2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line AWD: Three-Row Game Changer

Published on December 15, 2023 in Test Drives by Louis-Philippe Dubé

There’s a big shift in the auto industry right now. Brands renowned for their reliability and performance, such as Honda and Toyota, are slow to deliver serious products and are making serious mistakes in the process, while brands that have been disdained for decades, such as Hyundai and Kia, are making giant strides in both technology and styling.

And with the E-GMP platform developed jointly by the latter two manufacturers, Kia can take electrification by storm with a head start. But despite these fine words, the fact remains that no manufacturer is immune from reliability problems and public opinion, which is slow to forgive the Korean manufacturer's past setbacks.

The Car Guide went to Arizona to put Kia's EV9 three-row electric SUV through its paces, as it seeks to play the role of a chic, high-off-the-ground minivan in the electric future.

Bold Physique

The EV9 is the first three-row SUV to use the E-GMP platform, which also underpins the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 6, the Kia EV6 and the Genesis GV60. And Kia has chosen to give it a decidedly more muscular look than is common in the family SUV market. At the front, the bumper features a distinctive light signature that can be varied according to the driver's choice. Kia even offers optional, subscription-based light themes on via Kia Connect. This is a particular business model designed to appeal to customization enthusiasts – we’ll see how that pans out.

On a more logical note, the EV9's square shape doesn't penalize it as much as one might think in terms of aerodynamics. In fact, its drag coefficient is just 0.28. By comparison, the Tesla Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.23.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Two Battery Packs,

The Kia EV9 is offered with two battery sizes, one of 76.1 kWh and the other of 99.8 kWh. Only the "light" base model makes use of the smaller battery. Here, 215 horsepower are outputted by a single motor that drives the rear wheels exclusively. This model can only cover 370 kilometres on a single charge. A "Wind" model, still rear-wheel drive, is also available. This time, the large battery is used to develop less power (201 hp), but the best range of the EV9 family (489 km). Next up, the all-wheel drive "Land" model, armed with two motors that jointly develop 379 hp.

The E-GMP platform comes with several advantages, including convincing recharging capabilities. On a Level 3 charging station, for example, it can deliver 236 kW of charging power, enabling the EV9 to "fill up" in 25 minutes. By comparison, the Toyota bZ4X offers a maximum charging speed of between 100 kW and 150 kW.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

The EV9 offers a towing capacity of just 1,000 lb as standard. But the all-wheel drive model equipped with the towing package boosts this capacity to 5,000 lbs. Of course, your two-ton RV will have its negative impact on range, a factor to consider before you tackle family getaways.

Our test route included high speeds on the highway and on unmarked roads devoid of regenerative braking opportunities. It gave us a combined fuel consumption rating of 26 kWh/100 km, which is coherent with the 25 kWh/100 km rating set by the EPA for the EV9 – which isn’t very efficient, especially given the fact that the EV9 will most likely haul more people and cargo in real life than we did.

Otherwise, the vehicle offers surprising driving dynamics for its family-oriented vocation, with steering feedback that feels surprisingly solid (for an electric vehicle), and convincing acceleration for its weight (in its AWD variant). A well-calibrated suspension provides a smooth, comfortable ride in town and on the highway. Yes, it's heavy! But the calibration, especially in Sport mode, compensates very well for the body roll.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Flirting With the Luxury Segment

While it may appear bland and boxy, the Kia EV9's cabin uses an amalgam of chic and functional materials and elements that look family-proof. The dashboard is dominated by touchscreens displaying the latest interface for Kia's infotainment system. As well as being over-the-air capable, the system is simpler and more intuitive than ever. For you old-school drivers out there, manual controls and levers have been retained for ventilation and other key systems.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

The upholstery of our GT-Line model delivered plush comfort throughout our test drive. Lateral support for the driver's seat increases even in sport mode and at speeds in excess of 125 km/h. Cargo space metrics are a tiny bit short to that of the Telluride. We're talking about 573 litres behind the third row, and 2,315 litres in total. However, thanks to the EV9's flat floor, its superior overall habitability is the key element that sets it apart from its cousin. Unfortunately, the base model doesn't come with a heat pump. This could further impact the already low range figure during winter.


Who would have thought that performance and advancement would be attributed to the Kia brand 20 years ago. Not to mention putting three-row SUV and driving dynamics. Despite its lack of efficiency, the Kia EV9 boasts convincing capabilities and superior comfort.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

In Canada, the EV9 has a starting price of $59,995 for the basic rear-wheel drive model with the small battery, $62,995 for the rear-wheel drive model with a range of 489 kilometres. All-wheel drive models start at $64,995. Our GT-Line test model, which sits atop the range, also starts at $64,995, but adds a $14,000 charge for additional equipment.

LISTEN: LP provides his KIA EV9 driving impressions on The Car Guide Podcast EP22

Test drive report
Test model 2024 Kia EV9
Trim level GT-Line AWD
Price range $65,000 – $80,000
Price as tested 80 000 $
Warranty (basic) 5 years/100,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) N/A
Options N/A
Competitive models Audi Q8 e-tron, BMW iX, Jaguar I-PACE, Rivian R1S
Strong points
  • Bold styling
  • Very comfortable
  • Great driving dynamics
Weak points
  • Could be more efficient
  • No standard heat pump
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.0/5 The EV9 is heavy and inefficient.
Comfort 4.5/5 Le confort est excellent, peu impore où l'on prend place dans l'habitacle.
Performance 4.0/5 Performance is good on the AWD model. But RWD models lack power.
Infotainment 4.0/5 The Kia infotainment system is better than ever.
Driving 4.0/5 Good driving dynamics on all surfaces.
Overall 4.5/5 The EV9 is a good overall electric family hauler.
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