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2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line: Gentle Monster

Jay Tee
25/01/2024

The Kia EV9 SUV is the Korean automaker’s largest, most powerful and most expensive offering in Singapore with a list of accolades as large as its price tag.


2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line


Launch Date: January 2024, S$289,888 without COE (Jan 2024)
Five-door, large three-row SUV, six seats
380hp, dual-motor electric drive, 22.3kWh/100km, 512km range


PROS
Bold, concept car-like styling
Massive cabin with proper seating for six
Potent yet efficient powertrain

CONS
Digital wing mirrors
Lacklustre cabin materials
Exorbitant starting price

Photos: Jay Tee

SINGAPORE

Frankly, you’d be spoilt for choice if you were shopping for an electric crossover. The number of EV SUVs on sale today surpasses that of saloons, hatchbacks and MPVs combined. Even now, manufacturers are still doubling down on producing a burgeoning array of EV SUVs to satiate the needs of the masses. 



However, if you require a large, all-electric SUV with three rows and seating for six, Kia reckons that their new EV9 flagship SUV would be the best option in the Singaporean market – because it is the only option. 

It’s been a little over two years since the EV9 concept model was revealed and less than a year since the production version was unveiled. But the design of this hulking great EV hasn’t strayed much from the original concept model. 

The Kia EV9 is one of the most bold, brazen and futuristic vehicles from the Korean automaker. Almost nearly as outlandish and boldly designed as a pair of shades from Gentle Monster. Like the eyewear brand, it too hails from South Korea. But unlike Gentle Monster’s shades that are designed to fit Asian visages, the EV9’s large size is geared toward European/North American markets.

There’s no getting around the fact that this is a huge SUV, clocking in at over five meters long and nearly 1.8 meters high, which makes the EV9 the largest Kia on sale to date – dwarfing even the Kia Sorento. It’s very nearly as large as a Defender 130, but it isn’t just its size that one can draw comparisons with the hulking great off-roader.

The bumpers, wheel arches and side sills are clad in piano black plastic, while the blacked-out pillars and window frames lend it more than a passing resemblance to the Defender. But the front fascia adopts Kia’s digital tiger face aesthetic, giving it a similar visual signature as the EV6 (of which this shares the same E-GMP platform) and the Niro.

The vertical headlamps feature 12 individual modules that work akin to matrix LEDs while the DRLs running along the edges of the headlamps slant downward to meet the lower air dam, which has active flaps for cooling the electric drivetrain. The car even features a digital pattern lighting grille that has various welcome patterns for you to choose from (available through over-the-air updates in future).

The rear fascia is just as boldly designed as the front, with sharply styled tail lamps and a rear spoiler that conceals the rear windshield wiper. The EV9 also comes fitted with 19-inch rims with aero covers while the front fascia, flush door handles and (relatively) smooth flanks contribute to its low drag coefficient of Cd 0.28 – no mean feat for a car of its size.

On the inside, the cabin layout isn’t too dissimilar to that of its other electrified stablemates, but screen real estate has increased considerably. The dashboard features a single panel that houses a 12.3-inch gauge cluster, a 5.3-inch dedicated climate control screen (which is partially hindered by the steering wheel) and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen that has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. 

Mercifully, the screen-laden cabin isn’t without its share of useful physical interfaces, such as the HVAC controls, volume knob and the surround-view camera system. Numerous storage bins and USB-C ports are also dotted about the large cabin. As a bonus, the seats in the first two rows are both ventilated and heated (the latter of which no sane Singaporean would ever use).

The multi-function four-spoke steering wheel comes with an illuminated Kia badge and a drive mode button alongside a terrain mode button (which should see little to no use in a Singaporean context). The steering column also features a drive selector stalk with the car’s start button.

Given its large exterior proportions and lengthy (3,100mm) wheelbase, cabin space is immensely generous. The EV9 easily accommodates six fully grown adults with enough room to accommodate a 330-litre boot in the rear (while the frunk gets 52 litres of storage).

Our test car’s captain’s chairs in the second row can even be swivelled to face the rear bench, although this seating configuration is best suited for kids or infants in child seats.

But the most polarising feature of the EV9 is the digital side mirrors, which project an image of the car’s flanks onto screens located at the base of the A-pillars. According to the brand, this system provides a wider field of view and works better in more adverse weather conditions, all of which should make it safer and more convenient. 

Their words, not mine. In practice, the digital mirrors were perhaps the biggest point of contention I had with the EV9. Credit to Kia, the “mirrors” did indeed work better in the rain. But gauging distances from vehicles behind becomes next to impossible, necessitating frequent checks of your blind spots and reliance on the car’s safety systems.

Finicky mirror tech aside, the EV9 drives much like you would expect a large SUV with a dual-motor 380 horsepower and 700Nm drivetrain would – rapid and relentless in a straight line. The EV9 is rated for 0-100km/h in 6 seconds, which isn’t overtly fast in the scope of high-powered EVs, but having such figures in a five-meter long 2.6-ton car is almost comical. A dab of throttle at highway speeds would easily propel you past legal limits. 

However, driving a car of its size and heft demands more care and finesse to rein in. The EV9’s multi-link suspension does a fair job of keeping it level around corners, but in doing so it becomes immediately apparent that the chassis isn’t tuned for manoeuvring bends at speed.

In the real world, the EV9 is best suited for ferrying passengers in comfort over long distances. Kia quotes a maximum range of 512km (WLTP) from its 99.8kWh battery pack,which is more than plentiful for the average commuter. Charging is unlikely to be an issue too. The EV9 can be juiced at rates kf 11kW under AC charging, or up to 350kW with DC fast charging, which should replenish your batteries from 10-80% in under half an hour.

But for an EV as large as it is, the EV9 is rather efficient. Thanks to the downsized 19-inch rims, the car has a homologated efficiency figure of 22.3kWh/100km which just about allows it to net a VES band A1 rating. However, we achieved even figures south of 20kWh/100km during our stint with the EV9.

That being said, the combined ARF savings you get from the VES A1 and EEAI rebates (worth a combined S$40,000) aren’t enough to lower the car’s exorbitant starting price of S$289,888 before COE. At current COE prices, you’d be looking at forking out S$400k for the EV9. So it isn’t just the largest and most powerful Kia to date, it’s also the priciest.

The price of the Kia EV9 would no doubt leave a bitter taste in the mouths of most consumers. It’s an impressive all-rounder that would make short work of school runs or the daily commute, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that most Singaporeans would have to pay through the nose to afford one. 

But if you’re in dire need of a large electric six-seater SUV, the Kia EV9 is an excellent choice – besides, it’s not like you’ve got much choice.


Kia EV9 GT-Line

DrivetrainFull electric
Electric Motor / LayoutDual motor / All-wheel drive
Motor Power / Torque380 hp / 700Nm
Battery Type / CapacityLithium-ion, 99.8kWh
Standard Charge Time / Type8 hours 7 minutes / 11kW AC
Fast Charge Time / Type24 minutes / 350kW DC
Electric Range*512km
0-100km/h6.0 seconds
Top Speed200km/h
Efficiency22.3kWh/100km
VES BandA1 / -S$25,000
AgentKia Singapore/Cycle & Carriage
PriceS$289,888 without COE
AvailabilityNow
Verdict:The feature-packed Kia EV9 isn’t without its faults, but it’s a robust crossover with proper seating for six adults and an impressively competent powertrain. If you can stomach its eye-watering starting price.

Tags:

electric car electric SUV electric vehicle EV ev9 Kia kia ev9 SUV

About the Author

Jay Tee

A millennial with the mental age of a quadragenarian, CarBuyer's latest stringer writes and talks about anything with four wheels and a motor. Doesn't fully get TikTok, makes TikToks anyway. Moonlights for TopGear Singapore. Follow him on Instagram (and TikTok) at @jayyteejy

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