital driver display with a 5-inch monitor sandwiched between them with the climate controls, these are easy to reach and use while driving.
The media system has a completely different look in the EV9 than the usual Kia system.
It’s very minimal looking but I actually find it more difficult to use as it is very wordy and not as visual and easy to navigate while driving as Kia's previous media system. There is the option to customise the layout of the media system which could be the saving grace as you can move the functions you use regularly to be in one place so you can more easily find them.
There is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can easily access your phone's navigation, communication and listening apps while driving.
In the central console, there is a phone charging pad and USB-C sockets.
When you put the 2024 Kia EV9 in reverse the camera images are lovely and clear and in this GT Line model, I have relied on the rear camera when parking while I get used to the side cameras.
There’s great storage throughout all three rows of the EV9 which is great for families. There are said to be 10 cup holders throughout the car and I will put it through our usual family storage testing when I have it to do my full review!
Boot space in the 2024 Kia EV9 is impressive. for families that need to use all three rows of seats, the Leclerbaby one-hand fold stroller fits really easily into the boot. You will also be able to fit a small family dog in the boot of the Kia EV9 when using all seven seats.
For families that only need to use the first two rows of seats the boot space is enormous and we will put it through our full BabyDrive testing with a range of prams and strollers and see how practical it is for families soon.
There is a household plug socket on the right-hand side of the boot which is great for plugging in a fridge and other creature comforts on camping trips.
There is also some frunk storage in the EV9 which I will test when I have it for full review with my family.
The 2024 Kia EV9 fully electric seven-seat SUV will make a great car for families who can stretch to its rather high price.
Having the flexibility of all five seats being usable with child seats and that great third-row access are perfect for families with one or five children! Controls on the side of the front passenger seat make it easy for the driver to help passengers in and out of both that seat and the rear ones without leaving the driver's seat. This is helpful for school pick-up especially.
The 2024 Kia EV9 feels solid to drive and the steering wheel feels nice in your hands. Being a fully electric car it will have all the benefits for families like driving your kids to sleep without churning through fuel and sitting at school pick up or while Bub is asleep with the aircon running and not polluting the immediate area.
The Kia EV9 is yet to be given an ANCAP rating but is currently going through testing.